December 12, 2017

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Wildcats Lose Another Heartbreaker

A new week and a new heartbreak for the Louisiana College football team as Sul Ross State University escaped Wildcat Stadium with a 34-31 win Saturday night. A 27-yard field goal as time expired was the final dagger for the Wildcats after erasing a two score deficit in the second half. The loss drops the Wildcats to 1-3 on the season and 0-3 in American Southwest Conference play. LC travels to Texas Lutheran University next week for a conference bout with the Bulldogs.

 

A long opening drive by the Lobos ended with the first big play of the night for the Wildcats, as cornerback Doriel Yeager ripped the ball away from a receiver in his own endzone to prevent the score and give LC the ball on the turnover. Neither team produced much offense the rest of the very fast first quarter and Sul Ross began another drive that went nine plays and led to the first score of the game, a 29-yard field goal from Eli Lopez, two minutes into the second quarter.

 

Three plays and punt by the Wildcats gave the ball back to the Lobos with good field position, who took the ball into the endzone after a 21-yard completion set them up inside the LC 10 yard line. Now down 10-0 the Wildcats looked to get a much-needed score, but a fumble on the 10th play of a very promising drive, ended those hopes. The Lobos however returned the favor as senior Willie Smith made a diving interception at midfield to give the ball right back to the Cats three plays later.

 

This time LC would capitalize, thanks in large part to the play of receiver Shedrick Davis. A 30-yard pass to Davis down the sideline put the Wildcats in Lobo territory, and Davis finished the drive with a jump ball in the endzone for his first score of the game, to put LC back in contention. The half would end during the Lobos ensuing drive but not before some foreshadowing from the officiating crew. It appeared as if time had expired in the half on a pass play that put the Lobos at the LC 34-yard line, but one second was added back to the clock for one final play in the half. Quarterback James Davis scrambled for 22 yards to the LC 12 before being tackled and ending the half, but the precedent had been set for what was to come later.

 

An LC fumble to start the second half, put Sul Ross in prime position to start the third quarter, which they took advantage of, scoring on a 3rd-and-goal pass four plays after the turnover to take a 17-6 lead less than two minutes into the second half. After forcing a Lobo punt on their next drive, the Wildcats and quarterback D’Ondre Joseph engineered one of their best drives of the night, going 80 yards in 13 plays that ended in Joseph’s first rushing touchdown of the season. A successful two-point conversion pass to Leondre James pulled the Wildcats back within three at 17-14.

 

Another Lobo punt gave the ball back to the Wildcats, and set the stage for another big play for LC. On third and 10 at their on 24 yard line, Joseph found Shed Davis over the middle of the field and the senior playmaker was off to the races, breaking tackles all the way to the endzone to put the Wildcats on top for the first time 21-17. The jubilation was short lived though as Sul Ross answered on a 62-yard pitch down the left sideline to regain the lead 90 seconds later.

 

On their first drive of the fourth quarter, it was another huge third down play that turned the tide back in the Wildcats favor. Joseph found a wide-open Drake Battaglia running down the far sideline, hitting him in stride for a 66-yard touchdown pass to put the Cats back on top 28-24 at the 11:05 mark of the fourth. As they had before, Sul Ross found an answer on their next possession. A critical defensive holding penalty on fourth down extended the drive for Sul Ross that ended in a touchdown pass to retake the lead.

 

The teams traded punts on their next two turns and the Wildcats got the ball back with 3:24 remaining and a chance to tie or win the game. A well executed and managed drive put LC inside the Sul Ross 10 yard line, but the Wildcats weren’t able to punch it in the endzone, settling for a 29-yard field goal from Curtis Sebren to tie the game with 25 ticks left.

 

A 41-yard kickoff return gave Sul Ross the ball in LC territory and a chance to go for the win, instead of having to deciding whether to settle things in overtime. A completed pass on the right side for 18 yards and a tackle in bounds appeared to end the game, but as had already happened in the game, one second was put back on the clock and a timeout granted to Sul Ross. Even after an attempt by the Wildcats to ice the kicker with a timeout, SRSU’s Lopez knocked the through the uprights, as the horn sounded for a second time in the fourth quarter, giving the Lobos the dramatic victory.

 

The Wildcats won almost every statistical category, putting up over 500 yards on the conference’s third best defense. D’Ondre Joseph passed for 382 yards on 22-of-37 passing with three touchdowns, adding 68 yards and a score on the ground. His top target on the night, Shedrick Davis, caught nine balls for 189 yards and two touchdowns. The receptions move him into third all-time in school history at 169 and his 189 yards moves him past Schuyler Anderson for third in receiving yards at 2,462.

 

Defensively, Wildcats linebacker Ryan DeMattie had another double-digit tackle night with 11 total stops and 2.0 tackles for loss. Orel Ledet, Jr. led the Cats with 13 tackles in the game and one pass breakup.

 

LC travels to Seguin, TX next week for a date with Texas Lutheran as they continue to search for the first ASC win in head coach Justin Charles’ tenure. Stay connected to Louisiana College football by following @LC_ftball on Twitter or liking LC Athletics on Facebook.

About Andy Bryson 572 Articles
Founder of Louisiana Gridiron Football and football coach