Langston wins season opening thriller over Lincoln in Arrowhead Stadium

From LU Sports Info.
Daniel Garrett, Langston Sports Information Director

Kansas City, MO – The 2014 edition of the Missouri Classic at Arrowhead Stadium proved to be a classic indeed.  After four quarters of heart-stopping football and a total 97 points scored, the No. 23 Langston Lions came back to defeat NCAA Division II Lincoln University, 49-48.

The game provided action from the opening kickoff, as the Lincoln Blue Tigers wasted no time in scoring their first touchdown, taking the ball down the field in just under two minutes.  Langston responded with a 53-yard touchdown pass from sophomore phenom QB Mark Wright Jr. to WR Sheldon Augustine.

However, the tie would last all of 13 seconds as the Blue Tigers took the ensuing kickoff back 87 yards for the touchdown to reclaim the lead at 14-7.

The scoring didn’t stop there.

After exchanging touchdowns, the Blue Tigers eventually took a 21 point lead at 42-21.  A late Lions touchdown before the end of the first half made the deficit manageable going into halftime, trailing 42-28.

Blue Tigers receiver Khiry Draine had more than 100 yards receiving and three touchdowns in the first half.

Langston Head Coach Dwone Sanders said going into halftime that the Lions “blew a few coverages that allowed Draine to get free in those three touchdowns.  We will go into the locker room and make sure our secondary understands the coverages and make the necessary adjustments in the second half.”

And their defense did just that, holding Lincoln scoreless in the second half until a late fourth quarter touchdown.

Wright Jr., a New Orleans, La., native, led a third quarter charge that gave the Lions the lead.  Wright Jr. accounted for four total touchdowns, including three through the air, and rushed for 98 yards.  Wright Jr. also threw for 245 yards, and more importantly had zero turnovers.

After Langston scored 21 straight points to open the second half and take a 49-42 lead, both teams were scoreless in the fourth until a late Blue Tigers rushing touchdown by Morris Henderson pulled Lincoln to within 49-48, with an extra point attempt to tie the game.  That extra point attempt proved costly, as senior linebacker Tra Keyes of the Lions came through the middle to block the attempt and seal an impressive come from behind victory.

Coach Sanders commended both his team and Lincoln after the game saying, “That Lincoln team is a fine team.  They are going to win a bunch of football games.”

When asked what he told his team at halftime, Sanders responded, “Trust the process.  I always tell my kids that good teams find a way to win in tough situations.  Character is not built, it is revealed.”

The No. 23 Lions (1-0) are on the road again next weekend, taking on Truman State in Kirksville, MO.  The game time is set for 7 p.m.  The game will once again be broadcast on Perry Publishing and Broadcasting: KRMP 92.1 and 1140 in Oklahoma City, KGTO 1050 in Tulsa, and KKRX 1380 in Lawton/Fort Sill.