Lions outlast Demons on game-winning field goal


Symiah Dorsey/The Lion's Roar

Senior center Drew Jones checks Northwestern State’s defensive line prior to snapping the ball to senior quarterback Cole Kelley. The Lions moved to 2-1 on the spring season after defeating the Demons at home .

With the score tied 24-24 and seconds remaining on the clock, fans in Strawberry Stadium anticipated overtime for Saturday night’s football game against Northwestern State.

The No. 18 Lions left no room for the Demons to get away and shocked the stadium with a 27-24 victory. Junior Mateo Rengifo kicked the game-winning 21-yard field goal with two seconds left in the game, securing the Lions’ second win of the season.

Following a slow start on offense in the first half, the Lions fought to revive themselves from the 10-point fourth quarter deficit, attaining the final 13 points of the game. 

“There are some similarities this week to how we played last week,” senior quarterback Cole Kelley said. “I felt like we were moving the ball pretty well, but it was little things like penalties and turnovers and me taking a sack. Things like that are drive killers, so we just have to minimize those mistakes.”

Picking up momentum in the second half, junior wide receiver CJ Turner became Kelley’s top target as he hauled in nine passes for 127 yards.

Kelley commented on Turner’s leadership and performance throughout the night.

He said, “Coach Stevens called some good plays. I tried to throw it to other guys, and CJ was open. Big players make big plays in big time situations, and that’s exactly what CJ Turner did. That’s the epitome of a big player right there. He’s a professional and a real good leader on our team, and I know I can always count on him when things get rocky.”

Morgan Ellison, junior running back, dominated the ground game with 10 carries for 81 yards.

“Props to our offensive line and our wide receivers and tight ends for blocking, and all of our backs. Morgan is a beast. We’ve been knowing that, so it’s really nice to have him on our side,” Kelley said.

On the defensive end, senior linebacker Alexis Ramos racked up 17 tackles. Ramos said the team’s performance allowed him to play well.

“I was just trying to help out my team the best way I could, which was running to the ball. Our defensive line did a great job taking out the double teams and making me come free and making plays. It took a team effort. Everyone did their jobs and made it easier for me to make the plays,” Ramos said.

Kelley also commended the team’s defense, complimenting junior defensive back Ferlando Jordan for his two field goal blocks.

“Props to our defense. In my opinion, you can really tell the heart of the defense in their mentality and how much effort they put into blocking field goals—even if it’s just extra points. Guys like Ferlando Jordan flying off the edge, to me, that’s the making of a good defense. They never give up,” Kelley said.

The Lions will hit the road on March 20 for a face-off against No. 25 Incarnate Word in San Antonio at 2 p.m.