Brad Mahoney had been deployed since April 1 when he surprised his wife and children at a youth football game.

CRESTVIEW — Brad Mahoney, a technical sergeant in the Air Force, surprised his wife and kids with an early homecoming last Saturday at a Crestview Area Youth Association (CAYA) football game.

Brad had been deployed since April 1, but he flew into town on Saturday morning for the surprise. Brad dressed as Brusier, the CAYA mascot, and went onto the field to take a photo with Laura, his wife, and Landon and Grace, his two children.

His family believed they were on the field because Laura was being recognized as top squad mom. After receiving flowers, Laura and the kids took a photo with Bruiser. As they got ready to walk away, Brad took off the head gear.

Grace was the first to realize her father was home. The 10-year-old screamed “Daddy!” and pushed her mother to turn around to where Brad was standing.

Laura was shocked.

“I was just thinking ‘Is this real?’ " she said. “It took awhile for it to actually feel real like, ‘Are you sure you’re here?' ”

Laura knew her husband was coming home soon, but she thought he would arrive five days later. His return was supposed to be a surprise for their children.

Laura had planned to have Landon and Grace do the coin toss the next weekend at their game in Fort Walton Beach. Brad was still going to be dressed as the mascot, but Laura would be in on the plan.

After talking to Laura’s best friend, Megan Crews, Brad decided to surprise his wife, too.

“It’s actually kind of funny 'cause Laura was the one who came up with the idea, but she didn’t realize we were going to spin it on her,” Megan said.

While waiting to surprise his family, Brad knew exactly what Laura would say.

“She’s going to kill us because she doesn’t like surprises,” Brad said. “She’s always said ‘Never surprise me like that or anything.’ ”

Although Laura says it’s true she wanted to kill her husband for keeping her out of the loop, she also agreed that it was a nice surprise and she is happy to have her husband home.