Lumberjacks Beat the Braves in Home Opener

NACODGOCHES, Texas- The Lumberjacks (1-1, 0-0) opened their 2023 home season with an impressive 38-10 win in a non-conference game against the Braves of Alcorn State (0-2, 0-0). It was Stephen F. Austin’s first win of the season before 7,844 at Homer Bryce Stadium.

The Lumberjacks got things off to a quick start in the first quarter after a blocked punt by Dylan Dixon led to a safety with 13:05 left in the first quarter. SFA then drove 11 plays and 26 yards down the field which led to a 34-yard field goal from Chris Campos to make it a 5-0 lead with 4:02 left on the clock in the 1st quarter. The Lumberjacks then got the ball back which led to a Brian Maurer 40-yard completion to Ty Love to end the first quarter.

Starting the second quarter the ‘Jacks went on a five play 41-yard drive which was capped off by another Chris Campos field goal with 14:31 left on the clock to give the ‘Jacks an 8-0 lead. Four minutes later Brian Maurer capped off an eight play 68-yard drive with a 3-yard rushing touchdown with 10:01 left in the second quarter to take a commanding 15-0 lead. Alcorn then scored their first touchdown of the game making cutting the Lumberjacks’ lead to 15-7. Going into half time the Braves added a field goal bringing the score to 15-10 going into the half.

At half time Brian Maurer was 13/23 for 177 yards and one rushing touchdown while senior Lawton Rikel had 71 receiving yards followed by Junior Ty Love with 65 yards. Both Wide Receivers had four receptions and combined for 136 receiving yards at the half.

Starting the third quarter neither team could find a rhythm offensively for the first six minutes of the quarter until Quarterback Brian Maurer broke off a 63-yard run down to the Braves 10-yard line. Maurer then threw an interception at the two yard line but the Lumberjacks defense rose to the occasion and recorded their second safety of the game when punter Caleb Darbone stepped out of the end zone tacking on another two point for the Lumberjacks. With 4:44 left in the third quarter SFA held a 17-10 lead.

To start the fourth quarter running back Jerrell Wimbley capped off a 12 play, 67-yard drive with a 6-yard run giving the ‘Jacks a 24-10 lead after a Chris Campos extra point with 14:22 to go in the game. SFA then scored their final touchdown of the game on a 12 play 80-yard drive with 6:14 left to cap off the scoring for the game. WImbley had SFA’s last two scores of the game that included a 64-yard run with 11:45 in the fourth and a 4-yard passing touchdown by Brian Maurer with 2:47 left in the game.

Jerrell Wimbley set a career high with 122 rushing yards in a game which was his second time over 100 yards rushing in his career. His 64-yard tpuchdown run was the longest in his career and his three touchdowns were also a career best. Lawton Rikel also had a career high receiving day with 91 yards on six receptions. Brian Maurer also had a career high 85 rushing yards in the win alongside 237 passing yards and one touchdown. With Chris Campos’ two made field goals tonight he only needs one more to tie the school record for most career field goals made and two to hold the record for most field goals made in a career. 

The Lumberjacks return to action next week as they travel to Northwestern State in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

Final Stat leaders:

Jermaine Brown8 TOT tackles, .5 sacks
Jeremiah Walker7 tackles
Edward Bobino III7 tackles, .5 sacks
Brian Maurer18/37 for 237 yards, 1 TD, 3 interceptions
Lawton Rikel6 for 91 (15.2 yds avg.)
Jerrell Wimbley18 for 122 (6.8 avg.), 3 TOT TDs

By: Jackson Pickard, Graduate Assistant for Strategic Communications