Great athletes are judged by how they can live up to the moment. Mulvane quarterback Ty Redington answered the bell every time it rang against Buhler.
With 1:35 left in the game, Redington was flushed from the pocket, escaped a tackler, biding his time for Alex Evans to get open at the back of the endzone for the go-ahead touchdown, beating Buhler 38-34 Friday night.
"He is a big time competitor," Dave Fennewald, Mulvane head coach said after the game. "You can see it in his leadership at practice, day in day out. He just loves to win and he is a great competitor."
"This is a big stepping stone for us to accomplish our goals, which is a state championship," said Ty Redington. "They were ranked number one in a lot of polls and it gives us a lot of confidence that we can beat the best, and maybe we are the best."
Redington passed for four touchdowns and ran one in himself. He finished the night 29 of 39 for 425 yards. He had a hand in every score for the Wildcats Friday night.
"The kids kept their routes, we practice the scramble drill, where the quarterback is flushed," Fennewald said. "They have spots on the field where they are supposed to go and I think we ran that pretty well, tonight."
The way the game started, it looked like Mulvane would rout the Crusaders. They scored on their first possession then when Buhler fumbled the enusing kickoff, Redington picked it up and ran it in for what looked like another touchdown but a block in the back brought it back. No matters because Redington hooked up with Nolan Smith for a 43-yard touchdown. Before Buhler could do anything, they were down 14-0 on Homecoming.
Buhler (2-1) rallied and countered with a solid drive and a short Riley Allen touchdown to trail 14-6 in the first quarter. Redington would not be deterred, answering with their own touchdown drive, hitting Colin Dempsey for an 11-yard score, to end the first quarter up 21-6.
"It gave us huge confidence," said Redington after the game. "We needed that to build through the rest of the game, to show that we can score and score quick."
Whatever it is in the water in Buhler, they seem to find great running backs. When Riley Allen couldn't find the holes in the Mulvane defense, junior quarterback Luke Berblinger rolled out and had Will Perry in the flats and Perry did the rest. Bowling over a pair of defenders at the goal line for his first touchdown of the night, trailing 21-14 and giving Buhler life before halftime.
One more drive from Mulvane (3-0) ended short, by their standards, and settled for a 39-yard field goal to lead 24-14 at halftime in Buhler.
Buhler scored 21 unanswered points against Collegiate in the third quarter of last week's road win. Deja vu settled over the field and the Crusaders sideline when they scored two quick touchdowns to grab their first lead of the game at 26-24. Momentum on Buhler's side, the crowd was finally back in it and they saw the Crusaders saw their moment to seize. Only it got Redington going again.
He showed off his speed when flushed out of the pocket in the third quarter and broke free for a 47-yard touchdown run, retaking the lead at 31-26 at the end of the third quarter. Panic never set in for the Wildcats, despite trailing at one point.
"No panic - just more nervous," Redington said. "A little more tension (one the sidelines) but it was all right."
"Ty just makes things happen all the time," Fennewald said. "Whether it's basketball or football; the kids just believe he is going to find a way to put the ball in the endzone."
At this point, nothing was surprising - even a halfback pass from the typically conservative Crusaders offense. But when Berblinger pitched to Allen and he pulled up, Joe Schmidt had slipped behind the defense for a 41-yard pick up. A few plays later and they are on the doorstep for Berblinger to pull up for a quick touchdown pass to Brandon Keeler. Up 32-31, up only one, Buhler needed the two point conversion and Berblinger connected with Perry to lead 34-31.
With 6:29 left, Fennewald sent out Redington with one objective and he answered the call. Guiding a drive that would have Johnny Moxon from the movie "Varsity Blues" cheering. Backed up twice by penalties, Redington had almost the length of the field for a touchdown. Faced with a 4th and 22, the Wildcats found a way, passing to Alex Evans, the unsung hero of the game and before you knew it Mulvane was in the red zone and Redington was connecting with Evans.
"It was a great job by our linemen to stay engaged the whole play," said Redington. "That one guy got free but Alex had his head up and found an opening for me."
"I knew we had a good football coming back (this season) and we have 10 seniors on defense that play relentless," Fennewald said. "I just feel like this was an amazing night for Wildcat football"
"We knew it was going to take all 48 minutes and Buhler is a good second half football team. We had to be relentless in that second half and they took a big step forward as a football program tonight."