Lions running through MIAA


Junior Scott Lathrop turned the corner against Washburn during the Hall of Fame Game at Fred G. Hughes Stadium on Sept. 27, 2014. The Lions came away with the win in the contest (42-21) behind Lathrop who came in the week before to relieve injured starter Jay McDowell. Lathrop went for 187 total yards and two touchdowns.

Southern (2-2, 2-2 MIAA) looks to continue its ascension of the conference rankings as the Lions welcome familiar foe Central Missouri (2-2, 2-2 MIAA) to Fred G. Hughes Stadium tomorrow. The second game in so many weeks that pits Southern against a team with the same record, this time it is a Homecoming showdown that can be described as nothing more than a must win.

The Lions enter week five with yet another opportunity for a trademark victory that would give Southern the first back-to-back wins over the Mules since 1995-96. Last year, the Lions beat Central Missouri for the first time since 2006.

But as the team continues to establish itself as an up-and-coming program in the “little SEC,” the Lions wants to keep the blinders on, focusing on the games they know are most important.

“Each week is its own different week, “ said junior running back Giresse Forchu. “So we take it one week at a time, celebrate our win … and then right back at it the next week for the next team.”

The Mules enter this weekend sporting a high-powered but ultimately inconsistent offense. Point totals of 9, 50, 15 and 45 in the first four games go along with top-five ratings in passing offense (247 per game), rushing offense (185 per game) and scoring offense (30 per game), leading them to an underwhelming record thus far.

“Central is a quality team, they have been a quality football program for awhile, “said Head Coach Daryl Daye, “and anytime you are able to beat them you have accomplished something.”

Last week the Lions continued to mend the foundation cracked by early season outcomes with a stellar performance from the defense, intercepting four passes while accumulating six tackles for loss and 11 pass breakups.

That’s a leap in the right direction for a defensive unit that struggled through the first two weeks.

“We knew we could be a good defense, we felt like we were kind of stabbing ourselves in the foot,” said senior corner Breon Matlock. “Confidence-wise, we have always had confidence, we still have confidence.”

Leading the unit were senior safety Gaige Washington, who had 16 total tackles against Washburn, and junior Deon Price, who accounted for five of the team’s 11 total pass breakups and two of the unit’s interceptions.

The Lion offense made its contributions in the air as well as on the ground, racking up five touchdowns on the ground by four different carriers to go along with an 80-yard touchdown pass from junior backup quarterback Scott Lathrop to sophomore running back Chris Jeffries.

Lathrop went 5-5, passing for 119 yards and the touchdown.

Next up for the Lions will be a rematch of last season’s home opener against Central Oklahoma. Southern took the victory by a 52-38 score last year, but this time the Lions must travel to Edmond for the road showdown with the Bronchos.