PINEVILLE, La. (LC) - The Border Claw will stay in Texas for another year. Louisiana College could not overcome a 34-7 halftime deficit on Saturday night against rival East Texas Baptist University despite their best efforts in the second half.
Four costly turnovers and missed opportunities throughout the night killed the Wildcats’ chances of regaining the coveted trophy, falling 48-27 at the end of the night. The Wildcats will look to bounce back as Belhaven University comes to town next Saturday for a Homecoming affair at Wildcat Stadium.
The Wildcats found themselves behind to their opponent once again on Saturday as EBTU scored on their second drive of the night with a long touchdown pass to jump ahead 7-0 just three minutes into the game. LC could not take advantage of the recovery of a muffed punt following their next drive, missing a field goal after getting the ball at the plus 36 yard line. The Tigers made them pay with a touchdown pass on their next trip.
The Wildcat did get on the board before the end of the quarter on their next drive with a quick four-play series that ended with a 54-yard strike to JoJo Robinson to cut the lead down to 13-7. That would be the last score for the Wildcats in the half however as they turned the ball over on downs twice, punted twice, and committed three turnovers on their next seven possessions. The heartbreaker coming on the final play of the half as Mason Jordan was picked off for the second time in three attempts that led to an 88-yard return for a touchdown as time expired in the half to give the Tigers a commanding 34-7 lead at the break.
A long punt return set up the next ETBU score late in the third quarter that gave them a 41-7 lead with 4:39 left in the quarter. Seemingly at the end of their rope the Wildcats began their fight back into the game. A strip sack by T. J. Gray gave the ball to the Wildcats at their own 39-yard line, and just five plays later Drake Battaglia found himself in the endzone with the first of his three consecutive touchdown receptions. None of the three scoring drives took more than five player or more than 90 seconds off the game clock and suddenly the game was within reach at 41-27 with still 11 minutes remaining.
With all the momentum on their side, it would be another special teams play that turned the tide. A 50-yard kickoff return by the Tigers setup their answering score to push the lead back to three scores at 48-27. Selling out to try and make up the difference, the ETBU secondary was able to make just enough plays over the next two series to keep the Wildcats from hitting the big play they needed to work their way back again.
The Wildcats will host Belhaven next Saturday night at 6 p.m. on Homecoming as they look to get their first home win of the season. For the full schedule of events leading up to next week’s game visit www.lacollege.edu. 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.