The UMHB football team responded to its first regular season loss in six years by beating Howard Payne University 67-14 on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Crusader Stadium.
On the Cru’s opening drive, Senior quarterback Zach Anderson hit Wykeyhe Walker for a 38- yard gain before he was pushed out of bounds at the 14-yard line. On the next play, Anderson found Walker again over the middle for a 14-yard touchdown to put the Cru up 6-0 after a blocked extra point attempt.
With 5:03 left in the first quarter, Anderson launched a 50-yard bomb that Walker hauled in in the endzone for his second score of the afternoon to extend the lead to 13-0.
Senior kicker Jacob O’Neill hit a 33-yard field goal to push the lead to 16-0 with 1:21 remaining in the first quarter.
Junior quarterback Blake Jackson entered the game for the Cru and connected with receiver Robbie Seybold for a 39-yard reception to put the Cru at the HPU three yard line. Two plays later, DeNarian Thomas took the handoff on an end-around for a 2- yard touchdown that made it 23-0 at the start of the second quarter.
With 8:39 left in the half, the Yellow Jackets got on the board with a 1-yard run by Ja’Von Dickson which made it 23-7.
The UMHB punt team downed a Baylor Mullins punt at the 3 yard line. HPU running back Justin Acosta fumbled on the first play of the drive and Bryce Wilkerson pounced on it in the endzone for a touchdown to give the Crusaders a 30-7 advantage.
The Yellow Jackets answered by driving 74 yards on 9 plays and eventually scoring on a 1-yard touchdown from Patrick Hernand to cut the lead to 30-14 at the half.
UMHB Head Coach Pete Fredenberg wasn’t pleased with his team’s play in the first half.
“I don’t think we were focused. We jumped offside a number of times. They were struggling to make first downs, but we were helping them,” he said. “We did some things defensively that we didn’t in practice. We talked at halftime and they came out and really responded it in the second half.”
UMHB opened the second half with a touchdown when Jackson rolled out and found Jordan Millar for a 9-yard touchdown.
A 14-yard run from Malcolm Miller and a 40-yard score by Duane Thompson left extended the UMHB lead to 57-7 at the end of the third quarter.
Thompson had his best game of the season as he rushed for 114 yards on 9 carries.
“I wanted to respond for our leaders and our seniors, because we feel like they deserve a better opportunity to make it to the championship, so we wanted to give them that opportunity,” Thompson said.
O’Neill added another field goal in the fourth before Michael Carpenter scored a 40-yard touchdown of his own to seal the 67-14 win for the Cru.
The Crusaders will close out the regular season next Saturday at home against East Texas Baptist University.