Washburn spoils Western’s homecoming

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Western quarterback T.J. LaFaver is surrounded by Washburn's defense during Western's 21-7 loss Saturday in Spratt Stadium. Zack Papenberg | Photo Editor
Western quarterback T.J. LaFaver is surrounded by Washburn’s defense during Western’s 21-7 loss Saturday in Spratt Stadium. Zack Papenberg | Photo Editor

Washburn defeated Missouri Western 21-7 on Saturday at Homecoming at Spratt Stadium.
Over 5,000 fans were in attendance for the 2 p.m. kickoff when the Kansas City Royals were getting ready to begin Game 2 of the American League Championship Series 3 p.m. and for much of the afternoon those fans seemed more entertained looking at their phones for baseball updates.
The Griffon offense hardly gave the home crowd anything to cheer for.
“Just a really disappointing afternoon at Spratt Stadium,” said coach Jerry Partridge.
They only managed 245 yards of total offense for the game and only 74 of that came through the air.
Quarterback T.J. LaFaver, who had given the offense a spark in his two starts this season with his ability to run and his tendency to deliver the big play, had a very shaky outing.
The sophomore, who has been pressed into action with the injury to Skyler Windmiller’s thumb, threw three interceptions while only completing 10 of his 23 passes for 74 yards.
LaFaver did not receive much help from his offensive line, however, and the team was lucky he was only sacked twice as he used his legs to elude pressure several times.
Star tailback Raphael Spencer also had difficulty finding space during Saturday’s game. He was limited to 73 yards on 17 carries.
A pair of fumbles, one of which he lost, seemed to limit the workload Spencer received in the game.
The only touchdown the Griffons mustered was on a four-yard misdirection pass from LaFaver to Alek Ferbet in the third quarter, but that drive was made possible by an 84-yard kickoff return by Dijuan Ussery to set the offense up in terrific field position.
“We only had one drive,” Partridge said. “And that was set up from a kickoff return that we ended up scoring points on.”
Other than that the offense failed to finish a drive all game and lost the time of possession battle by over seven minutes. This eventually wore down the defense which, despite only giving up 14 points to the Washburn offense, was noticeably worn down by the end of the game.
“Offense had chances throughout the football game,” Partridge said. “We got to make some plays, but we didn’t make them.”
“We as a defense come out to play our best no matter what the scenario is, we have to come out and get a stop and we didn’t today,” senior linebacker Yomi Alli said after the game.
This trend will need to end soon, as the Griffons face MIAA leaders Emporia State and Northwest Missouri State the next two weeks.
“We need to play our game,” Alli said. “We need to focus in, do all the little things right and play our game.”
It is a quick turnaround before the Griffons as they travel to Emporia next Saturday.
“We got to put this one behind us,” senior cornerback Mike Jordan said. “Its going to suck (Saturday) night and (Sunday). We going to watch film and get it cleaned up. We got to focus on Emporia now cause if we not they are going to slaughter us. We got to come out with that top-tier focus.”

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