Adding to the sweetness of the victory was the fact that the Eagles, now 2-4, pulled off an upset over 4-2 Halstead, who was favored in the preseason polls to win the Central Kansas League North Division title.
In the end, it was a dependable kicker and a solid defense that put Kingman over the top.
“They had some kids that were tough to defend, and we did a good job with them,” said Albin.
After closing regulation play with both teams tied at 22, Halstead won the coin toss, putting Kingman on offense first in overtime at the ten-yard line. Zach Anderson edged the Eagles to the seven-yard line before being brought down by Dragon Brendan Gundy. Kingman quarterback Mitchell Packard brought it to the one-yard line on the next down, being tackled by Joseph Myers. On a keeper, Packard entered the end zone on the third down.
Albin brought in kicker Drew Trollope, who got the extra point.
Halstead responded to the pressure to score, as Dragon Alex Thibault reached the end zone on a five-yard run on the third down. Forced into a situation to run a conversion for the win, the PAT attempt failed, giving the Eagles the win.
Hard-hit by penalties throughout the game, the Eagles saw seven yellow flags fly, which resulted in 75 yards worth of penalties. But Kingman gained more yardage in both its passing and rushing game, as the Eagles outgained the Dragons 283-267 on the ground and 66-28 in the air.
Halstead was the first to get on the scoreboard as Blake Beckett reached the end zone, followed by a Jonah McKee conversion, to give the Eagles an 8-0 advantage.
But after seeing strengths with Kingman’s passing game against Hesston one week ago, Packard connected with Brandon Bradshaw for a 13-yard touchdown play, followed by another pass to Nick Meng for the PAT to end the first quarter tied at 8.
McKee would score for the Dragons on a one-yard run in the second quarter, but the PAT failed and the half closed with a 14-8 Dragon advantage.
Braxton Bangert carried the ball 40 yards for a third-quarter TD in the third quarter for Kingman, after which Trollope made his kicking debut against Halstead, putting the ball through the uprights and giving the Eagles a one-point advantage.
Thibault scored early in the fourth for the Dragons, followed by a successful, PAT from Beckett.
As the Eagles slowly edged their way through Dragon territory, it became do or die time for Kingman. But Parker Maloney scored on a 24-yard play. Rather than gamble with a two-point conversion attempt, Albin brought in Trollope for the easy point to tie the game just outside the minute mark. It was a gamble Albin knew was worth taking.
“I knew that when we practice kicking extra points in practice, he goes ten-for-ten. To me, it was a guarantee,” Albin said.
Both teams will open district play next week in their opponents’ territory. Kingman will face Hutchinson-Trinity, while Halstead takes on Marion.