Provided by: Wayland Baptist University
BROWNWOOD – A furious second-half comeback came up a bit short for Wayland Baptist here Saturday afternoon as Howard Payne survived the Pioneers, 38-34.
Wayland (0-3) overcame a 31-8 deficit to regain the lead early in the fourth quarter. But the Yellow Jackets (2-1) scored on their next possession to retake the upper hand, and neither team scored the rest of the way.
Wayland was trying to repeat its 27-23 win over Howard Payne last year that marked the first victory for the Pioneers in 72 years as the program was restarted in 2012. Instead, the Yellow Jackets, who last week defeated Southwestern Assemblies of God University, 41-27, won back-to-back games for the first time since 2009.
The Pioneers scored first in the penalty-filled game when Kendall Roberson, who ended with 213 yards rushing on 22 carries, scored the first of his three touchdowns on a 64-yard run on Wayland's second play from scrimmage. Chris Acosta caught the PAT pass for an 8-0 lead.
The Yellow Jackets scored the next 31 points, striking first on a one-yard pass on their next possession. A 23-yard field goal with 36 seconds left in the first period gave HPU a 10-8 lead.
Howard Payne scored three second-quarter touchdowns on a 10-yard interception return, a one-yard run and a 78-yard pass. Wayland was able to answer with 44 seconds left before halftime on a 42-yard TD pass from Josh Houghtaling to Stephen Malouf that made it 31-14 at intermission.
The Pioneers came out playing like a new team in the second half, scoring 20 unanswered points to take a 34-31 lead. The scoring started on a 4-yard run by Roberson followed by an 11-yard pass from Hudson to Brendan Pegg. Both PATs failed.
The third period ended with a 55-yard pass from Hudson to Josh Amador that took the ball to Howard Payne's 19-yard line. Two plays later, Roberson scored from that point, and after a PAT pass from Hudson to Chris Acosta, the Pioneers were on top, 34-31.
The lead didn't last long, however, as the Yellow Jackets' Zarron Dove scored on a 78-yard run that saw the HPU ball carrier roll over a pile of players without being downed. The PAT kick made it 38-34.
The Pioneers didn't have any more points in them, despite getting several chances on offense. Wayland started its final possessions deep inside its own territory.
Wayland put up 553 yards of offense, compared to Howard Payne's 439. Hudson completed 21-of-38 passes for 224 yards with two interceptions. Acosta caught six passes for 68 yards while Amador had four grabs for 91 yards. The Pioneers had 317 yards passing, completing 27-of-50 with three picks.
WBU ended with four interceptions, including two in the first half by Travis White. David Hockenberry and Josh Paul also had picks. The Pioneers had two more picks that were nullified by penalties.
Jon-Lucas Poe recorded a team-high 12 tackles, followed by Tyler Smith with 11 and Hockenberry with nine.
Wayland plays its next three games at home, starting with its first Central States Football League contest against Texas College at 2 p.m. Sept. 28.