Texans Roll Over Aggies
Updated: October 26, 2015
By Justine Gaskamp – OPSU Sports Information
Stephenville, Texas—The Aggies’ four-game winning streak was snapped on Saturday with a bitter 37-point loss to Tarleton State in an offensive shootout with OPSU’s second Lone Star Conference opponent this season.
Every possession of the first quarter resulted in a touchdown as the Aggies went point for point with the Texans and ended the first fifteen minutes with a tied score of 21-21. After a 26-yard opening kickoff return, Tarleton went 69 yards in two plays for the first TD of the game. Zacari Lavender responded with a big 60-yard return and Shane Truelove then led the Aggie offense the rest of the way and put seven on the board for OPSU. Another Texan score was answered by Christopher McClendon who racked up 31 yards rushing in the next series and a tying touchdown to even the score once again. Eight plays later the Texans found the end zone for the third time and, again the Aggies came back on a 43-yard completion from Truelove to Devyn Williams for another TD and a tied end to the first quarter.
Tarleton kept things rolling in the second quarter scoring three more touchdowns and holding the Aggies to one. In the final minute of the half Andrew Hernandez came through clutch with an unbelievable jump-catch in the end zone from a 27-yard Truelove pass that was up for grabs. After two quarters of play OPSU totaled 242 yards of total offense to Tarleton’s 325.
Coming out of the break the Texans held a 15-point lead (42-27); but the home crowd was calmed by a return by Zacari Lavender on the opening kickoff, that went end-to-end for a 100-yard touchdown to pull the Aggies within nine points. The Aggie defense got a stop on the next series thanks to a sack by Sequoia Smith and Sheldon Catley on a third-and-nine play, sending the Texans back for a four-yard loss and forcing them to punt for the first time in the game. Tarleton’s defense then held OPSU to eight yards and a three-and-out on the next drive and made up for lost ground with a quick TD on the ensuing series. Down 56-33 with 5:43 left in the third quarter, Truelove fought back from a sack and marched the Aggies 67 yards in 11 plays and put Devyn Williams in the end zone with a 25-yard completion to make it a 16-point game as the clocked ticked down. The Aggie defense got their first three-and-out on Tarleton’s final possession of the quarter.
The fourth quarter got out of hand in a hurry as the Texans recovered an Aggie fumble in the red zone and capitalized with a touchdown on the next play. The offense was grounded as the Texans held OPSU to just three yards and a forced punt on the next drive. The Texans then put together a series of nine passes and two runs that went 71 yards for another Tarleton touchdown driving the score up to a thirty-point lead with less than ten minutes to play (70-40). Not relenting, the Aggies went 74 yards on the following drive and sent Eddie Thomas in for the score on a 20-yard complete pass by Truelove. But the Aggie offense could muster no more and were silenced for the remainder of the game. The Texans drove 11 plays and 75 yards to go up 77-47 and then put the preverbal nail in the coffin on a bobbled punt snap by the Aggies that gave Tarleton the ball on the OPSU six-yard line and the go-ahead for a final TD in closing minutes of the game.
Head Coach Russell Gaskamp commented after the game, “I am disappointed that we weren’t able to compete tonight. I thought we were in a better position to compete, but we just didn’t get it done, especially on defense.” Remarking on missed opportunities in the second half Gaskamp added, “Every time we’d get within striking distance, we’d commit a critical error like a bobbled snap, or a missed fourth down conversion or a penalty.” He inserted a positive note saying, “I thought Shane played very well and had a big game with five touchdowns and no interceptions. I’m pleased with how he performed.”
Offensively the Aggies were equally balanced totaling 218 yards in both rushing and passing for 436 total yards in the game. Leading the Aggie offense was quarterback Shane Truelove who went 18-36 passing for five touchdowns; Truelove also led the team in rushing with 95 yards on 17 carries for an average of 5.6 yards per rush. Chris McClendon totaled 92 yards on 20 carries and Rod Moore averaged 4.8 yards on eight attempts. Leading the receiving core was Devyn Williams who earned 105 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions. The Texans finished with 658 yards on offense; 245 rushing and 413 passing as starting quarterback Zed Woerner went the full 60 minutes completing 29 of 40 passes for five touchdowns.
Zacari Lavender was lights out on kickoff return racking up 207 yards on five returns; Lavender was the team leader in all-purpose yards with 235 total yards on the game. The Aggie defense struggled throughout the game but came away with three sacks. Senior Xazier Murry and junior John Libby led in tackling with eight apiece; Murry, Darnell Reed and Michael Weaver were each credited with pass breakups.
Back on their home turf this week, the Aggies look to bounce back against Texas College with a Halloween match-up starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31. With free admission for all, Coach Gas hopes to see a full house. Fans are encouraged to wear costumes to the game and bring donations of baby necessities in lieu of gate fees; cash donations will also be accepted with all proceeds benefitting the Panhandle Services for Children. Saturday’s “Go, Fright, Win” game is sponsored by Village Tours.