Pioneers open conference with 37-14 win over Lyon

Published: Sep. 10, 2022 at 3:41 PM CDT
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PLAINVIEW, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) - Naaji Gadsden ran for three touchdowns and Bryan Ponder threw for two as Wayland Baptist opened the Sooner Athletic Conference play; they opened with a convincing 37-14 win over Lyon College (Ark.) on Saturday at Greg Sherwood Memorial Bulldog Stadium.

The Pioneers (1-1, 1-0 SAC) scored 23 points in the second quarter to take a commanding 30-7 halftime lead over the Scots (1-2, 1-1).

Gadsden scored Wayland’s first two TDs on runs of three and eight yards, with the Scots scoring in between. The Pioneers took a 21-7 lead when Dylan Sterling – streaking across the end zone – pulled down a 13-yard rocket from Ponder.

After a 3-and-out, WBU scored on its very next play when Ponder threw on the run and hit Dashawn McCubbins on a 30-yard toss. McCubbins then turned upfield and found the endzone to complete the 71-yard scoring play with 1:57 left before halftime.

The Pioneers weren’t done before heading to the locker room. Another three-and-out for the WBU defense and a 14-yard punt return by Skyler Whitten set up Wayland at the Lyon 40 with 42 seconds left. A couple of pass completions moved the ball to the 28 where Brayden Welch booted a 45-yard field goal as time expired.

Scoring slowed in the second half. Lyon, taking advantage of a muffed punt by the Pioneers, found paydirt on a short run after completing a 4th-and-15. Wayland responded immediately with Gadsden finding the end zone for the third time on a 36-yard run with 2:21 left in the third.

Ponder completed 18-of-27 passes for 284 yards. Three Pioneers – Kamron Williams (3-79), Whitten (8-76) and McCubbins (1-71) – had at least 70 yards receiving. Jacoby Hunt finished with 86 yards rushing on 16 carries while Gadsden finished with 64 steps on just six totes.

On defense, Casey Buck produced a dozen tackles, including a sack and a pass break-up. Andrew Villa added eight stops and Manny Arguijo seven. Wayland finished with six sacks and allowed the Scots just one third-down conversion in 14 attempts. Lyon finished with 34 yards rushing and averaged less than a yard a carry, compared to 5.3 yards per attempt for Wayland.

After two home games to open the season, the Pioneers hit the road next week to take on Langston (Okla.) at 2 p.m. The Lions, after a 48-13 season-opening win over Oklahoma-Panhandle state, faced Texas College on Saturday.