Lightning, Buffs strike Indians
By NICK McQUEEN
Hays High School head football coach Ryan Cornelsen had a little trouble deciding if the Indians' game plan Friday night was faulty or not.
It was just one bad thing after another for the Indians in their homecoming in what turned out to be a weather-shortened 35-0 beating at the hands of Western Athletic Conference foe Garden City.
Both team's coaches met at midfield following a nearly 50-minute lightning delay at the start of the second half and decided not to continue, not wanting to risk injury on a soaked turf after the long layoff.
"Our week of practice was terrible," Cornelsen said. "Any time one or two players play bad, it's probably on them, but when the whole team plays like that, that's on me.
"I have to do a better job," he added. "It was bad all the way around."
A lightning strike an hour prior to kickoff also delayed the start of the contest by 30 minutes.
Following the delay, only Garden City could get into a rhythm, and looked a complete opposite of what the Buffaloes were in last week's 28-25 home loss to WAC foe Great Bend. Buffs coach Brian Hill said although the game ended up just two quarters, it was the best two his team played all season.
"It finally came together for us," Hill said. "The kids responded to the loss last week, and they knew WAC play was that way.
"We had to be ready to play against a good Hays team."
Hays High (3-1 overall, 1-1 WAC) got two first downs on its opening drive, but near midfield, senior Preston Weigel fumbled, leading to a 47-yard scoring pass play by Garden City senior quarterback Greyson Tempel to junior Caleb Tramp.
Things snowballed on Hays High the rest of the first quarter. On its next two possessions, junior quarterback Alex Delton fumbled near midfield and threw an interception near midfield. Both led to Garden City scores. Hays High had just three turnovers in its first three games combined.
SDLqThey're a good football team," Cornelsen said of Garden City, which moved to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in WAC play. "Reality is, they got things clicking early and, to me, looked like they wanted to win more than we did.
"Any time someone plays harder than you, they're going to beat you."
Buffs sophomore running back Jared Koster dove in from four yards out after the Delton fumble, and Tempel ran in from 25 yards out after the Delton interception. Delton's pick was on first down.
"I can't remember a game that everything was bad," Cornelsen said. "It was just not good."
At the start of the second quarter senior Dustin Tempel took an Indian punt 66 yards to the house for the early 28-0 lead.
"We didn't play anything like who I thougth we would be (last week)," Hill said of his team's loss to Great Bend. "We wanted to play with a chip on our shoulder.
"I called on the seniors," he added. "It was on them. The leadership needed to come from within."
The Buffs' defense owned the line of scrimmage and caught Delton in the backfield nine times for loss. The Indian offense averaged 277 rushing yards per game in its 3-0 start, but managed just 27 in two quarters Friday. Delton had 11 rushes for minus-18 yards.
"I didn't know if our plan was good or bad, because we could never really get into it," Cornelsen said. "Something bad happened over and over and over. Just bad all the way around."
Hill had Garden City working on Delton all week in the form of their own QB Greyson Tempel, a similar dual-threat.
"He's a great player and he's a threat," Hill said of Delton. "The one thing we can do most teams couldn't was give our defense a good look because of our kid.
"(Tempel) was (Delton) all week long," Hill added. "We worked on the angles and things of his speed. They were tremendous."
Greyson Tempel earned the game's final score on a 67-yard run around left end down his own sideline. He ended with 108 yards on seven carries, and threw for 90 yards. Delton threw for 62 yards. He found junior Hayden Kreutzer and senior Lane Clark twice each.
"You have to take it and hopefully learn from it," Cornelsen said. "You can make a decision on whether you're going to get knocked down and come back out fighting and use it to get better, or you can let it happen to you week in and week out."
Hays High travels to Wichita South on Friday. Garden City hosts Liberal.