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Stunning 42-yard touchdwon pass in last 15 seconds allows Redskins to GET OUTTA DODGE, WITH A WIN PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 21 October 2017 10:02

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Liberal’s Syris Dunlap turns the corner behind a block by Braxton Hyde Friday in Dodge City. Dunlap threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Tyrique Chandler with 15 seconds to paly for a come-from-behind 34-29 win. L&T photo/Earl Watt

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

DODGE CITY — When the Dodge City Red Demons scored a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter Friday night, they only made one mistake — they left two minutes and 24 seconds on the clock.

It was 15 seconds too many.

With no time outs and facing a stout wind in their faces, the Redskins drove the ball 80 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown on a 42-yard pass to give the Redskins their second-straight come-from-behind victory in the final minute, defeating the Red Demons 34-29.

Liberal had a four-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and had driven the ball from the 20 yard line to the Dodge City 47 yard line.

But Syris Dunlap was dropped for a four-yard loss on a third-and-five play, and facing a strong wind and a fourth-and-nine, Liberal coach Jason Dunlap opted to  try to get the first down.

But the Red Demon defense poured into the backfield and dropped Dunlap for a three-yard loss, and the Red Demons took over at the Liberal 46 yard line.

The Red Demons kept the ball in the hands of quarterback Dawson Williams for six straight plays for 39 yards.

After one play to Aldon Knedler for a five-yard gain, Williams kept the ball for two one-yard gains, and the last one crossed the goal line with 2:24 to play, and Dodge City had a 29-27 lead.

The Redskins had no time outs when they started their final drive of the game at their own 20 yard line, and with a stiff wind in their face, Dunlap attempted a first-down run but was stuffed at the line.

Dunlap found freshman Malcolm Wiltshire for a 13-yard reception over the middle, and Dunlap ran the ball three straight plays, picking up four, two and three yards while running out of bounds to set up a fourth-and-one at the Liberal 41 yard line.

Dunlap charged straight ahead for a seven-yard gain and then had to spike the ball to stop the clock with 52 seconds to play.

Dunlap continued to run to the sideline, picking up nine yards on the next two carries setting up another fourth-and-one with 34 seconds to play.

Dunlap again rolled to the left, but instead of running the yard for a first down, he lofted the ball to Tyrique Chandler who was in the middle of four Dodge City defenders.

Chandler jumped up to make the catch while a Red Demon came up short on an interception attempt, and two more Red Demons collided, leaving Chandler only one defender away from the end zone. Chandler outran the Red Demon to the goal line for a 42-yard touchdown reception, and with 15 seconds left to play, Liberal had a 34-29 lead.

Dodge City was called for roughing the passer on the touchdown catch, and Liberal kicked off from the Red Demon 45 yard line.

The Red Demons attempted a desperation pass, but it fell incomplete, and Liberal escaped Dodge City with a 34-29 win.

When Chandler made the catch, his head coach had only one thought.

“Touchdown,” Dunlap said. “I knew it was a touchdown.”

Dunlap also new that the flag on the field wasn’t going against the Redskins.

“I saw the flag because I saw the late hit,” he said. “I was just glad our quarterback wasn’t hurt. I ran out to get him so he didn’t retaliate. We have to break those habits. Sometimes you have to let other people do what they do and not respond. We have to play clean football. I want every kid to go home to their mother safe and injury free.”

The last drive came down to a set of plays that Dunlap borrowed from his high school coach and Redskin legend Gary Cornelsen.

“It was the pass-run option,” he said. “If the pass isn’t there, run it, if it is there, throw it. He read it, got out of bounds when we needed it. He made a boo-boo late when he didn’t find the sticks, but he made up for it.”

A stiff Southwest Kansas wind meant little to the Redskins on the final drive.

“The wind died a little bit, but we practice in this on a daily basis,” Dunlap said. “When we do our two-minute drill, we do two in the wind and two with the wind. It worked for us.”

Liberal came back from a 17-14 deficit at half to take a 27-17 lead in the third quarter.

One more defensive stop might have allowed the Redskins to win in a runaway.

But Dodge City battled back, putting together a 10-play, 80-yard drive for a touchdown that cut the lead to 27-23.

Midway through the fourth quarter the Red Demons put together a nine-play, 46-yard drive to take a 29-27 lead before the Redskins’ final game-winning drive.

“You go up 10, and you think one more stop,” Dunlap said. “The wind worked for us, and we got the lead, but it didn’t happen that way.”

Dunlap relied on his senior linemen to help provide the protection so that Liberal could rally.

“They are special young men,” he said. “You wish you had this senior bunch back. They will help us build our future. They understand that some day it will end. Right now they are being great retirees. They will be going out the doors, and they want to build something.”

Dodge City’s Williams gashed the Redskins for 243 yards and three touchdowns on 46 carries. 

Dunlap ran for 165 yard on 28 carries for two touchdowns. Cesar Burciaga also ran for two touchdowns, and Chandler caught a 42-yard pass for the game-winning touchdown.

The win pushed Liberal to 6-2 and the fourth-seed in the West out of 16 teams.

Liberal will host Salina South (2-6) Friday at Redskin Field. If the Redskins win, they will have a second home game against the winner of the Great Bend (5-3)/Newton (3-5) game.

While Dunlap is pleased to get a home game, he also didn’t mind playing on the road.

“We get an opportunity to play at home,” he said. “Either we finish at home or we move on. I kind of want to go on the road. We are undefeated on the road.”

Dunlap said he didn’t need to do anything special to motivate his team for the playoffs.

“If you can’t get yourself focused for the playoffs, then this isn’t the right team for you,” he said. “We truly haven’t had this in a while.”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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