Buffs’ miscues on offense costly in loss at Liberal

FOOTBALL: Monday, Oct. 5, 2020

Garden City High School’s football team had high hopes of getting back on the winning track on Friday, Oct. 2, at Liberal.

The Western Athletic Conference match-up pitted the 1-win Buffaloes against the winless Redskins.

But Friday night presented yet another struggling night for the Buffalo offense, as it committed five turnovers in what became a 20-6 loss to the Redskins, leaving the Buffs with a 1-4 overall mark and 1-2 in the WAC. Liberal has the same record in both categories.

The first miscue came midway through the opening quarter when quarterback Zane Burns was intercepted by Malcom Wiltshire deep in the Buffs’ territory and returned it 17 yards for a pick-6 touchdown. Liberal missed its 2-point conversion try, leaving the Buffs down 6-0.

Midway through the second quarter, the Buffs got what would prove to be their only score when Burns hooked up with Caleb Wiese for a 30-yard TD strike. The Buffs went for two and missed it, leaving the score tied at 6 with 6:23 to play before halftime.

The snakebit Buffs yielded another late second-quarter score when Wiltshire hauled in a 25-yard TD pass from Shay Kerr with just 1:32 remaining in the half. Kerr then hit Jaylen Staton with a pass to complete the 2-point conversion, making it 14-6 Redskins at the break.

Liberal would get the final score of the game in the latter minutes of the third quarter on a 9-yard Kerr to Hunter Huskey pass. The 2-point play misfired, leaving the Redskins up 20-6 at the 4:58 mark.

The Buffs had two golden scoring opportunities that could have changed the outcome of the game. The first came in the opening quarter when the Buffs fumbled the ball into the Liberal end zone for a touchback that would have been an early score for the offense.

The final opportunity came at the end of the game when another pitch was fumbled at the Redskin 5-yard line.

The Buffs’ offense did show signs of life, finishing with 239 total yards but only 35 on the ground. Buffs’ QB’s completed 15-of-25 passes for 204 yards, but had 3 interceptions between Burns and Wiese. Also, the Buffs had the two fumbles. Liberal, meanwhile, did not turn the ball over once in the game.

The Buffs’ defense did its share for most of the game, holding the Redskins’ offense to only 226 yards (118 passing, 108 on the ground).

Wiese finished with 11 completions in 19 attemps for 149 yards and 1 pick; Burns was 4 of 6 for 55 yards, 1 TD and 2 picks. Janas was limited to 43 yards in 17 rushing attempts.

Next up for the Buffaloes will be a road trip to Wichita-Kapaun Mt. Carmel on Friday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. The Crusaders are 3-1, having beaten Dodge City, Emporia and Pittsburg with its only loss a 3-pointer to 5A power Bishop Carroll, 31-28.

Garden City 0 6 0 0 — 6

Liberal 6 8 6 0 — 20

1st Quarter

LIB: Malcolm Wiltshire 17 pass interception return (Run failed), 0-6. 7:27

2nd Quarter

GC: Caleb Wiese 30 pass from Zane Burns (Run failed), 6-6. 6:23

LIB: Malcolm Wiltshire 25 pass from Shay Kerr (Jaylen Staton pass from Kerr good), 6-14. 1:32

3rd Quarter

LIB: Hunter Huskey 9 pass from Shay Kerr (Run failed), 6-20. 4:58

Team Statistics

GC LIB

First downs 15 10

Rushes-Yards 34-35 40-108

Passing Yards 204 118

Passes (Com-Att-Int) 15-25-3 6-16-0

Fumbles-Lost 4-2 1-0

Penalties-Yards 5-40 9-95

Punts-Avg. 5-39.4 6-32.3

Possession Time 21:47 26:13

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