By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer
The Bacone defense was put on notice after last week’s 52-37 loss to Northwestern (Iowa). On Saturday, it answered the call.
The Warriors erased a two-point halftime deficit, keeping Southwestern (Texas) off the scoreboard in the second half for a 32-14 win on Creek Nation Field at Indian Bowl.
“The defense played a lot better this week,” said Bacone coach Trevor Rubly. “The second half we really came out and played a lot better. We started to do our assignments and flying around a little bit and be in position.”
Bacone (2-1) forced five turnovers, three in the second half and in general took a bend-not-break attitude when the Pirates had the ball. Four times after intermission, Southwestern crossed midfield only to be denied a score by either a turnover or surrendering the ball on downs.
“Last week, we kind of took it personally,” said Bacone middle linebacker Jercorey Quarterman. “I’m not going to lie, we got embarrassed by a good team. But coach kept on us all week that we got to step up and get back to our No. 1 defense from last year.”
The Warriors’ offense was guided once again by Karl Birkenfield and Kyle Kuban splitting duties at quarterback. Birkenfield finished the game completing 19 of 25 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns while Kuban was 5 of 7 for 54 yards and one TD and also ran for another, a 57-yard scamper with 2:57 left in the game to cap the scoring.
“We knew our checkdowns would be there with our backs and that would be key,” Birkenfield said.
The Warriors did something on Saturday that they had not done in their previous two outings and that was get on the board first. After stopping the Pirates on their first drive with an interception by Isaac Twenty at the BC 24, the Warriors went 41 yards in nine plays and took a 3-0 lead when Chad Ducharme nailed a 28-yard field goal with 6:05 left in the first quarter.
The Warriors had a chance to stretch their lead but fumbled the ball away at the SU 2. However, Bacone stuffed the Pirates on three plays and SU punter Michael Erwin fumbled the snap and was tackled in the end zone to give the Warriors a 5-0 lead 12 seconds into the second quarter.
“We just need to work on finishing in the red zone more,” Birkenfield said. “And we need to be more efficient in their territory.”
Bacone made the score 12-0 at the 10-minute mark when Birkenfield connected with Reinaldo Reyes on a 46-yard strike to give the Warriors a 12-0 advantage. For the remaining of the quarter, it was a combination of the Warriors shooting themselves in the foot and the Pirates taking advantage of Bacone mistakes.
Southwestern’s first score came when Ducharme shanked a punt out-of-bounds at the Pirates’ 49-yard line and SU marched the 51 yards in five plays, capping the drive on a Dillon Wilburn 8-yard run to make the score 12-7. After Kuban had a tipped pass picked off, SU went 31 yards and scored on a Dante Smith to Colten Sheer 17-yard pass to give the Pirates a 14-12 lead.
This marks the first year for football for the school from Georgetown, Texas, since 1953 and the lead was the first for the Pirates in a game since the next-to-last game of the ’53 season. Bacone resumed football in 2001 for the first time since 1957.
“Basically we just had to step it up in the second half,” Quarterman said. “Coach (Rubly) just told us we had to be more aggressive and we’d be successful.”
Whatever Rubly said at halftime worked as the Warriors regained the lead at the 4:19 mark of the third quarter as Birkenfield hit David Chapman on a 71-yard catch and run to put Bacone on top for good at 18-14. Chapman finished the game with four catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
In the fourth quarter, Kuban connected with Chapman from 34-yards out to put BC up 25-14 and three minutes later, busted up the middle for his 57-yard run.
The Warriors face another team located in Texas next week when they travel to Beaumont to meet the Division I FCS Lamar Cardinals, a 59-3 loser to Oklahoma State on Saturday in Stillwater. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
BACONE 32, SOUTHWESTERN (Texas) 14
SU 0 14 0 0–14
BC 3 9 6 14–32
BC – Chad Ducharme 28-yard field goal, 6:05, BC 3-0
BC – Safety, Michael Erwin tackled in end zone, 14:48, BC 5-0
BC – Reinaldo Reyes 46-yard pass from Karl Birkenfield, Chad Ducharme kick, 10:00, BC 12-0
SU – Dillon Wilburn 8-yard run, Laith Tucker kick, 5:09, BC 12-7
SU – Colten Shea 17-yard pass from Dante Smith, Tucker kick, 3:28, SU 14-12
BC – David Chapman 71-yard pass from Birkenfield, pass failed, 4:19, BC 18-14
BC – Chapman 34-yard pass from Kyle Kuban, Ducharme kick, 5:47, BC 25-14
BC – Kuban 57-yard run, Ducharme kick, BC 32-14
First downs 14 32
Rushes Yards 30-60 28-122
Passing yards 190 323
Passes (C-A-I) 18-33-3 24-32-1
Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-2
Punts-Average 5-28 3-26.3
Penalties-Yards 3-37 6-33
Return yards 65 75
Possession 25:14 34:46
Rushing – SU, Dante Smith 19-44; BC, Kyle Kuban 5-68, 1TD.
Passing – SU, Smith 18-24-2; BC, Birkenfield 19-25-0.
Receiving – SU, Taylor Stephens 5-57; BC, David Chapman 4-138, 2 TDs.