Ichabods raid Hornet’s nest for 31-21 win; capture second place in MIAA conference

Goin’ the distance Washburn junior runningback Brandon Walker had two lenghty rushes against Emporia State in the fourth quarter. Clinching Washburns win over Emporia 31-21.

Nathan Miller

Special teams can be special for a team. Special teams play for Washburn Saturday was especially special as the Bods slipped past the Emporia State Hornets 31-21.

“Special teams is a big deal to get the offense the field position they need,” said special-teamer Casey Curran, freshman. “I just tried to fill my responsibility today by getting positive yards and helping the offense out.”

Curran sparked the first score by the Bods. After Curran returned a punt 22 yards to the Hornet’s 44-yard line, senior quarterback Jordan Brill hooked up with sophomore Drameagon Powers on the following play for six, giving the Bods a 7-0 lead with 9:28 left in the first.

The Hornets would respond immediately, as quarterback Andre Sloan El completed a 54-yard pass to receiver Andre Maupin, setting up first and goal on the Washburn 4-yard line. Sloan El completed the drive two plays later on a 3-yard quarterback keeper, tying it up at seven with 7:34 left in the first.

But special teams struck again, senior corner Cary Williams returned the pursuing kickoff 31 yards to the Washburn 46-yard line. Senior running back Ra’Shawn Mosley would punch it in 3:38 later from 19 yards out to give the Bods a 14-7 lead.

“We focus so much on special teams and I think it shows in the games,” said Zach Watkins, sophomore linebacker. “We have great kickers and good coverage teams. Special teams plays a big part in what we do.”

The Bods concluded the half’s scoring with a 25-yard field goal attempt by Andrew Knight, increasing their lead to 17-7.

“The first half I felt like we controlled the whole half,” said Craig Schurig, head coach. “They had a nice play on offense but other than that it felt like we dominated. It felt good coming out at halftime because they were having a hard time moving on our defense, but they started to get in a rhythm and did a really nice job offensively.”

The Hornets may have got into a rhythm but the pace wasn’t fast enough. A booming 63-yard punt by senior Ben Boswell pinned the Hornets on their own 9-yard line with 6:08 left in the third quarter. The Hornets wouldn’t convert on the drive until 14:08 left in the fourth quarter on a 9-yard rush by Seville Ko, reducing the Bod lead to 21-13.

“At the time the punt looked huge because it’s hard to move the ball on our defense like that,” said Schurig. “It used up time but it would have been a really big play if we would’ve got a three and out.”

But what took the Hornets to do in almost seven minutes, the Bods did in two plays and 51 seconds as junior running back Brandon Walker broke loose for a 70-yard touchdown run to put the Bods ahead 24-13 with 13:20 left in the fourth quarter.

“Brandon came through,” said Schurig. “You can see his speed, he is one of the fastest guys on the team and when he got to the edge, it was great to see him take off. We’ve been waiting to see that all year, very few guys are going to catch him.”

The Hornets offense would respond on the next possession but wasted a lot of clock doing so. After 16 plays and 68 yards, Sloan EL converted again on a 2-yard touchdown run, cutting the Bod lead to 24-21 with 6:12 left in the game.

The Hornets were in scoring position on their next possession at the Washburn 11-yard line but redshirt freshman linebacker Ray Trice forced Sloan El to fumble it and senior defensive tackle Eric Butler recovered it. The dagger came four plays later as Walker saw the light of day again, running 68 yards for a touchdown and the Bods final 31-21 margin of victory.

“Any win is good in the MIAA whether it’s by one or 50,” said Watkins. “The offense came up big for us today and the defense tended to struggle but it was a team win.”