Lions fall short against rival West Alabama

  Senior running back Wes Holland prepares to make a move on a defender during the game against Delta State earlier this season. The Lions are in a must win territory through the rest of the season.

The UNA Lions football team grabbed their second loss of the season, (6-2, 0-2), from GSC foe West Alabama, (7-2, 2-1), with a final of 31-26 Thursday.

The Lions never lead against the Tigers in Livingston in Tigers Stadium. UNA went into halftime down 17-3 after a Josh Montgomery 36-yard field goal with 4:54 to play in the second quarter.

“I couldn’t tell you what our strength or weakness was, but I can tell you that West Alabama was completely dedicated to winning the game,” Montgomery said. “The coaches were fired up, and the players were determined to win.”

Matthew Willis, West Alabama’s running back was the star of the game with three touchdowns and 161 all-purpose yards. However, UNA’s Tristan Purifoy grabbed 186 all-purpose yards, and Mo Miliam had 160 for the game.

“We need to get back to where we were at the beginning of the season,” Montgomery said. “We played well as a team and worked together to achieve the win.”

For the game, UNA managed 32 first downs to UWA’s 19. The Lions had 119 rushing yards on 38 attempts and 397 passing yards, throwing 31-44 with one interception, (all from starting quarterback Lee Chapple). The penalties took a huge toll on the UNA team, as they had 11 penalties for 100 yards where UWA had seven for 62 yards.

“We did a lot of good things offensively; we moved the ball extremely well,” Chapple said. “We racked up over 500 yards of total offense, which is exciting, but we couldn’t finish drives when we got in the red zone, which really hurt us. We haven’t taken advantage in that aspect in the last few games, so we have to get better finishing in the red zone.”

UNA will play their last regular season home game Saturday, Nov. 5 at Braly Stadium at 4 p.m. against West Georgia.

“It’s going to take everything we’ve got (against West Georgia); we’ve kind of dug ourselves a hole, being (0-2) in the conference,” Chapple said. “We lost to a really food Delta State team, and a West Alabama team that played extremely well and got the better of us last Thursday. “

“Playoffs kind of start this week for us, and we’re going to have to execute, putting up a lot more points on offense, and moving the ball on our opponent,” Chapple said. “We’ve got to score big points, not kill ourselves with penalties, and finish in the redbone, and I think we will be alright.”