Turnovers doom SM East in reboot of Rockhurst series as Lancers fall 26-20

Running back Nigel Houston was key to the Lancers offensive attack that amassed more than 500 yard — but also contributed to the plague  of turnovers.
Running back Nigil Houston was key to the Lancers offensive attack that amassed more than 500 yard — but also contributed to the plague of turnovers.

It’s hard to imagine the night getting off to a worse start for the Lancers than the bungled pitch that led to a turnover setting Rockhurst up for a quick touchdown in the opening minutes. Unfortunately, it was just the start of a steady drip of setbacks that continued throughout the night, with the Lancers mishandling the ball for a total of six turnovers.

And, yet, in the closing 1:40 of the most highly anticipated SM East football game in decades, the Lancers found themselves with the ball near midfield and needing only a touchdown to tie the game with the potential to win on the extra point.

Alas, quarterback Luke Kaiser and his offense couldn’t muster one final stroke of brilliance to seal what would have been an improbable win over the Hawklets, the metro’s top ranked team, given their clumsiness earlier in the game. Instead, Rockhurst’s defense, which had found it difficult to keep the Lancers from marching down the field for much of the night, held fast on a fourth and five, forcing a turnover on downs and securing the victory.

To the casual observer, SM East appeared to have the advantage on both sides of the ball. The Lancers’ defense held Rockhurst to just seven downs on the night, and two of their four scoring drives started within their own 20 yard line. The Lancers’ offense on the other hand, hammered out more than 500 yards and 22 first downs. But their untimely turnovers, including a first quarter interception at the goal line that turned a potential go-ahead score into a 96-yard return touchdown for the other team, put the Lancers in a hole they couldn’t overcome. (Here’s the pick-six:)

With the loss, SM East moves to 2-1 on the season. The Lancers will face Sunflower League foe Olathe North on the road next Friday.

Sky Tate hauled in a long pass from Luke Kaiser to score in the fourth quarter, putting the Lancers within just a touchdown.
Sky Tate hauled in a long pass from Luke Kaiser to score in the fourth quarter, putting the Lancers within just a touchdown.
Rockhurst students, dressed as Scottish warriors, lined the hill above the stadium before the game.
Rockhurst students, dressed as Scottish warriors, lined the hill above the stadium before the game.
The Lancers entered the field at Rockhurst for the first time since 1982.
The Lancers entered the field at Rockhurst for the first time since 1982.