By Rory Noble
First, nationally ranked Carroll College fell to the Mountaineers on Sept. 28. Then, one week later, another ranked opponent, Western Montana came to Community Stadium and lost 20-0. Most recently, the EOU football team traveled to Ashland and defeated #25 ranked Southern Oregon University 38-37.
The Mountaineers fought hard throughout the game but found themselves down by 13 points with 13:43 remaining in the game. After a late score in the third quarter by SOU’s Melvin Mason, EOU trailed 24-37. EOU only gained 15 yards on their possession after Mason’s score and punted.
Southern’s next drive covered 72 yards in 8 plays before a Gary Poston interception at the one-yard line gave the ball back to the Mountaineers. From there, Dominique Blackman led the team on a 9-play, 86 yard drive that concluded in a 29-yard touchdown pass to Alexander Miles.
After the Saints ran another ten plays and used up all but three-and-a-half minutes of the game, the EOU defense stepped up and made a crucial stop on fourth-and-one to get the ball back for the offense.
Blackman and the offense responded once again, driving 46 yards in less than two minutes to score the go ahead touchdown. Justin Hernandez was the recipient of the pass from fellow wide receiver Jace Billingsley that put the Mountaineers up 38-37 with 1:48 to go.
The theatrics were not over, however, as Austin Dodge led the Saints down the field to the EOU 19 yard line. Southern took a time out to plan their attack with just 49 seconds left in the game. Within field goal range, the Saints coaching staff decided to try and get closer for kicker Aldrick Rosas.
The next play, Dodge hit receiver Jeremy Scottow for a 14 yard gain to the EOU five yard line. EOU’s Adam Bese reached in and stripped the ball from Scottow. Sophomore Tyson Fernstom picked up the loose ball and returned it to the EOU 15.
With the go-ahead score averted and Southern left with just one timeout, the team lined up in the victory formation and Blackman kneeled twice to give the Mountaineers the 38-37 upset victory.
Blackman passed for 336 yards and had three touchdown passes. He also ran 12 times for 78 yards. Running back Chris McGinnis-Parker rushed for 108 yards on 19 carries and caught a TD pass in the first quarter. The defense forced one fumble, which they recovered, and intercepted Southern three times.
The win moves EOU to 5-5 on the season, with a 5-4 Frontier Conference record. The loss was Southern’s first of the year. The Mountaineers return to the field Nov. 16 to face the Bulldogs of Western Montana in Dillon, Mont. for the EOU’s final game of the regular season.