FORSAN — Once Borden County’s score brought the Coyotes within two of Garden City with 22 seconds left, the Bearkats were thinking overtime.
They didn’t see a fumbled snap on Borden County’s conversion attempt after that score coming.
“When they had a bad snap, I was just ‘Golly, I can’t believe that,’” Garden City head coach Vance Jones said after the 44-42 win. “It was just an awesome game.”
In a game bound to be decided on the last play, Borden County’s Tanner Richey threw a 2-yard pass to Quinton Shafer, putting the Coyotes on the verge of tying the game at 44 with 22 second left.
However, Richey couldn’t handle the snap on the conversion attempt and Helio Rosales couldn’t get the kick off, sending the Garden City sideline into a frenzy while the mood on the Borden County sideline quickly went somber.
Both teams went back and forth Friday night and no lead was ever safe, similar to the first meeting during the regular season, which Garden City won 40-39.
Borden County was the first team to gain a significant lead, though. Garden City quarterback Blayne Batla fumbled the ball as he was being sacked in the middle of the third quarter with the Coyotes already up 30-22. That led to a 3-yard touchdown run from Borden County’s Austin Fields and the Coyotes had the largest led of the night at 36-22.
However, Batla took the Bearkats right back down the field and completed a touchdown pass to Aaron Long for nine yards, making it 36-28 Borden County.
Then, one of the biggest plays of the game took place.
Garden City’s Reggie Halfmann recovered an onside kick and Josh Colunga’s two touchdowns in the fourth quarter gave the Bearkats a 44-36 lead with 4:43 left.
“It was big,” Colunga said of the onside kick recovery. “In the back of my mind, I knew we were down 14 points. It was kind of breaking down on us a little bit. But once we got that onside kick, we got a lot more momentum, got the composure back up. We were ready to roll right after that.”
The Coyotes took a little more than four minutes off the clock to score with that final touchdown pass, but the fumbled snap on the conversion attempt essentially ended the game.
Borden County’s onside kick attempt after that went out of bounds and Batla’s two kneels sealed the deal.
That fumbled snap was tough for Borden County head coach Trey Richey to watch. He didn’t fault any of his players for the loss, citing this as part of the game.