Lions conquer the Wildcats

The Lions have won their Senior Day game and will have the opportunity to finish their third winning season in the past four seasons. To complete this feat, the Lions must defeat the Nicholls State Colonels in the River Bell Classic which the Lions lost last year in Strawberry Stadium.

The Lions have won their Senior Day game and will have the opportunity to finish their third winning season in the past four seasons. To complete this feat, the Lions must defeat the Nicholls State Colonels in the River Bell Classic which the Lions lost last year in Strawberry Stadium.
Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion's Roar

The final game in Strawberry Stadium for the seniors of the Lions football team ended with a 31-19 victory against conference rival Abilene Christian Wildcats. The Senior Day victory gives the Lions a 6-4 overall record and possibly their third winning season in the past four seasons.

“Hard fought football game,” said Head Coach Ron Roberts. “We knew coming that they had been playing some really good football. Thought we had chances to pull away, but we just didn’t get the points when we got down there at times. Our hats off to them. They played hard, but our guys did what they had to do to get the win.”

Thirty minutes prior to the game, the seniors of the team were honored with their families in the middle of the field.

“Those seniors have done a fabulous job,” said Roberts. “We’ve had some seniors who have played well. We really appreciate what they have done for Southeastern Athletics and the football program. I hope we can turn around next week and get one more win for them.”

The seniors on the team are quarterbacks Justin Alo and D’Shaie Landor, running backs Rasheed Harrell and Kaelyn Henderson, fullback Juwaan Rogers, wide receivers Brandon Acker and Da’Quan Smith, defensive back Will Hines, linebackers Tre’ Bennett and Caleb Young, offensive linemen Justin Barksdale and Taylor Gadbois, defensive linemen Miki Fangatua, Anthony Murphy, Javari Nichols, Solomon Parker, Jon Taylor and Trent Williams.

“I tried not to get in my emotions,” said Rogers. “It was a bittersweet moment. I’m gonna miss playing in the stadium and practicing everyday. Gameday in Strawberry Stadium, I’m going to miss that.”

Alo threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns after missing the previous game. He has 14 touchdowns for the season which has him tied for the 10th highest season in school history.

“He made some nice throws and the receivers made some nice catches,” said Roberts. “I thought he had more of a complete game with only one interception and the ability to run the ball and all of those things. It would not surprise me to see them do it next week as well.” 

Acker had five catches and a touchdown, his seventh of the season, which ties for the sixth best single-season total. 

Sophomore Julius Maracalin got over 100 yards rushing for the second game in a row with a team leading 123 yards rushing and a touchdown.

“I want to thank the offensive line for helping me to achieve that goal,” said Maracalin. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here. It’s a mind thing. Once my mind gets set on doing it, I just keep going and keep moving forward.”

The Lions defense held the Wildcats to only 29 yards rushing, forced two turnovers and had four sacks in the game. Roberts was pleased by the performance of the defense.

“I thought we controlled the rushing game and put them in different passing situations,” said Roberts. “Their quarterback is a good player. He scrambled and tried to make some good plays.”

The last game of the regular season will be at Nicholls State this Thursday at 6 p.m. in the River Bell Classic which the Colonels won at Strawberry Stadium last season. 

“I’m putting this game behind me right now, so I can go watch some film on Nicholls,” said Rogers. “This game is pretty big. It gives us a chance to win out and to make the playoffs, but it also gives a chance to get payback from last year. This game will be very intense, and we’re going to be ready for it.”

18 seniors played their last home game of their college careers and will play their final regular season game against Nicholls State this Thursday.

18 seniors played their last home game of their college careers and will play their final regular season game against Nicholls State this Thursday. 
Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion's Roar

The Lions have won their Senior Day game and will have the opportunity to finish their third winning season in the past four seasons. To complete this feat, the Lions must defeat the Nicholls State Colonels in the River Bell Classic which the Lions lost last year in Strawberry Stadium.

The Lions have won their Senior Day game and will have the opportunity to finish their third winning season in the past four seasons. To complete this feat, the Lions must defeat the Nicholls State Colonels in the River Bell Classic which the Lions lost last year in Strawberry Stadium.
Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion's Roar

The Lions have won their Senior Day game and will have the opportunity to finish their third winning season in the past four seasons. To complete this feat, the Lions must defeat the Nicholls State Colonels in the River Bell Classic which the Lions lost last year in Strawberry Stadium.

The Lions have won their Senior Day game and will have the opportunity to finish their third winning season in the past four seasons. To complete this feat, the Lions must defeat the Nicholls State Colonels in the River Bell Classic which the Lions lost last year in Strawberry Stadium.
Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion's Roar