Lions let lead slip away in last 6 seconds

Junior wide reciever Colin Bado drops a pass during the Lions Homecoming loss to Missouri Western Oct. 14.

Mistumasa Misaki

Junior wide reciever Colin Bado drops a pass during the Lions’ Homecoming loss to Missouri Western Oct. 14.

Hobie Brown

The Missouri Southern Lions look for a return to the win column tomorrow as they host the University of Central Missouri Mules (4-3, 2-3) in a 2 p.m. contest at Hughes Stadium.

Looking to avenge last year’s loss in Warrensburg, the goal of the players and coaching staff is one and the same.

“Coach Tatum has been reiterating to us that giving up is not an option,” said junior wide receiver Colin Bado.

Last year, Mules quarterback Toby Korrodi passed for 266 yards and four touchdowns against the Lions, leading them to a 27-24 victory.

“The Mules are very athletic. They can play the fly around very well,” Bado said.

“Central has a very good quarterback. We’ve got to get pressure on him,” said senior defensive end Devin Rutledge.

Lions’ head coach Bart Tatum looks to see a focused Mule team on the field tomorrow.

“Central plays hard to the whistle,” he said. “You’ll probably see a good game out of them.”

Instilling somc discipline may help the Lions turn a corner on Saturday.

“These guys are on the verge of something special,” Tatum said. “We’ve asked them to do a little bit more this week: a little more time in the weight room and a little more time working in their study halls.”

After winning their first three games, the Lions (3-4, 1-4) have found themselves coming up short four weeks in a row. Last week was a heartbreaking Homecoming loss at the hands of Missouri Western State University.

“The first three quarters we executed our game plan well,” Tatum said.

Entering the final two minutes of the game, the Lions held a 17-16 lead. After an 18-play, 90-yard drive, No. 17 Missouri Western State University (6-1, 4-1) scored the winning touchdown with six seconds left in regulation, playing the role of both heartbreaker and home wrecker for the majority of the 5,128 in attendance.

“There were mistakes made by the coaching staff and myself,” Tatum said. “Defensively, it comes down to making the play on fourth down when the ball is in your hands.”

Not lost in the game was outstanding play from the Lions on both side of the ball. Senior defensive end Devin Rutledge sacked Griffon quarterback Matt Landess in the fourth quarter, forcing and recovering a fumble, on his way to finishing the day with six tackles (three solo), two fumble recoveries and three pass break-ups. He is currently fifth in the nation in forced fumbles. Senior defensive end Elbert Johnson had seven tackles (two solo).

“Devin is playing on a whole other level than what he has before,” Tatum said. “He made a choice to live up to his potential, both on and off the field, and it shows.”

“We need to make more plays and we have to fight to the end,” Rutledge said.

Lions’ quarterback Adam Hinspeter and freshman wide receiver Isaac Norman connected twice for touchdowns. The first came in the first minute of the second quarter on a 21-yard pass play to take the lead from Western. The second came with a little less than two minutes left in the third quarter, as the duo hooked up for a 64-yard touchdown to once again reclaim the lead. Hinspeter finished the game by completing 26 of his 41 pass attempts for 310 yards and two touchdowns. He continues to lead the MIAA in passing yardage per game (238.7 yards), is second in total offense per game (235.8 yards) and third in pass completion percentage, connecting with his receivers 67 percent of the time. He currently ranks 21st in the nation in total offense.

Norman played his best game of the year, finishing with eight receptions for 129 yards and both scores. He currently ranks sixth in the MIAA in receptions per game and eighth in receiving yards per game.