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Cards extend win streak to five

LU’s Jordan Hoy, 8, runs the ball while dodging defenders during the 38-9 win against Houston Baptist at Provost Umphrey Stadium, Saturday. UP photo by Abigail Pennington
LU’s Jordan Hoy, 8, runs the ball while dodging defenders during the 38-9 win against Houston Baptist at Provost Umphrey Stadium, Saturday. UP photo by Abigail Pennington

The Lamar University football team extended their winning streak to five games with a 38-9 victory over the Houston Baptist Huskies at Provost Umphrey Stadium, Saturday. The win secured the Cardinals a winning season as they moved to 6-4 overall and 5-3 in Southland Conference play.

“It was a win,” head coach Mike Schultz said. “It probably wasn’t pretty at times, but it was a win. I thought our kids did a great job. We’re excited. This is the first time they have won five straight games since 1972 and is only the fifth time in 30 years that they have had a winning season — that’s a big deal. That’s something that we have worked for. We went into the season and the first goal we wanted to catch was to get a winning season, and our kids got that accomplished.”

The first Cardinal touchdown came within four minutes of kickoff at the end of a 12-play 81-yard drive that saw LU running-back A.J. Walker rush for two yards to the HBU five-yard line before Kirkland Banks took the ball the rest of the way to be the first with points on the board, 6-0. Kicker Elvin Martinez sailed the ball into the upper right corner of the goal post to boost the score to 7-0.

Minutes later, LU junior Garrison Mitchell intercepted a pass by HBU quarterback Bailey Zappe returning the ball for 76 yards to make it all the way to HBU territory before being stopped just shy of the end zone. LU starting quarterback Jordan Hoy completed a quick pass to tight-end Case Robinson for the remaining 16 yards, with a point after, to give Lamar a 14-0 advantage to end the first quarter.

Houston Baptist came into the second quarter ready to fight as they held off the Lamar offense for the first 11 minutes to give themselves a chance to score. The touchdown finally came after a long 15-play 96-yard drive that led HBU’s Racine David 14 yards into the Cardinal end zone to close the gap to 14-7 with five minutes left in the half.

The ball traded hands for the next few minutes as neither team could seem to find the gap, until, a 56-yard punt by HBU kicker Tyler Blanchard put the Cardinals on their own 2-yard line to start the drive. Backed up against their own end zone, the Cardinals struggled to get out of the bind but ended up being pushed backward for a safety to add two points to the Huskies score, 14-9.

The Lamar defense responded on the next play sacking Zappe who fumbled the ball to allow LU’s Chaston Brooks to scoop the ball up and run the 47 yards for a touchdown. Kick attempt was good and both teams headed into the locker room with Lamar up 21-9.

“I feel like we were just at a stall as a team and that play really just got our momentum going back again and got our juices flowing — it was a big play,” senior linebacker Chaston Brooks said. “Coach called a blitz. I was blitzing off the edge and all I saw was the ball in the air, so I just took it and made sure I held onto it. Last year, I dropped a ball so I told myself to just carry it, tuck high and tight and make sure I scored. As soon as I got it, I just said, ‘Tuck it and score, tuck it and score.’”

The third quarter was a battle of defense and offense that Lamar finally won in the final three minutes of the quarter when Hoy rushed the ball for 23 yards to the HBU 46-yard line for a first down. A quick throw by Hoy to Robinson on the next play landed the ball into Husky territory to add another six points to the LU score before Martinez hit another kick attempt to lead HBU 28-9 to end the third quarter.

The Huskies would attempt to score a few more times in the remainder of the game, but the Lamar defense stayed vigilant holding off the HBU advance. Lamar added another touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter with a Myles Wanza 22-yard rush at the end of a 3-play 50-yard drive, 35-9. LU would score just one more time with a field goal by Martinez to finish the game 38-9.

Hoy led the team with 111-yards, two touchdowns and 91-yards rushing. Wanza followed with 89-yards rushing.

“I’m very proud of them,” Schultz said. “I’m very happy for the seniors. They’ve been here working their tails off and providing leadership for the program. They deserve to go out in their last home game like they did. We still have one more game against McNeese, an extremely good football team and an extremely good defensive team. We will celebrate this win and then turn our attention towards McNeese.”

Lamar will play their final game of the season at McNeese State, Saturday, at 3 p.m. in Lake Charles, La.

Story by Cassandra Jenkins, UP editor

Category: Sports