Good Luck

October 30th, 2020

eastonzapienbreaksthroughEaston Zapien pulls away from a Great Bend defender Friday in Great Bend. Zapien rushed for 120 yards in a 22-14 win. L&T photo/Earl WattBy EARL WATT

Leader & Times

Great Bend and Liberal have had some fantastic finishes over the years, and many of the comeback stories have favored the Panthers.

But Liberal’s last two wins in the past four seasons have both come in Great Bend and both needed late rallies.

In 2017, Cesar Burciaga scored a late touchdown only two have his extra point muffed, leaving Liberal trailing 21-20.

But another chance in the final minute gave the Redskins a shot at a field goal, and Burciaga cleared the crossbar for 23-21 win.

This year, a play joined the ranks of legend for the Liberal Redskins when facing a fourth-and-10 with a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter.

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Instead of opting to pin the Panthers deep in their own end, Liberal coach Jason Dunlap huddled his coaches. Dunlap wanted to know if the defense could stop the Panthers if Liberal didn’t get the first down. Defensive coordinator Garrett Walker said they could. Then Dunlap asked offensive coordinator Rustin Watt if they could get the first down. Watt said he believed they had the play to keep possession. Dunlap approved the plan, and the Redskins were set to go for fourth-and-10 and the 37 yard line.

Shay Kerr took the snap and faked a handoff to Easton Zapien. Receiver Izzy Garcia started his route down the left sideline.

The Redskins weren’t going for a first down. They were going for the bundle.

Kerr pumped once to the sideline and then lofted the ball deep. Garcia, who was filling in for the injured Jaylin Staten, sprinted to catch up to the deep pass with a Panther right on his hip. But the Panther stumbled, and Garcia was wide open. He caught the ball in stride and coasted into the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Redskins an eight-point lead.

There have been historic plays in the annals of Redskin football, and while this may not have had the season ramifications as others, it deserves its place among the greats.

The Hail Mary passes against Bishop Carroll, The Strip, The Stand, and now the Call for it All, they are memorable plays that helped define seasons.

The execution was pitch perfect, but the guts to take the chance was even greater. I can assure these players will tell their grandchildren about it.

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