Special to the Commercial/Mike Adams
UAPB head coach Monte Coleman has a discussion with the officials during Saturday’s game against Prairie View A&M at Golden Lions Stadium.
In the final minutes of the game, Prairie View A&M drove deep into Arkansas-Pine Bluff territory from its own 20, trailing 42-41 and having already totaled more than 400 yards of offense. It had been a tough day for UAPB’s defense, which was trying to back up the offense’s 604 total yards but had already allowed its most points to a team all season.
“As a defense, we weren’t thinking right,” senior defensive end Brandon Thurmond said. “Everybody was out there looking like zombies out there. Every time we came to the sideline, we told somebody to pick it up out there.”
But classmate and free safety Jarvis Webb was confident the Golden Lions would pull out a stop.
“I just knew somewhere in those downs, we were going to get a stop somewhere,” the former Pine Bluff High standout said.
Webb was right.
He would be the one to deliver, forcing running back Courtney Brown to lose a fumble on second-and-goal behind the line of scrimmage to end the Panthers’ scoring threat. Linebacker Xavier Lofton recovered the ball at the 4, and quarterback Ben Anderson ran 26 yards to the UAPB 37 on third-and-3 to put the game away.
Webb closed out four years of playing in Golden Lion Stadium in style, taking on the role of hero.
“I was in a lot of shock,” he said. “I was giving all praises to God and thanking him for this win and all the blessings he bestowed upon us this season. God has really blessed us to go to the championship this year.”
Thurmond closer to records
It wasn’t all bad news for the Lions’ defense. Thurmond tied for second all-time in UAPB history for the most sacks in a season Saturday.
The Football Championship Subdivision’s sack leader registered just one, though, stopping Jerry Lovelocke for a loss of 3 yards midway through the first quarter. That gave him 16.5 sacks this year, which is one away from the school record and four away from the SWAC single-season mark set last year by Prairie View’s Adrian Hamilton.
“Now, getting so close, there are a lot of eyes on you,” Thurmond said. “For me, my motivation to break the school record (is) my name will be up there regardless if someone comes behind me or now.
“Breaking the SWAC record is even more important because that’s everybody in the SWAC, all 10 teams, that will be trying to catch my record. So that’s something I want to leave behind for my last year.”
UAPB fifth-year tight end Patrick Wray left the game with a possible fracture in his ankle or leg, Coleman said.
Wray made one catch for 15 yards Saturday. He missed all of the 2010 season with a broken ankle and earned an extra year of eligibility as a result.
Lions junior linebacker Jer-ryan Harris injured his elbow Saturday and left the game early as well. The elbow was placed in a sling.
Coleman said the team is waiting on X-rays for Wray and Harris before diagnoses can be made.
The game ball goes to …
Webb for his game-saving tackle and forced fumble with 1:52 remaining in his last home game.
Next for the Lions …
UAPB will head to Birmingham, Ala., to face Jackson State in the SWAC championship game. Kickoff at Legion Field is set for noon Dec. 8, and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.