A last-second Snow College field goal negated Garden City Community College’s two-touchdown, fourth-quarter comeback, as the visiting No. 6 Badgers stunned the No. 3 Broncbusters, 30-27.
The Busters had jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first half, only to have the Badgers score 27-consecutive points — including 24 in the third quarter alone. Garden City scored two touchdown in the final 3 minutes of the game to rally all the way back to a 27-all tie.
But passes for big chunks of yards got the Badgers to within field goal range, and the Busters committed a penalty by having 12 players on the field, pushing the kick 5 yards closer — Jose Pizano then drilled the 32-yard field goal with 3 seconds remaining to hand Buster head coach Tom Minnick a loss in his Garden City debut.
“Guys are making mistakes they’re not supposed to be making,” Minnick said. “We always tell the kids the film is going to tell the truth. You might be thinking you’re really good, but when you get to Sunday morning (film review), it’s always different.”
Those mistakes include missed blocking assignments on offense that led to 58 rushing yards on 36 attempts and 14 penalties for 101 yards — including that ill-timed illegal substitution in the final seconds to give the Badger kicker a better look at the game-winner.
“I don’t know what happened there,” Minnick said. “I’m dumbfounded myself as to why there were 12 men on the field …
“If you look at it, though, it’d have probably been good from the original position, as well — it had enough distance. The problem is the marched it all the way down the field in a minute to get down there for a field goal to win it.”
Immediately following Nate Cox hitting Bryce Parker for 2 yards and the tying score with 53 seconds remaining, the Badgers connected on four passes for 61 yards to set up the field goal. And that was against a stiff wind, which had been a problem for both teams up until that point.
The Busters scored just 3 points all game when they were going against the wind, and the Badgers scored just 6.
“But we had our chances,” Minnick said.
In the first quarter, the Buster defense turned the Badgers over at their own 36, giving the Buster offense great field position. They got to the 4-yard line, but had to settle for a field goal.
To end the period, the Buster defense again put the offense in outstanding field position (own 47), but the Buster offense only turned that into 3 points, as well.
They finally did capitalize on field position just a drive later, after Snow was stuffed on a 4th-and-1 run turning it over at Snow’s 34.
Jadon Hayes’ 3-yard burst six plays later put the Busters up 13-0. But the Busters wouldn’t score again for 33 minutes of game time.
“There’s some mistakes up front (on offense) that a couple of the kids had, at least, through the first half,” Minnick said. “If they do what we ask them to do, the holes are there for the run.
“It was was easy to prepare for. We knew what they were going to do, and we just didn’t take advantage of it.”
Meanwhile, the Badgers kicked a field goal as time expired in the first half, and then scored just 1:20 in the second half on Ron Tiavaasue’s 1-yard run. After a three-and-out, back-to-back 27-yard gains put the Badgers back in the end zone on a Shammah Luani run.
After another three-and-out, Snow added a field goal to make it 20-13. GCCC went three-and-out again, and then Snow scored on Braxton Kerr’s 43-yard pass to Keashawn McCoy to make it 27-13.
“We just didn’t come out (in the second half) to play, I think,” Minnick said. “We got over-confident on that side of the ball, probably.”
Neither team found much offensive success until the final 5 minutes of the fourth quarter, when the Busters went 53 yards in nine plays to score on Hayes’ 1-yard run. Then after a Snow three-and-out, the Busters went 60 yards in nine plays for the short-lived tie.
“Games are always so close with Snow,” Minnick, who played Snow every year in his tenure at Arizona Western, said. “It just didn’t go our way today.”
But the season goal is still not out of reach, Minnick said.
“There’s going to be somebody in this country who has one loss and is going to play in the national championship,” Minnick said. “But we have to go out and play good football.”
The Busters hit the road next week for a rivalry game at Dodge City.