A 19-7 defensive battle concludes APU football’s 2019 campaign

On Saturday afternoon the Azusa Pacific Cougars lost their final game of the season in North Dakota, losing 19-7 against the Black Hill State Yellow Jackets. The Yellow Jackets obtained their second victory of the season, while the Cougars concluded their campaign with a 1-9 record.

The first half was an impressive defensive display for BHS, as they forced the Cougars to punt the ball five times, including four three-and-outs. APU’s best opportunity to score was at the end of the first quarter when they made it to the Yellow Jackets’ 43-yard line. They attempted a fourth and four conversion, but quarterback Tyrone Williams Jr.’s pass was incomplete, resulting in a turnover on downs.

While APU also had a fairly solid defensive first half, BHS’ offense was able to reward their defense with some points. After an early missed field goal, their offense responded with a 10-play drive that resulted in the game’s first touchdown. They scored another touchdown before the end of the second quarter, giving the Yellow Jackets a 13-0 lead at halftime.

APU made it a game by the end of the third quarter. The Cougars got on the board following a touchdown score on their first drive of the second half. The drive started fast with a 28-yard completion from Williams Jr. to receiver Jasiah Richard-Lewis and ended in a walk-in one-yard touchdown for running back Dante Davis. The Cougars defense also kept BHS off the board during the quarter.

BHS scored an early touchdown to begin the fourth quarter, and from that point on, the defense stopped the Cougars offense from even getting close to the goal line. When the final whistle blew, the 19-7 score favored BHS, and the Cougars dropped their sixth straight contest.

From the first contest of the season, it seemed as if the Cougars had bad luck. Injury after injury plagued this team, and the daunting travel schedule to begin the season only increased the intense hardships this young squad endured throughout the year. A 1-9 record is not what this team hoped for at the start of this campaign, but this was a growing season for the players who will be at the forefront of next season’s squad.

Despite the disappointing season, APU’s football roster has exceptional talent that could potentially mold this program into contenders as early as next year. Head coach Victor Santa Cruz and his team will have high expectations for the 2020 season and will be motivated to meet those goals by next year.