GREAT BEND — A year ago, when Heights lost to Great Bend, the Panthers exclusively used the run to control the time of possession and wear out the Falcons.
Friday night, turnabout was fair play.
Using eight different rushers, the Falcons pounded out 461 yards on the ground in their 45-14 rout — and averaged eight yards per carry in the process.
All that with the City League’s leading rusher, Dreamius Smith, ejected after the second Heights play from scrimmage.
In contrast, Great Bend had only 39 yards on the ground, including two rushers that finished with negative yards.
“I thought our defense was outstanding,” Heights coach Rick Wheeler said. “Our offense turned the ball over three times, but the defense never let them score of those turnovers.
“Then when we had the ball they showed us several fronts, but I thought our offense adjusted to those and made big plays.”
The game took an emotional turn early on.
Just two plays into the game, Heights quarterback Matt Reed botched an option pitch, which Great Bend’s Logan Buehler recovered. Amidst the scramble for the loose ball a fight ensued, which resulted in three Falcons being ejected, including Smith. Two Great Bend players were also ejected.
Heights added four personal foul penalties.
“We got some penalties for retaliating and we have to be smarter than that,” Wheeler said. “It was a learning experience for all of us and we know we have a target on our backs. Hopefully tonight prepared us for that.”
Reed scored Heights first two touchdowns, the first on a 16-yard run after a Panthers’ turnover, and the second on a 10-yard run.
“The offensive line did a good job getting to the linebackers,” said Reed, who finished with 256 total yards and three touchdowns. “They got to the second level, which gave us plenty of room to run.”
Great Bend scored both its touchdowns on long pass plays in the second half — the first points Heights has given up this year — but the Falcons responded with long touchdown runs from Daniel Deshazer each time.
“I think my runs were very important,” said Deshazer, who ran for 153 yards on just six carries. “If we wouldn’t have scored, then we would have left them with a little chance,” said Deshazer, who finished with 153 yards rushing on six carries, “but it was big that we got the momentum back.”
Wichita Heights (4-0) 14 7 14 10 — 45
Great Bend (1-2) 0 0 7 7 — 14
H—Reed 16 run (Hoyer kick)
H—Reed 10 run (Hoyer kick)
H—Moore 43 pass from Reed (Hoyer kick)
GB—Reed 54 pass from Hildebrand (Espino kick)
H—Deshazer 80 run (Hoyer kick)
H—Jones 1 run (Hoyer kick)
GB—Reed 27 pass from Hildebrand (Espino kick)
H—Deshazer 63 run (Hoyer kick)
H—Hoyer 33 FG
Rushing—Heights, Deshazer 6-153, Reed 21-139, Jones 15-85, Moore 4-41, Moore 3-26, Wilcoxson 2-8, Iheme 4-7, Smith 1-2. Great Bend, Sigler 12-47, Hildebrand 13-(-7), Reed 1-(-1).
Passing—Heights, Reed 2-3-74-1. Great Bend, Hildebrand 12-22-167-2.
Receiving—Heights, Moore 1-43, Moreland 1-31. Great Bend, Reed 4-104, Bowman 3-35, Buehler 2-12, Sell 2-8, Hafner 1-8.