MARSHALL, Texas – Taking control of the game from the start and never looking back, the East Texas Baptist University football team honored their eighteen seniors with a 66-21 victory over the McMurry University War Hawks. With one game left to go, ETBU finds themselves with their third straight seven win season.
ETBU once again showed off their explosive offense as they had 716 total yards. Richard Johnson had an outstanding day with eight catches for 102 yards and his 14th touchdown reception, which broke his own record of 13 from last season. Brian Baca commanded the offense with a 22-of-34 passing performance for 276 yards and two passing touchdowns. He also became ETBU’s first 100-yard rusher this season. With a team-high 123 yards on 16 carries and a rushing touchdown. Austin Morriel led all running backs with two rushing touchdowns while Tarek Beaugard was the top receiver with seven receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown catch. On defense, Caleb Taylor led all tacklers with 14 tackles while Ty Parsons had 12. Parsons also had an interception along with Larenz Clark, who returned a pick-six for 66-yard touchdown.
Both teams scored on their opening drive as Baca rushed one in from the one-yard line to give ETBU a 7-0 lead (12:47). After McM tied the game, ETBU converted a big 4th and 1 on their next drive, which led to Morriel scoring to give ETBU a seven-point lead, again, 14-7, with 5:52 left in the first quarter. With eight seconds left in the first quarter, Baca connected for six yards to Richard Johnson and it was 21-7.
McM’s first drive of the second quarter was halted by Parson’s interception. ETBU put up three points off that turnover with a 28-yard field goal by Ryan Travis (12:14) for the first score in the second quarter making it 24-7. After an interception, the War Hawks scored to cut the lead to 24-14 (10:26). ETBU would answer on their next drive as Morriel scored from six yards out to regain the seventeen-point lead at 31-14 (8:46). This would stay the same by the time halftime occurred.
ETBU held McM three-and-out to start the third quarter only to commit a fumble themselves. The War Hawks took advantage of ETBU’s turnover with a touchdown pass to cut the lead to 31-21 (11:17). ETBU’s next drive would lead to a blocked punt by McM, who recovered the ball at ETBU’s nine-yard line. After three plays, McM decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal, but Taylor made the sack forcing a turnover on downs. This defensive stand was the turning point of the game as ETBU scored the next 35 points and the McM didn’t score again.
ETBU took advantage of the momentum shift when Baca connected with Beaugard for 48 yards to make it 38-21 (6:19). ETBU’s defense forced McM into another turnover on downs and they would once again strike when Damarcus Allen ran from seven yards out to give ETBU a lead of 45-21 (2:02).
The fourth quarter was all ETBU as they shutout the War Hawks defensively. Clark’s pick six to start the fourth made it 52-21. McM then fumbled the ball, which was forced and recovered by Derek Landrum. Dru Smith entered the game at quarterback and would connect with Xavier Gray for 24 yards and a score putting the score at 59-21. A couple of drives later, Smith would find Maurice Morris from 16 yards out and a 66-21 lead (5:08). The game ended fittingly when senior Kiounis Williams would record a sack for the final play.