Lions fall to in-state rival

By Student Writer Harley Duncan

UNA Head Coach Chris Willis is unable to gain his first win at Braly Stadium as head coach as the Lions fall to West Alabama 38-17 Sept. 22.

The Tigers dominated the Lions by adding the most points in matchup history. Despite UNA’s history of dominance over their in-state rival, the Lions could not find an answer to the Tiger’s offense.

“I’m kind of stunned to be honest with you,” Willis said. “Maybe we aren’t as good as we thought we were on that side of the ball”

The Tigers had a quick start by adding 10 points to the board in the first quarter. The Lions tied the game early in the second quarter, but the Tigers responded by extending their lead 14 points going into halftime.

After a 30-minute lightning delay, the Lions added a touchdown to make it a seven- point game, but the Tigers responded by adding 14 points to end the game.

Despite the Lions outgaining the Tigers 355-336 in total yards, they had a difficult time holding on to the ball.

The Tiger defense pressured junior quarterback Rico Bruton the entire night by sacking him seven times and forcing three interceptions.

This was Bruton’s first career start after the injury of quarterback Blake Hawkins Sept. 16 in the game against Valdosta State.

Willis said he is not frustrated with Bruton for his performance in the game because he still gave the team a chance to win.  

“To sum it up tonight, we didn’t play any defense,” Willis said.

Willis said he saw some things he likes in his team and hopes to reassess for the next game.

The Lions will continue Gulf South Conference game play Sept. 29 at West Georgia.