BATESVILLE, Ark. – It was long overdue, but when the Lyon College football team picked up the first win since restarting the program in 2013, the Scots did it in record-shattering fashion Saturday night here at Pioneer Stadium. Michael Bowles (SR/Earle, Ark.) (pictured below) blasted the all-time Lyon single-game rushing mark, picking up 253 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, and Joe Mahe (JR/Makawao, Hawaii) and Jason Biddy (FR/Tuttle, Okla.) also went over the century mark to lead the Scots to a 63-26 whipping of previously unbeaten Morthland College (2-1) before 1,721 fans.
Lyon (1-3) had gone winless in 14 previous games since beginning intercollegiate play last season after a 64-year hiatus from the sport. But the Scots are winless no more as they piled up a program-record 687 yards under the direction of first-year quarterback Micah Wall (SO/Hooks, Texas), as he directed Lyon to its first victory of the year.
Wall (pictured at bottom) became the starter this week when Dwane Robinson (SO/Palm Bay, Fla.) was suspended for two games for breaking team rules and Wall played mistake-free football. The sophomore transfer from Southern Arkansas University completed 8 of 13 (61.5%) passes for 101 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also was not sacked and rushed for 30 yards on eight carries.
"Anytime you have a different guy under center – or in the shotgun in our situation – it's always a scary thing because you don't know how he's going to react in game-type situations," said Lyon first-year head coach Kyle Phelps. "Luckily for Micah he's been in a couple of games for us before tonight. But he came out and managed the game well. He handed off when he had to do that and made some great completions when he needed to and he also ran the ball well."
Bowles now has 511 yards on the ground this season, scoring four touchdowns and averaging 7.7 yards per carry and 127.8 yards per game. He got a big boost from a couple teammates, as Mahe picked up 120 yards rushing on just 10 carries, while scoring a touchdown. Jason Biddy also hit three-digit rushing, finishing with 114 yards on 14 runs. Cody Jones (SO/Russellville, Ark.) had 30 yards on the ground as well.
"It was great to have three guys really run the ball well for us tonight," Phelps added. "All three of those guys are big-time backs and we're lucky to have them. Joe is a big fullback and a lot of times he's clearing the way for Mike. He's a real passionate kid and really ran the ball well. Obviously Mike is Mike, and he gets the job done every time he steps out on the field. He's a punishing back and is always fun to watch. Jason is just a freshman, but he has played in every game for us and has come in here and done a great job."
Biddy also caught two passes for 29 yards, scoring one touchdown. Jonathan Hendrix (SO/Batesville, Ark.) pulled in two receptions for six yards, Mahe had one for 29, Trent Webb (SO/Kingwood, Texas) caught an aerial for 21 yards and Reace Kinley (FR/Bushnell, Fla.) and Isaiah Holyfield (SO/Springfield, Mo.) also pulled in one pass.
Lyon finished the game with a team-record 586 yards on the ground, averaging 9.5 yards per rushing play and 9.2 yards a play in the contest. The Scots also did not turn the ball over for the first time this season.
Morthland came into the game with an unblemished mark, as the first-year program picked up a win in its opening week and then receiving a forfeit a week ago. The Patriots finished with 441 yards, with 370 of those coming by the airways.
Quarterback Dennis Chester completed 18 of 34 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns, but he was picked off three times on the night. Xavier Story (SO/Bushnell, Fla.) intercepted two passes, returning them for a combined 68 yards. Brenden Parker (FR/Osceola, Ark.) had the other interception for Lyon, running it back 20 yards.
Lyon's defense stiffened after the half. After giving up 333 yards in the first two periods, the Scots only allowed 108 total yards in the second half and outscored the Patriots 21-6 to pull away from their 42-20 halftime lead.
"In the second half they didn't score until late in the fourth quarter." Phelps explained. "Our defense got burned a couple times in the first half, but we made a couple of adjustments in the locker room and moved some things around and we did a much better job after that.
"I'm very pleased with the way our guys responded when they came out in the second half. We've been in games when we've led or been in contention when we went in at the half and really haven't played well in the second half. But it was good to see our guys respond in the second half and finish what they started."
Lyon held the Patriots to only 71 yards on the ground. Demontez Miller-Gray led the team with 39 yards on eight carries. Corey Bryant added 37 yards on eight runs.
Braydon Pender (FR/Thayer, Mo.) led the Lyon defense for the fourth straight game, finishing with six tackles and four solo stops against Morthland. Brenden Parker and Sage Wood (SO/West Plains, Mo.) each chipped in four tackles and Cody Duvall (SO/Atkins, Ark.) and DeAngelo Crawford (FR/Jonesboro, Ark.) tallied four apiece.
The Scots kept the ball away from the Patriots by converting 6 of 11 third-down conversions and holding a 37:26 to 21:36 time of possession advantage.
The Scots pulled out to a 14-8 lead in the first quarter. Bowles and the Scots drove 50 yards in four plays on their first possession and the senior scored from one-yard out with 13:12 on the clock.
Lyon appeared to be on its way to another score, but was stopped just short of the goal line on fourth down. The Patriots then quickly moved 99 yards in just five plays, as Chester hit DeAndre Allen for a 56-yard scoring pass. The try for two was successful and Morthland took its only lead, 8-7, with 4:03 on the clock.
Lyon took the lead for good when Wall connected with Biddy for a 33-yard scoring connection with just 59 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Scots would then go on their biggest scoring barrage in a single quarter when they crossed the goal line four times in the second period to widen the gap to 22 points by the break. Mahe scored on a nine-yard run, Wall scored on a four-yard keeper, Wall threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Webb and Bowles hit pay dirt from 25 yards out to give Lyon a comfortable lead at the half.
Lyon then scored the first 21 points of the second half to put the game away. Wall scored on a seven-yard scamper and Bowles sprinted in from 67 yards out in the third quarter. David Knight (SO/Sarasota, Fla.) closed Lyon's scoring in the fourth with a one-yard run with 11:53 remaining.
The Scots will now go on the road and try to keep their momentum next Saturday when they travel to Muskogee, Okla. to face winless Bacone College (0-3) in a 2 p.m. Central States Football League opener.
|Morthland College (2-1)||8||12||0||6||26|
|Lyon College (1-3)||14||28||14||7||63|
|Morthland College||Indv. Leaders||Lyon College|
|#35 Demontez Miller-Gray - 39||Rushing||#25 Michael Bowles - 253|
|#8 Dennis Chester - 361||Passing||#5 Micah Wall - 101|
|#1 DeAndre Allen - 184||Receiving||2 Players (#28,#30) - 29|
|Morthland College||Team Statistics||Lyon College|