BATESVILLE, Ark. – The Lyon College football team committed eight turnovers Thursday night in its season opener against Wayland Baptist University, and the Pioneers turned five of those miscues into 30 points as WBU captured a 37-14 win over the Scots here at Pioneer Stadium in both teams’ season opener.
Lyon (0-1) had its chances throughout, but shot itself in the foot time and time again. The Scots finished the game with more rushing yards (228-170), more passing yards (140-80), more total yards (368-250) more first downs (19-16) and averaged 5.8-yards per play, compared to 3.8 yards for Wayland Baptist (1-0). But the Scots lost the turnover battle 8-1 and an untimely roughing the kicker penalty in the first half was eventually turned into the Pioneers’ other score of the contest.
“We definitely had our chances to win tonight,” said Lyon first-year head coach Kyle Phelps. “We lost the battle of the turnovers. Without the turnovers we go into the half with a 14-10 lead. We came out and drove the ball in the third quarter, but had a turnover again.
“We had chances to do some good things. But to have eight turnovers and only lose by 24 points is pretty promising in the way I look at things. Our defense played freaking awesome. They played ‘lights out’ and kept us in the ballgame. They have us plenty of opportunities, we just turned the ball over.”
Two Lyon runners hit the century mark in the game. Sophomore quarterback Dwane Robinson picked up 106 yards on 17 carries, while senior Michael Bowles ran for 100 yards on 15 attempts. Jason Biddy picked up 20 yards and a touchdown on three runs.
Robinson also had a strong night throwing the football. Despite being pressured often, he completed 16-of-25 passes (64%) for 140 yards and an interception. Bowles was his favorite target, as the back hauled in five catches for 13 yards. Reace Kinley added four grabs for 56 yards and Jonathan Hendrix had two for 14 yards and Riley Caraway snared two for 13 yards.
De’Sean Johnson led the Pioneers’ running game with 75 yards on 18 attempts. Preston Woodard picked up 60 yards on eight runs and Trenton Jones finished with 53 yards on eight carries.
Payson Bain completed 10-of-21 passes for 80 yards and a score. He was sacked three times.
Both punters had a strong outing. Lyon’s Osvaldo Espericueta averaged 42.4 yards on five kicks, while Caleb O’Connor averaged 45.1 yards on seven attempts.
Two Lyon players had double-digit tackle counts. Braydon Pender tallied 12 tackles, with three of them solos. Stephen Benedik, an All-Central States Football League defender a year ago, picked up 11 stops, with six of them coming as solos. Peter Tuipulotu posted nine tackles and Sage Wood and DeAngelo Crawford each finished with six stops.
A Robinson fumble in the opening period resulted in a two-play, 14-yard drive by the Pioneers, as Woodard scored from six yards out. Daniel Martinez tacked on the point after with 12:10 left in the opening period.
Lyon had stopped the Pioneers later in the quarter, but a roughing the kicker call gave WBU new life. Wayland drove 70 yards in nine plays to take a 14-0 lead with 2:47 left in the opening quarter.
The Scots drove 64 yards in six plays to pull within 14-7. Biddy scored on a 14-yard run with 3:51 on the clock in the second quarter. Lyon then got the ball back, but a fumble resulted in a ‘scoop and score’ by Travis White and he returned the ball 32 yards for a touchdown with only 14 seconds left in the half.
Trailing by 21-7 at the break, Lyon fumbled on its first possession of the third. A 10-play, 50-yard drive resulted in an 11-yard scoring run by Johnson with 9:12 left in the period.
The Scots stayed in the game when Jon Alexander blocked a 40-yard field goal attempt by Martinez and Cedric Cooney alertly picked up the ball and scampered down the sideline for the score.
But the Pioneers scored 10 more points off of two Lyon miscues to grab the opening win.
Lyon College will now take 10 days off before traveling to Columbia, Ky. to face 12th-ranked Lindsey Wilson College on September 3 at 1:30 p.m.