Heartbreaking Homecoming

The Lion’s Roar / Kelli  Meynard

The Lions went into their Homecoming game with high expectations and met these expectations by opening the game with a 20-0 lead.

The Lions lost their Homecoming Game against Stephen F. Austin this past Saturday with the ending score 27-28. The Homecoming Game presented an opportunity for the Lions to bounce back from the loss they suffered to McNeese State on October 10. This is the Lions’ first loss at home since December 14, 2013 to New Hampshire.

Head coach Ron Roberts was not happy about the loss    

“We had plenty of chances to knock this thing away and we did not do it,” said Roberts. “I’m not really happy with a lot people and with a lot of things and not happy with myself.”

The game certainly started in the Lions’ favor. After three punts to start the first quarter, one of them was fumbled by the Lions and recovered by Lumberjack sophomore wide receiver Robert Sylvester.

Another fumble occurred in the first quarter, this time by the Lumberjacks, and was recovered by junior linebacker Tre’ Bennett for a touchdown bringing the score to 7-0 at 8:39.

With 4:48 left in the first quarter, Lions junior quarterback D’shaie Landor threw a short pass to senior wide receiver Byron Johnson who ran it the rest of the way for a 76 yard touchdown. After, a point field goal was blocked by Lumberjacks, making it 13-0.

Senior running back Xavier Roberson was injured towards the end of the first quarter and did not return to the game.

On the Lions’ first drive of the second quarter, Landor connected to senior wide receiver Chris Briggs on a 26 yard touchdown pass. The drive lasted 6 plays and 81 yards; it was the first touchdown in Briggs’ career as a Lion.

The momentum going into half time changed after a substitution was made by the Lumberjacks at quarterback. Junior quarterback Hunter Taylor threw two touchdown passes before the second half. The first one to senior wide receiver Braxton Bearden, making the score 20-7 and the second touchdown to junior wide receiver De’Quann Ruffin on a drive around the end of the half that took 22 seconds. The score going into half time was 20-14.

On the first drive in the third quarter Lions freshman running back Julius Maracalin ran 63 yards for a touchdown. This was his first touchdown as a Lion.

On a drive by the Lumberjacks in which the Lions committed two penalties, one of them being a targeting penalty by senior defensive back Josh Dakin that got him disqualified, the Lumberjacks found the end zone on a 13 yard pass from Hunter to Ruffin, bringing the game to a score of 27-21.

Down the stretch in the fourth quarter with the clock winding down, the Lumberjacks put on a critical drive getting within the 20 yard line. After a pass to the end zone, Pass Interference was called, putting the Lumberjacks at the 2 yard line with 1:43 left in the game.

After 16 plays the Lumberjacks finally punched it in the end zone, giving them their first lead of the game. The situation was set with the score being 27-28 with 38 seconds left in the game.

The Lumberjacks kicked the ball out of bounds, but the Lions chose to decline the penalty and instead have the Lumberjacks re-kick. The Lions started their drive at the 24 yard line with 27 seconds to go in the Game.

The Lions attempted to throw the ball downfield, but unfortunately no receivers could get open. Lions quarterback Landor then settled for a short pass to a receiver who then lateraled the ball to another receiver, but could not get out of bounds or in the end zone, thus ending the game with a score of 27-28.

The Homecoming Game was not a total loss for fans. The Homecoming winner was announced, the Homecoming King and Queen was crowned, and alumni were present at the game. One of the alumni there was Atlanta Falcons cornerback and Hammond native Robert Alford.

“It feels good just to be back out here just to be able to see these guys and give so much support these guys tonight on their Homecoming” said Alford. “And just coming back to see some of the old coaches is great.”

The loss puts the Lions’ record at 3-3 overall and tied for 3rd place in the conference.

“Well, next week is a new game” said Roberts. “Biggest thing right now is the blow to our confidence and we got to make sure we get that back and get our kids believing in what we’re doing.”

The Lions’ next game will be an away game against Houston Baptist University on October 24.