Ichabods finish strong in final home game

The Washburn football team made a statement in its final home game of the season, a game riddled with flags and big plays.

Washburn (4-6) won the toss and deferred to the second half. The Northeastern State University Riverhawks (0-10) elected to receive the ball.

On the first play from scrimmage, NSU threw a pass that was bobbled and intercepted by safety Calvin Kenney, giving Washburn the ball at the Riverhawks’ 20-yard line just 10 seconds into the game.

On third-and-four, running back Vershon Moore took the ball 14 yards for a touchdown. This was followed up by a two-point conversion, putting the Bods up early 8-0.

The next three possessions for each team ended in punts. Washburn’s punter Aaron Hummert launched one punt 79 yards, nearing the school record.

With 20 seconds to go in the first quarter, the Bods found themselves in a fourth-and-four situation. They went for it, but fumbled the ball and NSU recovered.

The second quarter started with a Riverhawks drive down to the Washburn 12-yard line, but the defense held and forced NSU to attempt a field goal, which was missed.

After Washburn punted on its next possession, NSU drove the field and scored on a rush with 8:52 in the first half.

But the Ichabods responded with style.

Defensive back Zach Franklin fielded the kickoff from Washburn’s own end zone and took off toward the right sideline. The crowd of players followed and closed in for the tackle only to realize he no longer had the ball. Franklin had handed the ball of to running back Kameron Stewart on a reverse who took it all the way for six.

With a missed PAT, the score was 14-7, Washburn.

With just under five minutes to go in the first half, NSU fumbled the ball inside its own 20. Safety Shay Wooten scooped it up and returned it for a touchdown.

The first half ended 21-7 Washburn.

After back and forth punts, Washburn had the ball about half way through the third quarter when NSU blocked a punt, recovering it at the Washburn 7-yard line. NSU fumbled the ball on its first play after the fumble recovery, though, giving the ball back to the Ichabods.

While the officials were sorting through the players piled on the fumble, two NSU players each drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. This took Washburn’s back off from up against the wall and moved them to much better field position.

From the Washburn 49-yard line, Vershon Moore broke away for a 51-yard touchdown run, burying the Riverhawks even deeper with a new score of 28-7 with 7:19 to go in the third.

On the Riverhawks’ next possession, which they started at their own 11, NSU’s wide receiver Garrett Powell, who doubled as their punter, was called for his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, ejecting him from the game. He was escorted out of the stadium by police.

With their punter gone, the Riverhawks’ place kicker attempted to punt from his own end zone, but the punt was blocked and recovered by Washburn for a touchdown.

The third quarter, which lasted almost 50 minutes, ended 35-7, Washburn.

Washburn scored once more with 6:20 in the game on a pass from quarterback Joel Piper to Connor Crimmins.

The game ended Washburn 42, Northeast State 7.

Vershon Moore finished with 122 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Linebacker Alec Steuber and defensive tackle Trey Parker led the defense with seven tackles each.

The Ichabods improve to 4-6 and face Northwest Missouri State next Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.