GARDEN CITY — It was an eerily similar scene to years past for the Hays High School boys’ soccer season opener on the road against Garden City on Tuesday.
The Indians struggled early, falling behind 2-0 in the first 13 minutes, trailed 3-0 at halftime and eventually were subdued 5-1 by the Buffs.
Not much went right for the Indians in that opening salvo, as the Buffs peppered Indians goalkeeper Conner Teget with 13 shots in the first half, and but for four saves, it might have been worse.
Things didn’t get much better in the second half, although the Indians battled and were tougher in the opening 20 minutes of the second.
Neither team got on the board until Garden expanded its lead to 4-0 before Zachary Wagner’s unassisted goal in the 63rd minute averted a shutout for the second straight year (Garden won 4-0 in 2016 in Hays).
Garden added one final score by Alec Keonsengphet with 5:37 remaining (75th minute) and finished the game with 24 shots to just five for the Indians.
Garden’s other goals came from Brian Carrera (8th minute), Alonso Vera (13th minute), Jesus Macias (38th minute) and Emanuel Carrillo (62nd minute).
The Indians also played the final 14 minutes, 20 seconds without head coach Silas Hibbs, who was red-carded after Wagner had a breakaway, and apparently got tangled up with the Buffs’ keeper, Jose Betanco.
Not long after that, Tragdon McCrae (67th minute) and Jacob Maska (68th minute) received yellow card cautions.
After the game, and after a team meeting at the north end of Buffalo Stadium, Hibbs was asked about the game.
“Really, just like last time, I don’t have anything to say,” Hibbs replied. “Well, just say ‘my hats off to Garden City. They played a good game.’ ”
When attempting to ask another question, Hibbs politely declined.
Garden City coach Joaquin Padilla said it was a hard-fought game and at times in the second half said the Indians outplayed his own squad.
"They're a good team, and it's like that in most of the WAC games," Padilla said. "They've got some good players, are very active, and I thought were more competitive in the second half."