Crusaders defend title against Texas Lutheran

 

Tavion Page runs the ball to the end zone behind his blockers (Darius Dorsey and Jarell Sykes) against Texas Lutheran University at Crusader Stadium on Nov. 9. Photo by Mindy Moore/The Bells

By Sterling Dube

Editor in Chief

and

Jaykwon Thompson

Contributing Writer

 

The atmosphere at Crusader Stadium on Nov. 9 was electric as the stands were filled with fans ready to see the final home game of the regular season get underway. The captains for the game: Jonel Reed, Keith Gipson, Joey Longoria and Jefferson Fritz  won the coin toss and gave the first possession to Texas Lutheran.

As if it was a precursor to the slaughter that would happen throughout the game, the Bulldogs’ return team bobbled the ball and barely recovered it for a small gain. This slowed down any momentum that the Bulldogs had at the start of the game and resulted in a quick punting situation. The Crusader offense was off to a very early start and got the football down to the Bulldogs’ 20 yard-line. However, two consecutive false starts quickly killed any chances of an early touchdown for UMHB. Kicker Anthony Avila completed an impressive field goal in an attempt to salvage the drive. The score was UMHB, 3, Texas Lutheran, 0.

While the Crusader defense prevented the Bulldogs from ever having any real momentum, it did not mean that they had an easy time. There were many plays when the Bulldogs’ quarterback, Wade Freeman, forced the defense on a wild goose chance in the back field. He was often dodging and breaking tackles for 10 seconds at a time before either scrambling the ball himself or throwing a quick pass for a gain of a couple of yards. Defensive end Khevon Shepard was one of the only people who could say they sacked the elusive QB.

After getting the ball back from Texas Lutheran, the Crusaders did what they do best. They battered the Bulldog’s defense until an opening was made. Running back Marquis Duncan used that opening in the defense to run into the endzone for UMHB’s first touchdown of the day, increasing the Crusaders’ early lead 10-0 after a successful field goal (PAT).

Any attempt for the Bulldogs to retaliate to the touchdown in the second quarter were snuffed completely when a 4-yard sack followed by a key interception by defensive back Jefferson Fritz killed the Bulldogs’ offensive momentum for the rest of the game. From their now advantageous field position, the Crusader offensive, led by QB Jace Hammack easily got back into the endzone with a touchdown pass to WR Jonel Reed. After a successful PAT, the score was 17-0. The half continued at a snail’s pace with neither team getting the upper hand.  The Cru eventually got within field goal range and managed to snag an additional three points, extending their lead 20-0. A last second field goal got the Bulldogs onto the board. As both teams jogged into the locker rooms the score was 20-3.

After a huge kick return of 60 yards by Tavion Page, the Crusaders were in prime field goal position. However, UMHB would not be satisfied with three points and would go on to score with an inside zone run by Justin Theriot. After a completed P.A.T. the score would become 27- 3.

The Cru would continue to dominate the game and extend their lead after a trick play when   QB Jase Hammick pitched the ball to Jaylan Jenkins, who threw an absolute dime down field into the hands of Jonel Reed. Reed would then stiff-arm a defender and will himself to the end zone after being tackled by two more bulldog defenders making the score 34- 3.

The defense would continue to dominate the game as the pressure created by the defense would cause Bulldog sophomore Wade Freeman to throw two more picks. One was caught by Jayden Smith, while a pick-six by Jacob Mueller basically sealed the game. The Bulldogs would try to push and score on one more drive. However, it ended with an incomplete pass that effectively ended the game, making the final score 41- 3.

 

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