Bulletin Staff Report
PINEVILLE, La. — The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets’ recent troubles on the football field followed them out of state as they were dealt a 39-7 American Southwest Conference loss by the Louisiana College Wildcats Saturday afternoon.
Louisiana College (4-3, 2-3) won its second straight game and opened the partially-completed new Wildcat Field with a homecoming victory over Howard Payne (2-5, 1-3), which dropped its second game in a row.
Howard Payne trailed just 10-0 at halftime, but mustered only 44 yards of total offense in the first two quarters. In the second half, Louisiana College was able to wear down the Jacket defense — which allowed 692 yards last week against Hardin-Simmons — and finished with 514 yards of total offense.
The Yellow Jacket offense, meanwhile, which had shown improvement over the past few weeks, finished with just 133 yards of total offense — including 0 yards rushing on 31 carries — and didn’t score until the fourth quarter.
Howard Payne’s running backs combined for 102 positive yards, but nine Louisiana College sacks resulted in 102 negative yards for the Yellow Jackets, which is tacked on to the rushing total.
Marcus Enis ran for 61 yards on six carries and Jeffery Jefferson added 26 yards on eight attempts for HPU.
Through the air, Zach Hubbard completed 13-of-29 passes for 133 yards and an interception, but he also accounted for Howard Payne’s lone touchdown on a 1-yard run with 10:33 remaining.
Tre Mason caught four passes for 77 yards for the Jackets, followed by three receptions for 23 yards by Edward Cody and two catches for 17 yards by Corbin Young.
Louisiana College quarterback Derek Lewis, fresh off a selection to the D3football.com Team of the Week, completed 24-of-42 passes for 284 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Marcus Preston was the leading Wildcat receiver with seven receptions for 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
On the ground, James Gathright piled up 130 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
The Howard Payne defense was led by Kevin Reyna’s 10 tackles and nine each from B.K. Medlock and Walter Pam. Medlock and Eric Bunch recorded the Yellow Jackets’ two interceptions.
Louisiana College took the lead with 5:23 left in the first period as Preston hauled in a 60-yard scoring reception from Lewis. The drive covered 69 yards in just three plays.
A 28-yard John Michaels field goal with 1:30 left in the first period turned out to be the final points of the first half, and all the points Louisiana College would need.
The Wildcats opened the second-half scoring with a 12-yard strike from Lewis to Matt Albrecht with 6:01 left in third quarter.
Leading 17-0 heading into the fourth period, Louisiana College received a 54-yard touchdown run from Gathright and a 14-yard scoring scamper from Jeremia Jenkins. The Wildcats tacked on two points after their final touchdown as the extra point snapped was bobbled, but Jamie Bunting was able to sprint into the end zone for the conversion.
The Yellow Jackets will try to snap their two-game slide at 1 p.m. Saturday when they host Mississippi College (2-5, 2-3).