LCU handles Arizona Christian in home opener, 40-26

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PINEVILLE -The Louisiana Christian University Wildcat football team held their home-opener and Sooner Athletic Conference opener on Saturday after starting the first two weeks with back-to-back losses on the road.

The Wildcats did not disappoint the home crowd’s first look at the LCU gridiron squad, who defeated the Firestorm of Arizona Christian University, 40-26, in a thriller.

The Wildcat offense was able to get out to a fast start with two touchdowns in the first quarter on a 9-yard run by Devin Briscoe and a 45-yard pass from Sal Palermo III to Glenn White. Hunter Martensson added the extra point on both scores to give the Wildcats a 14-0 advantage after one quarter of play.

Arizona Christian capitalized on their second scoring opportunity after missing a field goal on their first on a 3-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tyler Duncan, cutting the Wildcat lead to 14-7 following the extra point by Nestor Higuera with.

On the ensuing kickoff, freshman Logan Richard fielded the kickoff at the two-yard line and returned it all the way to the house for a 98-yard kickoff return touchdown, extending the lead to 20-7 after a failed PAT.

ACU was not done yet and drove down the field, setting up a 2-yard touchdown pass from Duncan to Clayton Dowdy. With the rush coming and fearing a blocked PAT, the Firestorm attempted to pass for a two-point conversion instead but were unsuccessful to give the Wildcats a 20-13 lead.

The Wildcat offense marched down the field but after being unable to get a first down, they turned to Martensson who nailed a 40-yard field goal to give LCU a 23-13 hafltime lead.

The men in blue and orange started to pull away from the Firestorm to start the third quarter, scoring on an 8-yard touchdown run by Palermo and another Martensson field goal, this one from 26-yards out, to put the ‘Cats up by 20 points late in the third quarter.

Arizona Christian was down, but far from out. The Firestorm rattled off ten unanswered points on two field goals by Higuera and a 33-yard touchdown pass from Quinn Commans, who subbed in at quarterback after an injury to Duncan, to Brandon Johnson to cut the Louisiana Christian lead to 33-23.

The Wildcats put the proverbial nail in the coffin with two minutes left in the ballgame on a 45-yard touchdown scamper by Briscoe to give LCU the 40-26 victory in the home and conference opener.

Though the game turned out to be an offensive showcase, the Wildcat defense played very well and kept the ACU offense on their toes all night, forcing four total turnovers and sacking Firestorm quarterbacks four times. Three of those sacks were recorded by senior Micah Latin, in a game where he took up permanent residence in the opposing backfield. Latin also produced six total tackles, four hurries, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Tyren Young led all Wildcat defenders with 9 total tackles.

The Wildcats (1-2, 1-1 SAC) will head back out on the road for the next two weeks, starting with a trip to out to Arizona to face defending conference champion and #8 team in the nation, Ottawa University, next Saturday at 9pm CST.

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