PINEVILLE, La. – McMurry University Football ended its season with a thrilling, come-from-behind road victory on Saturday afternoon, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 11 seconds to go in a 32-31 win over Louisiana College in Pineville, La.
The War Hawks (2-3) trailed 24-13 at the half and began its comeback in the fourth quarter, scoring 19 points in the final frame. After falling behind 31-19 with under five minutes to go, McMurry capped a long 17-play drive with a one-yard touchdown run by freshman quarterback Dexter Wyble with 4:12 on the clock.
On the ensuing possession, Louisiana College (2-3) killed some time, but the War Hawks forced a turnover on downs near midfield to takeover with 1:35 remaining. Down five at 31-26, the War Hawks needed a touchdown to win.
Wyble started the drive at QB and found himself in a 4th-and-13 situation, but used his legs to keep the game alive with a 19-yard scramble to move the chains. Coming out of a timeout with 27 ticks on the clock, fellow freshman Ricardo Luna – today’s starter – took back over at quarterback.
Luna found freshman Kristopher Martin on the first play out of the timeout, moving the War Hawks inside the red zone with under 20 seconds left.
Enter Jermond Lovely.
From the 19 yard line, Luna launched a prayer to the end zone and found Lovely near the left pylon. Lovely secured the ball and drug his feet in bounds for the go-ahead score, sending the War Hawk faithful on the away side into a frenzy.
After failing the two-point conversion, McMurry clinged to a 32-31 lead and kicked it back to the Wildcats. LC had two opportunities to heave one long, but the War Hawks swarm held strong to secure the postseason victory.
Today’s game was part of the American Southwest Conference Championship Playoffs weekend, as McMurry represented the West Division as the No. 4 seed, while Louisiana College represented the No. 4 seed in the East Division.
McMurry opened the game with a touchdown run by junior Kameron Session, but were unsuccessful on the extra point attempt. LC answered with two scored to take the lead early in the second quarter, but the War Hawks pulled within one on a 43 yard pass from Luna to junior Dwaelon Shepherd. Jared Mendoza’s kick made it 14-13.
LC ended the half with another touchdown and a field goal at the horn, heading to the locker room ahead 24-13. This set up a thrilling fourth quarter comeback for McMurry, started by a touchdown drive capped by a two-yard TD run by sophomore running back Dee Robinson. LC scored again to make it 31-19, but the War Hawks had the last laugh with their two touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, six War Hawks finished with at least eight tackles, led by freshman Coryell Fillmore and sophomore Devin Nixon with 10 apiece.
Among the four McM players with eight was senior Josh Smith, who finished the season with 36 tackles. He has 297 for his career as he heads into his final fall, which ranks fifth in the McMurry all-time record books. He needs three more to hit the 300 milestone and would become the fifth player to do so. The career record is 379, set by Chris Joseph (1982, 1984-86).
Without starting QB Carlos Garibay today, the freshman duo of Luna and Wyble combined for 273 all-purpose yards. Luna went 18-for-31 passing with 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Wyble did most of his work on the ground with a team-high 50 yards on 10 attempts and a score.
The running back tandem of Session and Robinson each scored a touchdown in today’s game, combining for a gritty 62 yards. Robinson added three catches for 20 yards, while Session had two for eight.
McMurry had a strong day receiving, led by the rookie Martin with nine catches for 95 yards. Junior Dwaelon Shepherd had one grab on the day – the 43 yard touchdown – while Lovely had his lone grab for the go-ahead score. Zac Wood also had a grab for 17 yards, while Zec’Qurie Cannon-Grant-Fields had one for eight yards.
The War Hawks – led by second year head coach Jordan Neal – start and end the Spring 2021 season with wins to finish 2-3 overall.