Season ends with final win for seniors

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It was the last game for the seniors, and offensively, it may have been their best of the season. Western was able to finish the season with a 63-21 victory against Missouri Southern.
The Griffons scored their first two touchdowns on the ground, courtesy of running back Josh Caldwell. A balanced attack of passing and running helped the Griffons take an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
Raphael Spencer and Caldwell led the rushing attack, as the two averaged 5.8 and 8.6 yards per carry respectively.
For the second straight game, both running backs achieved over 100 yards in the same game.
Southern struggled to get anything going early, with the Griffons forcing three-straight three-and-outs, leading to more Griffon points.
Quarterback Skyler Windmiller hooked up with big-play target Dee Toliver for a 69-yard touchdown reception, early in the second quarter.
The game seemed to slip away from the Lions, after return man Brandynn Clark returned a kick for an 82-yard touchdown in the second quarter. It was Clark’s first return touchdown of the season.
“I felt the punt team was long overdue for a house call,” Clark said. “I just felt that it was necessary to get one today.”
Southern quarterback TJ Fleeton was finally able to get the Lions on the board, after a two-yard touchdown run, but the Griffons still had more left in the tank.
Wideout DiJuan Ussery completed a 24-yard touchdown pass from Windmiller, making the game look out of reach for the Lions.
Ussery also converted a 57-yard catch into a touchdown after the half, his second TD grab of the game.
With Southern not finding an answer to the Western defense, Western gave them a heavy dose of Spencer and Caldwell to run off some of the clock.
Spencer finished the game with 128 yards on the ground and one touchdown. He finished his third-straight season with over a 1,000 yards rushing and finished his career as the second-leading rusher in Missouri Western history.
“It was a nice ride man,” Spencer said. “I am never going to forget the men in that locker room. They made it possible for me to do what I do. So, I will keep them in my heart, wherever I go.”
Caldwell finished with 121 yards on the ground and two touchdown carries. Wideout Toliver finished the game with 89 yards and a touchdown grab. He led the Griffons in receiving in his final year as a Griffon.
“I came in with a great group of guys,” Toliver said. “These guys have always had my back. The team has always had my back and I could have not done it without my teammates.”
Although they gave up 14 points late in the game, the defense finished strong, along with senior linebacker Yomi Alli and senior cornerback Mike Jordan leading the way.
Alli finished his senior season as the team’s leading tackler on the season. While Jordan led the team with five interceptions and in pass deflections on the season.
“You invest into a lot of these young men,” head coach Jerry Partridge said. “Especially the ones that have been with you the whole time. The four-year guys, the five-year guys, and even like the guys like Yomi that go for six years. It is very difficult to say goodbye to them.”
The Griffons finished the season 6-5, but were able to end on a two-game win streak.