By Brenton Martin
A rain delay pushed the game back due to loud thundering and lightening, but at 7:00 p.m. in Belton, Texas, football kicked off with the number two football team in the country, University of Mary Hardin- Baylor, taking the field against the number seven team, Hardin- Simmons University.
The Crusaders came out rolling on their first possession in the cross-town rival battle with the Cowboys. Having the ball for 2:45 seconds, Quarterback De’Nerian Thomas capped off a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a three-yard run for a UMHB touchdown. The Cru fans were ecstatic to deliver the first punch in this rivalry game, making the score 7-0. As the Crusaders defense stood tall to hold off the Cowboys, they helped their offense get back on the field for a 3:45 second possession. After a very efficient seven-play, 73-yard drive, UMHB called on quarterback De’Nerian Thomas yet again for a six-yard touchdown run for the Crusaders. That put UMHB ahead of the rival Cowboys at 13-0. At the end of the first half, both teams had played some very good football. The Cru had been averaging around 40 points a game at half time. However, in this heated defensive match up they were held to 13, still holding the lead going into the locker room.
To kick off the third quarter, both teams seemed to be making very impressive defensive stops. Finally, eight minutes into the third quarter, UMHB caught a break on offense. On an eight-play, 87- yard drive, the Cru held the ball for 4:14 seconds before quarterback Jase Hammack punched in an eight-yard touchdown run, putting UMHB up over the Cowboys 20-0. As the stadium roared, you could feel the energy in the stands electrify everybody back to life including players and fans, while taking the hearts and life out of the HSU players and fans.
After holding the Cowboys to not one score, the Crusaders stormed the field in the fourth quarter looking to put their foot on the Cowboys necks and ending the game. The Crusaders defense played exceptionally marvelous all four quarters against a highly touted offense. Shutting down every option and play the Cowboys threw at them, HSU just never stood a chance. With another stop on defense, they set the offense up for another touchdown to seal the deal. UMHB put together an impressive six-play, 49-yard play drive to put the Cru up 26-0. That drive was sealed with an eight-yard run by quarterback De’Nerian Thomas, making the crowd go berserk, as they have defeated the number seven HSU, putting them at 5-0 on the 2018-19 season.
UMHB now hits the road for the next two games, facing Howard Payne University of Brownwood, Texas at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13. Then they will get suited up to travel to Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20.