Football grabs crucial W, stands alone in first place

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Azusa Pacific only found one touchdown through their offense against Central Washington, but that was all that was necessary to take first place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in their 24-17 victory.

The Wildcats held the advantage in total offensive yards with 311 compared to the Cougars’ 187. They ran almost twice as many plays from scrimmage than the Cougars, 80 to 43. According to the stat sheet, APU was outperformed in just about every offensive category, but the Cougars made plays when it mattered most, capitalizing in the most crucial moments.

An all-around performance from the Cougars brought a touchdown from each of their units. Freshman cornerback C.J. Broussard snatched a pick and ran it back 50 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Six minutes into the second quarter, freshman Tarik Myles ran a kick back 92 yards to take a 14-10 lead. Junior running back Terrell Watson ran the ball into the endzone for an 8-yard touchdown to go up 24-10 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Cougars’ defense outperformed the number one defense in the conference, forcing two fumbles, recovering three and getting one interception via Broussard. Junior free safety Tyler Thornton had a game-high 19 tackles and junior linebacker Steven Fanua had a career day, recording 15 tackles and forcing a fumble.

The Wildcats began to edge closer with 3:51 left to play when senior quarterback Dasmen Stewart fumbled the ball and Central Washington recovered it on the Cougars’ 28-yard line. Three plays later, the Wildcats were a touchdown away from tying the game after Jake Nelson passed it to Jordin Kinnune for a 9-yard touchdown.

With three minutes left in the game, Central Washington went with the onside kick. They recovered it and started their drive on the Cougars’ 45-yard line. The drive started and ended with a four-yard run from Nelson that resulted in a forced fumble by junior defensive lineman Pasiaka Fahina. The Cougars proceeded to run the clock out and emerged victorious.

With the key win, the Cougars are now 6-2 (6-1). Next week, they will return home to play against the 5-3 (5-2) Western Oregon Wolves at Citrus Stadium. Game time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.