By Brenton Martin
On a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon last weekend, the Crusaders took on the Wildcats of Louisiana College, and placed themselves in the playoffs. The captains took the field for the coin toss and at 1:00 p.m. UMHB kicked off their last home game of the regular season at Crusader Stadium in Belton, Texas. The game was not as much of a full house as it would normally be; however The Cru spirit was there with full effect!
UMHB punched the Wildcats in the mouth first as the Crusader defense stood tall, gathering in two interceptions on the Wildcats’ first two drives. These turnovers lead to the first score of the game with a 9- yard rush by senior running back, Markeith Miller, to put the Crusaders up 7-0 over Louisiana College. At the start of the second quarter, UMHB put together a 6-play, 40-yard drive to cap off a 9-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver, Aaron Sims, from junior quarterback, Jase Hammack, to put the Crusaders up 14-0.
As UMHB comes up with yet another defensive stop to force a 3-and-out, they turn it around quickly with a 1-play, 69-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver, Jonel Reed, from junior quarterback, Jase Hammack. The crowd erupted as soon as the pass was caught and nobody was around to tackle Reed.
The band played as the crowd sang along with the Crusaders in celebration of going up 21-0 in just a 10 second drive.
As the Wildcats take the field and come up short again, the Crusaders force another 3-and-out.
Louisiana College is forced to punt to the Crusaders’ dangerous return man Aaron Sims. The freshman wide receiver returned the punt for a 74-yard touchdown to spark the crowd’s enthusiasm and put UMHB up 28- 0. The Crusader defense takes the field again looking to force another turnover as they stop the Wildcats from moving the chains. UMHB takes advantage of the stop on defense and caps off a 3-play, 23-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back, Marquis Duncan to put UMHB up 35-0 over the Wildcats. The running back duo between Duncan and Miller was marvelous as always.
Following up after a Duncan touchdown, senior running back, Markeith Miller punched in a 1- yard touchdown run to put the Crusaders up 42-0 at halftime.
To kick off the second half, UMHB turns a 5- play, 47-yard drive into a Markeith Miller touchdown reception from quarterback Jase Hammack. As the Crusaders celebrate, the crowd goes wild and UMHB furthers their lead to 49-0. After a tough defensive stand, the Wildcats held the ball for six-plus minutes before a defensive stop. In a one minute and 27 seconds, the Crusaders punch in another touchdown on a 4-play, 21-yard drive. The Wildcat fans look on with long faces as junior quarterback, Luke Poorman, connects with junior wide receiver, Jonel Reed, to put UMHB ahead 56-0. As the UMHB defense forces another turnover, the pass rush from the defensive line was too much for the Wildcats to handle. Senior linebacker, Jalen Martin, comes up with an interception, which was returned with great efforts for a 30- yard touchdown to put UMHB ahead 63-0. Shortly after, junior cornerback, Jon Hughes, returns an interception himself for 44 yards. The band strikes playing the loud horn as the hometown fans enjoy the scoring outburst being put on display. The Crusaders are officially up at the end of the fourth quarter, 70-0.
As time flies in the fourth, UMHB kicks in a field goal to capitalize on an 11- play, 51-yard drive. Freshman kicker Anthony Avila furthers the lead to 73-0. After a long hard battle to find the end zone, the Wildcats finally score. Freshman running back, Jaishaun Doucet, found the end zone for the Wildcats on a 4- yard touchdown run making the score 73- 7.
To put a dramatic ending to the game, UMHB scores another touchdown to lead them to a marvelous home win. On a 4-play, 54-yard drive, senior quarterback De’Nerian Thomas finds the end zone on a 31- yard run to put UMHB further ahead 80-7 to end the game. On their ways toward the playoffs, the Crusaders move on to an outstanding 9-0 on the regular season. They travel to East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 10, for a 2:00 p.m. game.