Concordia overcomes sluggish start in win

Published 12:03 am Sunday, September 21, 2008

DOTHAN — As has been the case all season for Concordia (4-1), Saturday’s 43-27 win over Edward Waters College (0-3) in the South Alabama Heritage Classic in Dothan was a tale of two halves.

The Hornets started in sluggish fashion, and trailed the Tigers 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.

“Edwards Waters just came out the first half and moved that ball up and down the field,” said Concordia coach Shepherd Skanes.

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The Hornets didn’t fare much better in the second quarter until quarterback Ken Johnson knocked the goose egg off the board with a 5-yard touchdown run to cut the Hornets’ deficit to 14-7 with less than one minute remaining in the half.

“Either we’re going to come and play the first half, or we’re going to play the second half,” said Skanes. “We’ve got to put it all together.”

The Hornets would put it all together — for one half at least.

Early in the third quarter, Johnson hit receiver John Halman for a 48-yard touchdown to tie the score. Running back A.J. Ward put Concordia up 21-14 with a 4-yard run on the Hornets’ next possession.

The Tigers tied the game at 21-21 on a 2-yard touchdown run, but the Hornets wouldn’t be stopped.

Concordia marched 57 yards in three plays to reclaim the lead. Johnson found Chris Gooden for a 21-yard reception to put the Hornets up 27-21.

Following an Edward Waters punt, Concordia was pinned on its own 1-yard line. One play later, Johnson found Halman for a 95-yard touchdown and the Hornets didn’t look back.

Miguel Terrell blocked a fourth quarter punt and returned it for a touchdown to finish the Hornets’ scoring.

Johnson earned offensive MVP honors with 403 total yards — including 355 yards passing — and four touchdowns. Ward rushed for 106 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries. Halman finished with 256 yards and two touchdown on five receptions.

The win improved the Hornets to 4-1 — a mark that has not been reached since the program’s first season in 2005. The Hornets finished 2-8 in each of the last two seasons.

Skanes believes the record shows definite progress in Concordia’s young program.

“We’ve passed the limit the last two years,” he said.