Cru football rolls past Louisiana College to earn ASC championship

Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells

The Crusaders dismantled the 4-5 Louisiana College Wildcats Saturday during a 63-7 victor  to pave the way for their 12th consecutive America Southwest Conference championship. The Cru improves to 10-0 on the season and 6-0 in ASC play, and is now ranked No. 1 in the nation  They entered the game already having clinched a tie of the conference title, all they needed for an outright championship was a Cru win or a Hardin-Simmons loss. The Cru controlled the game from the start, scoring a touchdown on its first drive. Senior quarterback Blake Jackson found junior tight end Carson Embry for a 53-yard score.

This was the first of three passing touchdowns by Jackson on the day. His second score came with 6:42 left in the first quarter, when he hit junior receiver Bryce Wilkerson from 44 yards out. At the start of the second quarter, Jackson hit senior receiver Wykeyhe Walker from eight yards out for his third and final touchdown to make it 21-0 Cru. The Wildcats returned fire a couple drives later with an 11-yard touchdown pass. But the Cru immediately answered back when sophomore receiver De’Nerian Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff the full length of the field for a score. The 100-yard return was the longest kick return of the season for the Cru and was the first kick return of the year for Thomas. When the dust settled from the return, the Cru held a 28-7 lead.

After a pair of rushing touchdowns by sophomore running back Markeith Miller and freshman running back Isaiah Shepherd, UMHB carried a demanding  42-7 lead into halftime. But they came out ready to add to that lead in the second half, and on the first drive Jackson scored for the fourth time
of the game. He was able to escape pressure and scramble eight yards into the end zone. On their next drive, Miller capped a 9-play, 76-yard drive with his second rushing touchdown of the game. Then, with two minutes left in the third quarter, sophomore safety D’Andre Jackson intercepted a Wildcat pass and returned it 63 yards down to the LC 1-yard line. Senior running back Trinton Ynclan then finished it off with his first career rushing touchdown making the score 63-7. The fourth quarter turned into a formality as both teams gave their backups some work. The two teams combined for just 121 total yards and zero points in the final quarter of the regular season. The Cru drove the ball inside the LC 5-yard line on their final drive. But rather than run up the score, they opted to take a knee and end the game with a final score of 63-7. The win propels the Cru to another perfect regular season. They have
now finished the regular season with a perfect record in six of the last seven years. They came into this contest ranked No. 2 in the D3Football.com poll behind Mount Union. But the crowd at Crusader Stadium erupted when the announcement that Mount Union had been upset by John Carroll came through. Now with a No. 1 ranking, the Cru will host throughout the postseason. Blake Jackson was able to come up with a big day on his senior day with 279 total yards and four touchdowns.

“Everybody knows, on this team, that our ultimate goal is to go to the national championship and win. This was a great start that we have been able to finish the regular season with a conference championship and I am just proud of [our team],” Jackson said. Senior defensive end Teidrick Smith was another bright spot on his senior day. He came up with four tackles for a loss, including three sacks.

“Our team is going to go as far as the leaders go,” Smith said. “We’re
going to push our team as far as we can and I think that me and Blake (Jackson) are a big part of that.”

Author: Cory Farr

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