A Happy Homecoming for Aggies and Alumni
Updated: October 11, 2015
By Justine Gaskamp on 10/11/2015
Goodwell, Okla.—A week of Homecoming activities and events were capped off by a big win Saturday afternoon as OPSU Football defeated Southwestern University 56-24 in front of a great crowd of Aggie fans and Oklahoma Panhandle State University alumni.
The Aggies kept the scoreboard rolling, scoring in each quarter they opened with 28 points in the first fifteen minutes of play and owned a 35-17 lead going into the break. The Aggie defense tightened up in the third quarter and held the Pirates to zero point s with just 52 yards on offense and less than five minutes in time of possession. The Aggies came out with seven points in the third and fourteen in the fourth and gave up one TD to the Pirates to take the 35-point victory.
Southwestern was shut down on their opening drive for a three-and-out by the Aggie defense. The Aggies took possession on their own 46 with quarterback Shane Truelove at the helm, and went the distance for a touchdown by Chris McClendon in an 11-play series that knocked over three minutes off the clock. Another three-and-out for the Darkside Defense put the ball back in Truelove’s hands for a TD pass to Rod Moore who went 61 yards for the second score of the day. The Pirates were forced to punt for the third time and, once again, the Aggies found the endzone on a 15-yard pass from Truelove to Devyn Williams giving OPSU a 21-0 advantage. The Pirates then found an opportunity and took it with a 65-yard pass for a touchdown. Truelove answered on the ensuing drive with a 37-yard completion to Beau Avila and the first quarter ended with a score of 28-7 in favor of the home team.
On their first drive of the second quarter, the Pirates were pillaged by the Aggie defense who held them to zero yards on six plays thanks to combined efforts of Glenn Bonner and Tanner Hallford who each had tackles for loss in the series. Brandon Ramon came in at QB and, with the help of running back Rod Moore and Eddie Thomas, added points to the board with another Aggie touchdown. A long Southwestern drive followed taking 5:32 off the clock and ended with a 35-yard field goal for the Pirates. Penalties held the Aggies back on the resulting series and the Pirates came back for more scoring seven points in the closing minutes of the quarter, and giving the Aggies something to think about during the halftime break.
A well-contained third quarter left the Pirates scoreless as the Aggie defense shut down their running game for negative yardage. The Aggies opened with a long drive of 15 plays that used up over five minutes on the clock. Truelove back at QB threw for 48 yards and a touchdown padding the lead to 42-17. Freshman defensive end, Sequoia Smith stopped Southwestern’s momentum with an interception on a second-down play on the following series and the remainder of the quarter was a defensive battle.
The Aggies held possession going into the fourth and got the quarter off to a great start with a touchdown off a rush by Devyn Williams. A great kickoff by Jacob Test to the SU one-yard line was returned to the SU 25. The Pirates cashed in on two personal foul penalties by OPSU and came away with a touchdown and the point-after to bring the score to 49-24. A 55-yard kickoff return by the fourth-ranked return man in the nation for D-II, Zacari Lavender, set up another Aggie TD ala Chris McClendon. A missed-field goal attempt by the Pirates with under five minutes in the game, did not take the wind out of their sails as the SU defense then forced an OPSU punt. The Aggies responded in kind with consecutive sacks by Kyle Bingham and Darrell Green. Green then forced a fumble on a third-and –three play and recovered the ball at Southwestern’s 39 yard line. The Aggies took the victory formation and ended the game in a fair fashion earning their third win of the season 56-24.
The Aggies totaled 501 yards offensively; 264 rushing and 237 in passing. Chris McClendon led the game in rushing netting 179 yards on 15 runs for an average of 11.9 yards per carry and two touchdowns. Truelove spread the love in the passing game and went 17-27 to ten different targets. Leading the Aggie receiving core was junior Beau Avila who had three reception for 51 yards and one TD and Devyn Williams who scored two touchdowns on three completions for 29 yards. Freshman Eddie Thomas made his mark with two passing TDs and Rod Moore added 61 passing yards to his game on one completion. Truelove was taken for one interception in the second quarter, but remained solid throughout the game totaling four touchdowns on the day.
Coach Gaskamp was pleased with the offensive performance and proud of senior captain McClendon saying, “Chris had a really great game; he is proving to be a great leader on the team.”
Southwestern finished with 352 total yards on offense, the bulk of which came in the pass game as the Aggie defense successfully stopped the rush and held the Pirates to just 64 yards rushing for an average of 1.6 yards per carry and zero TDs. With six sacks on the day and one interception, the Pirates felt the presence of the Aggie defense throughout the game. Leading tacklers were seniors Xazier Murry with eight tackles and one pass-breakup, and Tanner Hallford with seven tackles and three tackles for loss. Senior Glenn Bonner totaled two sacks, two tackles for loss and one pass breakup in the game. Sheldon Catley, Cortney Stinnet, Kyle Bingham and Darrell Green also got in on the action with one sack apiece.
The special teams unit totaled 131 yards on kickoff five kickoff returns; Lavender and Williams each had long returns of 55 and 47 yards respectively and Kameron Wheeler came back with a 13-yard return. Punter Jacob Test made a great save on a bad snap in the fourth quarter and averaged 39 yards on his three punts; long for the day was 49 yards. Nik Clarkson went 100 percent making 8-8 point after touchdown kick attempts.
Gaskamp was excited for the home win and thrilled with the great crowd that showed up to support the Aggies saying, “It was great to get a win in front of a home crowd and especially the alumni. We definitely feed off their energy and appreciate the support from the entire community. I also want to thank our two student sections who showed up to support their fellow Aggies; they looked like they were having a fun time out there.”
He remarked on the coming week, “We will continue working to get better. We have a very important game coming up at McMurry and we need to have a great week of preparation. We haven’t fared too well against them in the past and really need to focus on our discipline and execution.”
The Aggies will have back-to-back road games in Texas starting this week in Abilene with McMurry and following up in Stephenville on Oct. 24 at Tarleton State. Aggie fans can look forward to a fun-filled Halloween as the Aggies return home for a “Go, Fright, Win” game on Saturday, Oct. 31 against Texas College. There are plenty of treats planned for kids of all ages!