The Bronco defense played their best game of the season, helping the NMMI offense overcome a slow start, downing Arkansas Baptist 35-6 in Saturday’s neutral site game in Wichita Falls, Texas.
The first points of the game didn’t come until the 7:10 mark in the second quarter, despite both teams mounting drives early deep into their opponent’s territory.
NMMI moved down to the Buffalo 23 yard line after the opening kickoff in a 10-play, 52-yard drive, but were stopped by Bronco fumble.
Arkansas Baptist got inside the NMMI 20 with a 12-play, 55-yard drive on their third possession, but a fourth and five attempt from the NMMI 17 resulted in a sack by Enock Makanzo and a turnover on downs.
The Bronco ‘Black Swarm’ defense had three sacks and 11 tackles for losses in the game.
The Institute offense finally broke into the end zone on a 24-yard pass and catch, quarterback Monte Turner to wide receiver Walt Wilkerson, capping another 52-yard drive, this time in eight plays.
NMMI’s next touchdown came right before the end of the half. A bad snap on a Buffalo punt gave NMMI the ball on ABC’s 18. Three plays later, Taquan Pratt rushed pass the goal line from four yards out, giving the Broncos a 14-0 lead heading into the locker room.
Punting problems led to NMMI’s first touchdown in the second half as well. After kicking off, the Bronco ‘D’ forced a fourth and five at the Arkansas 31 yard line. The Buffs elected to punt and this time the snap was good, but the ball bounced in and out of the hands of Casey Cross, ABC’s punter, who fell on the ball at the 14. Jalen Jackson later plunged into the end zone on a Bronco third and goal from the 1 yard line, to make it 21-0 with 11:22 left in the third.
NMMI went up 28-0 early in the fourth. Turner took a 16-yard keeper in for the score, finishing a drive that started at the NMMI 45.
The Broncos would score again, less than four minutes later: the Bronco defense forced another Buffalo ‘three-and-out’ and the offense spanned 70 yards in seven plays, including a 46-yard TD strike from quarterback Brandon Perdue to Cam Saunders.
ABC’s only points came with 8:20 on the clock in the fourth quarter – a 5-play, 57-yard drive resulting in a Buffalo touchdown. Their pass attempt for the two-point conversion was broken up by the Bronco secondary.
“I thought the defense played well,” said head coach Joe Forchtner. “We had a very simple game plan for today’s game and we executed it well. We had some big plays – a couple of forced turnovers, a blocked punt, a blocked field goal. Our defense just gave us that spark that we needed. We would have liked to get a shutout, but that’s the way it goes.”
Asked about the first half stuttering of the NMMI offense, coach Forchtner responded: “The offense was struggling a bit at the start, especially up front on the line. We’ve got four freshmen up there and just one sophomore, but it’s time for someone to step up and time for the freshmen to grown up – that’s our biggest struggle right now.”
NMMI evened up their record at 2-2 with the win and has an extra week to prep for a home match against No. 3 ranked Trinity Valley Community College on Sept. 30. Kickoff for that game set for 2 P.M. at Colt Field on the NMMI campus.