In a game featuring 845 total yards of offense, the Van-Far/Community R-VI Indians football team, on a late Eric Hombs’ 46-yard touchdown, held off a well-coached Louisiana squad, 44-34, last Friday night in Vandalia. The Indians had 434 rushing yards in the win.
Hombs paced his squad in the second half with 207 of his team-high 229 yards rushing and finished with three touchdowns.
“As far as leadership, he makes things happen,” said Indians’ head coach Kevin Baldwin of Hombs. “He takes a bad play and makes something happen out of it.”
The Indians’ rushing attack also included running back Verlyn Johnson. He came up big with 168 of his 189 rushing yards coming in the first half.
Two of his three touchdowns in the game went for more than 60 yards. Baldwin gave some credit to his offensive line.
“Our offensive line came through tonight when we needed them to,” he said.
A 26-minute game delay in the first half due to lightning was followed by Johnson’s sack to end an early Louisiana drive.
Payton Pargeon recovered a fumble with 9:50 left in the first half and the Indians struck on Johnson’s 60-yard touchdown run.
Morgan Slatten recovered another fumble moments later that was quickly followed by Johnson’s 63-yard touchdown run for a 12-0 lead.
The Bulldogs finally gained some momentum as they scored with 1:23 left in the half. On the kickoff, an Indians’ fumble gave Louisiana the ball on the 35.
Three plays later, Louisiana scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass over the middle. An extra-point kick resulted in a 13-point swing in just 40 seconds.
Louisiana had 201 yards of offense in the first half while all of the Indians’ 196 were on the ground.
Louisiana tried to keep the momentum in the second half with an early onside kick.
The Indians recovered and took advantage of good field position, marching 52 yards on seven plays. Hombs connected with Treyson Culwell on two passes for 21 of those yards before Johnson scored from six yards out. His two-point run made it 20-13.
After Louisiana marched 62 yards on six plays to tie things at 20, the Bulldogs added another score with 3:44 left in the third to go up 26-20. Their kick was blocked.
Hombs took over the game from there. Starting on his own 14, he alone had six running plays totaling 77 yards and scored from 37 yards out. Johnson’s two-point run gave the Indians a 28-26 lead.
On Louisiana’s next drive, Devin Cropp, who finished the game with 249 yards rushing and three touchdowns, had a big 31-yard run when he went down cramping. During a water break, Hombs showed good sportsmanship by giving Cropp a water.
Though Louisiana ended up scoring and going in front 34-28, Hombs’ kindness would be rewarded as he had a 36-yard touchdown scramble with 7:20 left in the game.
Johnson’s two-point run made it 36-34. Hombs added his late 46-yard score and completed a two-point pass to Culwell to seal the 10-point win.
The Indians had 21 yards passing and 434 on the ground for 455 yards. Louisiana had 65 in the air and 325 on the ground for 390 total.
Slatten had two runs for 16 yards and Culwell had two catches for 21 yards.