In the span of four plays, the Garden City High School Buffaloes allowed two Valley Center touchdowns as the Hornets jumped out to a 14-0 early lead in Friday’s game in Valley Center. The Buffs never recovered, losing 38-26 to drop to 0-2.
“I’m really at a loss of words,” GCHS head coach Brian Hill said. “I relate it to if you’ve ever been out on a boat and cracks keep breaking open and it turns your attention one way, and something else pops up.”
A lot of cracks appeared for the Buffs, who turned it over six times, including on their first kick-off receive.
Valley Center scored on its opening drive on a 64-yard touchdown pass from Kaleb Harden to Caden Holle, and then the Buffs fumbled the ensuing kick-off. The Hornets recovered at the Buffs’ 31, and three plays later the Hornets were in the end zone once again on Marion Ponds’ 9-yard run.
“With young kids, emotions play a big part of it,” Hill said, before referencing the first score for the Hornets. “I thought we did a great job, we covered a kick-off and we played two great plays on defense, and then they run a play that we literally practiced probably 20 times, and we have our eyes in the backfield and they make a fingertip grab and take it 60 yards for a touchdown on 3rd and 9.”
The Buffs cut the deficit to 14-6 and then 21-12, before Valley Center made it 38-12 early in the fourth quarter on another Ponds’ touchdown.
Carlos Acosta scored on a 1-yard run with 5 minutes to go, and then Josh Janas finished off the night’s scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run with less than a minute to go.
The Buffs outgained Valley Center, 424 yards to 305, but six turnovers led to 24 points for the Hornets. Acosta finished 14 of 26 for 198 yards, but four picks. Lane Durst again led the receiving core with 83 yards on three catches.
“Third and-1 yard and we push ahead for 5 or 6 yards and fumble the football,” Hill said of the Buffs’ offense. “If it wasn’t one thing, it was another.”
Janas did have a big night for the Buffs, racking up 104 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries.
“Josh Janas is a baller,” Hill of the junior, who is playing in his first high school football season. “He’s a big-time running back. I’m so happy he decided to come out for football this year. He’s a great kid and a great wrestler, and you see that mentality on the football field. He runs with an attitude.”
Hill said Janas earned the right to be the Buffs’ starter for the rest of the season, after scoring the Buffs’ first two touchdowns, from 10 and 1 yard(s) out, respectively. The first came early in the second quarter, but the Hornets answered with another Harden touchdown pass, this time to Hunter Sharp for 5 yards.
Sharp then added a 34-yard field goal at the end of the first half to put the Hornets up 24-12 at the break.
Ponds made it 31-12 and then 38-12 with his second and third touchdowns of the game at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth, respectively. Ponds finished with 148 yards on 30 carries.
Harden went 11 of 19 for 152 yards, two touchdowns and one pick.
“We just didn’t coach them well enough tonight,” Hill said. “We’re going to have to spend some more time, obviously. It’s frustrating to watch those kinds of things happen constantly.”
The Buffs now will look to rebound vs. Hutchinson (0-2) during the homecoming game at 7 p.m. Friday at Buffalo Stadium.
VC: Holle 64 pass from Harden (Sharp kick)
VC: Ponds 9 run (Sharp kick)
GC: Janas 10 run (kick missed)
VC: Sharp 5 pass from Harden (Sharp kick)
GC: Janas 1 run (kick missed)
VC: Sharp 34 field goal
VC: Ponds 7 run (Sharp kick)
VC: Ponds 22 run (Sharp kick)
GC: Acosta 1 run (kick missed)
GC: Janas 3 run (Reyes pass from Acosta)
RUSHING: Garden City: Janas 24-104, Acosta 12-76, Dominguez 9-46. Valley Center: Ponds 30-148, Harden 2-9, Schuessler 2-(-4).
PASSING: Garden City: Acosta 14-26-198-0-4. Valley Center: Harden 11-19-152-2-1.
RECEIVING: Garden City: Durst 3-83, Reyes 3-44, Biera 4-33, Gomez 3-28, Janas 1-10. Valley Center: Holle 3-92, Ponds 2-25, Sharp 3-21, Mullen 1-14, Stacy 2-0.