Badgers win OT thriller in Walkup Skydome 27-24
FLAGSTAFF — Bryce Peters hit three field goals, including the game-tying 25-yard boot to make it 24-24 with 4 seconds left and send it to overtime, but it was Clay Gross who was called upon to hit the game-winner and he did so, sending the Prescott football team to a thrilling 27-24 win Friday night.
It is the third straight victory for the Badgers (3-1, 1-0 Grand Canyon), who never led in the contest until Gross’ kick went through the uprights at the Walkup Skydome, sending Badger players sprinting onto the field in celebration.
Prescott head coach Cody Collett said Peters injured his knee after getting hit in the final seconds of regulation on the game-tying field goal. A roughing the kicker penalty was called.
And with Peters being the school’s all-time leader in kicking points on the sidelines, Gross came through in the clutch.
“We have so much confidence in him,” Collett said of Gross. “I legitimately think we have the best two kickers in the state.”
Setting up Gross’ heroics was defensive back Rhett Pearce, who intercepted Flagstaff quarterback Henry Tagle’s pass on the first play of overtime to give the Badgers the ball and a chance to win it.
“We got a ton of pressure on the quarterback and he just threw it up and we came away with it,” Collett said.
It is the first time the Badgers have won in the Walkup Skydome on the campus of Northern Arizona University with Collett as head coach. He was 0-2, previously.
“The kids bailed me out tonight, I did not call my best game,” Collett said in a phone interview Friday night. “I can’t say enough about the kids. I made a couple bonehead calls that put us in a bad position, but the kids never stopped believing. … They battled their butt off, I’m so proud of them. This is all the kids, a great job by our players. I’m honored to coach this team.”
Trailing 21-13 with 31 seconds left in the third quarter, Flagstaff (1-3, 0-1 Grand Canyon) lined up for a 52-yard field goal, but Hunter Kronberg blocked it, picked it up and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown to set up the two-point conversion that tied it at 21-21.
After Oscar Castruita hit a 37-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 24-21 lead with 1:58 left in the game, Prescott drove the ball down the field to set up Peters’ game-tying 25-yard field goal with 4 ticks left.
Although Prescott quarterback Austin Clark didn’t have big scoring night like he did a week ago when he scored a school-record seven rushing touchdowns, he did run the ball for nearly 200 yards and passed for 100, including a 28-yard touchdown pass to Dellin Boyd with 4:34 left in the first half to cut Flagstaff’s lead to four, 14-10.
Prescott heads back to Tucson for the makeup game with Canyon del Oro on Friday, Sept. 21, in Week 6, which was originally scheduled as a bye week for the Badgers. The game was called on Aug. 24 due to lightning in Week 2.
Kickoff next week against Canyon del Oro is set for 7 p.m.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is news/sports editor for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud at @NewsSportsNotes. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.