December 6, 2022

Huskies stun Broncbusters in final seconds

Game Highlights

Game Stats

Scoring Summary

GCCC Offense

GCCC Defense

Air Force Prep Offense

Air Force Prep Defense

Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Somewhere in Colorado Springs, Air Force Head Coach Troy Calhoun is smiling.

The same players he and his staff spent months recruiting, left Garden City with one of the biggest wins in the prep school’s 54-year history.

Quarterback Dalton Collins drove the Huskies 64 yards in the final minute, connecting with Kade Waguespack for an eight-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds to play, sealing Air Force Prep’s dramatic 25-22 come-from-behind victory over Garden City Thursday night at Broncbuster Stadium.

“I’m extremely disappointed in myself,” Head Coach Jeff Sims said afterwards. “I didn’t coach a very good game in the second half.”

It was a sudden turn of events for Garden City (1-3, 1-1), who seemed to have the game won just 60 seconds earlier.

Trailing 18-15 with 4:26 to play, Garden City needed a spark. They got it from Jayru Campbell.

The true-freshman, who had thrown back-to-back drive killing interceptions after being inserted into the game early in the third for starter Luke Walstad, finally got his legs under him when it counted the most.

Venus Triplett AFP

Campbell engineered an eight-play, 69-yard drive, using his legs to move Garden City into scoring range. Five times on the drive, Campbell called his own number; the last of those almost ended in utter disaster.

On third-and-goal from the 2, Campbell sprinted right. As he made his dash for the goal line, he went airborne and fumbled the ball.

“Coach always tells us never dive near the goal line,” wide receiver Laywer Davis said after the game. “But we caught a break.”

As luck would have it, the ball rolled into the end zone where Felton Hatcher jumped on top of it for a touchdown. Kevin Olney’s extra point gave the Broncbusters a 22-18 edge with 57 seconds remaining.

“That was big,” Davis said. “I thought we had the game won.”

The look Coach Sims gave to his guys after that score echoed Davis’s sentiments:

“I looked at my guys and could tell how much they wanted it,” Sims said. “It just didn’t happen.”

It didn’t happen because a converted linebacker playing quarterback refused to lose. And despite completing only 10 passes all night, Collins decisively carved up the Broncbuster secondary on that final drive.

Tim Arno

Collins began the final sequence by hitting Josh Alexander for seven yards to the Huskies’ 43. A personal-foul facemask penalty on Garden City’s Lonnie Johnson moved the ball to the Broncbuster 42. On the very next play, Collins threw his best pass of the night: a laser that Waguespack reached up and snagged at the Garden City 17.

“We just couldn’t get off the field,” Sims said. “We have to stop putting ourselves in bad situations.”

Facing a third-and-10 from the 17, Collins fired a pellet to Alexander, who secured the ball against his chest for an 11-yard gain to the 6. Then a spiked ball and a timeout.

Following the stoppage in play, the Largo, FL. native lined his guys up in a true triple-option look. Only there was no way Coach Adam Fitch was running the ball with no timeouts and 12 seconds to play. But the Broncbusters bit anyway.

Collins play-action fake froze the linebackers, allowing Waguespack to slip free behind them and reel in the eventual game-winning scoring toss.

“I’ve got to do a better job putting these guys in a position to win games,” Sims said. “I didn’t do that tonight. That’s something I pride myself on.”

Linebacker Josh Meis was right in the middle of the play.

“I followed the wingback in motion,” he said. “He became my number 3; I saw him cut across the middle and it was wide open.”

Ben Phillips TD AFP

Garden City appeared to be given a reprieve when Grant Livingston’s ensuing squib kick fell well short of its intended target; instead landing in the lap of backup running back Tela Scroggins at the Huskies’ 49. But the miracle went up in smoke just moments later when Campbell’s last-second, desperation heave was intercepted by James Jones at the Air Force Prep 19.  

“If we make that catch against Dodge City; if we bat down a pass in this game; we’re 3-1 and look really good,” Sims said. “But we didn’t. And that’s how little margin of error there is.”

The game wasn’t lost on that final drive. The first 29 minutes of the second half took care of that.

The Broncbusters built a 15-6 halftime lead thanks to two Walstad-touchdown passes: a 59-yard screen pass to Ben Phillips early in the second quarter and a six-yard scoring strike to Venus Triplett with 26 seconds to play in the first half.

But Air Force Prep (1-1) bounced back on their very first possession of the third quarter, marching 69 yards in six plays, capping it off with Jaylen Burgess’s eight-yard touchdown run that cut the Broncbuster lead to 15-12 (Livingston’s extra point was blocked).

The Huskies then took the lead two minutes into the final period, when fullback Cole Fagan, the son of former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Kevin Fagan, blasted in off left tackle for a one-yard touchdown. Another missed extra point, and Air Force Prep had an 18-15 lead.

“We have to go back to work,” Meis said. “We have to work a little harder, and try and get it done.”

The Huskies scored first in the opening frame on the heels of Joey Saucier’s 11-yard touchdown run down the left sideline. Livingston’s extra point was wide right, and the Huskies had a 6-0 lead.

Collins rushed for a game-high 106 yards, becoming the third player to hit the century mark on the ground this season against Garden City’s defense. Waguespack caught three balls for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Alec Wetig

Walstad finished 21-of-43 for 252 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He threw 40 times in the first half alone. Campbell was 8-of-14 for 54 yards and three picks. He ran it 13 times for 46. Davis caught a team-high nine passes for 62 yards. Triplett, who missed the past two games following the death of his grandfather, reeled in five passes for 33 yards and a touchdown.

Notes: Garden City has now dropped six straight games at home dating back to last season…Air Force Prep won a game in Garden City for the first time since 2011…This was the Huskies’ first win over a Jayhawk opponent since they crushed Dodge City 55-13 back in 2012…The Broncbusters turned the ball over five times, bringing their season total to 16…Air Force Prep won the game despite being penalized 12 times for 133 yards.

Next up: Garden City at Independence-Saturday, September 26-6:30 p.m. pregame; 7 p.m. kick on 99.9 FM ESPN Radio; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and tuneinradio: KWKR