Greene County News
WILBERFORCE — Central State University will play its final football game of 2016 Saturday when the team hosts the Southwest Baptist University Bearcats at McPherson Stadium.
For 17 senior student-athletes, the 1 p.m. game will be the final competition of their collegiate football career.
The Marauders struggled to find momentum last week against a Tuskegee team ranked No. 14 in the AFCA Div. II National Coaches Poll. CSU fell behind 21-7 at halftime and eventually lost, 42-14.
The Marauders fell to 1-8 on the season. CSU sits in fifth place in the SIAC West with a 1-6 conference record and a 1-3 divisional record. Quarterback Lavon Meeks led all players with 107 yards rushing and 119 yards passing.
De’Michael Jackson rushed 20 times for 54 yards and a touchdown. Darrien Nelson led the CSU receivers with four catches for 47 yards. Defensive back Nehemiah Coward led the team with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery. Clim Robbins and Devon Cunningham each had one interception.
Last week, Southwest Baptist beat Missouri S&T 45-22 to improve its overall record to 8-1, 4-1 in in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
T.J. Edwards had an outstanding game at quarterback, throwing for 220 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for a game-high 143 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Kendrick Payne had eight receptions for 81 yards and two touchdowns, while Cassian Foreman had a game-high 97 receiving yards. Defensively, D’Angelo Tucker recorded a team-high 10 tackles, including two sacks and three tackles for a loss to go along with a forced fumble.
Saturday will be the third time Central State and Southwest Baptist have played each other. Southwest Baptist is 2-0 in the series with wins in 2011 and 2012.
With 2016 coming to an end after Saturday’s game, the Marauders are focused on ending the year on a high note. Jackson is among the top running backs in the SIAC with 897 yards. The senior has eclipsed 100 yards in five games and is attempting to become the first CSU back to reach 1,000 rushing yards since the 2007 season.
Meeks has shown the ability to make plays with his legs in the last three weeks, rushing for five touchdowns and 275 yards.
The Marauder defensive unit ranks No. 3 in the SIAC in yards allowed (271.2). Linebacker Deonate Gary maintains his consistent play. The senior currently ranks fourth in the conference with 89 tackles. He also leads the team with four sacks and three forced fumbles.
Nehemiah Coward has thrived as a special teams player. The senior has blocked five punts and returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a score in CSU’s 27-10 win over Lane College. Defensive back Clim Robbins has battled a lingering ankle injury and managed to put together another fantastic season, leading the team with three interceptions despite limited balls being thrown his way.
Underclassmen Devon Cunningham, Christian Lassiter, Xavier Johnson and Adrian Harding are among the 2017 returners looking to fill the void on defense left by the departing CSU seniors.
Senior recognition for the Marauder football players will take place 12:30 p.m. on the field. Senior members of the band and auxiliary teams will be recognized in a ceremony during halftime.
Story courtesy of Central State University Athletics.