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Hornets fall at UT-Martin 87-21

MARTIN, Tenn. — Concordia College left the ranks of the undefeated with an 87-21 loss at the hands of Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) opponent Tennessee-Martin.

“We played poorly,” said coach Shepherd Skanes. “We didn’t execute at all. We just fell apart.”

The game’s early moments hinted at a high scoring affair.

UT-Martin struck first when Roren Thomas scored on 65-yard touchdown run on the Warhawks’ first offensive play from scrimmage. Only 13 seconds into the contest, they took a 7-0 lead.

Concordia responded in kind when quarterback Ken Johnson found receiver John Halman for an 83-yard touchdown on the Hornets’ first play from scrimmage. Only 38 seconds into the game, the score was tied at 7-7.

But what was shaping up to be a shootout quickly became one-sided.

Two possessions later, the Warhawks retook the lead on a three-play, 79-yard drive that lasted only 38 seconds. Quarterback Cade Thompson found running back Brandyn Young for a 75-yard completion to the Hornet 4-yard line. Miguel Barnes took it in for the score and UT-Martin led 14-7.

The Hornets drove to the UT-Martin 17 on their ensuing possession, but on second-and-14, Demopolis native Dontrell Miller sacked Johnson for a 21-yard loss. The drive stalled and the Hornets were forced to punt.

The Hornets’ squandered scoring opportunity proved costly as the Warhawks extended their lead to 21-7 on a 13-play 83-yard drive. Barnes capped off the drive off with a 13-yard run for the score.

Concordia’s next possession swung the momentum entirely to the Warhawks. After driving to the UT-Martin 29, the Hornets were called for holding. Four plays later, Johnson was sacked at the Concordia 47 and fumbled. Warhawk cornerback Dorsett Pendleton picked it up and raced for the touchdown, giving UT-Martin a comfortable 28-7 cushion.

The Warhawks scored three more times in the second quarter to push the lead to 49-7 at the break.

The Hornets scored twice in the second half, but neither touchdown brought doubt to the game’s outcome.

Running back A.J. Ward galloped for a 59-yard touchdown near the end of the third quarter to cut the lead to 52-13. Zakevian Rowell capped off a 6-play 59-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 59-21.

The Warhawks closed out the scoring with four unanswered touchdowns in the final frame.

“I didn’t think we’d get beat this bad,” said Skanes. “We’ve got to get back focused.”

Ward led Concordia’s offense with 12 carries for 153 yards and a touchdown. Johnson and Dustin Ward combined for 271 passing yards and one touchdown. The defense gave up 699 yards and the Hornets were penalized 14 times for 137 yards.