Lions back in win column

Lions back in win column

Lions back in win column

Jordan Larimore

In the last two weeks, Bart Tatum has seen one homecoming spoiled, and another rejoiced.

On Oct. 10 the Lions traveled to Maryville, Mo. where Tatum spent 12 seasons as an assistant coach for the Northwest Missouri State University Bearcats before coming to Missouri Southern.

In a forgettable performance, the Lions were handed their fifth loss of the season, and third straight, by a score of 52-6. Johnny Johnson was the only Lion who managed to put up points in the contest.

“You dwell on it for a little bit ’cause you don’t like to lose but you just gotta get past it,” said defensive lineman Kenny Smith. “Practice even harder. But every loss is tough to get over, especially a loss like that.”

Northwest used a potent aerial attack to down Southern, with 453 passing yards and six touchdowns. Southern struggled to move the football as they totaled only 207 yards of offense.

“It’s definitely something you want to move on from as soon as possible,” said center Chris Norris after the defeat. “As soon as the game’s over that’s when you want to move on and just kind of forget about that. We definitely feel like we worked hard this offseason and it’d be an injustice to ourselves if we didn’t try to win all four games.”

The next week, however, proved much different for the Lions. In one of their last home games of 2009, Southern hosted Truman State University.

The Bulldogs came in on a five-game skid of their own, a stretch in which they’d been outscored 225-48. Their fortunes wouldn’t improve much as the Lions extended their losing streak to six, denying Truman their first conference win of the season.

Despite two interceptions, two botched punt-returns and a blocked punt, Southern got their second win of the season 20-16.

“We had a terrific game last week in the sense that we beat Truman,” Tatum said. “And we did do that, I mean that was a win that we earned.”

The Lions trailed until the third quarter, after their second failed punt return led to a Bulldogs rushing touchdown to go up 7-0. Southern’s ensuing drive marched deep into enemy territory, but the series stalled and the Lions would settle for a field goal.

After Truman added a field goal of their own, the Lions had a pivotal drive when what would have been Roland Thompson’s third interception was erased by an offsides penalty, which led to a long scoring pass to Daniel Thompson to tie the game at 10.

The teams again traded field goals, Southern’s a 47-yard boot from Andrew Gassen, as the Bulldogs took the lead on their first drive of the fourth quarter 16-13 until Thompson found Landon Zerkel on a 30-yard score for the final touchdown of the day.

Tomorrow, the Lions will begin their final road-trip of the year as they take on Missouri Western University in St. Joseph.

The Griffons are ranked second in the MIAA with a 7-1 overall record, including 5-1 in conference.

“Things will get a little bit rougher, it’ll be a little bit rougher road this week against Missouri Western,” Tatum said. “I truly believe they’re as good as advertised, advertised meaning a number twelve national ranking”

While Southern faced the Bulldogs last Saturday, Missouri Western was busy celebrating their homecoming with a 36-21 defeat of Central Missouri.