On Garden City Community College’s second defensive drive of the season, Kahari Foy-Walton found himself in a diametrically opposed position than he was used to.
He was meeting a blocking fullback in the backfield.
In 2017, Foy-Walton was that fullback, becoming one of the conference’s best sixth blocker. He came to GCCC as a tight end, but standout receiving threat Nigel Kilby was cemented in that position for the Broncbusters, so Foy-Walton moved to fullback.
But in the spring of 2018, Foy-Walton switched to the defensive side of the ball, taking his spot as a do-it-all defensive lineman.
“Our old defensive line coach asked me if I could rush the quarterback, and I said yes,” Foy-Walton said this week as he prepares to play in Thursday’s 7 p.m. national championship vs. No. 1 East Mississippi.
That’s what he was doing early in the Sept. 1 game vs. Dodge City.
“They motioned the fullback, and he was 1-on-1 blocked me, and we’re not supposed to get blocked by the fullbacks or running backs, so I had to win that matchup,” Foy-Walton said with a smile.
He did, sacking Dodge City quarterback John Lux for a 6-yard loss, recording his first of three sacks this season.
The sack, Foy-Walton said, was when he became 100 percent confident he could make the switch to defensive line and be good at it.
Sims was always confident.
“He’s a really talented guy in that he’s got really good hands,” GCCC head coach Jeff Sims said of Foy-Walton. “He long snaps for us, too. It says a lot about him and as a football player that he can be moved around to those positions and be successful.
He could have been a great tight end and a great fullback for us. But, in the recruiting world, defensive line is much more sought after. I just felt like he was too talented for us to keep on the offensive side. We had to give him up to the defensive side, where he could have a chance to show people what he can do, and he’s done a very good job.”
He’s got 19 tackles, eight of which went for a loss. But perhaps the biggest defensive play of the Busters’ season so far came from Foy-Walton, when he strip-sacked Hutchinson to set the Busters up for their only score of the first half.
The Busters went on to win that game and propel themselves to the KJCCC championship and an NJCAA Championship bid.
“It’s been a big transition,” Foy-Walton said this week as he prepares to play in Thursday’s 7 p.m. national championship vs. No. 1 East Mississippi. “Going from learning the offensive playbook to the defensive playbook was kind of difficult, but I caught on pretty fast.”
“He’s athletic. There’s certain guys that if you teach them a technique, it takes them 10 times to learn it. Other guys, it takes 20 times to learn it. Foy’s athletic enough that he can learn something in three, four, five reps.”
The biggest adjustment, Sims said, is Foy-Walton adjusting the physical demand defensive line has on his body.
"It’s not that you have to be tough — it’s that you’ve got to be used to your body being sore … you’re getting hit from so many different angles all the time," Sims said.
But perhaps most importantly, the guys Foy-Walton plays against on a daily basis have seen his development.
“He would go against center, against guard, going against me,” GCCC’s star left tackle Bamidele Olaseni said. “He was switching up his technique every single time. He actually has a plan. A lot of people try to rely just on their physical abilities, and he has physical abilities, as well, but he uses his hands well. He uses his feet. He sets you up for something.
“He’s just an all-around great player.”