Price and author of Purple Swarm win against drought at McNeese
LAKE CHARLES — Appropriately, it was the No. 1 that ended another long-running drought in the Northwestern State involving McNeese.
Sixth-year senior catcher Kendrick Price Jr. had two touchdowns in his last game, including the game-breaking 29-yard rush in the fourth quarter, as the Demons exited Cowboy Stadium with a 24-20 win at the Southland Conference — NSU’s first win at Lake Charles since 1988.
“The last time we beat them was Jazz (Ferguson’s game-winning touchdown), which makes it special,” said Price, who finished his career with 11 touchdowns, tied with Al Phillips for eighth. place in the history of the school. “Quan Shorts texted me last night and said, ‘You’re going to score two touchdowns tomorrow. I can feel it.’ It’s pretty crazy, I haven’t scored two touchdowns in a game since 2019.
“It was the 1 connection, I guess. It made it happen. It’s super special.”
Price’s touchdown catches set Northwestern State (3-8, 3-5) to the quick start it’s been looking for for much of the season.
NSU entered Saturday’s game having scored 17 first-quarter points in its first 10 games this season. The Demons needed 2:35 p.m. of playing time to do that on Saturday.
Price started the scoring with a 7-yard grab that answered Deonta McMahon’s 39-yard touchdown run on McNeese’s first drive. After At Scotty Roblow’s The 25-yard field goal broke the first tie at 7, Zacharie Clement and Jay Griffin IV connected on a 56-yard wheelie to build the lead to 17-7 with 35 seconds left in the first half.
“We knew we hadn’t been able to get off to a quick start the past few weeks,” the fourth-year head coach said. Brad Laird noted. “That was one of the keys to our victory. We managed to do that. For me, what is so special with this team is that the second and third quarters, when it was not so easy , our guys stuck with it.”
Armed with a 10-point lead, the Demons missed a few chances in the first half to extend the lead, failing to score after starting with possession at McNeese 29 and McNeese 36.
Luckily for the Demons, the Purple Swarm defense lived up to its name and more.
linebacker Jared Pedraza recorded four of Northwestern State’s 11 sacks that day as the Demons fell one sack away from tying the school single-game record. Pedraza fell to half a sack of tying the individual school mark in a single game.
Four of the Demons’ sacks came in the second quarter, helping NSU maintain the lead despite gaining just 17 yards in the second quarter.
“I think we were just hungry,” Pedraza said. “The season didn’t go as we expected. We wanted to send the seniors out with a bang. We stayed solid and made a play of his presentation.”
Pedraza was one of three demons to register multiple sacks, joining the junior defensive end Isaiah Longino and senior linebacker Kyle Moorewho had two each.
The sack party continued into the third quarter as Pedraza and Longino each ended McNeese’s drives in the Northwest State territory with sacks from McNeese quarterback Cody Orgeron.
Pedraza continued to terrorize Orgeron in the fourth quarter, ending the Cowboys’ first drive of the final quarter with a sack once the Cowboys reached NSU 37.
“What a night by these guys,” Laird said. “I thought defensively, after the first practice of the game, I did a great job of composing ourselves and playing our type of football. You saw it putting pressure on the quarterback and getting sacks .Credit to the guys up front and linebackers, but also the guys at the back of coverage.”
Northwestern State’s offense, which beat McNeese 168-93 in the first quarter, followed the Pedraza sacking with its longest haul in plays and yards — and arguably one of significance.
Carried by a tight 32-yard end screen for Javonis Isaac on a third-and-10 at NSU 20, the Demons went for 80 yards in nine plays, culminating in Price’s 29-yard score that started with a slanting pattern and ended with Price running to the end zone .
“It’s a heavy men’s team,” Price said. “We have routes set up to beat that. It was a crunch. We made a good call. I was where I needed to be. Zach gave me a good ball. I got the chance to break a tackle and make a play. It was just preparation and execution and it came to fruition.”
Prior to Saturday’s victory, NSU’s most recent win at Lake Charles was a 25-20 decision on Oct. 8, 1988, which ended with the Demons running out of clock on offense.
It went the same way Saturday afternoon after McNeese (4-7, 3-5) overcame two more sacks on a 15-play, 77-yard drive that ended with the 2-yard touchdown. by Josh Parker to cut the lead to 24-20. .
Taking over at age 32 with 4:07 to play, Northwestern State turned to running back curtis williams and Clement to claim victory.
Williams rushed for 22 yards and Clement added a 3-yard run to convert a third down with 1:30 remaining, cementing the Demons victory.
“Everyone on the sides and in the stands knew we were going to run the game,” Laird said. “After we got the first down with Gavin (Landry), they were out of timeouts. That’s when you appreciate the (offensive line). They knew we had to run the football, and we We still managed to get the first down. Credit the offensive line. curtis williams. Congratulations to this football team for being able to finish the game.”