By BEN JOHNSON
In its first five games to open the season, Missouri Western had yet to trail in a contest.
That all changed on Saturday at Doc Wadley Stadium.
Northeastern State got a 29-yard field goal from Drew Patton in the first quarter, and the RiverHawks scored the first points that Missouri Western had allowed in the first quarter all year.
“They got that out of the way, and we can’t be jinxed,” Missouri Western head coach Jerry Partridge said of trailing and giving up points in the first quarter.
Partridge’s team, ranked fifth in the country, rebounded and beat NSU 45-31
Northeastern State had five players record double-digit tackles, with Terrance Leach leading the way with 14. That was Leach’s career-high in tackles.
Two of his teammates also had career-highs in tackles. Jack Gray had 11 and Cayle Shambaugh had 10.
Northeastern State went to a two-quarterback system against the Griffons. Starter Johnny Deaton orchestrated the offense the entire first quarter and most of the second quarter.
However, Dallas McCutcheon made his first appearance when the RiverHawks began a drive on their own 24-yard line with 5:15 left in the second quarter. He promptly led the RiverHawks down the field — scrambling for two long runs — and hit Jahmai Coleman for a 26-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left in the opening half.
“We planned on that going into the game,” NSU head coach Kenny Evans said of the quarterback rotation. “...It was nothing against any one person, it’s just some times you have to change what you’re doing.”
McCutcheon also played sparingly in the second half.
Deaton finished the game by completing 50 percent of his passes (14 of 28) for 204 yards and an interception. McCutcheon was 5 of 7 for 60 yards and a touchdown, to go along with 44 yards rushing on seven carries.
Griffons get here late
Perhaps someone should have told Missouri Western that Muskogee Avenue would be tough to navigate on Saturday morning.
The Griffons arrived in town only to find out that parades — by both the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma and Northeastern State University — were blocking the main thoroughfare through town.
“We were late by 45 minutes to 50 minutes,” Partridge said. “We got cut off by the homecoming parade, and we were moving around all over the place and couldn’t get here.”
Jones picks off 2
Northeastern State cornerback Vernon Jones added to his team-leading interception total against Missouri Western. The 5-foot-11 junior picked off Missouri Western quarterback Travis Partridge twice.
“His coverage was good,” Evans said. “He challenged the receivers, and he stepped up and made some plays.”