Often times, victories or losses take on more or less significance.
Friday, in the home opener and also Senior Night at Buffalo Stadium, the 21-20 loss to Hutchinson’s Salthawks became one of those tougher moments for the Garden City Buffaloes.
Owning leads of 13-0 and 20-7 at times in the second and third quarters, the Buffs couldn’t hold the lead and saw Hutch score what proved to be the winning TD and extra point kick with 4:53 left in the game and then unable to put together a potential winning drive in the waning minutes.
The disappointment and anguish was apparent on the faces of the Buffs’ players and coaching staff in the moments after.
Friday’s loss left the Buffs at 0-2 and they have just a few days to put this away in the file and prepare for what will be one of the earliest Hatchet Games against rival Dodge City on Friday, Sept. 18, in recent history.
“We really don’t have anybody to blame but ourselves,” said head coach Brian Hill after the game during his post-game radio interview. “We had our chances and just didn’t do the things you need to do to close it out. We all have to do a better job — the coaches and the players.”
Senior Josh Janas (16 rushes, 89 yards) scored the first of two short touchdown runs late in the first quarter on a 1-yard plunge and Isaac Rivera’s PAT kick made it 7-0 with 1:42 left in the opening stanza.
Janas added his second TD with 1:22 remaining before halftime, but Rivera’s PAT kick was blocked after a bad snap and missed blocking assignments occurred. That left the score at 13-0 but the Buffs were still in control.
But Hutchinson struck quickly, and this was a momentum change heading into the intermission as Treyton Peterson hauled in a 15-yard pass from Myles Thompson with just 18 seconds showing on the clock before halftime and Carter Booe’s kick trimmed the Buffs’ advantage to 13-7.
“That was the series that was the biggest perhaps all night,” Hill said.
Coming out in the third quarter, however, the Buffs drove the distance and scored on a nifty 17-yard pass from Caleb Wiese to Caleb Metzen and River’s successful kick upped the Buffs lead to 20-7 with 7:46 remaining.
The Salthawks, however, answered on the ensuing drive, getting a 45-yard burst up the middle on a fourth-and-two situation from Jalen Barlow and Booe’s PAT made it 20-14 with 5:31 to play in the third.
The Buffs couldn’t string a drive together to put more points on the board and Hutch got the game-winning TD and PAT with 4:53 left on a 1-yard run by Thompson and Booe’s extra point kick.
Hutchinson 0 7 7 7 — 21
Garden City 7 6 7 0 — 20
GC: Janas 1 run (Rivera kick), 1:42. 7-0
GC: Janas 4 run (kick blocked), 1:22. 13-0
HUT: Peterson 15 pass from Thompson (Booe kick), 0:18. 13-7
GC: Metzen 17 pass from Wiese (Rivera kick), 7:46. 20-7
HUT: Barlow 45 run (Booe kick), 5:31. 20-14
HUT: Thompson 1 run (Booe kick), 4:53. 20-21
1st Downs 19 23
Rushes-Yds. 38-210 40-192
Passing Yds. 128 88
Com-Att-Int 11-22-0 7-20-2
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yds. 10-108 10-77
Punts-Avg. 2-39.5 2-41.5
Possession 23:26 24:34
Garden City Individual Statistics
Rushing: Janas 16-89, Wiese 13-62, Burns 3-26, Dominguez 8-15.
Passing: Wiese 6-17-1-81, Burns 1-3-1-7.
Receiving: Metzen 4-55, Dominguez 3-33.