On the road in Colorado Springs, the Bronco football team outlasted their Husky opponents, surviving a 19-point Prep rally in the second and third quarters to win their season opener, 41-26.
They are a very good football team,” said head coach Joe Forchtner. “They had good players who created some match-up problems for us. They were just tough – I feel pretty good to win that one, especially on the road, the first game of the season.”
NMMI managed to build a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, scoring first at the 10:32 mark on a 6-play, 65-yard drive. Sophomore running back Raekwon Webb capped the drive with a 9-yard rush for the TD.
The Broncos’ next score came from their defense, seven minutes later. NMMI punter Daniel Duah launched a 67-yarder that was downed at the AFP 1 yard line. Three plays later, the ‘Black Hole’ defense got into the backfield, forcing and recovering a fumble in the end zone.
Coach ‘Fort’ was happy with that but felt the team let up a bit afterward: “I think we missed some opportunities; could have extended that lead a little bit. We just left a lot out there.”
The Huskies scored next, right before the end of the first quarter, completing their own 7-play 75 yard drive, to make it 14-7.
The Broncos ate up almost half of the second quarter on their next drive, going 58 yard over 14 plays. The drive originally stalled out on AFP 30. Joe sent in the kicking team and freshman Alex Alhomsi split the uprights from 47 yard out for the field goal. “He can kick, said coach Forchtner. “He’s got a good leg. He was kicking it out of the end zone.”
But a Prep penalty during the play gave the Broncos the option for a 1st & 10 from the 15. Forchtner elected for the first down and 6 plays later, quarterback Brandon Perdue hit tight end Sam Thomas on a flat route for the TD.
The Broncs were up 21-7 with 8:15 left in the half, but the Huskies closed the gap on the very next play from the line of scrimmage with an 80-yard pass and catch.
The third quarter saw two more TDs scored by Air Force Prep, and with less than four minutes left in the period, NMMI was trailing for the first time in the game, 26-21.
Said Forchtner, “[On defense] we gave up two long passing touchdowns – one on a play action and one on a boot. Both of those were caused by our guys’ eyes just not being where they should. We talked about that all week, but obviously we need to try and teach it a little bit better. But I don’t think the secondary played bad, we had a lot of break-ups, two interceptions, and stops down at the goal line – it’s just those two plays stick out; they were touchdowns.
“When we got down in the third quarter, it could have gone bad, but it didn’t,” continued Forchtner. “That’s a credit to our players. It seemed like everything was going their way: the calls, the plays. But we didn’t get down; we didn’t start complaining at each other. Instead, we came back with two quick scores of our own.”
Those ‘two quick scores’ included a 79-yard toss from Perdue to freshman Eric Tollivour, and a 33-yard strike, Perdue to sophomore Cam Sanders. With 3:55 left in the third, NMMI was back on top, 34-26.
“Eric Tollivour had a big catch,” said coach. “I also thought the offensive line did a good job. That was kind of one of our concerns coming in to this game, because we had such a young offensive line. We were able to run the ball and they protected the quarterback well. I was definitely pleased with how they performed and want to give a shout out to that whole position group.”
For the Broncos’ final touchdown, Perdue just tipped the pylon on a 4-yard run, finishing another mammoth drive of 93 yards in 10 plays that left just over four minutes remaining in the fourth.
Next week the Broncos will again be travelling, this time to play SWJCFC conference foe Northeastern Oklahoma College in Miami, OK. Kickoff for that game set for 5:00 P.M. MST.