Football team records first shutout since 2006

Before The Chart could publish it’s first issue, Bart Tatum’s 2010 team had a win under its belt.

In their opening game last Thursday, the Lions hosted the Minnesota State University-Moorhead Dragons.

Southern sent a statement with a resounding 30-0 drumming of their non-conference opponent.

The defensive shutout was the first by Missouri Southern since 2006.

On offense, Southern used three rushing touchdowns and three field goals to cruise to their season and home-opening victory.

First-year starter at running back Steven Sumpter started slow before breaking a 65-yard touchdown run as time expired in the first quarter.

The Edmond, Okla. product ran free for the rest of the game, finishing with another score and 141 yards on the ground.

“Coach called a draw, Anthon [Aiono, senior fullback] once again led me through the hole,” Sumpter said of his 65-yard run. “The whole offensive line did a great job blocking, doing their assignments.

“I went through the hole, saw a read to the left, saw the safety crept up a little bit, made him miss and I found myself in the end zone.

“It was very exciting.”

Those two scampers combined with Collin Howard’s rushing touchdown on the goal line and Dallas Herndon’s three kicks through the uprights rounded out Southern’s scoring on the night.

“Our running game was pretty good and our guys played hard on both sides of the ball,” Tatum said.

“Effort was not an issue. From a defensive perspective there were a couple of times, same players at the safety position and linebacker position, a play was right there and they didn’t just stick it up in there and make the play.

“They kind of waited on the play to come to them, which is not how we play defense.

“That’s not how we can afford to play defense.”

Despite the relatively easy victory, Southern did not play a perfect game, fumbling six times and losing three of the loose balls. However, the Lions’ defense had two interceptions.

“On the offensive side of the ball, I knew what I was going to see,”

Tatum said. “In terms of the mistakes we made related to procedures, substitution problems.

“Those type of issues we have to gain a lot of progress this weekend.”

In the second game on their docket, the Lions host the Lincoln University Blue Tigers tomorrow at 6 p.m.

The contest will be Lincoln’s season opener which Tatum believes could create an advantage in Southern’s favor.

“There’s a conditioning component to football that you cannot get in practice,” he said. “You have to play the games, and we’ve got one under out belt so that does give us a slight advantage.

“Although you really aren’t into football condition as a team until game four, game five when you start hitting that groove and you’ve got half the season under your belt.”