From Staff Reports
Sulphur Springs teams will continue to be very busy in basketball action, despite school being out for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Special to the News-Telegram
COMMERCE – The fourth-seeded Texas A&M University-Commerce football team scored two touchdowns in the early stages of the third quarter to take a three-score lead and never looked back in a 34-23 win over fifth-seeded Colorado Mesa University in the first round of the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, A&M-Commerce wins an NCAA playoff game for the first time since 1991, which was also the last time the Lions hosted a postseason game in Commerce. The Lions are 2-0 all-time in the NCAA playoffs at home.
The Lions are now 11-1 on the season and advance to the second round of the playoffs, where they will play the top seed in Super Region Four – Grand Valley State. Kickoff against the Lakers (11-0) is set for 1 p.m. Eastern (Noon Central) at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale, Mich, on Saturday, Nov. 26.
More information on tickets and how to watch the game will be made available early this week.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- A&M-Commerce won the turnover battle by a 5-to-1 margin, extending the Lions advantage as the national leader in turnover margin.
- CMU outgained A&M-Commerce in total yardage 510 to 337, but also needed 93 offensive plays to gain that compared to the Lions 65 plays.
- The Lions sacked CMU quarterbacks three times and intercepted the ball three times, bumping their season total to 22 interceptions.
- Quarterback Luis Perez completed 17-of-33 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns.
- Gabe Rodriguez accounted for a pair of touchdowns with a 1-yard touchdown carry in the first quarter and a 1-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
- Ovie Urevbu carried the ball 19 times for 109 yards.
- D'Arthur Cowan had six catches for 55 yards. Darby Smith had five catches for 68 yards and a 14-yard touchdown. Vincent Hobbs and John Thomas each also caught touchdown passes.
- Kristov Martinez connected on two field goals, including a season-long 46-yarder in the fourth quarter. He was also 4-of-4 on PATs.
- Brucks Saathoff and Yusef Sterling-Lowe tied for the team lead with 11 tackles and eight solo stops apiece. Saathoff had an interception and Sterling-Lowe forced a fumble and had 1.5 tackles for loss.
- Uriah Harris and Adam Sagapolu had interceptions while Reggie Kincade and Cameron Rogers recovered fumbles for the Lions.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Mavericks took the opening kickoff and marched their way down the field on a long pass play and a steady dose of runs from David Tann. However, the Lions defense stiffened in the redzone. Facing three plays inside the nine-yard line, the Lions held the Mavericks to a field goal after a third and goal throw was dropped in the endzone.
The Lions were forced to punt on their first possession, pinning CMU deep in their own territory. After forcing a punt of their own, the Lions were back on offense.
Receiving the punt at the 29-yard line, the Lions proceeded 71 yards in three plays for a touchdown. A long run by Urevbu, who barely stepped out of bounds after a 45-yard scamper, set up the Lions in enemy territory. After a long pass from Perez to Hobbs was downed at the one, the Lions brought in Rodriguez. He pounded the ball in for the touchdown to give the Lions a 7-3 lead which they took into the end of the first quarter. The Mavericks were again moving down field on their next possession. Inching inside the red zone, CMU's running back was stripped of the ball by Sterling-Lowe and recovered by Rogers.
The Lions drove the ball downfield again, this time with the arm of Perez. The Lions were throwing into the wind on their drive and a long pass was caught by Buck Wilson in between two defenders for 21 yards. The Lions stalled in the red zone and Martinez kicked a 27-yard field goal to put the Lions up 10-3.
The Mavericks drove just past midfield on their next possession but a long field goal with the wind at their back was left short to keep the Lion lead at seven.
The teams traded punts before the Lions had one last shot for points. After a long completion, Cowan fumbled the ball and the Mavericks were there for the recovery. CMU then drove down the field but a late interception by Saathoff kept CMU off of the board. The Lions took a 10-3 lead into the half.
The Lions opened the floodgates early in the third quarter. They took the opening kickoff and went to work with three long completions putting the hosts at the 1-yard line. This time Rodriguez faced the rush and threw the ball to a wide open Thomas for the touchdown. The Lions led 17-3 with 9:26 left in the third quarter
On the ensuing kickoff, the kick caught the wind, causing two Maverick players to run into each other. The ball deflected off of one of the players and was recovered by Reggie Kincade. It took the Lions three plays to score another touchdown, this time on a 9-yard rush by Urevbu. The Lions led 24-3 with eight minutes to play in the third.
The Mavericks responded with their first touchdown drive of the game. A 30-yard rushing touchdown by Beverly and a failed conversion off of a bad snap on the PAT cut the Lion lead to 24-9 going into the final quarter.
The Mavericks scored another touchdown in the early stages of the fourth quarter. Rubulcaba hit Marcus Hines for a 26-yard touchdown to cut the Lion lead to 24-16.
After trading punts twice, the Mavericks again had the ball inside Lion territory. Being rushed by the defense, Rubalcaba overthrew his intended receiver and Sagapolu intercepted it and returned the ball 58 yards to the 14-yard line. On the next play, Perez hit Smith for a touchdown to put the Lions up 31-16.
With 4:24 to go in the contest, Martinez nailed his season-long 46-yard field goal to push the lead to 34-16 and put the game out of reach.
The Mavericks scored another touchdown late in the game to cut the lead to 11 after a Lion field goal but the Lions recovered the onside kick attempt to keep the ball. They punted and downed the ball deep into Maverick territory. CMU attempted one final drive but it was stopped on a fourth down play and the Lions ran out the clock on their first NCAA playoff win in 25 years.
By DON WALLACE
News-Telegram Sports Editor
HUGO, Okla. — The Sulphur Springs Lady Cats padded their season record to 3-1, downing Hugo 51-40 in a Friday night battle north of the Red River.
By DON WALLACE
News-Telegram Sports Editor
PALESTINE — Turnovers and missed opportunities doomed Cumby as the Trojans fell 28-6 here Friday to Iola in the Class 2A, DII football playoffs.