Snow explodes in second half to take down No. 3 in nation
By James Tilson
GARDEN CITY, Kan.—It was a tale of two halves. What looked like a horrible first half for the Snow College football team became a big victory over a nationally ranked opponent on their home field.
Snow Badgers football traveled to Garden City, Kan., and defeated the No. 3 ranked Garden City Broncobusters 30-27, on the strength of a second-half offensive explosion and a last second field goal to secure the win.
“I think a lot of the difference in the halves really came from players settling in a little bit,” said Coach Andrew Mitchell, after coaching his first game as a head coach. “We had a number of guys playing in their first college game. Once they got their cleats in the ground and calmed down, things got better.”
Things had to get better offensively from the first half to the second half. The offense started out the game by giving up turnovers on each of their first three possessions, and only scoring three points in the entire first half. However, the Badger defense came up big, and limited the Broncobusters to 13 points in the first half, even though they played with bad field position time after time.
“The defense bailed the offense out and kept us in the game in the first half,” said Mitchell. “We put the defense in some bad positions and really lost the field position battle the entire first half. But they just battled; credit our kids for their grit.”
As bad as the first half looked for the offense, in the third quarter the Badgers came out on fire. The Badgers received the kickoff to start the second half, and promptly drove down the field for a touchdown. Quarterback Braxton Kerr connected with tight end Ron Tiavaasue for the Badgers first touchdown.
On their next possession, the Badgers hurry-up no-huddle offense again sprinted down the field. This time, it was running back Shammah Luani with a 27-yard touchdown run who did the honors.
The third touchdown of the quarter went to wide receiver Keashawn McCoy on a 43-yard touchdown reception. In all, the Badgers scored 24 unanswered points in the third quarter to go up 27-13.
Snow appeared to be in control most of the rest of the game, but the Broncobusters put in a last minute effort to get back in the game. With 3:00 left, the Broncobusters finally scored their first points of the second half to climb back to 27-20. And then, Garden City quickly got the ball back and drove to the end zone again, tying the ball game at 27-27 with only 53 seconds left.
However, moving down the field quickly is the modus operandi of the Badger offensive, and this was no exception. Kerr picked his way to reception after reception, with receivers McCoy and Hunter Harris finding ways to preserve the clock.
With 10 seconds left, the Badgers were sitting on the Broncobuster 39-yard line, needing one more completion to get within field goal range. Kerr found Mc Coy one more time, setting up the Badgers on the 20-yard line, when they called their final time out to send out the field goal team.
Kicker Jose Pizano lined it up, and kicked it through as time expired to give the Badgers the win, 30-27.
“Our kids are resilient,” said Mitchell. “They’ll play anyone, anywhere, anytime. Names, dates, and locations change, but our mindset stays the same. Just show up and play ball.”
This week, the Badgers travel to El Dorado, Kan., to take on the No. 10 ranked Butler Community College Grizzlies, with kick off scheduled for 6 p.m.
“Butler is a very good team with a long history of winning,” said Mitchell. “We need to tighten some things up in all three phases to put ourselves in a position to win Saturday. We have to win the turnover margin, be more efficient on first and second down on offense and our defense has to get off the field on third down and long situations.”