Keeping hope alive

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 14, 2007

Concordia still in hunt for conference championship

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

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The ring is now the thing.

Needing a win Saturday in order to sustain the promise of at least one positive product from this season, Concordia came through in a big way.

The Hornets (2-6) got the best of Webber International for a 38-27 homecoming win at Jordan Memorial Stadium. Concordia still has to beat Edward Waters College in three weeks to claim its second Southeastern Athletic Conference title in three years.

Concordia’s defense took the pressure off a hurt and struggling offense. The Warriors (2-5) committed five turnovers, and all of them turned into points.

“The defense came up big, and they put us in some good field position,” Concordia coach Shepherd Skanes said. “(Webber) made some mistakes, and we took advantage. That’ll win you ball games.”

In addition to the turnovers, the Warriors were 1-for-4 on fourth downs. Their only successful conversion came on a 38-yard pass from Andrew Carr to Eric Snyder. The play set up a 6-yard pass to receiver John Tremblay that cut Concordia’s lead to 8 points with 5:37 left in the game.

Webber coach Kelly Scott said there wasn’t any urgency in going for the first downs. It was just the more sensible option.

“We ain’t got a field goal kicker, if you want me to be honest,” Scott said. “We dropped the ball on some, but they made some plays and you can’t take anything away from your opponent. You can’t have that many turnovers and have a chance to be in the ball game.”

Hornets quarterback Anthony Gibson has taken some painful strides since starter Ken Johnson went down with ligament tears in his knee more than a month ago.

Concordia’s running game finally got enough production to make up for Gibson’s inexperience.

Tailback A.J. Ward rushed for just 36 yards but scored three first-half touchdowns to help Concordia take A 28-13 lead.

Webber’s Taylor Atwood scored a touchdown and led all rushers with 84 yards, all in the first half.

“Our starting quarterback is out, so we have to rely on the running game and pass a little bit when we have to,” Ward said. “The blocking on the offensive line was good. It’s been good all this season.”

Gibson normally got plenty of time in the pocket but showed some surprising agility in moving his 5-foot-11, 260-pound frame around and avoiding sacks. He was 12-for-23 passing with 156 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He completed his first four passes of the day, including an 18-yard touchdown to Eric Taylor. Harrison Ellison’s missed extra point made the score 6-0 with 12:55 to go in the first.

Ellison kicked a 33-yard field goal 10 minutes later for a 9-0 lead.

Atwood gave the Warriors their first score and cut the lead to 2 on a 1-yard touchdown with 9:31 to go in the half.

After Ward got into the end zone for the first time, Jamarcus Watkins returned the kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown.

Defensive back Sherman Black intercepted a pass, and Justin King recovered a fumble on consecutive Webber possessions, leading to a pair of Ward touchdowns.

Rupert Webley cut Concordia’s lead to 8 six seconds into the fourth on a 4-yard score.

Gibson and DeAngelo Surls got those points back when they hooked up for a 14-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing drive.

Ryan Lampton saved the ball game by corralling a pass that popped out of Tremblay’s arms as he was trying to get out of bounds.

That set Concordia up with the ball on Webber’s 16, and John Halman later kicked a 22-yard field goal that iced the game.