One amazing Buster comeback
One amazing Buster comeback
By ADAM HOLT
Entering Sunday's 31-29 Mississippi Bowl win over Copiah-Lincoln, the Garden City Community College football team had attempted just six field goals all season. Carlos Chavez was 2-of-3, and Tyler Peterson 1-of-3.
So of course, their bowl game would end on a 32-yarder from Peterson as time expired.
The freshman came to Garden City from Stockton, but had moved there recently from Fort Worth, Texas. And after waiting all season for that chance that every kicker hopes for, he got it.
"Different from anything," Peterson said of the feeling after making the field goal. "I'll never forget it."
Originally, it was going to be a 27-yard attempt. Down 29-28 after a 33-yard touchdown pass from Co-Lin's Chandler Rogers to Christian Keene, the Busters put their offense out on the field with 36 seconds to play. A 59-yard pass from Nick Marshall was tipped and landed in Rod Coleman's lap to put GCCC at the CLCC 22-yard line. The Busters ran another play, a short pass from Marshall to Jamal Tyler, who went down at the 10. Garden City called a timeout with 4 seconds left.
Co-Lin called a timeout to ice the kicker, and then on the attempt, the Busters jumped and were called for a false start, backing the ball up five yards.
"After the false start, I told him, 'You know what, we got this, we've done this a million times in practice. Regular kick. Forget this situation; let's do this,'" said Raul Silva, the holder.
The kick was good, and Peterson started sprinting in the opposite direction in celebration. His teammates followed.
"Run," Peterson said of what he was thinking. "Run, because I knew they were coming."
The Busters said they had confidence in Peterson making the kick. That still didn't help the nerves, though.
"I was in like, total shock," defensive end Kitray Solomon said. "I believed in him, but at the same time, it's a lot of pressure on the kicker when he's got the game-winning situation in his hands. I believed in him because he's my teammate, but that's still a lot of pressure on him."
And some couldn't even bear to watch.
"To be honest, I wasn't even looking," Marshall said. "I knew he made it when everyone was running onto the field."
The field goal was just one part of GCCC's comeback. The other was the remarkable and highly unlikely catch that Coleman made to get the Busters in field goal range.
"When I saw it was tipped, I thought it was incomplete," Marshall said. "Then I seen the ball again, and then it had fell in Rod's stomach. I saw the referee, he said it was a catch, and that was a good feeling."
Silva was on the field for both the catch and to hold the ball for Peterson's field goal. And while head coach Jeff Tatum and many of the players were confident in Garden City's chances after falling behind with 41 seconds left, Silva said there was still some worry.
"There was no vibe, but dead," he said. "It was please, let something happen. Please, let something good happen. And the most amazing catch that I've ever witnessed in person happened. So that was awesome."
It looked like just another in a series of surprising comebacks for Co-Lin, which got a kick return for a touchdown with 9 seconds left in a win over East Mississippi in the MACJC semifinals, and trailed by four late midway through the fourth quarter of a title-clinching win over Mississippi Gulf Coast.
"I panicked a little bit, I'm not gonna lie about that," Tatum said after Garden City went down 29-28 with 41 seconds to play. "Because that's the way they've won their last two games, that's the reason they're here, is they found a way to win with less than a minute to go."
Consider, too, that Marshall had been taken out of the game earlier in the fourth quarter. On a fourth-down conversion attempt, Marshall scrambled before being tackled by Jerrell Jordan and another sack by Wolf. Marshall's helmet was ripped off in the process, but no penalty was called. The sophomore was light-headed afterward, and ended up being replaced by backup Jake Curran on the Busters' next possession.
But with the game on the line and 36 seconds to play, Tatum asked his quarterback to make two more throws, which he did.
"I didn't want to take myself out of the gamebecause I knew the team needed me," Marshall said.
And after facing adversity all game, including an interception return for a touchdown being called back for unsportsmanlike conduct, the Busters got one of the finest finishes to a game that Tatum has been a part of.
"I can honestly say it's the greatest win I've ever been associated with," he said. "For a lot of reasons. No. 1 is where we started and where we finished over a two-year period. It's a great win. Also, here's a team that wasn't expected to win that fought all the way through and won — and came from behind, when it looked like there was no chance of winning the game, and I guarantee you people in the stands were saying, 'hey, at least they had a great year.' Our kids never heard that; they said 'hey, we're gonna go win this football game.'"
"I can't describe how proud I am for them. It's a great win for me, and I know it's the greatest win in their life, because it's the greatest win in my life, and I've been in a lot more football games."