A week after losing to the No. 14 Butler Grizzlies, the Dodge City Community College Conquistadors will try and rebound against the No. 12 Independence Pirates.
The Pirates enter the game averaging over 31 points per game and have won their last three straight after losing the first game of their season, against Iowa Western Community College, 70-21.
Before falling to Butler last week, Dodge City was riding a three-game winning streak of its own. The Conqs average over 29 points per game on offense while allowing just 20 per game on defense.
Dodge City head coach Gary Thomas gave credit to the Grizzlies for capitalizing on a few key plays, but also said the defense gave the Conqs a chance to win that game.
“We had the ball four times inside the 35 yard-line and came away with three points in those four trips,” Thomas said. “It was exactly what I said was gonna happen: There was gonna be six possessions that were gonna decide the outcome of the game, and they scored two touchdowns going into the wind which I never thought would have been the case.”
Thomas said part of the team’s undoing against Butler, however, was a fourth-quarter drive that started with 10:05 remaining.
The Grizzlies led 17-10 at that point. The drive ended with a turnover on downs, but consumed 6:38 off the clock, essentially leaving no room for error from a Conqs’ offense which had struggled most of the day.
Despite that drive, Thomas said he thought if four or five of the plays in that game happened for the opposite team they did, the Conquistadors might have either tied or won that game.
Dodge City sophomore quarterback Caden Walters completed 6 of 23 passes for 52 yards. It was a quiet day for Walters, who entered the season already ranked sixth all-time for passing yards in a career as a Conquistador.
Thomas said he didn’t have to tell Walters anything to help him bounce back from the slower performance.
“It wasn’t his fault we lost the football game,” Thomas said. “We’re not going to sit here and point the finger at anybody. He didn’t play well, he knows he didn’t play well, the receivers didn’t play well, the offensive line didn’t play all that well. I didn’t call a perfect game either, there’s plenty of blame to go around (for) why we didn’t get things done.”
As for this week, Thomas said nothing was any different in practice, pointing out that the team won three of the first four and had moved up to No. 14 in the country at one point.
“You don’t start looking for answers when you lose a football game,” Thomas said. “You’ve got to get back and get better at what you do.”
The Conquistadors face the Independence Pirates at 6 p.m. Saturday in Dodge City’s Memorial Stadium.