Demons host arch-rival Garden
By: John Zetmeir
The Dodge City High School and the Garden City High School football teams share many resemblances this season.
The Red Demons (4-2, 1-1) and the Buffaloes (6-0, 2-0) have similar identities both offensively and defensively.
Offensively, both teams look to run the ball, primarily with their quarterback.
Dodge City junior quarterback Dawson Williams leads the Western Athletic Conference with 917 rushing yards. Second to him is Garden City quarterback Jesse Nunez with 910 yards.
Nunez leads the conference with 18 rushing touchdowns, Williams is second with 17.
Defensively both the Buffaloes and the Red Demons have been tough to score on. Garden City has allowed 111 points this season, Dodge City has allowed 116.
While both teams have an idea of what the other wants to do, there is one factor that the two teams have to take into account. It’s the Hatchet Game.
In a rivalry game that will be played for the 118th time on Friday, it’s tough to predict what wrinkle the coaches will add.
“Everybody is very aware of their tendencies coming into a game like this and both teams are going to do things to offset those tendencies,” Dodge City head coach Dave Foster said.
“You try to prepare your kids for everything but it ultimately comes down to blocking and tackling.”
In last season’s game, the Red Demons held the Buffaloes to just over 100 yards rushing and forced Nunez to throw the ball 25 times in Dodge City’s 21-20 win.
With a defense geared toward stopping the run, the Red Demons feel confident that they will once again be able to slow down the Buffaloes running game like they did a year ago.
“We feel like we’re putting our kids in the best possible position,” Foster said. “We’ve got to be prepared in case they go to some things that are out of the norm, but if we get them to do something out of the norm it means they are throwing the football. A year ago, we knew what we were giving up and we sacrificed some things through the air.”
The Red Demons will be trying to win the Hatchet in consecutive seasons for the first times since beating Garden City three years in a row from 2008 to 2010.
Foster is 3-3 against the Buffaloes since taking over as head coach of the Red Demons in 2010.
Dodge City leads the all-time series 73-41-3. The Hatchet has gone to the winner of the game every year since 1938. Prior to the 2008 season, Dodge City had not won the Hatchet since 1993. The Red Demons have won five of the last eight meetings since the 13-year drought.
With 2 weeks remaining before the start of the new 6A playoff format, the Red Demons have put themselves in position to host a playoff game.
Dodge City sits at No. 8 out of the 16 teams in the 6A West bracket. The top eight teams will host home playoff games. Garden City currently sits at No. 3.
“In reality, what we’re looking at is if we go 2-0 over the last 2 weeks, we start to position ourselves even better,” Foster said. “We’d like to be in the top four spots but we’re not and that’s the hand we were dealt.”
Dodge City’s two losses this year are against teams who are still undefeated.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.