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Football: Broncos undefeated run ends on blocked field goal
Will Moffitt 09-23-22
East Forsyth's Will Moffitt makes into the end zone for the Broncos' lone touchdown in a Region 8-4A matchup against Walnut Grove Friday at Half-Mile Stadium. (Photo by Jay Rooney Photography)

With 1:05 remaining, East Forsyth's field goal unit came out onto the field, hoping to take the lead from 36 yards out. Walnut Grove’s left-end speed rushed and blocked the kick to hand the Broncos their first loss of the season Friday night at Half-Mile Stadium.

“They played for four quarters and took them 7-6. It was a good battle. We’ve played 14 games together,” Broncos head coach Brian Alison said, regarding his team's performance.

On Walnut Grove's first series, Ezra Harrison ran a quarterback keeper, but Broncos defensive back Gus Martin prevented Harrison from getting a first down to record a three-and-out.

The Broncos (3-1, 1-1) started their drive on their own 40-yard line and gave the ball to running back Brandon Peoples for a gain of 8. On the following play, the Broncos switched the formation by lining up in a pistol set, and Peoples ran up the middle for a first down.

The Broncos decided to go with their air attack for two plays, but both plays resulted in incompletions — one of them nearly being picked off.

Quarterback Brock Szakacs was able to get a great snap and booted the ball all the way to the Warriors' 6-yard line. 

However, the Broncos defense only allowed Walnut Grove to get five plays off, forcing them to punt the football back to the offense.

Walnut Grove's punter was able to pin the Broncos to their 2-yard line.

The Warriors (4-1, 2-1) had a chance to get some points with a 29-yard field goal after East Forsyth linebacker Jeremiah Foote recorded a tackle behind the line scrimmage on third-and-2. But the kick came up short.

With five seconds left until halftime, Walnut Grove had their best field position of the game and attempted a Hail Mary. East Forsyth’s secondary, though, batted the ball away, sending the game into halftime still scoreless.

At that point, Peoples had 18 of the Broncos' 32 yards. As for Walnut Grove, they totaled 102 yards on offense in the opening half. 

On the Warriors' first series of the third quarter, Broncos linebacker Troy Hoover recorded back-to-back tackles to make it third-and-9. The next play saw wide receiver Cassius Hann sprint past the East Forsyth secondary, but quarterback Ashton Adams overthrew him on what could’ve been a wide-open touchdown.

With six minutes left, Zack Ford hit-stick senior wide receiver David Navarrete, causing a fumble.

Walnut Grove took advantage of the turnover, bringing a heavy unit onto the field. Isaac Mulkey bounced it outside, though, and ran it in for a 6-yard touchdown.

Navarrete put the fumble in his rearview mirror and gave the Broncos fans an electrifying 46-yard return to the 34. 

Shortly after, Peoples carried for 19 yards, and Walnut Grove immediately called a timeout. The 19 carries by Peoples resulted in 72 yards.

East Forsyth still punched it in with Will Moffit on a power read for a 3-yard touchdown.

The Broncos weren’t satisfied with tying the Warriors, since it had been a defensive battle. They decided to go for the 2-point conversion but failed, leaving the Broncos down 7-6 with 10:49 remaining in the fourth.

Dealing with third-and-14, East Forsyth had an opportunity to cash in on miscommunication by the Walnut Grove secondary, which left tight end Jack Brumbelow open. But Szakacs slightly overthrew him.

Szakacs shook it off.

On the Broncos' last chance at getting the lead, he drove the team down the field by going 6-for-7 for 61 yards, setting up the potential go-ahead field goal.

Szakacs ended the night 11-for-24 for 107 yards.

East Forsyth will look to bounce back Sept. 30 at East Hall.