The Bearkats (2-7) finally snapped a seven game losing streak this past weekend. SHSU celebrated its homecoming as they faced off against the number 21 ranked Division I-AA Northwestern State Demons (6-4).
The Kats trailed by seven going into the fourth quarter and were able to score 19 more before the final whistle would blow. They won 29-24.
Early in the fourth quarter the Kat offense was sparked. They drove down the field and scored before the first minute of the fourth had ticked away. Tobaben threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Jarrod Fuller that tied the game.
On the Demon’s following drive, senior defensive back Andrew Higham forced a fumble that flabbergasted the conference opponent. Sophomore defensive back Greg Brown scooped up the loose ball and ran 46 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
“We had a lot of hard hitting in this game,” said head coach Ron Randleman. “We got the ball loose eight times and recovered four of them. We now have a positive turnover ratio in two games. We won both of them.”
After taking the lead form the Demons, plenty of time remained for them to post a comeback. The defense bent but never broke and the offense did a fine job of eating up the play clock. Two more drives resulted in Bearkat scores as junior kicker Joey Price kicked two of his three field goals in the fourth.
Going into the game last week, Randleman said that freshman Wade Pate would be his starter at quarterback but later said that he was forced to call upon Tobaben because Pate was not healthy enough to play. Tobaben,who began the season as the starter, was replaced later on by Pate. Randleman has been careful not to forget about Tobaben though. During the previous two games, Randleman has looked to Tobaben when the passing game had become a necessity. This weekend he completed 22 of 36 passes for 187 yards.
“Pate was injured and so was (freshman quarterback) Adam Karas,” said Randleman. “Travis stepped up and did a great job and our offensive line continued to lead the team.”
Godfrey exploded again last Saturday, proving to be the workhorse for the Bearkats. The sophomore carried the ball 20 times for 139 yards and achieved his third consecutive 100+ yard game.
“He (Godfrey) runs awfully hard,” said Randleman. “He had another big game for us.”
About midway through the fourth quarter the Kat offense got the ball back while defending a slim 26-24 lead. Randleman called Godfrey’s number six times, and he gained 56 yards to set up an insurance field goal. The drive lasted over five minutes and when the Demons finally got the ball again, they had little time to come back.
With only two games left, the young Kat football team has surely taken a step in the right direction. During the losing streak, certain facets would click but not all at once.
Against the Demons, one of the better Division I-AA football teams in the nation, the Kats finally became multi-faceted. The run and pass was mixed successfully as well as the defensive and special teams units rising to the challenge.
Next weekend SHSU will have to continue to come together as it faces Northern Arizona for the final home game of the season.