Charles West and Dedrick Mills are standout running backs.
The Garden City Community College offensive line is mammoth. That’s known just by looking at their sizes listed on the Broncbusters’ football roster.
Yet not even head coach Jeff Sims could have predicted what the Busters did Saturday night in their season opener, as they ran roughshod over visiting Dodge City, racking up 490 rushing yards in a 52-28 blowout.
“You don’t ever expect what we ended up doing tonight,” Sims said Saturday at Broncbuster Stadium, after his team had the second-most rushing yards in a game in program history. “If you would have said Charles West rushed for 200 yards tonight, I would have been like, ‘Yeah, OK.’ If you would have said Dedrick Mills rushed for 200 yards tonight, I would have been like, ‘Yeak, OK.’ For them both to do it, I didn’t expect that.”
It’s the first time in program history that two players rushed for more than 200 yards in the same game — and the 10th-ranked Busters (1-0, 1-0) nearly did it in the first half, when they ran out to a 35-9 lead, scoring five rushing touchdowns on five offensive possessions.
West had 163 yards on eight carries in the first half, finishing with 201 for the game. Mills had 152 in the first half and finished with 267, capped by a 50-yard touchdown that highlighted the bruiser’s light feet as he spun in the hole to avoid a defender and broke down the right sideline to put the exclamation point on the historic Buster rushing performance — they passed for just 5 yards in the game.
“Great running backs, man,” GCCC offensive tackle Bamidele Olesani said. “They make it easy for the O-line. We can give them a tiny seam, a big seam and they can bounce it outside.”
West and Mills had plenty of seams the entire night, with West scoring on runs of 75 and 66 yards, the latter coming just before halftime, and Mills scoring on runs of 22, 1 and 50.
“Just preparation paying off for us,” a smiling West said. “We’ve been working all summer … We gave up our summer to be here and to work for this moment. It just felt good for everything to pay off.”
The work paid off immediately.
After Dodge City (0-2, 0-2) opened the game with a field goal, the Busters got a 57-yard burst from Mills on a draw play on 3rd and 9 that got the offense down to the 2. Then, freshman quarterback Nick John scored on a quarterback sneak.
The Conqs then mounted a 12-play drive, but failed to reach the end zone, again settling for a field goal — one of three Conqs’ 3-pointers in the first half.
The first play for the Buster offense resulted in a 75-yard touchdown out of the “Wildcat” formation, in which West took the snap like a quarterback, and then ran behind his blockers down the right sideline untouched.
“A lot of credit has to go to the offensive staff. A lot of credit has to go to coach (offensive coordinator John) Powers,” Sims said, referring the call for the “Wildcat” formation. “I’m sitting over there on the sideline saying, ‘Are we sure we want to do this?’”
West was sure.
And West was the catalyst for a 66-yard touchdown run at the end of the half, after Dodge City punted with 1:40 to play. On first down, with Sims just looking to see if the offense could get a quick first down with a run, and then take a shot at the end zone, “but then he broke it, so it helps.”
“Charles West is elite fast,” Sims said, “and Dedrick Mills is incredibly hard to tackle.”
The visiting Conqs learned both things the hard way, particularly in the latter case as Mills ran over and through several attempted Dodge City tackles.
“The best run of the night was the fourth-and-1, and two of their players came and hit (Mills), and he exploded on them,” Sims said. “It was as violent a hit as I’ve seen since I’ve been here. Those two got up, and Dedrick was kind of just like, ‘Eh, let’s go.’”
Go he did, and they did.