Disappointing season comes to end


Sierra Gray | The Chart

Junior defensive back Ricky Green making the solo tackle on University of Central Oklahoma quarterback Derrack Harger inside Fred G. Hughes Stadium on Oct.10, 2015. Southern was defeated 55-21 as UCO has beaten Southern back-to-back seasons. Green had 10 tackles, one interception, and a pass breakup in the game. Green led the Lions in interceptions this season with four. On the season, Green had 57 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, and 10 pass breakups.

The Missouri Southern football team gave up 28 unanswered points to start the game as Missouri Western dropped 63 points in total to spoil the Lions season finale at Spratt Stadium in St. Joseph, Mo.

The Lions (1-10, 1-10 MIAA) gave up 60+ points for the first time this season and the third time they have given up 50+. It was Senior Day as the Griffons (6-5, 6-5 MIAA) defeated the Lions for the first time in Spratt Stadium since 2007.

The Griffons jumped out to a 28-0 lead with three offensive touchdowns and an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Lions finally got on the board with a 2-yard touchdown run from quarterback TJ Fleeton. The Griffons tacked on another touchdown before the break as Southern trailed 35-7 at half.

The Griffins nearly outdid themselves by starting the second half with 21 unanswered points to increase their lead to 56-7 (28 unanswered points since 28-7). Southern would get in the end one twice more before the conclusion of the game. The final score 63-21, Griffons.

The Lions gave up two 100-yard rushing performances (Josh Caldwell & Raphael Spencer) and 574 total yards on offense against the Griffons. For the third time season, the Lions have given up 550+ total yards and 54+ points in a game.

Fleeton threw for 308 yards on 27-54 and touchdown. He rushed for another touchdown as he threw three interceptions leading to 21 points for the Griffons. Freshman defensive back Terez Norman had two tackles with a forced and recovered fumble.

The Lions finish the season on an eight game losing streak. The Lions lone victory came against Nebraska-Kearney (0-11, 0-11 MIAA) on Oct. 19 in the Hall of Fame Game at Fred G. Hughes Stadium. The Lions finished the season in 11th place in the MIAA correctly predicted by the coaches in the 2015 preseason coaches’ poll announced on Aug. 4, 2015.

“That is the last organized football they’ll (seniors) ever play. For many of them it was hard day,” said head coach Denver Johnson on this group of seniors playing in their last football game. “The biggest difference I’ve seen from game one to the last game of the season was growth, a growing understanding, buy in, and adjustment.”