Lions win big, look to playoff fate

Lion Wide Receiver Buck Wilson outruns a Falcon player to catch the ball for a touchdown. East Texas Photo | Jessie Cunningham

By Zach Cottam | Staff Reporter

With their season wrapping up quickly, every game means more and more for the A&M-Commerce Lions football team. Despite all the unfinished goals still hanging over them, the

No. 9 Lions didn’t have much pressure on Nov. 4 in a big 52-0 win over UT Permian Basin.

The Lions wrapped up their final home game for the 2017 regular season, honoring 21 seniors on Senior Day as they played their last game in Commerce. In addition to Senior Day, Nov. 4 was also the day that A&M-Commerce dedicated the field at Memorial Stadium, rechristening it as Ernest Hawkins Field, named after the winningest coach in Lions football history.

Before Nov. 4, A&M-Commerce and UT Permian Basin had met only once before, a rain-shortened Lion 58-21 win over the Falcons in Odessa last year that ended after three quarters. This year the defense held the Falcons in check again, as they only allowed 125 total yards and sacked quarterback Kameron Mathis 4 times.

Offensively, the Lions got rolling early and never looked back. Four quarterbacks would get playing time on offense Starter Luis Perez went 26-34 for 301 yards and four touchdowns. Backups Gabriel Rodriguez, Preston Wheeler, and Jacob Norton also combined to go 6-15 for 80 yards and a TD.

The rushing attack continued to dominate on the ground, as the Lions totaled 202 rushing yards and added two scores. The Lions controlled the line of scrimmage and setting up the long ball, as Vincent Hobbs totaled 144 yards on six catches for two touchdowns, including a 74 yard score. Buck Wilson also had six grabs for 84 receiving yards and a touchdown.

The Lions also dominated on special teams, as they held the Falcons to 6 total yards on kickoff returns and averaged 50 yards on their own kickoffs. A&M-Commerce forced ten UTPB punts in the game while only punting once.  Kicker Kristov Martinez added ten more points as he went perfect with his kicks in the game, with seven extra points and a 28 yard field goal going through. He is now within ten points of being the all-time leading scorer in Lion history.

The win brought the Lions to 8-1 on the season and 5-1 in Lone Star Conference play. With the loss, the Falcons fell to 2-8 (1-6 LSC). The Lions conclude their regular season on Nov. 11 in Stephenville against rival Tarleton State, and will await their playoff fate. The NCAA playoff field will be revealed on Nov. 12, and the Lions are seventh in their Super Region in the final week, with only the top seven teams from each Super Region making it into the playoff field.