It's hard to say that an 0-5 team took a step forward in a homecoming loss, but the Dodge City Community College Conquistador football team may have come as close to that dubious feat as any team can in its 17-7 loss Saturday to the Air Force Prep Huskies at Memorial Stadium.

    The loss dropped the Conqs to a 0-5 record (0-3 in the Jayhawk Conference), while Air Force Prep improved to 2-4 overall.

    After giving up a touchdown to the Huskies on the Conq offense's second play from scrimmage, the score was almost immediately 7-0. Freshman quarterback Jean Julmiste threw what referees deemed a lateral pass that sophomore running back Quinton Robinson couldn't handle, and Husky strong safety Jared MacNaught scooped up the ball and trotted 10 yards for the game's first score.


It's hard to say that an 0-5 team took a step forward in a homecoming loss, but the Dodge City Community College Conquistador football team may have come as close to that dubious feat as any team can in its 17-7 loss Saturday to the Air Force Prep Huskies at Memorial Stadium.
    The loss dropped the Conqs to a 0-5 record (0-3 in the Jayhawk Conference), while Air Force Prep improved to 2-4 overall.
    After giving up a touchdown to the Huskies on the Conq offense's second play from scrimmage, the score was almost immediately 7-0. Freshman quarterback Jean Julmiste threw what referees deemed a lateral pass that sophomore running back Quinton Robinson couldn't handle, and Husky strong safety Jared MacNaught scooped up the ball and trotted 10 yards for the game's first score.
    Julmiste started the game because starting quarterback Colby McGill had suffered a concussion in last week's game at Hutchinson CC. Coach Bob Majeski said that Julmiste was prepared for the starting role, as he had taken all the snaps at quarterback in practice in the week's preparation for the homecoming game.
    "He was prepared," Majeski said. "He's been taking snaps at quarterback since the spring, knowing that we may need to use him as a receiver/quarterback combination guy."
    The Husky touchdown that resulted from a simple lack of offensive execution seemed like one of the in-game moments that has sent Majeski's team into a tailspin in previous games this season. A moment that sent eyes rolling and players reeling.
    But it wasn't.
    "We came back and played hard," Majeski said. "It kind of put us on our heels, but for the first time this season, the guys responded well to that adversity."
    Though the defense gave up the big plays early, like a 34-yard gain in a first-and-27 situation on a desperate completion to fullback Robert DeWitt, the unit settled in late in the first quarter and kept the game within the Conqs' reach. The Husky offense used the run to move the ball down the field on its second drive and tacked on a field goal to make the score 10-0 at the end of the opening quarter.
    A personal foul on Husky defensive lineman Nicholas Lundin and a 39-yard gallop down the left sideline by Conq freshman running back Kareem Alexander that left tacklers in his wake put the struggling offense in position to get back into the game at the Husky 14-yard line.
    Julmiste capped off the drive on a one-yard touchdown dive with 3 minutes, 49 seconds left in the half that brought the Conqs within three points, 10-7. As the half wound down, though, the Huskies took the momentum back by marching down the field on a quick-hitting seven-play, 92-yard drive that took only 1:19 and ended with a 17-yard Marcus McEvans touchdown run.
    Dodge City went into the locker room down 17-7.
    The offense that showed signs of life toward the end of the first half could not move the ball at all in the second half. The Conqs only gained 58 yards in the second half, and Julmiste was constantly flushed from the pocket and forced to scramble for short gains and throw on the run.
    In the middle of the third quarter, Julmiste felt the pressure from the Husky blitz and misfired a screen pass that landed in the lap of nose guard Isaac Tauaefa for an interception. The Conqs could not account for the Huskies coming on blitzes, and the offense suffered because of the hurried throws and running plays blown up by tacklers coming across the line of scrimmage.
    "We started a bunch of new guys on the offensive line," Majeski said. "They battled, and if you've got guys that will battle for you, that's a start. The kids continued to play hard the whole 60 minutes."
    For all the offensive struggles, the Conq defense was able to keep the Huskies from scoring in the final two quarters.
    "Defensively, the kids played hard," Majeski said. "There were just some breakdowns in some key situations, and I know no one goes out and intentionally makes mistakes. It just all boils down to the players trusting what we teach them is the right thing to do."
    He added that the team would use its bye week this week in practice to relearn some of the technical things that have caused the Conqs to implode on the field before the team's Oct. 11 match-up with the NJCAA Division 1 11th-ranked Fort Scott CC Greyhounds (4-0, 3-0 Jayhawk Conference).
    Majeski said that he had not yet seen any film on Fort Scott but did know that the Greyhounds' strength is the team's defensive unit. That game will be played at 1:30  p.m. at Memorial Stadium.