FULTONDALE — Head coach Richie Busby sat in his office chair, half stunned and half exhausted — as well he should be.
He had just seen his ninth-ranked Fultondale team give up a victory on a last-minute touchdown by visiting American Christian quarterback Austin Mohlenbrok, and then watched as Khyree Robinson whizzed down the sidelines for 90 yards and a touchdown on the subsequent kickoff return — and then held his breath as the Wildcats intercepted a Mohlenbrok pass in the end zone on the last play to wrap up a 34-29 win Friday night.
It’s a victory that might not have turned out that way, if not for a little switcheroo that Busby pulled with Robinson and his other kick return man, Jared Stewart.
“They had been kicking to ‘J’ all night because Khyree had the big return last week, so I told them, ‘Khyree, when he [the kicker] starts to approach the ball, switch with Jared while the ball is in flight.’ He did, and took the ball 90 yards down the near sideline,” Busby said. “It wasn’t anything I did — just another unbelievable play by him, again.”
The Patriots did just what Busby expected coming into the game — long, ball-possession drives that take lots of time off the clock.
“My fear was them taking the ball for eight minutes at a time, and that’s just what they did,” he said. “We only took 43 snaps, but scored 34 points.”
With the Wildcats up 14-7 at halftime, Robinson had a simple message for his coach during the break. “He told me coming out of halftime to give him the ball — he wanted the ball,” Busby said. “He had a virus for two days... and he started getting sick in the fourth quarter again. But he said, ‘Coach, I’m fine, don’t take me out of the game.”