GARDEN CITY — It was one of those nights that a football team simply hopes to survive and move on.
With the wind blowing at a brisk 30 mph and temperatures hovering in the 40s, Garden City was a miserably cold place to be on Friday night for the Class 6A first-round playoff game between Garden City and Wichita South.
It was the Buffaloes who survived the elements the best, dumping South 35-7 to advance to next Friday's quarterfinals at No. 1 Wichita Hegiths.
"It was a workman's effort," Garden City coach Brian Hill said. "I was proud of the way the kids fought through the game."
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The first two times the Buffaloes touched the ball on offense, they scored.
Zach Lamb capped off a 10-play, 49-yard drive with a 5-yard run at the 4:54 mark of the first quarter and Steven Fowler added a 2-yarder with just 55 seconds remaining in the opening period to go up 14-0.
South missed opportunities throughout the game in a variety of ways — short punts, untimely penalties, dropped passes — but the most critical mistake came when the Titans had no timeouts left as the clock ran down at the end of the first half. Facing fourth-and-one at the Garden goal line as the seconds ticked off, , Fredrick Cato was stopped by the Garden defense with just three seconds left and South had missed a golden opportunity.
"The goal line stand was huge for us," Hill said. "They stood up, bowed their necks and stopped them. That was a big, big factor."
Garden extended its lead in the third quarter on a double pass — Jake Curran to Jonathan Duvall to Taylen Kemp — that resulted in a 35-yard TD pass and a 21-0 lead.
South finally got on the scoreboard midway through the fourth when Dennis Menefee hauled in a 26-yard touchdown pass from Kaale McCulloch.
But more missed opportunities by the Titans proved to be their undoing as they had one dropped pass for a potential touchdown, a roughing the punter penalty that gave Garden City a first down that eventually led to a Buffalo score.
Garden City sealed the victory with two touchdowns in the final 3:30 as Antonio Rubio rumbled 32 yards for one score and Curran sneaked in from 2-yards out. Chavez completed a perfect night on the extra points. South, which was making just its second playoff appearance in 40 years but its second in three seasons under coach Cory Brack, finished its season at 4-6.
Wichita South (4-6) 0 0 0 7 —7 Garden City (7-2) 14 0 7 14 —35
GC—Lamb 5 run (Chavez kick)
GC—Fowler 2 run (Chavez kick)
GC—Kemp 35 pass from Duvall (Chavez kick)
WS—Menefee 26 pass from McCulloch (Webber kick)
GC—Rubio 32 run (Chavez kick)
GC—Curran 2 run (Chavez kick)
Rushing— Wichita South, Villareal 8-60, McCulloch 6-(-15), Webber 6-27, Cato 10-20, Martin 5-27, Taylor 2-(-11); Garden City, Lamb 17-57, Curran 9-(-10), Rubio 3-35, T. Tempel 1-8, Fowler 4-13.
Passing— Wichita South, McCulloch 9-17-1-104, Cato 2-2-0-4; Garden City, Curran 6-11-0-66; Duvall 1-1-0-35.
Receiving— Wichita South, Villareal 5-30, Martin 3-29, Webber 1-(-1), Taylor 1-10, Richman 1-39; Garden City: Holguin 3-30, Foley 1-9, Delarosa 1-4, Kemp 2-58.
Hutchinson 27, Hays 21 — Ja'Mon Cotton rushed for three touchdowns and 236 yards as the Salthawks won at Hays.
Hutchinson (8-2) will play host to Kapaun Mount Carmel in next week's Class 5A quarterfinals.
Cotton rushed 26 times, averaging 9.1 yards a carry.
Hutchinson14 7 6 0 — 27 Hays14 0 0 7 — 21
Hu—Cotton 9 run (Maciel kick)
Ha—Cardinal 7 run (Rivera kick)
Ha—Unrein 19 run (Rivera kick)
Hu—Cotton 54 run (Maciel kick)
Hu—Cotton 8 run (Maciel kick)
Hu—Turner 1 run (kick failed)
Ha—Unrein 5 run (Rivera kick)
Rushing — Hutchinson, Cotton 36-236, Turner 12-115, Higgins 5-48, Brower 3-45, Munds 3-22, Bowen 1-4, Team 2-0. Hays, Unrein 11-134, Cardinal 27-96, Mathis 4-16, Rule 1-9, Reyes 1-6.
Passing — Hutchinson, Turner 1-5-10-0. Hays, Unrein 1-4-35-0, Cardinal 0-1-0-0.
Receiving — Hutchinson, Roehm 1-10. Hays, Cardinal 1-35.