WESTMINSTER — Even in the aftermath of watching his Platte Canyon Huskies fumble a seven-point lead in the closing minute of regulation, head coach Lance Gunkel didn’t have to worry much about his team staying focused. The players knew what was at stake.
Entering Saturday night’s game at North Stadium at 0-2, the Huskies were determined to right the ship.
Even after Prospect Ridge Academy backup quarterback Elik Hrivnak hit a streaking Bryson Kenyon with a 42-yard touchdown with 54.1 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime tied at 14, Platte Canyon remained calm and collected knowing that this was its game to lose.
“The character and attitude that they showed,” Gunkel said. “We can win this game still. That’s what we told them the whole time. It’s not over. Just because they got a touchdown in the end, it’s not over. We can still win this.”
Win it they did.
Senior running back Allen Hardey scored from 8 yards out on the second play of the extra session. His subsequent two-point conversion run proved to be the difference in a 22-20 victory.
Prospect Ridge Academy (1-2) had a chance to tie the game after Teddy Cundiff scored on a 4-yard run on the Miners’ second play of overtime. But Platte Canyon stuffed the two-point conversion attempt to seal the victory.
Hardey’s first touchdown — a 5-yard run with 4:41 left in regulation after the Huskies recovered a Dylan Meredith fumble — put Platte Canyon ahead 14-7, setting up for the dramatic finish.
“We came into the game saying that most physical man was going to win this game. I think we did that,” Hardey said. “Our line was incredible. They dominated. Our O-line and D-line were dominating.”
In other words, it was your stereotypical Platte Canyon football game. Ball control. Run the ball. Control the line of scrimmage. That’s what, for the most part, the Huskies did. Never was that more evident than on the game’s first drive.
The Huskies took the opening kickoff 78 yards on 15 plays in 8 minutes, 36 seconds, capping the drive off with a 1-yard quarterback keeper by sophomore David Fouts. It was not only the first points of the season for the Huskies, who were blanked 83-0 in the first two games of the season against Strasburg and Yuma, but it set the tone for this one.
“That’s Platte Canyon right there. Power football, smash-mouth football, play good defense and try not to make the big mistake,” Gunkel said. “We let one go at the end (of regulation), but the kids played real hard. The coaching staff did a great job of keeping them in it, mentally getting them ready to go, especially in the overtime.”
Senior Darius Boyer, who set up the Huskies’ second touchdown with a strip fumble of Meredith late in the fourth quarter, led the ground-and-pound attack with 25 carries for 124 yards.
Meredith, Prospect Ridge Academy’s senior quarterback, tied the game at 7 on the opening drive of the third quarter on a 5-yard run. That’s where things stood until the final 5 minutes of regulation.
“It took a lot. It took a lot for us to focus and to buckle down,” Fouts said of the Huskies’ mental preparation going into overtime. “It showed what we can actually do and showed that we can be a team, come together and do our job … to come out here and get a win, an overtime win.”
Platte Canyon returns home to host Banning Lewis Academy on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.