Pioneers lose to Oklahoma Panhandle State

Pioneers lose to Oklahoma Panhandle State
Wayland Baptist (Source: Wayland Baptist University)

Provided by Wayland Baptist University Athletics

(PLAINVIEW, TX) When Jonathan Akers scooped a fumble and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown to give Wayland Baptist a 24-7 lead just 65 seconds into the second half, it appear Wayland Baptist would finally end the Oklahoma Panhandle State jinx.

Sadly, the Aggie jinx lives.

OPSU scored the last 28 points of the game to deny Wayland its first-ever win over the Aggies, 35-24.
On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Greg Sherwood Memorial Bulldog Stadium, Wayland sprinted to a 17-0 first-quarter lead in the Central States Football League game on the strength of a 32-yard Daniel Martinez field goal, a 2-yard touchdown run by De'Sean Johnson, and a 67-yard TD pass from Daniel Campos to Devonte Hayden.

OPSU (4-1, 3-0 CSFL) got on the board with a 19-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, but Wayland (2-4, 2-2 CSFL) maintained its 17-7 lead at halftime. Then Akers' fumble return put the Pioneers by 17 points again early in the third.
The Aggies' comeback started on their next possession, which ended with a 13-yard touchdown run. Going into the fourth quarter Wayland held a 24-14 edge, and when Martinez's 49-yard field goal attempt bounced the wrong way after hitting the cross bar, the Aggies seemed re-energized. Two plays later, OPSU had cut the lead to 24-21 with a 68-yard catch-and-run from Brandon Ramon – one of three Aggie quarterbacks – to Nick West.

The scenario repeated itself on the next series with Martinez coming up short on a 52-yard field goal try that the Aggies answered with a long touchdown, this one a 62-yard run by Orlando Haymon with exactly 8:00 left in the game.

The Pioneer offense was driving on its next possession, set up first-and-10 at the OPSU 34, but a holding penalty followed by a sack led to a 4th-and-22 Hail Mary interception by Terrell Fallon at the Aggie 4-yard line.

Fallon returned it to the OPSU 32 where the Aggies, aided by a 32-yard run, marched it deep inside Wayland territory. The Pioneers forced fourth-and-5 and the Wayland 9, then instead of kicking a field goal OPSU went for it…and it paid off big time.

West was close to being sacked when he shot putted the ball to Ramon, who came back to get the ball in the corner of the end zone for the final points of the game with 37 seconds left.

Thanks in part to two interceptions by Brian Johnson and three OPSU fumbles, Wayland won the turnover battle, 5-2. But the Aggies held the edge on most other statistics, including first downs (19-14) and total yards (407-255). The game saw 24 penalties for 207 yards, including 11-130 against WBU. OPSU earned four first downs off Pioneer penalties.

WBU freshman quarterback Daniel Campos, stepping in for Mitchell Parsley who was injured in last week's win over Lyon College, completed 10-of-36 passes for 157 yards with one TD and two picks. He was sacked five times. Johnson ended with 15 carries for 84 yards, and Hayden wound up with four catches for 105 yards.

On defense, linebacker Michael Nealy finished with 14 tackles (6 solo) followed by Akers with 10. Akers also had 2½ tackles for loss, including a half-sack, and the fumble return for a TD.

The Pioneers are on the road next Saturday in Waxahachie to take on No. 23 Southwestern Assemblies of God University (4-1, 3-0), which had this weekend off after drumming then 10th-ranked Arizona Christian, 43-6.