By Mike Pilosof
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Fort Dodge IA-Jeff Sims has always told his players they need to win and lose with class.
Saturday's victory over winless Iowa Central showed just how far this program has come under Sims' leadership.
Terry Wilson threw three first-half touchdown passes, the defense held the Tritons to just 22 total yards, and the Broncbusters rolled through Iowa Central 37-0 at Dodger Stadium.
"These guys are starting to get what this is all about," Assistant Coach Rico Cherico said after the game. "It's fun to watch these guys come together."
And to think that the game was decided during a 60-second stretch in the first half.
Leading 7-0 early in the second quarter, the Broncbusters got the ball back at their own 48. On first-and-10, Wilson floated a pass to Kahari Foy-Walton, who ran a perfect post pattern for a 52-yard touchdown.
"I just made one move," Foy-Walton said. "Terry threw a nice ball."
As effortless as that touchdown was, the Garden City defense made their next score even easier.
Jonathan Alexander intercepted BJ Phillips wobbly pass and returned it to the Iowa Central 7. On the next play, Wilson found tight end Nigel Kilby in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, giving Garden City (7-3, 4-2) a 21-0 lead with 14:16 left in the first half. It capped off a sequence where Garden City scored two touchdowns in 25 seconds.
"It's fun to watch Terry Wilson," Cherico said. "He can definitely spin it."
The redshirt freshman quarterback was not finished.
After James White's 36-yard field goal put the Broncbusters up 24-0 midway through the second quarter, Garden City was in business again after Iowa Central punter Tyreke Williams shanked a kick, setting up the brown and gold near midfield. Wilson then went to work; first completing a pass to Charles West for 11 yards before hitting Daniel Davis for 16 that moved Garden City to the Iowa Central 24. On the very next snap, Wilson zipped a pass to Foy-Walton, who raced untouched down the right sideline for a touchdown and a 31-0 lead.
"The coaches just put us in a very good situation," Foy-Walton said. "We knew it was a long trip, but we took care of our business."
White's second field goal of the first half pushed the lead to 34-0. The defense took it from there.
Out of Iowa Central's (0-10) eight possessions over the first 30 minutes, six of them ended with a three-and-out. They picked up one first down on one drive and threw an interception on the other. The Tritons finished with minus-12 yards of total offense in the first half.
"Hats off to Coach (Josh) Hager and that side of the ball," Cherico said. "They've played so much better these last few games, and that's what fuels us."
Garden City forced two more turnovers on Saturday bringing their total to 19 in their last six games. They came into Saturday's contest third in the nation in takeaways.
"We've got a lot of talent on that side of the ball," Cherico said. "People forget that we lost those two games earlier in the season by four points. This is a good football team."
James White's third field goal of the day: a 26-yarder late in the third period capped off one of Garden City's most dominant wins of the season. It was the second straight year that Sims' squad pitched a shutout against the Tritons, who lost their 25th consecutive game.
"If we handle our business next week, we believe we deserve to go to a bowl game," Cherico said. "These guys have earned it. It's all about the players. As coaches, we don't make the tackles, and we don't score touchdowns. We try to put them in the best possible situation to succeed. The rest is all them."
Wilson finished the afternoon 13-of-22, for 176 yards and three touchdowns for the Broncusters, who won their third straight game. West carried 11 times for 48 yards, including a five-yard scoring run in the first quarter that got Garden City on the board. The redshirt freshman running back added three catches for 47 yards while Foy-Walton reeled in two balls for 76 and two touchdowns.
Philips was 5-of-14 for 14 yards and an interception for Iowa Central, who was shutout for the second time this season. As a team, the Tritons ran it 31 times for minus-6 yards, the fewest allowed in a game by Garden City since holding Independence to minus-36 in 2013.
Next up: Garden City at Fort Scott-Saturday, Nov. 11-12:30 p.m. pregame; 1 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app