East Texas Baptist wins high-scoring contest
Scoring 45 points in the second half, including 24 straight, the East Texas Baptist University football team used its offense to unload on the Belhaven University Blazers 79-40.
This marks the third time in the last two seasons East Texas Baptist has scored more than 70 points.
It also improves their record to 3-0 this season for the second consecutive year, and they are now 2-0 in American Southwest Conference play.
“It was a see-saw battle in the first half, and I think that the difference was we never lost our poise, even on defense, as we stiffened up in the second half,” East Texas Baptist Head Coach Scott Highsmith said in a news release. “This was good for us. It was good for us to be behind and have to fight and fight for this victory. I am just proud of them.”
Dru Smith once again led the offense with 408 passing yards on 26-of-35 attempts with four touchdown passes. Justin Ward (74 yards) and Dominic Haggerty (70 yards) both had nine rushes and 70-plus yards rushing.
Cameron Goodlett caught 10 passes for 112 yards, while Xavier Gray added 163 yards on five receptions. Both players had two touchdown receptions.
Defensively, Ty Parsons and Caleb Taylor were the leading tacklers with 14 and 12 stops, respectively. CJ Johnson added nine tackles, including 4.5 sacks. East Texas Baptist had 10 sacks.
Zack Biles made his mark with an 84-yard pick six in the third quarter.
East Texas Baptist’s offense finished with 632 yards of total offense, 455 of those in the air.
East Texas Baptist was six-for-six on scoring drives when it reached the red zone.
Belhaven’s Hunter McEachern completed 33-of-51 passes for 482 yards and six touchdown passes.
Belhaven’s Jacob McNeil caught 11 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown, while LaMar Caradine caught five passes and 102 yards, which included three touchdown receptions.
Despite giving up an early touchdown, East Texas Baptist responded with three scores, coming from touchdown runs by Smith and Ward, while Gray caught a 25 yard pass from Smith.
Belhaven answered with two touchdowns, but a missed extra point cost them a chance to tie it at 21.
East Texas Baptist then scored two more touchdowns on passes from Smith to Tarek Beaugard (13 yards) and a 91-yard strike to Gray.
The Blazers cut their deficit to 34-26 at halftime.
In the third quarter, East Texas Baptist added to its lead with a 32-yard rush by Haggerty and a 22 yard reception by Goodlett.
Though Belhaven answered with a touchdown to make it 48-32, East Texas Baptist’s 24 straight points were the difference as a Ryan Travis field goal, an 84-yard pick-six from Biles, a four yard rush from Ward, and a three-yard pass to Goodlett had East Texas Baptist up 72-32.
Both teams had one final touchdown, with Brian Baca scoring from six-yards out for East Texas Baptist.
Patterson High alum Sirbatian Charles, an East Texas Baptist redshirt sophomore defender, had five total tackles (two solo and three assists), while Berwick High alum and East Texas Baptist true freshman defender Larenz Clark had one solo tackle.
East Texas Baptist will be back home Saturday when it hosts No. 8 Hardin-Simmons University at 7 p.m.