Last year, the Wildcats were also coming off an emotional, 42-38 loss to Mary Hardin- Baylor when they traveled to ETBU the following week and won with a dominant performance, 49-21.
While the nature of the loss to UMHB was much different this year, nonetheless, it left the Wildcats once again searching for a way to get their season back on the right track.
“After a loss like that, teams tend to point fingers,” said junior defensive back Reggie Calhoun. “This is a brotherhood, and we have a bond that no one or anything can break. The attitude of the team is hungry and ready to work.”
East Texas Baptist (2-3, 1-2 American Southwest Conference) looks to continue riding the momentum from a come-from-behind, 26-22 victory over ASC opponent Hardin-Simmons.
Senior quarterback Sed Harris led the comeback win. He accounted for 121 yards passing, completing 12 of his 23 attempts and also chipped in 130 yards rushing on 17 carries. Harris accounted for two touchdowns – one through the air and the other on the ground.
Harris is the leader of the team and the Tigers' most dangerous player having racked up 818 yards passing and five touchdowns on the year. He has also added 313 yards and two more scores on the ground.
“The guy can run and he's dangerous that way.” Calhoun said.
ETBU is looking for its first win against the Wildcats since 2007.
If the Wildcats are going to run that winning streak to four games over the Tigers, they will likely need to have better production out of the quarterback spot and keep the turnovers to a minimum.
Against Mary Hardin-Baylor, junior quarterback Jamie Bunting struggled as he went 15-for-37 passing for 193 yards and was intercepted once. Backup quarterback Tim Currie was slightly better, completing 11-for-18 for 82 yards, but he was intercepted twice.
Any thoughts of making a switch at that position were quickly dispelled by LC head coach Dennis Dunn.
“Jamie's our quarterback, he's going to lead this team and continue to play well.” Dunn said after the loss. “I'm not at all disappointed in Jamie. He's going to get better.”
Dunn also admitted that he probably went away from the ground game too quickly against the Cru after the Wildcats fell behind in the score. Recapturing a pass-run balance that helped the Wildcats get off to a 3-0 start will be important against ETBU as well.
“I look for us to be more balanced offensively this week.” Senior wide receiver Dayne Reeves said. “We got in a hole early last week which made us throw the ball more. “
The Wildcats will look to be more balanced going forward and return to their stable of running backs consisting of Daron Bartholomew, Ryan Montague, Robert Williams and CerDerrick Tyson.
Reeves also said that LC will need to better execute its passing attack. A number of Bunting's incompletions last week came as the result the lack of execution.
“Coach puts us in great position to make plays and we have to capitalize when we get an opportunity.” Reeves said.
Despite the loss last week, the Wildcats remain one of the more complete teams in the ASC as they are in the top half in both rush defense and passing efficiency.
“Defensively as a whole we just need to continue to believe in each other and continue to have a purpose.” Calhoun said. “ We need to prove to ourselves and to everyone else that we are a dominant force.”
The defense will need to key in on Harris who is a very dangerous and athletic player, similar to UMHB's LiDarral Bailey, who hurt LC on the ground and through the air last week.
“We will apply pressure on him and keep him contained.” Calhoun said. “And force him to put the ball in the air.”
While the trip to Belton ended in disappointment for the Wildcats last week, LC remains a team with a strong goal – that of making it to the Division III playoffs and eventually the national championship game in Salem, Va.
“We are still focused on our goals and understand that with winning out, what and who lies ahead for us,” Calhoun said.