MIAMI — Outscored 14-3 in the fourth quarter, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College dropped a 42-31 decision to interstate rival Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College Saturday during the Hall of Fame game at Red Robertson Field.
With the non-conference loss the Golden Norsemen are 3-4 on the season while the Red Ravens are 4-3 overall.
Although Coffeyville has won three straight and four of the last five games in the series dating back to 1925, NEO holds a 25-14-2 overall advantage against the Red Ravens.
“We’re not ‘staying gold’ with the way we’re playing right now,” Golden Norse head coach Clay Patterson said. “Staying gold means to this football team that they succeed in every aspect of their life.
“We’re in a pattern where one week we’re on and play well and the next week we’re off,” Patterson said. “The thing is, we hated to lose this football game, but we’re still trying to learn what it takes to win a football game and this is the basis of what shows up on Saturdays.”
Remaining at home next Saturday the Golden Norse conclude the non-conference portion of the regular season at 2 p.m. against the Buffaloes of Little Rock’s Arkansas Baptist College.
The Buffaloes are 3-5 on the year after earning a 12-7 win on Saturday at Cisco, Texas.
Only 48 seconds after the opening kickoff, the Golden Norse received a 43-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Johns to wide out Kobie Bryer. Dalton Witherspoon’s point-after gave NEO a 7-0 lead.
Alternating quarterbacks, NEO covered 58 yards in eight plays before Cordale Grundy found wide receiver Chase Nevel on a 4-yard TD pass with 4:48 remaining in the first quarter. Witherspoon’s PAT created a 14-0 Golden Norse margin.
Just 7 seconds into the second quarter, placekicker Cooper Lee booted a 24-yard field goal to produce a 14-3 deficit for the Red Ravens.
Coffeyville defensive tackle Samson Sawyer tackled NEO quarterback Nathaniel Johns for a two-point safety with 12:51 until halftime for a 14-5 deficit.
The Red Ravens defense continued to put points on the board after tackle Samson Sawyer recovered a deflected NEO punt by Ryley Hawthorn in the endzone for a TD at 9:10 of the half. The punt attempt hit a Golden Norse blocker and bounded into the end zone, where Sawyer fell on the loose ball to create a 14-11 deficit.
With 7:00 minutes before intermission, Grundy scored on a 3-yard run and Witherspoon added the extra point for a 21-11 NEO advantage.
Less than two minutes later, Coffeyville scored on a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Coleman Key to Malik Stanley. Lee kicked the extra point for a 21-18 NEO lead.
Building a sustained 96-yard, 12-play drive, the Red Ravens grabbed the lead for good on another 6-yard pass from Key to Stanley. The PAT by Lee allowed Coffeyville to hold a 25-21 halftime lead.
“Defensively, we let Key get into his rhythm and he used the short passing game to get to us in the third and fourth quarter,” Patterson said. “Then, we didn’t tackle well in the secondary when we were faced with one-on-one pass coverage.”
Coffeyville took the second half kickoff and moved down to the NEO 15-yard line before Lee kicked a 25-yard field goal at the 10:32 juncture.
Lee missed a 34-yard field goal attempt wide left with 7:33 remaining in the third quarter.
NEO forged a 28-28 tie as Darwin Thompson scored on a 7-yard run along with Witherspoon’s extra point with 3:47 left.
Three minutes into the fourth quarter Coffeyville regained the lead on a 4-yard TD run by Marcelus Ware. Lee tacked on the point-after for a 35-28 margin.
Witherspoon’s 30-yard field goal with 4:54 showing on the clock rallied NEO to a 35-31 deficit.
Stanley sealed the Golden Norse fate at 2:39 with a 25-yard TD pass from Coleman. Lee booted the extra point to create what would be a 42-31 final.
Redshirt freshman Darwin Thompson led all ball carriers with 180 yards on 18 carries and one TD.
The Golden Norsemen rushed for 247 yards on 44 carries with two touchdowns.
“We ran the football a lot better than we have in the past,” Patterson said. “But, the thing is we’ve got to put 90 minutes of good football together in order to be successful.”
Johns completed 13 of 29 passes for 113 yards and one TD with one interception. Grundy hit 6 of 8 passes for 70 yards and one touchdown and one interception.
Wide receiver Patrick McKaufman connected on a 22-yard open pass as NEO finished with 20 of 38 passes for 205 yards with two interceptions and two TDs.
“We’ve got to improve on defense,” Patterson said. “I’m very disappointed in the way we are playing because I feel like we’ve got some talented players on that side of the football that are more talented than what we’re putting on the field. It’s disappointing to say the least.”
Key, a 6-5, 240-pound Broken Arrow product, completed 34 of 49 passes for 453 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Red Ravens were limited to 87 yards rushing on 33 carries. Sophomore tailback Marcelus Ware led Coffeyville with 63 yards on 17 carries and one TD.