CISCO, Texas - Because the game between Northeastern A&M and Cisco Junior College turned into a ‘tale of two halves,' the Golden Norsemen needed overtime to gain a 28-22 victory over the Wranglers Saturday afternoon at Chelsey Field.
“We dominated the game, other than the scoring aspect, the entire first half,” Golden Norse head coach Rob Green said. “We controlled both the tempo and the football throughout the first 30 minutes.
“Our defense gave up almost 200 yards rushing in the second half,” Green said. “After we played so good in the first half, we played just as bad, if not worse, in the second half.
“These guys haven't figured out when to turn on the light switch and when to turn it off,” Green said. “We were putting too many people in one-on-one situations rather than swarming to the football.”
After stopping Cisco on the initial series to start the game, the Golden Norsemen covered 47 yards in four plays to grab the lead.
Freshman tailback Cardell Clemens culminated the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run. A 25-yard run by freshman Durell Parker set up the TD run.
Playing without kicker Matt Berrey, running back Dominik Williams and wide receiver Alonzo Adams, the Norsemen failed to convert on the two-point conversion run by quarterback Trey Munden with 9:28 left in the first quarter.
The three players were suspended for one game for violating team rules.
“Not only were we missing our placekicker, but it hurt our depth at running back and wide receiver,” Green said. “All three are expected back next week.
Following an exchange of punts, the Golden Norsemen mounted a 66-yard, seven play drive that consumed almost seven minutes of the second quarter.
Parker burst through the middle for a 22-yard touchdown run with 8:15 until halftime. Munden's two-point conversion pass to Kenyard Blair was off mark as the Norsemen maintained a 12-0 cushion.
Cisco came out in the third quarter and drove 60 yards in nine plays before freshman tailback Daryl Richardson scored on a 1-yard run at the 11:43 juncture.
Thomas Rebold kicked the point after to create a 12-7 deficit.
Late in the third quarter, the Wranglers put together a 68-yard drive in 11 plays before Richardson scored on another 1-yard run with 10:54 remaining in regulation play.
The two-point conversion pass from quarterback Alijawon White to V'Keon Lacey was deflected to give Cisco a 13-12 lead.
Richardson scored his third touchdown of the game on a 23-yard jaunt with 7:29 left in the game to end a 67-yard, six-play drive.
Rebold's extra point was blocked and NEO defensive back Jeff Johnson scooped up the ball and raced 74-yards to give the Norsemen two points and a 19-14 deficit.
With time winding down, the Golden Norsemen took over at their own 40-yard line. Munden found wide receiver Kenyard Blair open on a 15-yard pass route to keep the drive alive on a fourth-and-10 call at the Cisco 43-yard line.
Freshman wide receiver Taylor Antle slipped behind the Wranglers' defense and caught a 28-yard touchdown pass with 47 seconds left on the game clock. Munden's conversion pass to tight end Garrett Dick created a 22-19 Norse lead.
Three pass plays of 14, 22 and 4 yards by White to Lacey, Richardson and Johnathon Craig, respectively, allowed Cisco to attempt a 43-yard field goal with just 8 seconds left in the game. Rebold split the uprights to send the game into overtime.
NEO won the coin toss and took the ball at the Cisco 25-yard line. On the fifth play of the series, Clemens scored on a 5-yard run. Walters missed the point-after to give NEO a precarious 28-22 lead.
The Wranglers lost 2 yards on the first two plays of its overtime possession.
After White tried to force a pass into the NEO secondary for an incomplete on third down, the quarterback lofted a pass to the end zone for Lacey on fourth-and-12.
Golden Norse defenders Isreal Escoe and Jernois Bradberry batted the ball around before knocking it out of Lacey's hands to end the game.
NEO generated 373 yards in total offense while Cisco amassed 305 total yards.
Eclipsing the 150-yard mark for the third straight game, Clemens led the Norse ground game with 152 yards on 36 carries and two TDs. Parker contributed 90 yards on 12 carries with one TD.
Munden completed 10 of 29 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown with one interception.
“Trey really didn't throw the ball very well all day,” Green said. “He tried to force the ball too much and made some poor decisions.”
Richardson led all ball carriers with 168 yards on 36 carries.