Provided by Wayland Baptist University
The last time the Wayland Baptist Pioneers were on the same football field as the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets, Butch Henderson felt about as elated as a head coach can. Having revived its football program after 72 years, Wayland posted its first victory after seven-plus decades at the expense of Howard Payne.
"That was fun. The kids made play after play after play," Henderson said following the Pioneers' historic 27-23 win last Sept. 15 at Greg Sherwood Memorial Bulldog Stadium.
The coach even admitted to getting a bit choked up in his
post-game speech to his players.
"I couldn't talk a whole lot," he said.
Henderson hopes he has similar feelings after the Pioneers (0-2) – seeking their first victory of year two – take on Howard Payne (1-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Brownwood's Gordon Wood Stadium. The game can be heard on KKYN (106.9-FM) with audio streaming and live stats available through www.wbuathletics.com.
For Henderson and the Pioneers to leave Brownwood on Saturday as happy as they were a year ago after playing Howard Payne, Henderson feels his team will have to play beyond the level it did last season against the much-improved Yellow Jackets.
"It took them a year to get the kids recruited in there to do what they wanted to do," Henderson said, referring mostly to HPU's Roger Geise who now is in his second season as the Yellow Jackets' head coach after serving as a defensive coach since 2005. "They're a lot more athletic, and offensively they're a lot better."
Howard Payne, whose last winning season came in 2005 and which has won only 11 games the past six years, already has tasted success this season. After a season-opening 47-29 loss to Trinity University, the Yellow Jackets defeated Southwestern Assemblies of God University, 41-27, last week on the road in Waxahachie to match the program's 2012 win total.
"They played well against Trinity, but they turned the ball over late in the game and that got them in a bind," Henderson said.
Then in HPU's victory over Central States Football League member SAGU, Howard Payne recorded 510 yards of total offense, sparked by freshman quarterback Richard Young's five-touchdown performance. Young (6-0, 180), who completed 17-of-29 passes for 230 yards, tossed three of his TDs to sophomore receiver Colby Mica (6-2, 180).
On the ground, sophomore Zarron Dove (5-8, 175) ran for 150 yards and scored two TDs, including one receiving.
"They're moving the ball extremely well offensively," said Henderson, who figured the Yellow Jackets might opt to run the ball more this season, but instead have mixed it up. "They're converting back into a balanced offense."
Henderson praised the HPU quarterback from Gunter.
"Richard Young has performed well for them in their first two ballgames," he said. "(But) if you don't put enough (defenders) up there in the box, they're going to run it, then if you do they like to throw it on the outside edges."
Defensively, the Yellow Jackets are led by a pair of linebackers in senior Bo Ross (6-0, 215) and freshman Jason Disney (6-0, 205). Last week against SAGU, Ross had eight tackles while Disney recorded seven stops, a sack and a forced fumble. Junior defensive back Victor Gonzales also posted eight tackles against SAGU.
Henderson said the Pioneers – after dropping last week's home-opener against Houston Baptist, 52-28, after being tied at halftime, 28-28, – must play more consistently.
"We're trying to get to the point where we execute consistently," the coach said. "We did a great job in the first half, but came back in the second half and just didn't do the same things."
He said a variety of factors played into last week's second-half breakdowns.
"One time one person messed up, and another time somebody else messed up," Henderson said. "What we have to do is get everybody on the field playing together, like we did that first half, throughout the game."
Henderson said he plans to continue rotating three quarterbacks. After alternating by quarter in the season-opener against Adams State, sophomores Braden Hudson and Anthony Campuzano and redshirt-freshman Josh Houghtaling took turns between series against Houston Baptist.
"We're trying to get one of them to emerge," Henderson said.
Last week, the trio combined to complete 13-of-33 passes for 127 yards. Most of the Pioneers' offense against Houston Baptist came from sophomore running back Kendall Roberson, who rushed for 138 yards.
Howard Payne certainly is familiar with Roberson, who in last year's Wayland win ran 25 times for 177 yards and all four of the Pioneers' touchdowns, including the go-ahead score on a 2-yard run with just 47 seconds left in the game. That touchdown followed a 1-yard TD run three minutes earlier that pulled the Pioneers to within three.
Saturday afternoon's game is Wayland's final tune-up prior to the start of CSFL play next week when the Pioneers kick off a three-game home stand against Texas College. Henderson would like to secure a win to boost the team prior to conference play.
"The longer you go without winning deepens that hunger down in there to be able to accomplish that," he said. "Playing good lasts for a while, but you want to win."
NOTE: Henderson's son, Rick, is a student at Howard Payne, although he is not a member of the Yellow Jacket football team like last season. Butch said Rick became ill before the season and was unable to practice. As a result, he is redshirting this season with the intent of playing again his senior year. Rick is majoring in Christian education and history and wants to become a youth minister.