• September 18, 2019

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Falcons defense looks to continue hot start - Odessa American: Sports

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Falcons defense looks to continue hot start

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Posted: Friday, September 13, 2019 9:14 pm

It seems, after a thorough look at the statistics, that the UTPB football team could have given its offense the night off against Wayland Baptist last week.

The season opener saw the Falcons put up a school-record number of points in the 60-7 victory.

UTPB’s defense scored 16 of those points.

“With two interceptions for touchdowns and a safety, the defense won that game by itself,” UTPB coach Justin Carrigan said.

Kadarryus Hartfield and Clifton Holmes had the interception returns for touchdowns, while Logo Kaleopa got the safety with time running out in the first half.

It was a dominant performance by the defense as the Falcons allowed the Pioneers just 231 yards of total offense, 53 in the second half, as they controlled the line of scrimmage from the outset, putting constant pressure on Wayland Baptist quarterback Mitchell Parsley.

And that was without the usual dominant showing by linebackers Chris Hoad and Keegan Gray.

Hoad, who finished third in the nation in tackles, had just two on the night, while Gray, his running mate for the past three seasons, had five.

Hartfield, making his first start at linebacker since being converted from a defensive back, had a team-high seven, along with the interception and a fumble recovery.

>> WHAT A HOMECOMING: UTPB wide receiver Kobe Robinson is very familiar with the confines of Ratliff Stadium, having starred at Permian for three years before going to Cisco College for a season.

Robinson had the opportunity to return to the Permian Basin to play for the Falcons and jumped at it and quickly became a focal point of the UTPB offense.

On the second play from scrimmage against Wayland Baptist, Falcons quarterback Kameron Mathis found Robinson with a swing pass toward the right sideline.

Robinson made the catch, turned the corner and raced past a pair of Pioneers’ defender for a 35-yard touchdown.

Welcome home.

“It’s great to be back home,” Robinson said. “I just wanted to come back and help the team do whatever it takes to win.

“It’s a blessing to play here.”

>> SURPRISE: One of the nice trends on social media is watching deserving athletes being rewarded with scholarships after putting in the work day after day, week after week, trying to help the team succeed.

UTPB offensive lineman Ivan Pena, of Fort Stockton, was the one with tears in his eyes Monday.

During Carrigan’s weekly press conference, Pena was awarded a scholarship funded by the Permian Basin Officials, who raise money each year to award to a Permian Basin athlete.

It was an emotional moment for Pena, who walked on last year.

“This was totally unexpected,” Pena said. “It really means a lot to me that they think I’m deserving of this.

“It’s definitely going to help.”

>> SPEED KILLS: Carrigan and the UTPB coaching staff always are looking for ways to upgrade both sides of the football, but the current crop of wide receivers may be the best the Falcons have put on the field at the same time in the first four years of the program.

Senior’s Kyle Bride and Ben Galaviz led the group, but Robinson, Caleb Forrest, Jeremiah Cooley, Baylon Ware and Rocky Barnes give Carrigan options down the field on every play, an element missing in previous seasons.

McBride had six catches for 123 yards and one touchdown against Wayland Baptist and acknowledged the additions to the receiving corps are helping push him to work hard.

“It’s all about competition,” he said. “Can’t let those young guys get the best of us.

“With me on the outside and Kobe and Ben on the inside, it gives us a chance to do a lot of things. Everyone has been working hard and pushing each other to get better.”

McBride expects more of the same when the Falcons step onto the Grande Communications Stadium turf against Northern Michigan at 6 tonight.

“We owe them one,” he said, smiling, referencing the Wildcat’s victory last season.

>> LOCAL TIES: A pair of Andrews graduates stepped into the spotlight for the visiting Pioneers.

Sophomore wide receiver Noah Lujan caught three passes for 27 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown in the first quarter that pulled Wayland Baptist within three points, 10-7, of the Falcons at the time.

Buck, a sophomore linebacker, led everyone with a game-high 10 tackles.

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at @OALeeScheide

Odessa, TX

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