Pioneers debut with 24-14 win over Austin College

Updated: Sep. 8, 2018 at 6:44 PM CDT
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Information courtesy of Wayland Baptist University Athletics

Backup quarterback Nick Quintero led a pair of second-half touchdowns and Wayland Baptist's defense helped create five takeaways as the Pioneers prevailed in their season-opener over Austin College on Saturday afternoon at Greg Sherwood Memorial Bulldog Stadium, 24-14.

The win was secured when the Pioneers were trying to run out the clock and De'Sean Johnson scored on a 17-yard run with less than a second to play.

The win was Wayland's fourth season-opening victory in the last five years. Austin College, an NCAA Division III school, fell to 0-2.

The game couldn't have started any better for the Pioneers as Jamil Easley intercepted Austin College quarter Colt Collins on the first play from scrimmage. The Pioneers turned it into a 26-yard field goal by new kicker Caden Hogan.

A turnover also led to Wayland's first touchdown of the season.

A high, booming punt by Caleb O'Connor was muffed by the Kangaroos, and Nehemiah Rogers recovered it in the endzone for six points. Just over 10 minutes into it, the Pioneers were up, 10-0.

After a scoreless second period, Austin College put up its first points midway through the third thanks to a 13-play, 90-yard drive that culminated with an 18-yard touchdown pass on a play where the WBU defender slipped.

Wayland immediately answered, though, as Quintero – a sophomore who took over under center in the second half due to an injury to senior starter Mitchell Parsley – threw a 5-yard pass to senior Ben Owen on an inside slant route. Much of that 81-yard drive was managed on two pass completions from Quintero to Emanuel Reese for 59 yards and to Johnson for 18 yards.

Austin College came right back and scored its other TD early in the fourth quarter, again on a lengthy drive which ended with a short scoring run that made it 17-14 with just under 13 minutes to go.

Wayland's defense didn't allow a first down the rest of the game.

The only time the Kangaroos received a fresh set of downs was courtesy of a penalty on a punt. That was followed by a 5-yard pass completed then three straight incompletions.

Wayland had a chance to extend its lead but missed a 31-yard field goal.

The Pioneers' next defensive series was highlighted by a vicious blind-side sack on third-down of Austin College backup quarterback Tyler James, who entered the game for one play when Collins was injured on the previous play.

WBU took over at the Austin College 11 with 2:24 to play and with the Kangaroos out of timeouts. The Pioneers managed to kill all but the final seven seconds, and on fourth down while trying to run out the clock Johnson managed to escape for his 17-yard TD.

Wayland's defense allowed Austin College just 30 rushing yards on 25 carries and 176 passing yards on 16-of-45 attempts. Besides Easley, also coming up with interceptions for the Pioneers were Charles Lee, David Garza and Richard Parham.

Easley and Andre Smith led WBU with six tackles each. The Pioneers had nine tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.

Quintero finished 10-of-16 for 152 yards, while Parsley was 10-of-22 for 68. Brayln Kirby made five grabs for 67 yards while Reese had two for 66. Johnson ran 12 times for 44 yards while Jerrell Peterson hauled it 16 times for 27 yards.

Wayland was slowed by nine penalties for 96 yards along with three missed field goals from 42, 42 and 31 yards.

The Pioneers return home next Saturday to opener Sooner Athletic Conference play against 22nd-ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God, which last week rallied from an 11-point deficit on the road to defeat Austin College, 37-28. A week earlier the Lions opened their season with a 28-9 road loss to Evangel, Mo., ranked the equivalent of 27th in the NAIA. SAGU was idle this week.