It lived up to its pre-game hype. Garden City and Northwest provided the high-powered, explosive offense that was expected, but it didn’t follow the usual script.
After building a 27-0 lead late in the second quarter, the Grizzlies squandered that advantage only to see Garden City rally for a stunning 46-34 triumph Friday night at Buffalo Stadium.
The win kept Garden City unbeaten at 6-0 while the Grizzlies saw their record slip to 3-3.
“We just made too many penalties that stopped drives,” Northwest coach Steve Martin said. “That was two good football teams playing. Garden’s a good team, so are we. We’ll be fine going on, and we intend to show up for the playoffs in a few weeks.”
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Garden City took the lead for good with 1:13 left after Northwest had rallied itself after falling behind 33-27.
The Grizzlies had regained the lead with 4:17 remaining when they blocked a punt and Jalin Terrell picked the ball up and raced 20 yards for the go-ahead Northwest TD.
But Garden answered with a 34-yard drive that was helped by a late hit on the kickoff return by the Buffs.
Jesse Nunez got the winning TD for Garden on a 1-yard plunge with 1:13 left and the Buffs try for two failed, making it 39-34.
On Northwest’s final drive, Garden City’s Quinton LaPointe intercepted Austin Anderson and returned it 27 yards for Garden to make it 46-34.
After Northwest had dominated the first quarter and a half, the Buffaloes finally found some offensive punch to get themselves back into the game.
After Jahlyl Rounds’ third TD of the half that provided the Grizzlies with a 27-0 lead, the Buffs finally got their offense in gear, marching 64 yards in 11 plays, with Jesse Nunez finding Peyton Hill on an underneath route at the goal line, hitting the pass from 6 yards.
Then the Garden City defense stiffened and forced a 31-yard punt from Austin Anderson that set the Buffs up at their own 42 with 1:37 on the clock.
It took Garden six plays to find the end zone, this one a 24-yard catch and run from Nunez to Jason Yi. Yi caught the out pattern at the 15-yard line, turned it inside to elude the cornerback and raced untouched to score.
Northwest’s high-powered offense didn’t disappoint in the first half, rolling up 10 first downs.
Garden got itself back in contention in the third quarter with two long runs of 46 and 35 yards by Nunez for scores.
NW — Rounds 18 run (Benoit kick)
NW — Rounds 13 run (Benoit kick)
NW— Mullins 35 pass from Anderson (kick failed)
NW — Rounds 1 run (Benoit kick)
GC — Hill 6 pass from Nunez (Herrera kick)
GC — Yi 24 pass from Nunez (Herrera kick)
GC — Nunez 45 run (Herrera kick)
GC — Nunez 36 run (kick blocked)
GC — Nunez 12 run (run failed)
NW — Terrell 20 punt block return (Benoit kick)
GC — Nunez 1 run (run failed)
GC — LaPointe 27 interception return (Herrera kick)
RUSHING—Northwest: Garner 4-17, Rounds 30-171, Anderson 15-89, Mullins 3-3. Garden City: Nunez 23-161, Kreutzer 1-6, LaPointe 1-5, Hill 18-221, Koehn 2-1.
PASSING—Northwest: Anderson 14-28-1—231. Garden City: Nunez 6-18-1—61.
RECEIVING—Northwest: Rounds 2-24, Smith 1-37, Reynolds 9-114, Mullins 3-56. Garden City: Kreutzer 1-(-1), Koehn 1-20, Hill 2-12, Yi 2-36.