Dave Beyer, Sports Information Director
HASTINGS, Neb. – A great first-half comeback was not enough for Oklahoma Panhandle State University, losing on the road to Hastings College in a non-conference bout, 40-22. It marked the second-consecutive year that the Aggies’ (0-1) football team has had its season opener spoiled by the Broncos (1-0)
The Aggies looked like they were headed for a rough evening, at least through the first 25 minutes of play. The Broncos built a 14-0 advantage in the first quarter before Panhandle’s offense found its footing.
Quarterback Tony Brown had the honor of registering his team’s first score of 2019 on a 47-yard keeper play that cut the deficit to 14-7, after Luis Rivas added the extra point with 3:56 left in the opening stanza. Just as quickly, however, Hastings pushed across two more touchdowns and was cruising, 28-7, with 5:35 left until the intermission.
On the ensuing drive, the Aggies made their first incision into the Broncos cushion. The capper was a 67-yard run from scrimmage by George Dominguez on the second play from scrimmage. The point after missed, making it 28-13.
After the kickoff to HC, it was the OPSU defensive unit to create the next opportunity, as Braden Price recovered a fumble by Bronco signal-caller Isaiah Jackson on his own 35. Taking possession in the home half, Brown found Seth Barbarino up the far side. The touchdown aerial left OPSU down 28-20, at the 4:36 mark of the second period. The final first half points came via a safety after a bad Hastings snap, sending Panhandle into the locker room down 28-22.
Coming out for the second half it was all Broncos. The home team extended its lead in the third quarter with a field goal, a safety and a touchdown, upping its margin to 40-22 and keeping OPSU out of the end zone the rest of the way. Neither team scored in the final stanza.
Brown led the Aggies by completing 11-of-28 passes for 108 yards for one touchdown. He was intercepted once. Brown topped the Panhandle offense on the ground, as well, carrying 21 times for 155 yards (7.4 yards per carry) and a rushing TD.
Dominguez finished the night with 102 yards on eight tries. As a unit, the OPSU offense out-paced the Broncos’ running game, 237 yards to 171 yards.
It was the first time that a pair of OPSU backs have both reached the 100-yard plateau in the same game since the Aggies’ October 10, 2015 win at McMurry University (Texas), 36-35. In that contest, OPSU’s Chris McClendon and Shane Truelove galloped over the War Hawks for 119 and 111 rushing yards, respectively.
Hastings finished with a 421-to-345 advantage in total offense and led in first downs, 28-17.
Next up for the young Aggies will be a stiff test, as the squad travels to Huntsville, Texas to take on NCAA Division I foe Sam Houston State University. Kickoff next Saturday (Sept. 7) is slated for 6 p.m.