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Football's Defense Stifling In Victory Over Belhaven

Football's Defense Stifling In Victory Over Belhaven

GEORGETOWN, Texas – In a war of attrition and wind, the Southwestern University Pirates' defense and running game wore down the Belhaven Blazers for a 21-10 conference victory. 

Southwestern took the opening kickoff and quickly marched down the field, driving 63 yards on eight plays for the first touchdown on a four-yard run from Frederick Hover. The junior quarterback set the tone on the opening drive, carrying the ball seven times for 67 yards—including a huge 33-yard run on second and 19 from the Blazers' 39-yard line. 

Luke Fierst converted on the extra point for the quick 7-0 lead. 

Hover directed a punishing running attack that alternated between methodical and explosive, scoring all three Pirates' touchdowns and running for 287 of the Pirates' 348 rushing yards, including a 65-yard run just before the end of the first half. Markell Henderson contributed 32 yards on just four carries as the Pirates' wide receivers sprung big plays with downfield blocks. 

"We take pride in our blocking. That's my personal favorite thing to do and a lot of our other [receivers] love it too," wide receiver Landry Bray said. "We go out there every week and try to bump heads and get after it. Blocking, to me, is more fun than catching passes." 

Meanwhile, the defense was dominant, stifling the Blazers by holding them to just nine first downs and 47 yards rushing. Southwestern shut Belhaven down early, giving up just one first down on three first-quarter possessions, ending the quarter with back-to-back three-and-outs. 

"The story is definitely how well the defense played," Head Coach Joe Austin said. "The defense did great, holding them to three points on a short field in the first half with the only touchdown coming off a busted coverage." 

Aaron Robinson led the team with nine solo tackles, including two for losses, and the Pirates racked up four sacks for a loss of 31 yards and 10 total tackles for losses of 52 combined yards.

Southwestern's offense opened up some in the second half, scoring a touchdown in the third and fourth quarter before running the clock out for the victory. 

"I really challenged our offense at halftime, using some volume and language I don't always use," Austin said. "Maybe it worked because we scored more in the second half. We really exerted our will in the run game and the wind subsided enough to open up our playbook." 

Hover finished 9-for-16 for 153 yards in the passing game, including a 60-yard pass on first and 10 from the Pirates' 39 to Devin Shaw to setup Hover's second touchdown—a one-yard run less than two minutes into the second half for a 14-3 lead on a five-play, 76 yard drive. 

The Pirates struck again early in the fourth quarter after the defense held Belhaven to its sixth three-and-out possession of the game, getting a nine-play, 84-yard drive capped off by an eight-yard run from Hover with 11 minutes remaining. 

With its second consecutive victory, the Pirates improve to 4-3 on the season and 3-3 in conference and currently stand sixth in the 10-team conference. After a bye week, the Pirates will resume play on Oct. 27 at home against Hardin-Simmons, who are currently second in severance with a 4-1 conference record and 5-1 overall.