Pirates show resilience in historic return to the gridiron
GEORGETOWN – One of the most historic nights at Southwestern University saw the return of Pirate football with their first game since the 1950 season. Although the Pirates came up on the short end – falling 44-14 to Texas Lutheran Saturday night – there were plenty of bright spots for Southwestern.
After a 63 year wait for football, Southwestern and Texas Lutheran was forced to wait an extra 40 minutes as lightning entered central Texas forcing a minor delay. However, once the storms moved out of the area, what is believed to be, a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference record crowd of 5,851 fans kept Birkelbach Field rocking all night.
After the adrenaline leveled the Pirates worked through first-half jitters to play a strong second half that found Southwestern facing a 17-0 deficit. Despite facing the uphill battle, Southwestern continued to fight back and made history at the 11:08 mark in the third quarter, as Dante Smith found Colten Shea down the middle of the left seam for a 68-yard touchdown pass and catch.
Shea wasn't done making history for the Pirates, as he would hook-up with Smith again late in the fourth quarter for a 40-yard touchdown catch to finish the night with nine catches for 258 yards. His second touchdown closed the gap to 30-14 with 4:41 left in the game.
In addition to scoring the program's first two touchdowns in 63 years, the first-year wide receiver was just 10 yards shy of breaking the SCAC single-game record for receiving yards. Set in 1978, Tom Mullady of Rhodes College finished his afternoon with 267 yards.
Ultimately the Bulldogs would wear down the Pirate defense, which showed enough heart and grit of any college football team in the country Saturday.
Texas Lutheran took an early lead on a 23-yard field goal on their first drive of the game for the early 3-0 lead. Both teams would then trade possessions ending with missed field goals, followed by a series of punts before the Bulldogs broke the game open in the second quarter.
Brent Peavy threw the first of four touchdowns with 7:46 left before halftime and followed that with a 24-yd touchdown strike just 43 seconds before the intermission. Peavy finished the game 32-of-45 for 308 yards to help guide the Bulldogs in the win.
Texas Lutheran would add two late scores, to give a deceiving, 44-14, look to the scoreboard.
Entering Saturday's season opener, only two Pirates had ever played in a college football. In contrast, Texas Lutheran returned eight players on offense, nine on defense with a total of 39 letter winners.
Finally, after 63 years, the Southwestern football has a starting point and the development of student-athletes as young men and football will continue throughout the 2013 season.
The uphill battle continues as no team will or should take the Pirates lightly. A team that did not give up despite finishing the first half with zero passing yards and no points.
As head coach Joe Austin continued, the Pirates must continue to improve each week and the foundation that was started is one the entire Southwestern community can be proud of.
The Pirates quickly go back to work as they prepare for their first road test of the season. Southwestern travels to Bacone College in Muskogee, Okla. for a 5 p.m. kickoff. Action can be heard through KMAC Sports on SouthwesternPirates.com for complete game coverage.