From NSU Sports Info.
Cedrique Flemming, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations

Late scores sink RiverHawks

Northeastern State concedes late 93-yard touchdown to fall to Fort Hays State, 27-13


HAYS, Kan. – The Northeastern State football team lost a 27-13 decision to Fort Hays State Thursday evening at Lewis Field Stadium.

The RiverHawks (0-2, 0-2 MIAA) and Tigers (2-0, 2-0 MIAA) got started two hours late after lightning and rain in the area pushed back the start time.

The visitors came out strong and turned an FHSU turnover into an early touchdown. After punting on its first possession, Northeastern State forced an FHSU fumble on its first play from scrimmage. NSU then went on a 13-play, 66-yard drive that ended in a seven-yard rushing touchdown by senior running back Joel Rockmore. The touchdown came two plays after the Tigers blocked a field goal attempt that was recovered for a first down by junior guard Lance Cox.

Fort Hays State answered with a 36-yard field goal from Drew O’Brien late in the opening quarter after a pair of punts.

After a failed fourth down try early in the second quarter, the RiverHawks drove 52 yards for another score. Junior quarterback Kevin Pantastico connected with junior wide receiver Jamari Pope for a nine-yard score, but the extra point was blocked.

Fort Hays State then ended the half with another O’Brien field goal following a 12-play, 88-yard drive that took the final 4:02 of the second quarter. NSU took a 13-6 lead into halftime, marking the first time since 2013 that the green and white held a halftime advantage.

The Tigers tied the game on a 10-yard rush from Derek Kendall-Campbell four minutes into the second half, and then they took the lead for good on a 93-yard carry from Shaquille Cooper with just 2:19 left in the contest.

The RiverHawks had the ball in Fort Hays State territory on each of their previous two possessions prior to the game-winning rush, but a blocked field goal and a sack halted both drives.

Pantastico finished 23 of 44 for 192 yards passing and one touchdown. Rockmore had 86 yards rushing on 22 carries and his first rushing touchdown since midway through last season. Senior wide receiver Garrett Powell posted eight carries for 100 yards, and he also had six punts for 202 yards.

FHSU quarterback Treveon Albert was just 6-for-14 passing for 37 yards, but he added 58 yards rushing on 11 carries. Cooper finished with 263 yards rushing on 29 carries and the late game-winning score. Kendall-Campbell scored twice and contributed 60 yards on the ground on 10 attempts.

Senior linebacker Irving Steele led the NSU defense with 11 tackles.

The RiverHawks led the turnover battle (2-3) and dominated time of possession (35:12-24:48). FHSU outgained NSU 412-297 and also had more rushing yards (375-105).

Northeastern State returns home for a 2:37 p.m. kickoff Sept. 19 against Missouri Western State. The game will be shown live on the MIAA TV Network and will be featured as the MIAA Game of the Week.


Qtr.    Time    Team   Play                                                                                  Score

1       7:49       NSU      Joel Rockmore 7 run (Eddie Garcia kick)                                  0-7

1:52          FHSU         Drew O’Brien 36 FG                                                                         3-7

2        7:16       NSU     Jamari Pope 9 pass from Kevin Pantastico (kick blocked)      3-13

0:00          FHSU         O’Brien 19 FG                                                                                   6-13

3            10:09        FHSU         Derek Kendall-Campbell 10 run (O’Brien kick)           13-13

4            2:19          FHSU         Shaquille Cooper 93 run (O’Brien kick)                       20-13

1:02          FHSU         Kendall-Campbell 9 run (O’Brien kick)                                        27-13


  • Thursday’s game was originally slated to begin at 7 p.m. but was pushed back to 9 p.m. due to lightning and rain.
  • The all-time series between NSU and FHSU now stands at 2-2. Fort Hays State has defeated Northeastern State each of the last two seasons.
  • Senior running back Joel Rockmore made his team-leading 26th career start.
  • Rockmore’s rushing TD in the first quarter was his first since Oct. 24, 2014 against Central Missouri. He has now scored touchdowns in both games this season.
  • Rockmore surpassed 100 all-purpose yards for the second game in a row. He finished the game with 109 (86 rush, 18 kick return, five receiving).
  • The RiverHawks held a 7-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, marking the first time they’ve led after the first quarter since their matchup against Missouri Southern State on Oct. 18, 2014.
  • NSU led 13-6 at the half, marking the first time the RiverHawks have carried a lead into halftime since Nov. 16, 2013 against Central Oklahoma.
  • Northeastern State didn’t concede a touchdown in the first half, marking the first time since Nov. 2, 2013 that the RiverHawks did not give up a TD in one half.
  • There were four blocked kicks total in the game. NSU blocked one field goal, while FHSU blocked two field goals and a PAT.
  • Garrett Powell finished with 100 yards receiving, marking his second game as a member of the RiverHawks with at least 100 yards.
  • Jamari Pope had his second receiving TD in as many games.
  • FHSU’s Shaquille Cooper rushed for a career-high 263 yards. It’s the most rushing yards the RiverHawks have ever surrendered.
  • The RiverHawks scored first for the 16th time since joining the MIAA prior to the 2012 season. NSU is now 4-12 when scoring first over the past four years.

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