By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
One play can change a close game into a romp and Bacone College’s Tyler Thomas made that play at Indian Bowl on Saturday.
With the Warriors holding a 12-7 lead, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior running back rambled 57 yards for a touchdown with 3:10 left in the first half en route to the 40-7 blowout victory against the Panhandle State Aggies.
Thomas said the Warriors’ offense knew the Aggies would be blitzing on that particular play.
“We needed something to happen at that time,” he said. “The game was close. I broke a couple of tackles and took it to the house, That gave us momentum for the rest of the game.”
The Jackson, Miss., native ran for a game-high 104 yards on 16 carries to help the Warriors extend their winning streak to four games and improve to 4-2 overall.
The TD was part of 40 unanswered points – 26 of those coming in the second quarter – by the Warriors.
Meanwhile, quarterback Kyle Kuban completed 10 of 19 passes for 184 and three touchdowns on tosses of five yards to Kenneth Price and 17 and 37 yards to Rashad Rich. But Kuban’s longest pass of the game was a 77-yarder to Sheriff Thomas with 1:14 remaining in the first half to set up Ryan Morrow’s one-yard plunge with :09 seconds remaining.
Panhandle State’s first-year coach Russell Gaskamp said Bacone has improved from what he saw on film from the Warriors’ 30-20 win in November last season.
“They’re a much better football team than they were back then,” he said. “I was very impressed with their physicality and their size. They kind of overwhelmed us. They’ve got a great chance to run the table now.”
Gaskamp’s Aggies dropped to 2-3 for the season. They took the game’s first lead at 7-0 on Caleb Holbrook’s 10-yard run with 7:40 left in the first period. Holbrook finished with a team-high 45 yards rushing on eight carries, while completing 8 of 18 passes for 81 yards, but he was intercepted three times.
After Panhandle State’s initial score, it was all Bacone.
While Bacone coach Trevor Rubly was not pleased with the way his team started and ended the game, he has to be happy with everything in between.
“I’m always looking for things to fix,” he said. “We came out a little slow. We had trouble running it at the beginning, but we got better as the game wore on. We kind of let up and I don’t think good teams do that.”
The Warriors, though, kept up the pressure with their defense as junior linebacker Jercorey Quarterman intercepted two of Holbrook’s passes.
“As a defensive corps, we said we were going to shut their run down and when it was time for them to start throwing the ball, that’s when we would start getting our turnovers,” he said. “It so happens I guess it was my day. I’ve never had two in one (college) game before.”
The Warriors also got a touchdown on special teams when Chase Rettig returned a punt 34 yards for a touchdown with 6:21 left in the game. He also had an interception.
Bacone hits the road next Saturday when it plays at Texas College in Tyler. The last home game is Oct. 27 against Wayland Baptist.
BACONE 40, PANHANDLE STATE 7
OPSU 7 0 0 0–7
BC 0 26 7 7–40
OPSU – Caleb Holbrook 10 run (Carlos Nieto kick), 7:40
BC – Kenneth Price 5 pass from Kyle Kuban (kick failed), 11:04
BC – Rashad Rich 17 pass from Kuban (run failed), 7:12
BC – Tyler Thomas 57 run (Jamie Moore kick), 3:10
BC – Ryan Morrow 1 run (Moore kick), 0:09
BC – Rich 37 pass from Kuban (Moore kick), 4:20
BC – Chase Rettig 34 punt return (Moore kick), 6:21
First Downs 17 15
Rushes-Yards 35-138 37-156
Passing Yards 116 184
Passes (C-A-I) 14-31-4 10-19-1
Punts-Average 5-32.2 6-37.5
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 8-60 7-57
Rushing: OPSU, Holbrook 8-52, Seals 5-39, Patterson 10-41. Bacone, Thomas 16-104, Morrow 5-43, McCoy 9-29.
Passing: OPSU, Holbrook 8-18-3—81, Billot 6-12-1—35. Bacone, Kuban 10-19-1—184.
Receiving: OPSU, Patterson 3-34, Johnson 3-15. Bacone, Rich 3-60, Thomas 2-83, Price, 2-29.