University of North Alabama - Diorama Yearbook (Florence, AL)

 - Class of 1997

Page 37 of 248

 

University of North Alabama - Diorama Yearbook (Florence, AL) online yearbook collection, 1997 Edition, Page 37
Page 37



Text from page 37:


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FOC GMNG IT THEIR ALL lyier Greer ' he Univorsity of North lama football team came into 199() season hoping to add to collection a fourth NC^AA ision II National rnpionship. But the road to y was not paved in the man- the players thought it would Lions start slow iame one of the season took Lions of UNA to the swampy I of Albany, (Jeorgia, to battle Golden Rams of Albany e. UNA slipped and slopped und on the soggy field all It long as a young defense d to slow down Albany ' s md attack. But the Lions could not hold the Goldcni Rams as ciuarterback Edward Taylor rushed for two early touchdowns to stake Albany State to a 17-10 upset of the No. 1 ranked Lions. " I saw that we weren ' t very well prepared tonight and that ' s my fault, " UNA coach Bobby Wallace said after the game. " It ' s been a long time since we lost a game. It hurts a lot. But at the same time it isn ' t the end of the season. " The end of the season it was not, but little did Wallace know it was just a small glimpse of the heartache to come. ' Dogs pounded Game two brought the Lions home to Braly Municipal Stadium lRING in the excitement. The Lions celebrate a touchdown 1st Central Arkansas University. Photo by Sliannon Wells. to take on rival Alabama A M Bulldogs. The now No. 9 ranked Lions seem to have gotten the message after their season-open- ing loss as they pounded the Bulldogs 47-0 to claim th( > ir 27th straight vic:toryat home. The Lions combined a solid offensive performance with a stingy defense and left the Bulldogs drooling the drool of regret into the footljall pillow of remorse. " We ' re not lo a point yet where we can honestly feel like we ' re ready to win the (Julf South (/onference championship or a national championship, " said Wallace. " Our hope this week is to try to improve as much as we did last week. " UNA gets rolling The Muleriders of Southern Arkansas came calling on the Lions the third week of the sea- son at Braly Stadium. It was a Dr. .lekyll-Mr. Hyde kind of game for the Lion Kings as they scratched I heir way lo a 27-9 victory. The Lions struggled to score points in the first half taking a 7- (i lead into half-time. But UNA shot out of the gates in the sec- ond half, led by the strong run- ning of quarterback Demetrea Shelton and running backs Jason Veal and A. J. Lamar as they rushed for a combined 252 yards to control the clock and the game. After the contest, Wallace seemefi to be pleased — at l( > ast with the second half. " We didn ' t tlo anything different in the sec- ond half except play with intensi- ty, " Wallace said. " I talk to our players about leadership, tough- ness, intensity, and the charac- teristics it ' s going to take for this team to win championshi])s, if we ' ve got a ciiance at all, and we ' re just not there yet. " Javelinas roasted The Lions look a big stei > their next game in the heat of T( > xas against Division II powerhouse Texas A M-Kingsville .lavelinas. In UNA ' S fourth game of the year, the Lions played their best football of the young season in roasting the .lavelinas 24-7 in Kingsville, Texas, in front of 1.5,000 hostile fans. Despite being outdone in every statistical cate- gory, the Lions came away with a convincing victory. " I believe this game will help us grow as a team, " said Wallace. " Now we should have the c:onfidence that we can compete with anybody in the country. " Lions fall to 3-2 UNA returned home for their fifth game of the year sporting a .3-1 record and a No. 3 national ranking to show off to the Wonderboys of Arkansas Tech. The Wonderboys, though, were not impressed with what they saw as they came in and darted out lo an incredible 31-7 lead with 1:49 left in the third quarter — a lead which seemed insurmountable for an option-ori- ented football team. But for the next 10 minutes, the Lions put on an amazing comebac:k scoring 28 unanswered points to take a 35- 31 lead with 6:19 lo play in the game. Bui Arkansas Tech struck back at Ihe Lions, driving 73 yards on nine plays with Tech (juarterback Tofid Cooley throw- ing a 10-yard touchdowii pass to LaRon Marbley for a .38-35 lead. UNA drove the lenglh of the field in the remaining 1:37 to line up for a game-tying 42-yard field goal attempt with six seconds remaining. UNA kicker Kevin Pearce hit the ball with plenty of distance but just off-line as it was wide left, meaning the Lions had suffered their first home loss in four years and, more importantly, their second loss in five games of the season. Lions get Blazed The Lions, had to rebound quickly with their next game c:oming at rival and No. 4 ranked Valdosta State Blazers. UNA came out smoking early on, darting out to a 24-9 lead with 1:,52 left in the third. But Valdosta Slate scored two touch- downs and got a two-point con- version to send the game into overtime. After trading touch- downs in the first overtime, the UNA defense held Valdosta in the second overtime, meaning all the Lions needed was one score to come away with the victory and it once again had to conte from the fool- of Pearce. But his 35-yard field goal allempt was blocked, leaving the score tied at 31 -.31. (Conlitincd o) > piigr S5) Sports 33

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