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Mick Shaffer: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and my hometown

Mick Shaffer: Chiefs QB Mahomes and my hometown
Mick Shaffer: Chiefs QB Mahomes and my hometown
Posted at 10:01 AM, Nov 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-01 12:13:03-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Homecoming in Caldwell, Kansas, is a big thing.

It is literally the only big thing in my hometown — population in the triple digits; high school football team plays with single digits (8-man football).

For whatever reason, homecoming is taken very seriously there. Each five-year interval class has a big gathering every October.

LISTEN: 4th and 1 Podcast breaks down Chiefs win over Denver

That’s how I remember the exact date — Oct. 22, 2016 — of the first time the football world was introduced to Patrick Mahomes versus Baker Mayfield.

Oklahoma played at Texas Tech. It also was the 15-year reunion for the Caldwell High School graduating class of 2001.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish I was in the class of 2001. That’s my brother’s graduation year, so I was back “for moral support” to celebrate with him.

(I’m in the class of 1995, but we don’t take homecoming so seriously that we celebrate 21-year reunions.)

By early evening, the party had moved from the Last Chance Bar & Grill to the Pool Hall in Caldwell.

These locations were hand-picked mostly due to the fact that they’re the only two bars in town with travel time between venues was made short on account of them being separated by a wall. (Told you homecoming was our only “big” thing.)

The Pool Hall stands apart from Last Chance Bar & Grill with its $1.50 beer prices as opposed to the highway robbery of $2.50 next door and its flat-screen TV, to which my eyes became affixed upon entering the fine establishment.

The bar owner is named Joe Baker but it’s “Joe B” if you know him. Like a lot of Caldwell residents who live two miles from the Oklahoma border, he is a huge Sooners football fan.

Oklahoma State had already laid waste to Kansas that day, so my college football stress was in the rearview mirror. Things could only get better with an Oklahoma loss, but I wasn’t banking on it because god doesn’t like me that much.

Instead, what I got was an Oklahoma win but a game I’ll never forget.

By the time I picked up the action, it was halftime with Mayfield and the Sooners leading Mahomes and the Red Raiders up 30-24.

It was a very typical Big 12 halftime score, especially considering Oklahoma’s porous defense that year and Tech’s defense every year.

The second half was the best, joint offensive performance I’d ever seen — and I attended the Indianapolis Colts/Kansas City Chiefs playoff game in January 2004 — and the first homecoming I’d ever missed.

That’s right, homecoming could wait. I had a $5 pitcher of Busch Light and two (near) future NFL quarterbacks putting on a show.

Texas Tech, who had scored in two plays with 17 seconds left in the first half, actually punted on its first possession of the second half, but the next 10 drives resulted in touchdowns: 

  1. Mayfield TD pass
  2. Mahomes TD pass
  3. Mayfield TD pass
  4. Mahomes TD pass
  5. Mayfield TD pass
  6. Mahomes TD run
  7. Mayfield TD pass
  8. Mahomes TD pass
  9. Joe Mixon TD run
  10. Mahomes TD pass

Oklahoma had the ball last and won 66-59. That one punt did Texas Tech in.

By the end, the entire bar, the entire town, the entire college football world — including both defensive coordinators — sat in awe.

My cousin was in high school and played football for the Caldwell Bluejays. He skipped out on a homecoming party to watch the game.

The party got busted and half the football team got suspended. He owed his eligibility to Mayfield and Mahomes.

The Big 12 has certainly seen its share of shootouts with even crazier scores, but none matched the production generated by just two players.

Mayfield's stat line for the game: 27 of 36, 545 yards, 7 touchdowns (!), 0 interceptions

He averaged more than 20 yards per completion.

Final stat line for Mahomes: 52-88 (!), 745 yards (!), 5 touchdowns, 1 interception, 89 rush yards, 2 rush touchdowns

Mahomes accounted for 819 yards … by himself!

The game broke the NCAA record for combined total yards (1,708) as both offenses churned out 854 yards.

Speaking of ties, Mahomes tied the NCAA record for passing yards, while Mayfield broke the Oklahoma single-game record for passing touchdowns with TD throws of 56, 49, 43, 34, 23, 23, and 15 yards.

The 125 combined points were the second-most in Football Bowl Subdivision history involving a ranked team (Another Big 12 game — West Virginia vs. Baylor from four years earlier — set the record ... shocker.)

Now, Mahomes and Mayfield meet again Sunday with Mahomes still in red but Mayfield wearing orange, the color of both of Oklahoma’s biggest rivals (Texas and Oklahoma State).

They both bring a No. 1 into the game — Mahomes leading the No. 1 offense in the NFL and Mayfield being the No. 1 overall pick six months ago.

The roles from that memorable night in college have changed dramartically with Mahomes guiding the heavy favorite and Mayfield in charge of the hapless underdog.

Still, Mayfield has the edge on Mahomes, winning both head-to-head matchups in college. Somehow the two combined for only 445 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions in a 2015 meeting.

Another shootout would be a surprise in this one, even with the Chiefs' defense.

The Browns have struggled to produce points, outscoring the Chiefs' lowest point total (27) only once this season. 

Mayfield is missing running back Joe Mixon, who the Chiefs saw two weeks ago with the Cincinnati Bengals and who rushed for over 200 yards with another 100 receiving yards en route to five touchdowns during that epic 2016 game.

Meanwhile, Mahomes has a surplus of weapons at his disposal.

Still, it was the greatest college football game I’ve ever seen and I’m always ready to witness the greatest NFL game I’ve ever seen. Both leading men certainly know those roles.

No distractions, either. Homecoming was last week in Caldwell.


The 4th and 1 Chiefs podcast is published once a week during the off-season.