HERALD Photo/Tony Claxton â€” Brian Hirt runs the ball while Blayne Batla clears the way during the Garden City Bearkatsâ€™ win over Ira in the UIL six-man football quarterfinals last week. Garden City is one win away from another berth in the state title game, but the Bearkats have to get through Follett at 8 p.m. Saturday in Seymour.
GARDEN CITY â€” The Garden City Bearkats are almost like rock stars after every playoff game, being mobbed by fans and supporters alike and showered with congratulatory messages and admiration.
â€śThatâ€™s one of the perks of winning,â€ť head coach Vance Jones said. â€śEverybody loves a winner. They really enjoy the accolades they get from their family and their friends. It makes it all a lot more fun.â€ť
Follett, the Bearkatsâ€™ opponent for the UIL six-man football semifinal
at 8 p.m. Saturday in Seymour, wonâ€™t be looking at Garden City with
that same admiration. Perhaps, the Panthers will be looking for revenge.
Garden City is one step away from another appearance in the state title game and once again, Follett stands in the way. The Bearkats ousted the Panthers last year en route to the state championship game Jones said he doesnâ€™t think Saturdayâ€™s opponents have forgotten that.
â€śTheyâ€™re going to come in hoping for a little revenge,â€ť he said. â€śTheyâ€™ve been to the semifinals two years in a row and we beat them last year and put them out of the playoffs. Theyâ€™re going to come with a little extra incentive.â€ť
Jones said his players shouldnâ€™t be surprised if the Panthers play with a chip on their shoulders. Every other team Garden City has faced this year has done the exact same thing, mainly because of the reputation the Bearkats carry.
So the key, Jones said, is to play with as much intensity and stay with whatâ€™s working right now for Garden City, which is a little bit of everything.
Garden Cityâ€™s run in the playoffs this year has been fueled by the usual suspects â€” running back Josh Colunga, wide receiver Brett Chudej and quarterback Blayne Batla. Having Reggie Halfmman, Brian Hirt and Ian Schaefer makes plays has only helped the Bearkatsâ€™ cause, however.
Theyâ€™ve survived a close game against Borden County and Iraâ€™s Lance Morris to get to Saturdayâ€™s game. Jones doesnâ€™t think his player is perfect at this point in the season, but theyâ€™re playing as well as they can.
As important as offense is during this part of the season for six-man football, the Bearkatsâ€™ defense has been key during the playoffs.
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