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Western football wins season opener 38-26

Travis Partridge (12) hands the ball off to Michael Hill (22) for an attempt to gain yards.

Missouri Western football took care of business in its season opener defeating conference opponent Central Missouri 38-26 at Spratt Stadium.

“I thought we played really well,” coach Jerry Partridge said. “We looked really impressive for the first quarter and a half. We played good against a good football team.”

The Griffons got out to a commanding 28-0 lead in the second quarter displaying their ability to score on the ground and through the air.

“We should feel good that we were in that position to throw a knockout punch on a really good football team,” coach Partridge said.

Tight end Reggie Jordan made two spectacular catches on the first scoring drive. The first was a 24-yard leaping catch in traffic and the second was an 8-yard diving touchdown reception from quarterback Travis Partridge that gave Western a 7-0 lead.

“Great catches. I’ve been singing his praises, I think he’s a real good football player. I think the best is still yet to come with Reggie Jordan,” coach Partridge said.

The next two Griffon scores came on the ground by running back Michael Hill. He broke off a 21-yard touchdown run to put Western up 14-0 and a 17-yard touchdown run to push the score to 21-0.

“Michael Hill was the warrior that he is,” coach Partridge said. “He played great.”

Hill finished the game with 169 yards rushing with an average of 6 yards per-carry and never carried the ball for a loss of yards.

“All I did was just run straight,” Hill said after his impressive game. “With the offensive line and receivers blocking down field, I didn’t have to put in much effort.”

Partridge found Alex Ferbet in the endzone from five yards out to give the Griffons a 28-0 lead. Partridge threw for 126 yards and three touchdowns on the day while only being sacked one time and throwing zero interceptions. He added 27 yards on the ground.

“I really feel like he played well,” coach Partridge said. “He made some plays that helped put us up.”

The Griffon defense forced turnovers and didn’t allow much of anything until the second half. Yomi Alli, Shane Simpson, and Marcus Thompson all came away with interceptions. Linebacker Stephen Juergens led the team with 11 tackles and a sack while Alli added 10 tackles to go along with his interception.

“We were in the right spots early on forcing pressure and forcing turnovers,” Alli said. “As a defense you never like giving up points at all.”

Elliott Arbanas sacked the quarterback two times while Davis Bass got to him once. Bass is now a half a sack away from breaking the Western record for most in a career.

Central got their first score late in the second quarter on a 16-yard pass and went into halftime down 28-7.

Partridge connected with Tyron Crockom for a 6-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to put the Griffons up 35-7. Partridge was sacked and fumbled at the end of the third quarter and a Central player picked it up and ran it for 52-yards and a touchdown to make the score 35-13. The extra point was blocked by Aaron Jamieson.

Kicker Taylor Anderson connected on his only field goal attempt of the day from 20 yards to give Western 38. Central tried to stage a comeback by scoring two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to get the lead down to 38-26, but it was too little too late as the Griffons were able to run out the clock and get the win.

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