Lions win season opener at Legion Field

by Sports Editor Mike Ezekiel

UNA’s football team starts its season with a 13th straight season-opening victory, defeating Miles College 34-17 Sunday at Legion Field with 21,834 in attendance.

The Lions looked solid on each side of the ball, but a ninth-straight victory against Miles College did not come easy for UNA coach Bobby Wallace and company.

“We had to grind it out and earn everything we got,” said Wallace. “Overall, there are some things we definitely can learn from and improve on. Hats off to Reginald Ruffin and the Miles coaching staff and their players for playing extremely hard and scrappy. The did a great job against us.”

Senior running back Lamonte Thompson sparked the Lions with 173 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the night.

“The offensive line did a great job tonight,” said Thompson. “They definitely finished their blocks tonight. I feel like the team really helped me finish off my runs.”

The Lions finished with 427 total yards and held Miles to 224.

The turning point of the game came in the red zone with less than a minute left in the first half. UNA quarterback Luke Wingo threw an interception to Jibril Cox with under a minute to go in the half.

However, UNA got the ball right back as senior Darvell Harris intercepted a curl route to regain possession and put the Lions close to the goal line with 17 seconds left in the half.

Wingo connected with sophomore receiver Dre Hall in the back of the end zone to give the Lions a 14-3 lead heading into the half.

“I just wanted to make a big play and get us some more points on the board before the half,” Harris said. “We looked kind of down after that turnover so I wanted to get everyone back up and try to make a big play for the team.”

The Lions controlled most of the second half, leading 27-3 with six minutes left in the game. Miles scored on back-to-back possessions to make it 27-17, but Thompson’s second touchdown in the final minutes sealed the deal.

“We did a good job as far as being emotionally ready,” Wallace said. “We were excited about playing, and the first game is always like that. We need to make sure we come back next weekend with the same enthusiasm.”

UNA will have a short week, as it will take on Mississippi College in its home opener Sept. 12.