Blue Jays Score 16 Fourth Quarter Points To Defeat Lions 16-12

Picture by Caleb Maassen.
Picture by Caleb Maassen.

Hancock, MI 10/29/2022- The Blue Jay football team traveled to Hancock, Michigan in the upper peninsula to take on Finlandia University. Coming into the game both teams were looking for their first wins of the season. The Blue Jays would score 16 points in the fourth quarter to come back and get their win of the season 16-12 over the Lions.

The game would be scoreless for most of the game until the Lions scored a touchdown near the end of the third quarter to take a 6-0 lead. The Blue Jays would respond and score a touchdown to start the fourth quarter and they would also convert the two-point conversion to take an 8-6 lead. Dante Billups (Mexico, MO/Mexico) had the two-yard touchdown run and he would also be the one who ran in the two-point conversion.

Less than two minutes of game time later, the Lions would score another touchdown to take back the lead 12-8. The Blue Jays would go three and out on their next drive and were forced to punt. The Lions had a thirty-yard rush, but the running back fumbled the ball, and it was recovered by Justin Scales (St. Louis, Mo. / Trinity Catholic), giving the Jays the ball back with ten minutes left to play in the game. Westminster would start their drive deep in their own territory at the 11-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Billups would break free for a long eighty-seven-yard run and be downed at the Finlandia 2-yard line. Billups was rewarded on the next play with his second rushing touchdown of the game after he found the endzone on a two-run yard.  Billups was handed the ball for the two-point conversion, which was good, and put the Blue Jays up 16-12 with 8:48 left to play.

The Blue Jay defense held strong on the Lions' next drive and forced them to go three and out and punt the ball back to the Westminster offense. The Blue Jays would continue to feed to their running back duo of Jorden Kern (St. Louis, MO / Parkway North) and Billups to try and run out the clock. After picking up a couple of first downs the Lions' defense would force a fourth down and make Westminster punt the ball with 2:27 left to play.

Finlandia could not gain much momentum against the stout Blue Jay defense and had to go for it on fourth down with the ball at midfield and a minute left in the game. The fourth down try would be unsuccessful and the Blue Jays would force a turnover on downs. Westminster kneeled the ball and let time expire as they walk away with their first win of the season.

Kern and Billups led the offense with a combined 137 yards on the ground and Billups picked up the two rushing touchdowns. Peyton Byerly (Mountain Grove, MO / Cabool) was 4-14 for 59 yards. He would find Chandler Taylor (Kickapoo, MO / Kickapoo) for long 45-yard completion after Taylor made a diving catch to haul it in. Byerly would also rush for 22 yards.

The Blue Jay defense was led by freshman Shelby Pittsenbarger (Warrensburg, MO / Warrensburg) who had team-high nine tackles. Garrett Burger (California, MO / California R-1) and Devin Miller (Paris, MO/Paris) would have eight tackles each and Miller would have sack. Scales would have an interception and a fumble recovery in the game.

Westminster will be back in action next week for the final road game of the season when they take on Martin Luther on Saturday, November 5th. That game will kick off at 12:00 PM.