Lions pick up second straight win; playoff chances stay alive

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Head Coach David Bailiff looks on at his squad | Mikayla Maldonado

By Tyler McDonough | Sr. Sports Reporter

The No. 24 Texas A&M University-Commerce football team picked up a big road win in the
Texas Panhandle as the Lions defeated the West Texas A&M Buffaloes 34-20 in the NCAA
Division II Football Showcase on Saturday.

West Texas used a chunk of clock on their first drive as they scored on a 13 play, 75-yard drive,
when Logan Vallo carried in a two-yard touchdown. A&M-Commerce responded on their first
drive with a six play, 64-yard drive when Antonio Lealiie punched in a 8-yard run with 6:50 left
in the first quarter.

Felipe Chambers fired up the defense when he intercepted the first play of the Buffaloes next
drive and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. Jake Viquez’s extra point was blocked and the
Lions had a 13-7 lead.

A&M-Commerce extended their lead when the special teams stepped up and blocked a WT
punt. Jemal Williams returned the block seven yards for another Lion touchdown to extend
their lead to 20-7. The Buffaloes stopped the bleeding as they scored a 28-yard touchdown pass
to cut the lead to 20-14. That score would remain the same going into halftime.

The Lion offense stalled in the third quarter and were shutout by the Buffaloes. West Texas did
not do much in the third either, but did score once to tie the score up at 20-20 with 3:25 in the
quarter.

A&M-Commerce stood strong when the Buffaloes got into the redzone, turning them over on
downs to give the ball back to Miklo Smalls and the Lion offense. The Lions proceeded to go on
a 10 play, 82-yard drive when Smalls went a perfect 7-7 on the drive and marched in from 11-yards out, scrambling for the pylon to give A&M-Commerce a 27-20 lead with 8:40 in the
quarter.

The Lion defense stepped up when they needed to the most. A&M-Commerce held West Texas
to two straight three-and-outs. The Lions began their final scoring drive in great field position at
the Buffaloes 35-yardline and scored in two quick plays. Smalls scampered for 11-yards, and
then proceeded to complete a 24-yard pass to Kelan Smith to give the Lions a 34-20 lead.

The score would stay the same as A&M-Commerce eventually ran out the clock to end the
game. With the win the Lions improve to 7-2 (5-1 LSC). The loss for West Texas A&M will most
likely eliminate the Buffaloes from playoff contention as they fall to 6-3 (3-3 LSC).

A&M-Commerce will be back at home this Saturday for Senior Day at Memorial Stadium as the
Lions will host a 3-6 (1-5 LSC) UT-Permian Basin squad and try to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Lions cut it a little close for comfort last year as A&M-Commerce only beat the Falcons 20-
17 last year in Odessa.

A&M-Commerce sits at no. six in Super Region Four. The top seven teams from the super region will make the playoffs. Tarleton State remains at no. one in the super region and Angelo State sits at no. five in the rankings. The Lions travel to Angelo State on November 16 in a game which will most likely determine who gets the second spot to the playoffs out of the Lone Star Conference.

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