Around the Region

Artful performance showcases TLU, East Texas Baptist

A.J. Saucedo scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns for Texas Lutheran in the win vs. East Texas Baptist.
Texas Lutheran photo by Lee Usry

It wasn’t a heavyweight bout. It wasn’t a high-octane, careening race to the finish. No. The Texas Lutheran-East Texas Baptist game this past Saturday night was a martial arts foray of utter talent and skill that ended with a loss by one team and masterful performances by both.

The Bulldogs were victorious in the traditional sense and defeated East Texas Baptist 55-49 at Bulldog Stadium. The homecoming game was an anxious one for the Bulldogs given that the Tigers led and controlled the game through most of three quarters. Like samurai, they scored at will in a 10-minute stretch, starting at the end of the first quarter and into the middle of the second, after the Bulldogs had opened the game with a touchdown run by sophomore running back Marquis Barrolle.

At the half, the score was 24-14, Tigers.

As East Texas Baptist coach Joshua Eargle said by phone, “I really thought the first half of football was probably the best half of football we’ve played this year.”

But there was no doubt in anyone’s mind (especially not the Tigers’) that Texas Lutheran, with its power-churning running game and big-play ability, wasn’t going to kick into gear and give the Tigers the fight everyone had anticipated. And in the third quarter, that’s exactly what happened.

Texas Lutheran sliced ETBU with a 3-yard Barrolle touchdown run after a quick drive that was aided by a short Tigers’ punt and an interference penalty which gave the Bulldogs a starting point at the Tigers’ 34-yard line.

As East Texas Baptist has proved all year, they usually have a response. The Tigers responded by notching a field goal after a 61-yard, 13-play drive, making the score 27-21. They followed the field goal up with an efficient defensive stop, allowing the Bulldogs 6 yards, and a 17-yard touchdown run from Jourdan McNeill. It was set up by a swift strike of 43 yards from Josh Warbington to Tyler Bates. The lead had inflated to 14 at 35-21; and the Bulldogs offense didn’t seem to have the consistency to pull out of such a deficit nor keep the lead if they got it.

In the last five-plus minutes of the third quarter, the Bulldogs and the Tigers traded sharp round-house kicks. Lutheran scored two touchdowns, including one at the end of the quarter, and East Texas laid down a score and two-point conversion to make it 48-35. In flurries of darting, jabbing and flying offensive assaults TLU and ETBU had scored 40 points in the quarter, 21 by the Bulldogs and 19 by the Tigers.

Special teams played a big role in keeping the Bulldogs close and was important throughout the game for both teams. Not...

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Justin Goldberg

Justin Goldberg is a newspaper copy editor and freelance writer in southwest Virginia. Originally from New York, he played Division III basketball in that colder region of the country, but moved to Virginia in 2008 to earn his M.F.A. in creative writing. He has written for multiple publications, including C-VILLE Weekly and The Roanoke Times. He is happy to join for his first season as the Around the South columnist.
2013 columnist: Andee Djuric
2012 columnist: Kyle Robarts
2008-11 columnist: Jason Bowen


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