Berwick alum Clark returns interception for touchdown in ETBU rout
Taking control of the game from the start and never looking back, the East Texas Baptist University football team honored their 18 seniors with a 66-21 victory against the McMurry University War Hawks.
With one game remaining, East Texas Baptist has won seven games for the third straight season.
East Texas Baptist once again showed off its explosive offense as it had 716 total yards.
Richard Johnson had eight catches for 102 yards and his 14th touchdown reception, which broke his own record of 13 from last season. Brian Baca commanded the offense with a 22-of-34 passing performance for 276 yards and two passing touchdowns.
With a team-high 123 yards on 16 carries and a rushing touchdown. Austin Morriel led all running backs with two rushing touchdowns, while Tarek Beaugard was the top receiver with seven receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown catch.
Defensively, Caleb Taylor led all tacklers with 14 tackles, while Ty Parsons had 12. Parsons also had an interception along with Larenz Clark, who returned a pick-six for 66-yard touchdown. Clark, a Berwick High alum, also had one solo tackle.
Both teams scored on their opening drive as Baca rushed one in from the one-yard line to give East Texas Baptist a 7-0 lead with 12:47 remaining.
After McMurry tied the game, East Texas Baptist converted a 4th-and-1 situation on its next drive, which led to Morriel scoring to give East Texas Baptist a seven-point lead, again, at 14-7 with 5:52 left in the first quarter.
With eight seconds left in the first quarter, Baca connected for six yards to Richard Johnson for a 21-7 lead.
McMurry’s first drive of the second quarter was halted by Parson’s interception.
East Texas Baptist put up three points off that turnover with a 28-yard field goal by Ryan Travis at the 12:14 mark for the first score in the second quarter, making it 24-7.
After an interception, the War Hawks scored to cut the lead to 24-14 with 10:26 remaining in the half.
East Texas Baptist answered on its next drive as Morriel scored from six yards out to regain the 17-point lead at 31-14 with 8:46 left.
East Texas Baptist held McMurry three-and-out to start the third quarter only to commit a fumble. The War Hawks took advantage of the turnover with a touchdown pass to cut the lead to 31-21 with 11:17 remaining in the third quarter.
East Texas Baptist’s next drive would lead to a blocked punt by McMurry, which recovered the ball at East Texas Baptist’s nine-yard line.
After three plays, McMurry decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal, but Taylor made the sack, forcing a turnover on downs. This defensive stand was the game’s turning point as East Texas Baptist scored the next 35 points, and McMurry didn’t score again.
East Texas Baptist took advantage of the momentum shift when Baca connected with Beaugard for 48 yards to make it 38-21 with 6:19 remaining in the third quarter.
East Texas Baptist’s defense forced McMurry into another turnover on downs, and they would strike when Damarcus Allen ran from seven yards out to give East Texas Baptist a 45-21 lead with 2:02 remaining in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was all East Texas Baptist as it shutout the War Hawks.
Clark’s pick six to start the fourth made it 52-21.
McMurry then fumbled the ball, which was forced and recovered by Derek Landrum.
Quarterback Dru Smith entered the game and connected with Xavier Gray for a 24-yard score, for a 59-21 lead.
A couple of drives later, Smith found Maurice Morris from 16 yards out and a 66-21 lead with 5:08 remaining.
Patterson High alum Sirbatian Charles also recorded four tackles (two solo and two assists), while Central Catholic alum Samarick Paul also received playing time.
This season, Charles has 20 tackles (12 solo and eight assists). He also has broken up four passes.
Clark has seven tackles (six solo and one assisted) along with one forced fumble, one interception and two pass breakups.
Paul has one reception for eight yards and two tackles (one solo and one assist).
East Texas Baptist will end its season Saturday when it travels to Belton, Texas, to take on No. 1-ranked and defending national champion University of Mary Hardin-Baylor at 1 p.m.