Griffons invade Hughes for Homecoming

Hobie Brown

After a 3-0 start, the football Lions are in the midst of a three-game skid but hope Homecoming will be the tonic for what has ailed them of late.

Missouri Southern returns to action tomorrow when they play host to the Griffons of Missouri Western State University in a 2 p.m. Homecoming matchup at Hughes Stadium.

“Western has a lot of talent and a lot of speed,” said freshman Isaac Norman, the conference’s 10th leading receiver.

The Griffons (5-1, 3-1) are currently ranked No. 17 in the nation. They scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pick up their fifth win last weekend against the University of Central Missouri.

“(Western head coach) Jerry Partridge, in my eye, is one of the best Xs and Os coaches in the country,” Tatum said.

“Western has two very good backs, and a good receiving corps,” second-year freshman David Benham said.

Every game helps determine the playoff picture for all teams in the MIAA. Currently, the Griffons are ranked second in the Southwest Region. They have won six of the last seven meetings. The last time the Lions won was in 2004, defeating the Griffons 23-21 at Hughes Stadium.

For the third straight week, the Lions fell short of getting the job done.

Southern (3-3, 1-3) fumbled on its opening play of the game and Truman State’s Chandler Terry returned the ball 21 yards for the game’s first score in the 35-28 loss. TSU (2-4, 2-2) would go on to add another score to lead 14-0 in the first quarter.

Sophomore quarterback Adam Hinspeter threw the first of his career-high four touchdowns in the game as he connected with Jonathon Terry on a 49-yard score to finish off a six play, 69-yard scoring drive. Hinspeter connected with in the end zone for an eight-yard reception to tie the game at 14 before the half.

The Lions and the Bulldogs kept the game close until TSU scored the games final points with approximately six minutes left in the game.

“As a coach or an athlete, you never want to come in and say ‘we could of won that game,'” said Southern head coach Bart Tatum.

Hinspeter passed for 253 yards on 26-40 passing and four touchdowns, one short of the school record of five, set by Matt Cook in 1993 against Truman. Ronnell Newman rushed for 72 yards, while Colin Bado had 98 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions. Brandon Hawkins had five punts for 181 yards. Defensively, Jake Long led the Lions with seven tackles. Ben Augustin had six tackles and a pass break up, while Elbert Johnson had four tackles, 1.5 for a loss.

“We have lost three in a row, which is a major disappointment,” Tatum said. “We’ve played three teams that are doggone good, and they took it to us.”

“The upperclassmen have made an effort to bring the team together and try to get this bitter taste out of our mouth,” Benham said.