PINEVILLE, LA. (KALB) - The Louisiana College football home opener on Saturday night against the #8 ranked Hardin-Simmons University had the early makings of an exciting contest, but the lack of a consistent running game from the Wildcats and some big plays by the Cowboys spelled defeat for LC. HSU score 44 straight points from the middle of the second quarter until late in the fourth to take the 57-21 road win over the Wildcats. LC will take to the road for the next two ASC contests starting with next Saturday’s trip to Southwestern University.
The game started with a bang for the Cowboys as they returned the opening kickoff 91-yards for a score, making it 6-0 after the missed extra point. The Wildcats were not phased as they returned the favor with an impressive 12-play drive engineered by Skyler Bonneau making his home debut behind center. The Cats converted twice on third down before Bonneau found JoJo Robinson for a 17-yard touchdown pass to put the Wildcats ahead 7-6.
The Wildcats extended their lead early in the second after a conversion on fourth and long by Caleb Prejean kept the drive alive with the fake punt. Four plays later Bonneau hit Leondre James for a 29-yard score to give LC a two score lead at 14-6 with 10:38 left in the first half. After an HSU field goal, the Wildcats had a prime chance to add to their lead following a muffed punt and LC recovery at the HSU 25 yard line, but a pair of incompletions and a missed 43-yard field goal left the score at 14-9. The Cowboys would take advantage of the missed opportunity, scoring on three plays following the miss to take the lead back at 16-14 with 5:09 left in the half.
HSU would not look back from that point on, scoring touchdowns on their next four possessions of the game to push their lead to a seemingly insurmountable 43-14 midway through the third quarter. The Wildcats had a pair of crucial turnovers during that stretch that lead to two of the HSU scores, and interception and a fumble.
The final touchdown of the game for LC came late in the final quarter on a 34-yard strike from Bonneau to senior Drake Battaglia, who led the Wildcats with six receptions for 72 yards. The Wildcat running game was held in check throughout the night with the two-headed attack of Aaron Woods and Melvin Young III combining for just 33 yards on the ground.
Despite the tough ending for the Wildcats, fans were able to celebrate in the honoring of longtime LC coach Vance Morris who was joined on the field by over 30 former players at halftime for a special presentation.
The Wildcats travel to Georgetown, Texas next Saturday to take on the Southwestern Pirates in another ASC contest. Stay connected to Louisiana College football by following @LC_ftball on Twitter. For general athletics news follow @LC_Wildcats on Twitter or like Louisiana College Wildcats on Facebook.