GOODLAND — Shut down and shut out by the Goodland Cowboys, the Concordia Panthers now find themselves in a must- win situation.
Goodland limited Concordia to just 111 yards of total offense and forced four turnovers on its way to a 43-0 victory in the second round of Class 4A District 16 play Friday night.
Concordia, now 2-6 overall, is 1-1 in district play and must beat Clay Center in a home game Thursday night to advance to the state playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
“If we want to get to the playoffs, it is a must-win situation. I really expect us to bounce back and play better,” Concordia coach Tim Lambert said.
Concordia had opened district play with a win over Colby.
Goodland knocked off Clay Center in the district opener and has locked up the district championship.
Concordia needs to defeat Clay Center, a winner over Colby on Friday, to secure second place in the district and advance to the postseason.
Battling poor field position and turnovers, the Panthers fell behind 22-0 to the Cowboys.
Goodland had a 60-yard touchdown pass from Trey Teeter to Dax Ruhs called back because of a holding call on its first possession, and had to punt.
Backed up to its own 5-yard line, Concordia got a 32-yard run by Drake Hake to get out of the hole but was forced to punt.
The Cowboys got the ball back on their own 22, and two plays later Teeter hooked up with Taylen Smith on a 74-yard touchdown pass with 4:25 to play in the first half.
Concordia would fumble the ball back to Goodland on the second play of its ensuing possession.
Taking over on the Panthers 28-yard line, the Cowboys took seven plays to score.
Garret Taylor, who rushed for 78 yards on 17 carries, finished off the drive with a 1-yard scoring run on the first play of the second quarter.
Goodland used some trickery to get a two-point conversion that made it 15-0.
“Too many mistakes early,” Lambert said, “We gave up a long pass play and then fumbled the ball back to them and gave them a short field.”
The two teams would exchange punts, and Concordia ended up with the ball on its own 13-yard line.
“It seemed like we were always battling field position,” Lambert said.
On second down, Ruhs would scoop up a Panther fumble and return it 14 yards for a touchdown with 8:27 to play in the first half.
The extra point gave Goodland a 22-0 lead.
Concordia quarterback Zach Kyle was injured in the second quarter, and sophomore Ethan Bechard stepped in.
Kyle started the second half, but left after one play with an ankle sprain.
“He tried to play through it, but he was just a little slow,” Lambert said.
Concordia would punt on that first possession in the third quarter, but recovered a Taylor fumble on its 27-yard line.
The Panthers picked up one first down, but Goodland would sniff out a fake punt and hold Shea Crum short of a first down.
Getting the ball on the Panthers’ 45-yard line, the Cowboys took seven plays to score on a 20-yard pass from Teeter to Ruhs with 3:13 left in the third quarter that made it 29-0.
Teeter completed 11 of 16 passes for 174 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Concordia would fumble the kickoff, and Goodland recovered.
Austin Hernandez finished off a 33-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown run that extended the lead to 36-0.
Goodland would block a Concordia punt, fumble the ball back to the Panthers and then intercept a Bechard pass.
The Cowboys ran eight plays to go 25 yards.
Hernandez scored on a 1-yard run with 5:12 on the clock, and it was 43-0.
Led by Hake, with 78 yards on 13 carries, Concordia had 111 yards rushing against a Goodland defense that was playing all 11 guys close to the line of scrimmage.
“We have seen all of that stuff before. They had about 10 in the box,” Lambert said, “We had some guys open behind and couldn’t get them the ball, and we got sacked a couple of times.”
Kyle and Bechard were a combined 0-7 throwing with an interception.
Goodland got 56 yards rushing on 15 carries by Hernandez. He scored two touchdowns.