It was Dodge City Red Demons versus the Garden City Buffaloes versus the weather Friday in the teams' traditional rivalry Hatchet Game.
Lightning delayed the start of the game by an hour and 20 minutes, and when play started, the teams had to deal with a 40 mph wind that sometimes had gusts of 56 mph.
Scoring was hard to come by, but in the end, the Demons took home a 17-7 victory over the Buffaloes.
The Demons got the scoring started by forcing a Buffalo turnover and got a field goal with 8:33 in the first quarter.
After that, the teams continued to battle each other and the persistent wind, with neither team getting on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter.
Garden City scored its only points on a touchdown carry by Josh Janas, who had 42 carries for 186 yards.
"It (the Buffalo touchdown) was significant. They had just scored and we had to (score) into the wind," coach Dave Foster said.
On the next possession, the Demons responded with a touchdown of their own, but it was called back because of illegal procedure. On the next play, they scored on a 33-yard pass play, but there was another flag. After an official conference, the flag was picked up and the touchdown was good, Foster said.
With 6:32 left in the game, Dodge City had a 10-7 lead but wasn't done yet. After holding the Buffaloes to a 4 and out, the Demons took the ball 69 yards down the field in six plays, capped off with a 62-yard pass from Beau Foster to De' Jon Delgado.
The PAT was good by Jose Valverde, who was perfect on the day with two PATs and a field goal. The final score was Demons 17, Buffaloes 7.
On paper, the Demons had 33 offensive snaps to 81 for the Buffaloes, who had 245 rushing yards against the Demons' 7 yards.
The Demon defense had its hands full as it played against a much larger offense that averaged 290 pounds against the Demons, who averaged 215 to 225.
Four times the Demon stopped the Buffaloes on fourth down, and two of those times were in the Demons' red zone. On third downs, the Demons held the Buffaloes to just 4 of 16 attempts.
"They (the Buffaloes) got into the red zone and our defense played their tails off against a bigger offensive line, and that was the difference in the game," Foster said.
The Demons had 129 passing yards to 14 for the Buffaloes, with a 33-yard pass from Beau Foster to Alden Knedler for a touchdown and the 62-yard pass from Foster to Delgado. Matt Friess also had a huge catch, as did Alden Knedler.
Foster, Knedler, Friess, Delgado, Josh Harshberger and Tommy Bermudez continue to lead the defense.
The Demons took advantage of some late matchups against a lot of pressure from the Buffalo defense. But Beau Foster made pressure throws against that pressure. Both Beau and the receivers had to adjust to the strong wind.
With the Hatchet Game behind them, the Demons have to focus against Liberal this Friday in a home game. Then the postseason starts with a possible rematch against the Buffaloes in two weeks.
Foster said the team would have to avoid the mental lapse of a big rivalry game. They are going to have to give every game all they have. Liberal, which is 2-5, would like nothing better than to knock off the Demons.
"It would make their season," Foster said.
To get the victory over Liberal, the Demons have to continue winning the turnover battle as they have during the past few weeks. The team has to continue to play with tremendous heart and desire, Foster said.
"As long as we have that, we can compete with anybody," Foster said. "I'll take this group of kids and play anybody."
Depending on how the last games of the regular season turn out, Dodge could face Garden City again in two weeks in the first game of postseason play. It would be a home game for the Demons.
The 6A West is loaded with strong teams. There are three that are unbeaten and four with 6-1 records, so the playoff field will be tough.
"There's a lot riding on this game (against Liberal)," Foster said. "It's not an easy road."
Dodge is 7-0 for the season and 3-0 in the WAC.
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