The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets were unable to halt their skid in front of a homecoming crowd Saturday, as the Southwestern Pirates crashed the party and emerged with a 54-17 victory at Gordon Wood Stadium.
The loss was the seventh in a row for Howard Payne (1-8, 1-7) since defeating McMurry in double overtime in the American Southwest Conference opener. Southwestern (5-4, 4-4) evened its ASC record and moved over .500 with the triumph.
The Yellow Jackets, who trailed 40-17 at halftime, gave up 628 yards of total offense — 407 rushing and 211 passing — while manufacturing 417 yards — 318 through the air and 99 on the ground.
HPU quarterback Gage McClanahan attempted 61 passes, completing 39 for 318 yards with a touchdown and an interception. DunTayviun Gross hauled in 13 receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown, Jordan Bryant caught 11 passes for 94 yards and Eric Haverstock tallied eight grabs for 32 yards.
On the ground, Brett Martinez rushed for 47 yards, Kyle King added 32, Kaidrion Latson finished with 21 and Stephen Willis scored on the ground.
For Southwestern, Frederick Hover completed 8 of 15 passes for 221 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and also rushed for 120 yards and four scores. Markell Henderson ran for a team-best 121 yards and a touchdown, while David Bradenburg added 88 yards and a score. Anfernee Stephens led Southwestern with 60 receiving yards and a touchdown, that coming on one catch.
Anthony Lindsey and Austin Killgore led the HPU defense with seven tackles apiece, Tevin Dawson added six and Connor Day recorded the lone takeaway on an interception.
Howard Payne put the first points on the board Saturday as an eight-play, 48-yard game-opening drive culminated with a 32-yard field goal by Cristian Gonzalez with 10:36 left in the first quarter.
Southwestern answered with four consecutive touchdowns — a 3-yard run by Hover, an 86-yard sprint by Henderson, a 91-yard gallop by Bradenburg and a 60-yard toss from Hover to Stephens — that accounted for 240 yards.
Trailing 27-3, the Yellow Jackets notched their first touchdown with 7:40 left in the first half on a 1-yard dive by Stephen Willis on fourth-and-goal. HPU’s scoring drive covered 78 yards in 12 plays.
The Pirates tacked on two more touchdowns — a 2-yard Hover run and a 19-yard Austin Castilleja carry — to increase the advantage to 40-10.
An interception by Day in the final minute of the first half set up HPU’s second and final scoring drive, which covered 33 yards in just one play. Gross caught a pass from Clanahan near the sideline, shook off a defender and raced to the end zone to make the score 40-17 with 28 seconds left in the half.
Southwestern added two more touchdowns in the third quarter, both of runs by Hover covering 7 and 9 yards, for the final 37-point margin.
The Yellow Jackets will wrap up the 2018 campaign at noon Saturday when they visit Louisiana College (4-5, 4-4), which is coming off an 80-7 loss to Mary Hardin-Baylor.