Defense leads to week one win


Willie Brown, Director of photography

Sophomores Beau Bounus and Brayden Prough help with blocking drills at practice last week. The Lion offensive line will play a more important role this season than in recent years due to a new option offense installed by first year Head Coach Daryl Daye.

The Missouri Southern football team officially kicked off a new era Thursday night against conference newcomer Central Oklahoma, but it was old habits that led them to success in their 25-20 win.

In the first half alone, the Lion defense was able to create a safety, two fumble recoveries, an interception and a handful of tackles for loss and sacks.

The offense showed flares of brilliance but was incosistent, seemingly unable to capitalize on opportunities created by the defense.

“We had a few slip ups tonight, and we’re going to work on that,” Kellen Cox, senior quarterback, said after the game.

The Lions led by eight going into the half thanks to a pair of touchdowns from full back Anthony Thayer and Cox, along with the safety provided by defensive tackle Brandon Williams.

Cox, a senior, was named the starting quarterback this week. The quarterback-turned wide receiver-turned quarterback again. He was the team’s leading rusher in the first half, a product of coach Daye’s new option offense.

“Sometimes the defense is going to take away the fullback, or they’re going to take away the slotback, and that’s going to leave me open,” Cox said.

In the second half, UCO opened the pass game, beating the Lions deep on a 49-yard touchdown. The Lion offense didn’t have too many big plays of their own. Instead, they worked to grind out yards play after play.

“It’s never about the schemes,” Daye said in an interview with the voice of the Lions, Matt Elliott, after the game. “It’s about those players sucking it up and finishing a football game tonight. You know, Kellen Cox goes out there on fourth down and gets that first down, and that’s what it’s all about.”

As the game was drawing to a close, the Lions were faced with a 4th and short situation. Missing that first down could have spelled disaster for Southern, but Cox was able to pick it up and put the Bronchos away for good.

“It was an exciting game,” Daye said. “It had its ups and downs, and there was a lull in the game. I just thought we missed some big opportunities to win the field position war…”

The Southern football team now comes home to take on Northeastern State next weekend.