Lions ranked first in conference

men tackle each other

Senior linebacker Drew Misita makes a tackle during Saturday’s game versus the University of Central
Arkansas. The Lion defense continued to dominate the Southland Conference opponents,
forcing four turnovers against the Bears.  
The Lion's Roar / Fernanda Chagas

With a raucous Homecoming crowd behind them, the Lions were able to pull away in the fourth quarter in a victory over Central Arkansas over the weekend. The game was played in Strawberry Stadium in Hammond. After a back and forth game in which neither team was able to gain momentum until the final quarter, the Lions ended with the win, 41-24.

Going into the match, both Southeastern (6-2, 4-0 Southland) and the CAU Bears (4-4, 3-1 Southland) were undefeated in conference matchups. Moments before kickoff, a Northwestern State University victory over Sam Houston assured that there would be a new leader atop the Southland Conference. With sole possession of first place on the line, both teams started the game playing with a sense of urgency. 

It did not take long for points to be put on the board, as much of the crowd was still finding their seat when the Bears found their way into the end zone on the opening drive of the game. The drive lasted eight plays, 96 yards and was capped off by an 18 yard run by Willie Matthews.

Senior Bryan Bennett and the Lion offense answered back the very next possession with a 76 yard drive that only took two plays. After a 48 yard pass to senior Devante Scott, Bennett took it upon himself to score and ran the ball 28 yards into the end zone to tie the game up at 7-7.

The Bears continued to put points up on the board following the Lions’ touchdown. Eddie Camara of UCA kicked a field goal from 23 yards out to put the Bears up 10-7.

Hard hitting caused the teams to trade fumbles in the first as both teams tried to establish momentum. Southeastern would score once more before the first quarter was over after junior Xavier Roberson plunged into the end zone from a yard out. 

“Once I get the ball, I just try to run my hardest,” said Roberson.

The second quarter featured less offense from both teams. Southeastern managed to get within range so senior Ryan Adams was able to kick a field goal to put the Lions up 17-10, while the Lion defense shut out the Bear offense from scoring in the quarter. A recent trend from the Lion defense has been the coming out of junior Denzel Thompson. The Florida native secured an interception in the second quarter as the Bears were creeping on Southeastern’s doorstep. 

“I just try to give my all every play,” said Thompson. “We’re going to get beat sometimes, but you have to keep going and keep your head forward. You can’t think about what’s going to happen, you just have to play.”

Adams continued to be clutch with a field goal from 43 yards out in the third quarter. The Bears finally found an answer for the Lions when they drove 62 yards to score a touchdown and bring the game within a field goal. 

A 20-17 lead left many Lion fans nervous as the game entered the fourth quarter. Bennett did his best to pad the lead as he capped off a 62 yard drive by the Lions with a two yard touchdown, and after a successful Adams PAT, the score was 27-17 in the home team’s favor. 

Several drives later, the Bears shifted the momentum in their favor with their second block of the game. This time, the block was returned for a touchdown, bringing UCA back within three points. 

With less than six minutes left in the game, the Lion offense caught fire. Two plays following the blocked punt from UCA, Bennett shook and evaded the Bear’s defense and ran 75 yards to bring the Lions to a 34-24 lead. It was downhill from there as the Lions tacked on one more touchdown from Roberson to end the game. Bennett reflected on the 75 yard run following the game.

“The defense gave me the look to pull the ball,” said Bennett. “We had good blocking up front, the receivers blocked down field. It’s just one of those things where I break a run and I try not to get caught at that point.”

The Lions will travel to Texas to take on Stephen F. Austin this Saturday, Oct. 25. For more information on Southeastern football, go to lionsports.net.