Griffons come away with last minute win
It was a slow start for the #6 griffons, but they were able to sneak out of Warrensburg with their first victory of the season. The unranked Central Missouri Mules put up quite the fight last night in the opener and it resulted in some early mistakes by the Griffons. With some new faces at the receiving core, Western struggled with bringing the ball in and the griffons went three and out in the entire first quarter. The Mules started off moving the ball well and where able to convert a 42 yard field goal to go up 3-0 with 11:11 left in the first. Not be able to move the ball, the Griffons gave the Mules several times to score the ball and Hayden Hawk completed a 73 yard touchdown pass to Anthony Kirkwood to go up 9-0 in the first quarter. After a UCM missed extra point, the Griffons tried to get something started with their running game. Sophomore running back Raphael Spencer broke loose for a 29 yard run, which set up his 11 yard touchdown rush with 13:19 left in the second quarter. After Dominic Thomas blocks a punt, the griffons seemed to have the momentum at the time but it was shifted back to the Mules after western quarterback Travis Partridge throws a pick six that goes for 30 yards by Mules Tevin Teamer with 5:26 left in the 3rd quarter. Down 16-7 in the third, western had to come up with a way to get the lead for the first time in the game. With 2:27 left in the third, Travis partridge completes a 55 yard touchdown pass to wide out Stephon Weaver to make the score 13-16, still Mules way. Partridge was then able to connect with Derek Libby for a 56 yard touchdown pass with 14:47 left in the fourth. Griffons take lead, 20-16. With time running out, the Mules where able to put together a scoring drive that resulted in an 11 yard touchdown pass from Hayden Hawk to Cullen Rosine to take the lead back 23-20 with 4:32 left in the fourth. The Griffons go three and out on the next possession but was able to get the ball back with 1:37 left in the fourth. Partridge had over a minute and half left to win the game, and he had some help from his preseason All-American tight end Reggie Jordan. With :14 seconds left in the game, Partridge connected with Jordan in the end zone for a five yard touchdown pass that sealed the win for griffons in Warrensburg. Partridge finish the game with 198 yards and 3 touchdowns, with only one interception and Raphael Spencer led the team with 97 rushing yards and a touchdown. Stephen Jurgens led the griffons in tackles with 14 and the defense was able to make stops when needed. Jordan was happy about catching the game winner but was even more satisfied with the win. Jordan said he felt his team was ready and they proved it by getting the win. “It was a great feeling of course,” Jordan said. “But in the end, it’s just another touchdown. I felt like we were pretty tense actually. Towards the end we settled down and made some big plays.” Spencer was also satisfied with the win, but he felt that there were things the team will need to improve on in the future, including his self. "Yesterday's win was in all honesty, bitter sweet," Spencer said. "The big plays were there, we just have to practice harder to make sure that performance never happens again."