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A Happy Homecoming for Aggies

KSCB News - October 12, 2015 6:46 am

A Happy Homecoming for Aggies and Alumni

By Justine Gaskamp on 10/11/2015

Goodwell, Okla.-A week of Homecoming activities and events were capped off
by a big win Saturday afternoon as OPSU Football defeated Southwestern
University 56-24 in front of a great crowd of Aggie fans and Oklahoma
Panhandle State University alumni.

The Aggies kept the scoreboard rolling, scoring in each quarter they opened
with 28 points in the first fifteen minutes of play and owned a 35-17 lead
going into the break. The Aggie defense tightened up in the third quarter
and held the Pirates to zero point s with just 52 yards on offense and less
than five minutes in time of possession. The Aggies came out with seven
points in the third and fourteen in the fourth and gave up one TD to the
Pirates to take the 35-point victory.

Southwestern was shut down on their opening drive for a three-and-out by the
Aggie defense. The Aggies took possession on their own 46 with quarterback
Shane Truelove at the helm, and went the distance for a touchdown by Chris
McClendon in an 11-play series that knocked over three minutes off the
clock. Another three-and-out for the Darkside Defense put the ball back in
Truelove’s hands for a TD pass to Rod Moore who went 61 yards for the second
score of the day. The Pirates were forced to punt for the third time and,
once again, the Aggies found the endzone on a 15-yard pass from Truelove to
Devyn Williams giving OPSU a 21-0 advantage. The Pirates then found an
opportunity and took it with a 65-yard pass for a touchdown. Truelove
answered on the ensuing drive with a 37-yard completion to Beau Avila and
the first quarter ended with a score of 28-7 in favor of the home team.

On their first drive of the second quarter, the Pirates were pillaged by the
Aggie defense who held them to zero yards on six plays thanks to combined
efforts of Glenn Bonner and Tanner Hallford who each had tackles for loss in
the series. Brandon Ramon came in at QB and, with the help of running back
Rod Moore and Eddie Thomas, added points to the board with another Aggie
touchdown. A long Southwestern drive followed taking 5:32 off the clock and
ended with a 35-yard field goal for the Pirates. Penalties held the Aggies
back on the resulting series and the Pirates came back for more scoring
seven points in the closing minutes of the quarter, and giving the Aggies
something to think about during the halftime break.

A well-contained third quarter left the Pirates scoreless as the Aggie
defense shut down their running game for negative yardage. The Aggies opened
with a long drive of 15 plays that used up over five minutes on the clock.
Truelove back at QB threw for 48 yards and a touchdown padding the lead to
42-17. Freshman defensive end, Sequoia Smith stopped Southwestern’s momentum
with an interception on a second-down play on the following series and the
remainder of the quarter was a defensive battle.

The Aggies held possession going into the fourth and got the quarter off to
a great start with a touchdown off a rush by Devyn Williams. A great kickoff
by Jacob Test to the SU one-yard line was returned to the SU 25. The Pirates
cashed in on two personal foul penalties by OPSU and came away with a
touchdown and the point-after to bring the score to 49-24. A 55-yard kickoff
return by the fourth-ranked return man in the nation for D-II, Zacari
Lavender, set up another Aggie TD ala Chris McClendon. A missed-field goal
attempt by the Pirates with under five minutes in the game, did not take the
wind out of their sails as the SU defense then forced an OPSU punt. The
Aggies responded in kind with consecutive sacks by Kyle Bingham and Darrell
Green. Green then forced a fumble on a third-and -three play and recovered
the ball at Southwestern’s 39 yard line. The Aggies took the victory
formation and ended the game in a fair fashion earning their third win of
the season 56-24.

The Aggies totaled 501 yards offensively; 264 rushing and 237 in passing.
Chris McClendon led the game in rushing netting 179 yards on 15 runs for an
average of 11.9 yards per carry and two touchdowns. Truelove spread the love
in the passing game and went 17-27 to ten different targets. Leading the
Aggie receiving core was junior Beau Avila who had three reception for 51
yards and one TD and Devyn Williams who scored two touchdowns on three
completions for 29 yards. Freshman Eddie Thomas made his mark with two
passing TDs and Rod Moore added 61 passing yards to his game on one
completion. Truelove was taken for one interception in the second quarter,
but remained solid throughout the game totaling four touchdowns on the day.

Coach Gaskamp was pleased with the offensive performance and proud of senior
captain McClendon saying, "Chris had a really great game; he is proving to
be a great leader on the team."

Southwestern finished with 352 total yards on offense, the bulk of which
came in the pass game as the Aggie defense successfully stopped the rush
and held the Pirates to just 64 yards rushing for an average of 1.6 yards
per carry and zero TDs. With six sacks on the day and one interception, the
Pirates felt the presence of the Aggie defense throughout the game. Leading
tacklers were seniors Xazier Murry with eight tackles and one pass-breakup,
and Tanner Hallford with seven tackles and three tackles for loss. Senior
Glenn Bonner totaled two sacks, two tackles for loss and one pass breakup in
the game. Sheldon Catley, Cortney Stinnet, Kyle Bingham and Darrell Green
also got in on the action with one sack apiece.

The special teams unit totaled 131 yards on kickoff five kickoff returns;
Lavender and Williams each had long returns of 55 and 47 yards respectively
and Kameron Wheeler came back with a 13-yard return. Punter Jacob Test made
a great save on a bad snap in the fourth quarter and averaged 39 yards on
his three punts; long for the day was 49 yards. Nik Clarkson went 100
percent making 8-8 point after touchdown kick attempts.

Gaskamp was excited for the home win and thrilled with the great crowd that
showed up to support the Aggies saying, "It was great to get a win in front
of a home crowd and especially the alumni. We definitely feed off their
energy and appreciate the support from the entire community. I also want to
thank our two student sections who showed up to support their fellow Aggies;
they looked like they were having a fun time out there."

He remarked on the coming week, "We will continue working to get better. We
have a very important game coming up at McMurry and we need to have a great
week of preparation. We haven’t fared too well against them in the past and
really need to focus on our discipline and execution."

The Aggies will have back-to-back road games in Texas starting this week in
Abilene with McMurry and following up in Stephenville on Oct. 24 at Tarleton
State. Aggie fans can look forward to a fun-filled Halloween as the Aggies
return home for a "Go, Fright, Win" game on Saturday, Oct. 31 against Texas
College. There are plenty of treats planned for kids of all ages!


Justine Gaskamp


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