Nov. 20, 2010

Courtesy of West Texas A&M

- 14th-ranked West Texas A&Ms first-round playoff appearance ended relatively quickly, as 12th-ranked Central Missouri scored 21 first quarter points en route to a 55-35 victory, Saturday afternoon at UCMs Walton Stadium in Warrensburg, Mo.

The Buffaloes, seeded fifth in Super Region 4, conclude the season at 8-4 overall, while CMU, the Super Region 4 fourth seed, moves on to the second round and is 10-2 overall.

WTs Harris threw for 495 yards on the day, completing 35 of 66 passes, for four TDs, as well as three interceptions. Brittan Golden caught eight of those passes for 194 yards and a pair of TDs, while Stephen Burton made eight receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown.

Harris closed out his career having passed for 9,799 yards and accumulated 9,515 yards in total offense to rank atop the WT career charts in both categories. He concludes the 2010 season with 4,806 yards passing, the second-highest single-season total in Buffalo history.

UCMs Eric Czerniewski was 33 of 42 for 368 yards and four touchdowns, with Anthony Stewart being his favorite receiver, catching 10 passes for 131 yards and one TD. Stewart finished the day with 243 all-purpose yards, as the running back also rushed 15 times for 112 yards and two TDs.

Despite falling by 20 points, the Buffs outgained UCM by a 495-368 yard margin. The Mules controlled the time of possession, holding the ball for 35:07 to WTs 24:53.

The Mules did what no other team has managed to do this season…jump on the Buffaloes early. They did so by scoring on five of their first six offensive possessions.

Central Missouri came ready to play in the first half and we didnt,” said WT head coach Don Carthel. Im responsible for preparing the team to play. I thought we were loose and ready, but obviously, we werent. We got back on track in the second half, but by then UCM had built too big of a lead.

The Mules took the opening kickoff and marched smartly downfield, going 72 yards in nine plays and taking 4:59 off the clock. The UCM score came on a five-yard toss from Eric Czerniewski to slotback Seth Mason. 77 of the UCM yards came courtesy of running back Anthony Stewart.

The Mules didnt let up. On the first snap of their second possession, Czerniewski hit Stewart in the right flat and Steward went 48 yards, completely untouched, for a score, giving UCM a 14-0 lead just 5:14 into the game.

A Taylor Harris to Brittan Golden pass went for 24 yards and put the Buffs in Mule territory for the first time at 99:16 of the first quarter. Harris then hit Kelvin Thompson out of the backfield for 15 yards and a first down to the UCM 32. The drive stalled out, and the Buffs turned the ball over on down at that point.

UCM made it three out of three when they drove 73 yards on their next possession. The 11-play drive was culminated by a three-yard pass from Czerniewski to Jamorris Warren. The Mules led, 21-0, with 2:32 to play in the first quarter.

A 28-yard pass from Harris to Tyson Williams moved the Buffs back into UCM territory with less than two minutes to play in the quarter. Following a WT false-start, Harris hit Stephen Burton for 22 yards and a first down to the UCM 25.

That 22-yard completion made Harris the WT career passing yardage leader. However, the drive would end when Harris pass, intended for Golden in the end zone, was picked off by UCM CB Paul Stephens.

The Buffs forced the first UCM punt at 11:29 of the second quarter.

Taking over from their own 10, two passes from Harris to Thompson moved the ball to the WT 44. A pass interference call on Burton moved the Buffs back to their own 27, a hole too deep from them to overcome, leading to another Kevin VanVoris punt.

Czerniewski hit Warren, who got behind WT CB Caleb Randolph, on a 32-yard sideline route to the WT 1. One play later, Brent Boehringer dove over from one yard out, to boost the Mules lead to 28-0 with 5:27 to play in the first half. The 7-play, 62-yard drive took just over three minutes off the clock.

The Buffs got onto the scoreboard with 1:48 to play in the half. Starting from their own 30, Harris completed passes to Williams for 19 yards, Burton for 11 and Golden for 12 yards. He then found Burton in the end zone, with the Lakewood, Calif., native tipping the ball to himself before catching it on the backline of the end zone, making the score 28-7.

UCM wasnt finished, as Czerniewski drove his team downfield to the WT 10 with 30 seconds to play. He then hit Seth Mason on an out route and Mason dove into the end zone, just making the corner pylon to culminate the 7-play, 63-yard drive. Aaron Jamiesons PAT made the score 35-7 just prior to half.

Those 35 points allowed in the first half were the most points WT has allowed in a half, all season.

The Mules intercepted a Harris pass on WTs third snap of the second half, as Joseph Bengali stepped in front of Brittan Golden at the WT 18. Four plays later, Stewart went around right end, untouched for another Mule TD, making the score 42-7 with 12:45 to play in the third quarter.

WT mounted a positive drive midway through the third quarter. A 19 yard pass to Golden, a nine yard toss to Burton and a 15-yard misconduct foul against the Mules moved the Buffaloes to the UCM 16 yard line. From there, Harris found a diving Golden in the front corner of the end zone for a 16-yard TD completion. Sergio Castillos PAT made the score 41-14 with 7:38 to play in the third quarter.

The Buffs continued to have difficulty stopping the Mules offense. The Mules came right back, going 64 yards in seven plays, with a 17-yard run by Stewart putting CMU up by a 49-14 margin with 4:26 to play in the third.

Harris connected with Brittan Golden on a 57-yard post pattern with 2:48 to play in the third, drawing the score to 49-21 in favor of the Mules. The four-play, 72-yard drive saw Golden nab his second TD reception of the day.

The Buffs then executed an onside kick to perfection, as Castillo pooched the ball 11 yards to a waiting Lance Ratliff, giving the Buffaloes another offensive possession. That drive would backfire, as on third and 11, Harris pass for Nathan Slaughter deflected off the Lubbock freshmans hands and into the arms of UCMs Paul Stephens. Stephens raced 52 yards into the end zone for another UCM score. The PAT was missed, leaving the score at 55-21.

WT made the score 55-27 with 13:02 to play in the fourth, when Aarhon Flores caught a nice lob pass from Harris in the right corner of the end zone to cap a 93 yard, 53 play drive.

Forcing a UCM punt, the Buffs mounted another fourth-quarter drive. Harris connected with Burton for 38 yards to the UCM 38. Brittan Golden then went high to snare a 17-yard pass and move the ball to the UCM 21. A crossing route by Trevor Hammergren advanced the ball to the UCM 7. Three plays later, facing fourth and five, Burton went up for a TD grab, but was called for pass interference. Moved back to the UCM 20, Harris was flushed out of the pocket and hit as he threw, with the ball falling incomplete.

The Buffs closed out the scoring late in the contest, this time with the special teams, as Jay Tillman blocked a Matt Jordan punt attempt and WTs Hammergren scooped up the ball and took it into the end zone. Castillos PAT made the final score UCM 55, WT 35.

WTs Harris threw for 495 yards, completing 35 of 66 passes, for four TDs, as well as three interceptions. Brittan Golden caught eight of those passes for 194 yards and a pair of TDs, while Stephen Burton made eight receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown.

As a coach, its always sad when you walk off the field after the final game, knowing that a group of seniors have played their last game for you,” Carthel said. We had an outstanding senior class and one well miss, but overall, we had a very young team this year and well come back ready to do better next season.”