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Weather mars homecoming, Southwestern finishes job

A&M-Commerce falls to last in LSC North standings

By Adam Troxtell
On October 26, 2010

The A&M-Commerce football team dropped a 24-10 decision to the Lone Star Conference North Division's last placed Southwestern Oklahoma State University in a game marred by severe weather.

The original start time of 2:00 p.m. on Saturday was initially postponed for later that day after the Thorguard system detected lightning in the vicinity. After six hours of waiting for the skies to clear, the decision was made to move the game to Sunday with the same kickoff time.

"I've had several rain delays, but something like an hour and then resume play; not a two-day deal," Lions Head Coach Guy Morriss said. "It's a first. It's kind of a distraction, and the kids lose their focus. But, it's the same in that locker room across the way as it is for us, and it's just a matter of how you handle it and how you come out and respond once play resumes."

A&M-Commerce started with the ball, both teams traded punts, and on the Lions' second offensive drive of the game they got the first real chance to put points on the board. After driving the ball down to the Bulldogs' 30-yard line, sophomore kicker Ahmed Abo-Mahmood missed a 36-yard field goal attempt wide-left.

Southwestern turned that miss into a lead on their next drive. After a 14-play, 75-yard drive, senior Dwight Pete was stopped twice by A&M-Commerce. That forced the Bulldogs to bring out the special teams and sophomore Colton Rainey kicked a 21-yard field goal to put the visitors up 3-0, and that score held to the end of the first quarter.

Lions' sophomore running back London Hamilton was the big contributor on the next drive. He ran the ball six consecutive times to help set A&M-Commerce up for a 24-yard field goal try. After having missed the first one, Abo-Mahmood planted this kick right down the middle to tie the game up 3-3 with 13:52 left in the first half.

The only remaining action of the first half came off of a special teams mistake by A&M-Commerce. When setting up to punt, the ball was sent flying over freshman punter Cameron Frosch's head. Frosch quickly dove on top of the ball, but it resulted in a turnover on downs to give the Bulldogs possession starting at the Lions' 38-yard line.

However, Southwestern was unable to make the good field position count. After seven plays that took 2:14 off the clock, Rainey missed his kick of 32 yards and kept the score tied at 3-3 going into halftime.

It was a slow start to the third quarter, with both teams punting on the first four possessions of the game. Finally with 4:55 left in the quarter, it was the visitors who put up the first touchdown of the game. Freshman wide receiver Jordan Davis combined with red-shirt freshman quarterback Dustin Stenta for a 53-yard touchdown. After the extra point, the Bulldogs took a 10-3 lead with 4:55 left in the third quarter.

On the next drive, A&M-Commerce senior quarterback Adam Farkes threw his first interception of the night when senior Jaron Burgess caught his pass in the middle of the field and pitched the ball back to junior corner back Marvin Tribble. Once again, the Bulldog offense was not able to capitalize, and Rainey missed the field goal for the second time on the night, this time from 31 yards.

After a promising first few plays for the Lions offense on their next possession, tragedy struck again when a fumble resulted in a second consecutive turnover for the Lions offense. This time Southwestern did capitalize, and they did so quickly. It took one play for junior running back Isaac Tucker to run 29 yards and give the visitors a 17-3 lead.

The Lions were forced to punt on their next drive, and SWOSU got one play in before the Thorguard system went off, indicating strong storms in the area and suspending play. The delay lasted over three hours, and included heavy rain, strong winds and golf ball sized hail. The match officials and Southwestern wanted to call the game, but A&M-Commerce did not want to throw in the towel yet. About 30 minutes before an 8:00 p.m. deadline, the all-clear signal was given and play resumed.

Just two plays after the restart was all A&M-Commerce needed to get back into the game, as Stenta fumbled the ball on a quarterback draw and junior Tremaine Williams picked it up for a 30-yard touchdown run to make the score 17-10 with 11:17 left in the game.

"Where was all that passion, excitement and energy at two o'clock?" Morriss said. "We're not good enough to keep giving them opportunity after opportunity and not take advantage of our opportunities when we get them. That's frustrating to me."

The Bulldogs had to punt on their next possession, and A&M-Commerce had two chances to win it. Freshman wide receiver Kenzee Jackson's touchdown catch was called back due to a holding penalty and senior Julian Hayes dropped a pass with an open field in front of him. That forced a punt, but the Lions did get the ball back quickly, only for Farkes to fumble the snap on the first play of the next drive to put the Bulldogs at the Lions 27-yard line.

Stenta closed the game out with a 27-yard touchdown run to make the score 24-10. The red-shirt freshman went 19-39 for 223 yards and one touchdown in passing on the night. He also rushed 11 times for 76 yards.

"Waiting all day yester ay and all day today, it's just brutal on our minds," Stenta said about getting through the game and weekend. "But we stayed focused and ended up pulling out a victory. We've had a few downfalls this year, haven't done as well as we thought we would, but we're not the team to give up. We're going to come out and fight hard and give it all we've got until the last whistle's done."

Morriss said he wants to see more urgency from his team in the future.

"I think we feel like if we don't take advantage of the first opportunity, we've got another one coming," he said. "I don't think they understand every time we touch the football, we need to score. That should be our goal."

The Lions now go to the University of Central Oklahoma on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

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