By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
Most of the Redskin faithful had left Redskin Field when the fourth quarter began, taking a chance that they might miss a major comeback.
There would be no such miracle at Redskin Field.
Instead, the Great Bend Panthers continued to dominate the Liberal Redskins, and even the Panther back-ups had little trouble moving the ball on the final drive of the game, putting together a time consuming 65-yard drive that ended with a kneel down near the Redskin 10 yard line.
The final play ended a 42-16 blowout of the Redskins and brought an end to the 537 yards of offense that the Redskin defense surrendered.
For the second consecutive week, a Redskin opponent scored their season high total against the Angry Red defense, and for the first time in school history, LIberal went back-to-back seasons without a win in the Western Athletic Conference..
There were, however, flashes of promise for the Redskins.
Slader McVey used his mobility more than any previous game, gaining 144 yards on 16 carries to keep drives alive for the Redskins.
McVey also passed the ball 24 times, completing 15 of those for 89 yards.
“Slader did a great job and made good decisions,” Liberal coach Wade Standley said.
Liberal turned the ball over twice, but both came when the Panthers had already built a large lead.
The first turnover came when the Redskins put together an 11-play drive to move the ball from the Liberal 20 yard line to the Panther 3.
On previous drives, the Redskins have been putting the ball in the hands of Justin McPhail in the Wildcat formation to plug the ball in to the end zone.
But on this drive, McVey threw a fade in the corner of the end zone to Jade Cathey, but the Panthers had it covered with two defenders and intercepted the ball in the end zone.
A touchdown would have made the score 35-16 Great Bend late in the third, but after the turnover the Panthers marched the length of the field on 12 plays and took a 42-9 lead.
Great Bend started to make substitutions in the fourth quarter, and the Redskins were able to tack on a touchdown on a four-play, 60-yard drive that ended with a McPhail Wildcat run to the end zone from the 7 yard line to narrow the gap to 42-16.
The Redskins recovered an onside kick with four minutes to play, and after McVey completed a pass to Cathey over the middle, two defenders converged on Cathey and the ball squirted free. Great Bend recovered, and the second group of Panthers were able to maintain possession for the rest of the game and finally took a knee inside the Liberal 10 yard line to run out the clock.
“We obviously made some mistakes,” Standley said. “We will look at those and go back to work.”
Liberal took a lead early in the game when Great Bend fumbled on the first play of the game, and the Redskins recovered at the 35 yard line.
Liberal drove the ball to the Panther 19 yard line before kicking a 36 yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
The Liberal defense held Great Bend to a punt, and the Redskins had a chance to add to the lead, but Liberal could not get a first down and had to punt the ball back.
Cathey boomed a kick that forced the Panthers back to their own 12 yard line.
Great Bend’s offense started to click on its third possession. A mix of six runs and six passes moved the Panthers 88 yards and into the end zone for a 7-3 lead.
It was the first of several long drives on the night.
The Panthers blocked a punt on Liberal’s next possession and on fourth and 20 hit a wide open receiver over the middle for a touchdown and a 14-3 lead.
Liberal put together a solid drive, moving the ball form their own 18 to the Panther 19. But penalties moved the ball back, and on fourth and 26 McVey scrambled for 17 yards, and the Panthers took over at their own 17 yard line.
Nine plays and 83 yards later later, the Panthers were back in the end zone and a 21-3 lead.
Liberal’s final drive of the half came u p short, but a booming punt by Cathey put the Panthers on their 1 yard line with less than two minutes to play in the half.
The Panthers overcame a holding penalty in the drive and marched 99 yards on nine plays and hit another wide open pass over the middle for a 32-yard touchdown and a 28-3 lead.
“I told the kids that were are now 0-0,” Standley said. “We have three games to get better.”
Liberal travels t Bishop Carroll Friday.