Northwestern State (2-4 overall, 1-3 in the Southland Conference) was not able to end their current losing streak as they fell to Sam Houston (4-2 overall, 3-1 in the Southland Conference) over the weekend to make their current losing streak three games. The final score was 42-28.
Sam Houston came out strong going up 14-0 in the first quarter, but the Demons fought their way back into the game by scoring three straight times and going up 21-14 midway through the second quarter. Head Coach Brad Laird said his team showed resilience by getting back into the game and not giving up.
“To be down 14 nothing at the end of the first quarter against a top 15 team that won the conference four out of the last seven, then we battle back to score three straight to make it 21-14. The resiliencies of the guys I thought was awesome,” Laird said.
Laird thought the second half is where Sam Houston put them away, but he believes a sequence at the end of the first half altered the team’s momentum.
“They made some plays there in the second half to win the football game,” Laird said. “But you go back to that first half, [there’s] a lot of highs and lows of being down 14, [and] then we score three straight, then we fumble a punt in their territory and they get the ball. Then we have them at 3rd and 15 and we get a penalty, they get a first down and they end up converting and making it 21 – 21. So a lot of ups and downs right there.”
Junior Linebacker Quindarrius Whitey is in his first year with the Demons as he is a transfer from Holmes Community College. Going from Junior College to D-1 football can be a big jump, but it has not stopped Whitey from leading the team in tackles with 46 total tackles, a fact he dismisses.
“The season is going well for me, but my personal stats don’t really matter,” Whitey said. “I want to win. I’m all about my team and I want to do whatever I can to contribute to the goal we have.”
Whitey said making the transition to D-1 football was tough and he lost confidence in himself, but his team helped him overcome that.
“My transition to D-1 wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. I lost a lot of confidence in my ability by the time the season began,” he said. “However, my linebacker brothers and intrinsic motivation helped me strive forward.”
Junior Quarterback Shelton Eppler threw for three touchdowns and 351 yards against Sam Houston over the weekend.
Even though Eppler threw for his second highest passing yards in a game all season, he felt the offense is what let the Demons down this past weekend.
“I felt the defense did a good job forcing turnovers and I felt the offense started out slow,” Eppler said. “We picked it up a little, [but] then turnovers got the best of us and we did not take advantage of the opportunities like those turnovers the defense got for us, and it was too late to make a comeback.”
The Demons are going on the road to take on Central Arkansas (4-2 overall, 3-1 in the Southland Conference) this weekend on Oct. 20 as they look to break their three-game losing streak.
Head Coach Laird said he knows what Central Arkansas brings to the table and knows they have an opportunity to gauge themselves coming off three losses.
“You look at what [Central Arkansas] has done the last several years and the consistency they bring within their program—that’s where we want to get to,” Laird said. “We get an opportunity to gauge ourselves coming off three loses.”
Photo by Chris Reich.