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The Antelope

The Antelope

Lopers remain in playoff contention with victory

JIYOON KIM / ANTELOPE STAFF Cole Young leads the Loper offense back to the sideline after scoring a touchdown vs Lincoln.

The playoff picture is still alive for the Lopers after defeating Central Oklahoma 37-22 Saturday. UNK’s victory and No. 7 regional ranked Ouachita Baptist’s loss gives the Lopers an opportunity to move up in the regional rankings.

The Lopers got off to a fast start. T.J. Davis took just three plays and a minute to hit a wide-open Dayton Sealey for a 53-yard passing touchdown. The fast start saw the Lopers tack on 16 more points to lead at the half 23-13.

“We talked to our kids all week about getting out fast and I think we were all ready to get the bad taste out of our mouth from the week before,” said UNK coach Josh Lynn. “I think we were in control of that game and it all started in that first quarter.”

Playing all four quarters has been a struggle this season for UNK. Central made adjustments and bounced back by slowing down the Lopers’ offense and putting together drives. Central Oklahoma added 13 points in the second half but Davis would punch in a three-yard touchdown to seal the deal as UNK was able to hold on 37-22. 

“We went into halftime and it’s just a whole deal about us playing four quarters and if you look at games we lost, our third quarter wasn’t great,”  Lynn said. “The discussion was we had to play two more quarters to play a complete game.”

The UNK offense finished with 514 total yards. The Lopers rushing attack led the way with 366 yards. This was a major improvement from last week as UNK rushed for just 66 yards against Northwest Missouri.

Davis had a team-high 179 yards and one touchdown on 30 carries. Davis has 37 career rushing touchdowns and is one touchdown away from tying the school record of 38 held by former quarterback Jake Spitzlberger (2008-2011). 

Damien Cearns finished with 76 yards on six carries for one touchdown while Montrez Jackson rushed for 55 yards.

The passing offense for UNK finished the ball game with 148 yards. Wide receiver Michael Koch went 1-1 for a one-yard passing touchdown on a trick play to Davis for his first career receiving touchdown. Sealey led the team with two grabs for 97 yards and a touchdown. Koch finished with 27 yards and a receiving touchdown as well.

“I was extremely happy with the way we moved the ball,” said Lynn. “That Central Oklahoma defense is solid.”

The UNK defense allowed 381 total yards of offense. Central Oklahoma finished with 301 passing yards while rushing for 80 yards. Darius Swanson and Jacey Nutter tied for a team-high seven tackles. Terrell Willaims, Blake Bubak, and Zach Schlager all combined for five tackles while Willaims also had four pass breakups.

“ I was really happy with the defense, we are a little banged up on that defensive side of the ball,” Lynn said. “Our defense got stops when they needed to.”

With the regular season coming to an end, there are four super regions that feature the top ten teams in each region. The top seven in each region make the playoffs. This week’s ranking saw the Lopers jump up a spot to No. 7 after Ouachita Baptist lost Saturday to No. 9 Southeastern Oklahoma State 35-21. The Lopers control their own destiny for a playoff spot.

The Lopers season finale is Saturday as they welcome the Northeastern State Riverhawks to town for senior day. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. at Foster Field. 

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