Football team takes victory on the road

Jacob W. Brower

BOLIVAR – It took the biggest comeback by Missouri Southern since 1993 to get it done, but the Lions collected their fifth win of the season against Southwest Baptist University on Oct. 23 by the score of 26-22.

The Lions trailed 22-0 with 17 seconds left in the first half before sophomore running back Wentric Williams scored from three yards out to give Southern its first points of the game. The Lions shut out SBU in the second half and rattled off 20 more unanswered points to give the team a four-point win.

“We expected that Southwest Baptist would give us a tough game,” Southern head coach John Ware said. “We didn’t expect to be down 22-0, but our guys played hard in the second half to get us the win. It wasn’t pretty, but I’ll take an ugly win over a beautiful loss any day.”

The game saw the Lions commit six turnovers. Three of the turnovers were interceptions thrown by freshman quarterback Nathan Emert, one was an interception on a trick pass from wide receiver Tedaryl Mason and Emert and wide receiver DeMarcus Mathes each committed a fumble.

“I think the fact that we committed six turnovers and still won the game is amazing in and of itself,” Ware said. “These guys don’t quit.”

The Lions are now 4-3 in the MIAA and 5-4 overall. They are now in a three-way tie with Central Missouri State and Washburn University for third in the conference.

The Lions racked up 365 yards of total offense and held SBU to 347 yards, and Southern had 23 first downs to SBU’s 14.

Emert completed more than 61 percent of his passes for 256 yards and a touchdown, adding 20 rushing yards on eight carries, while Williams rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Freshman wide receiver Otis Taylor led the Lions with eight catches for 93 yards and senior wideout DeMarcus Mathes had five snags for 55 yards.

Other Lions with receptions include junior receiver Dustin Bromley (five catches for 38 yards), Mason (two for 14), sophomore wide receiver Aaron McNealy (two for 12), Williams (two for 8), freshman receiver Colin Bado (one for 26 and a touchdown) and senior running back Nate Proctor (one 10-yard catch).

Bado also had a 19-yard touchdown run the fourth quarter.

Linebacker Atiba Bradley and safety Blake Martin shared the team lead in tackles with nine each, and Martin had a forced fumble and Bradley recovered a fumble. Defensive tackle Bobby Odior picked off a pass by SBU quarterback Robert Clardy and returned it 24 yards, while defensive tackle Kyle Mayden recorded a sack for a three-yard loss. Sophomore cornerback Moses Manga recorded two tackles for losses.

The Lions continue their road trip on Saturday against Emporia State University, before finishing their season the following week at home against WU.