Bulletin Staff Report
MARSHALL — The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets struggled in all phases of the game during Saturday’s season finale as a 28-point halftime deficit eventually resulted in a 42-7 loss to the East Texas Baptist Tigers, who snapped their five-game losing streak.
The loss prevented Howard Payne (4-6, 2-6) from finishing the season with a .500 overall record and left the Yellow Jackets in a seventh-place tie with Sul Ross in the final American Southwest Conference football standings.
East Texas Baptist (3-7, 3-5) took advantage of several Yellow Jackets breakdowns, particularly on defense and special teams.
Howard Payne allowed 515 yards of total offense, including 387 yards rushing on 48 carries. The Yellow Jackets finished with 269 total yards, with 253 coming through the air.
In the battle of brothers at quarterback, HPU’s Zach Hubbard completed 21-of-38 passes for 248 yards with one interception and one rushing touchdown. ETBU’s Seth Hubbard finished 6-of-13 for 128 yards with a passing touchdown, but did most of his damage on the ground with a game-high 133 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries.
Trevor Cavness chipped in 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 12 carries for the Tigers, while Corey George rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.
Tre Mason finished with a team-high five receptions for 42 yards for the Jackets, Corbin Young grabbed four catches for 22 yards and Jared Shaw tallied with a team-best 67 receiving yards on three receptions. Edward Cody and Brandon Young added three catches each for a combined 24 yards, while Trevor Kleine caught two passes for 42 yards and Cody Hambrick hauled in two receptions for 22 yards. Justin Havard recorded the longest reception of the day on his only catch, which covered 33 yards.
Defensively, Dustin McClure led Howard Payne with 11 tackles, trailed by nine from Jake Dezell, eight from Kevin Reyna and seven tackles each from Lorenzo Green and Jordan Pfenenger.
ETBU put the first points on the board as it took the game’s opening possession and marched 61 yards in four plays before George scored on a 3-yard run.
Howard Payne was quick to answer as the Yellow Jackets traveled 71 yards in eight plays before Zach Hubbard scored on a 1-yard run, evening the score at 7-all with 10:18 left in the first period.
The Yellow Jacket offense sputtered from that point on, while East Texas Baptist continued to rack up the yardage.
The Tigers took the lead for good, 14-7, on a 14-play, 99-yard drive that was aided by a pair of HPU 15-yard penalties. ETBU recorded seven first downs on a drive that did not feature a play over 19 yards. George capped the march with his second touchdown, a 2-yard carry with 3:29 left in the first period.
ETBU then seized control of the contest with a 21-point second quarter that featured several HPU breakdowns.
The Tigers pushed their lead to 21-7 just 45 seconds into the second period as Cavness scored on a 67-yard pass from Seth Hubbard, a play in which Cavness shook off several Yellow Jacket defenders.
East Texas Baptist’s next scoring drive began at the HPU 16 following a 33-yard punt return by Cavness. After the return, Cavness needed just one play to find the end zone as he scored to stretch the lead to 28-7.
The final first-half Tiger touchdown came with seven seconds left in the second quarter as Cavness broke free for a 76-yard touchdown scamper when it appeared the Tigers would have been satisfied running out the clock.
In the second half, the Tigers turned Howard Payne’s only turnover into their final points. Frank Williams picked off Zach Hubbard at the ETBU 5 and returned the ball 55 yards. Four plays later, Seth Hubbard scored on a 16-yard run for a 42-7 lead with 10:47 left, where the score remained.