Football seeks to continue momentum

T.J. Gerlach

Traveling to Topeka, the Missouri Southern football team lost its third straight game. The Washburn University Ichabods defeated the Lions 49-35.

Although Southern was down 35-0 at halftime, the Lions fought back in the second half.

Keeth Matheny, acting head football coach, said the Lions did not play the kind of football they are capable of in the first half. He said he thinks the problem was getting the momentum going.

“We weren’t converting and they were converting,” Matheny said.

He said during halftime, he and his staff told the Lions they are a much better team than that.

“[We told them] that that 30 minutes is not up to our caliber,” Matheny said. “And, that we’ve got 30 minutes against the same team in the same conditions to prove that we’re a lot better team than that.”

He said the team responded well and came out determined in the second half.

“We showed a lot of character and resiliency to bounce back and to continue to fight all the way through the game and end up making it a game that we put a pretty good scare into Washburn at the end,” Matheny said.

He said special teams created some nice plays for Southern, including two blocked punts by Jordan Chapman, junior safety.

Matheny also said the offense was more balanced last week and was able to run the ball more.

“We moved the football very, very well in the second half, over 300 yards,” he said. “We demonstrated that we have the ability to compete with the best teams when we’re playing the way we’re supposed to play and we’re clicking.”

Freshman quarterback Adam Hinspeter completed 24 of 36 passes for 279 yards and one touchdown against Washburn.

Nathan Emert, sophomore quarterback, also threw for one touchdown.

On the receiving end, Colin Bado, sophomore wide receiver, caught seven passes for 71 yards.

Dustin Bromley, senior wide receiver, caught two passes, gaining 67 for the Lions. Dartangan Johnson, junior running back, received six passes for 56 yards, and Ronnell Newman, freshman running back, had five receptions for 57 yards.

Tedaryl Mason, senior wide receiver, and Jamison Hummel, junior wide receiver, caught the Lions’ two touchdown passes.

Newman carried the ball eight times on the ground for Southern, gaining 64 yards. Johnson had 13 carries for 53 yards.

Atiba Bradley, senior linebacker, led the Lions in tackles with 15. Matt Crane, senior linebacker, was next with 13.

Chapman and Billy Baska, sophomore safety, both had seven tackles, and Elbert Johnson, junior defensive end, had five.

Saturday, the Lions will wrap up their season at home. The Emporia State University Hornets will come to Hughes Stadium to take on Southern.

Matheny said the Lions have been working on maintaining their momentum and balance this week in practice. He said ESU has some “tricky” schemes that make things a little more confusing.

“They (ESU) are a team that is definitely fighting with their backs against the wall as well,” Matheny said.

He said the team is excited to play in front of a home crowd again.

“The three weeks of road games, especially just with the emotional season we’ve been having, it’s been exhausting,” Matheny said. “We’re excited to be back home and finish strong and hopefully send the seniors out with a real positive.”

He said the players are excited about the momentum they built against the Ichabods.

“They’re upbeat,” Matheny said. “They’re wanting to have a lot fun. Everybody just wants to make the most of this last game.”

The Lions now stand at 3-6 overall and 2-5 in the MIAA.

The Hornets-Lions match-up will kickoff at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hughes Stadium.