Hawks finish homestand with best start since 1994 following resilient effort against Bearcats

SW Baptist (79)

Quincy University safety Joseph Webb, left, brings down Southwest Baptist running back Abel Carter during Saturday's Great Lakes Valley Conference game at QU Stadium. | Photo courtesy Denny Sinnock

QUINCY — The schedule gave the Quincy University football team every opportunity to build some momentum before facing the Great Lakes Valley Conference’s heavyweights.

All the Hawks needed to do was be resilient enough to take advantage of it.

Saturday, the Hawks proved they were.

Quincy trailed Southwest Baptist for a majority of the second quarter of the GLVC opener at QU Stadium, didn’t take the lead for good until 11 minutes remained in the fourth quarter and held on for a 38-33 victory.

It allowed the Hawks to end their season-opening, five-game homestand with a 4-1 record, which marks the program’s best start since 1994. Quincy lost its season opener in 1994 and rattled off eight consecutive victories.

A similar win streak isn’t out of the question, but it will take toppling teams the Hawks have traditionally struggled against. Next week, Quincy’s first road trip takes it to Truman State, which is 5-0 following Saturday’s 56-24 victory at McKendree and has beaten QU eight of the nine meetings since the Bulldogs joined the GLVC in 2013.

A trip to William Jewell the following week will be followed by home games against Indianapolis and McKendree. Since the GLVC began sponsoring football as a championship event in 2012, the Hawks are a combined 3-17 against the Greyhounds and Bearcats.

Balance offensively could be the difference for the Hawks this time around.

The Hawks rushed for 169 yards against Southwest Baptist, averaging 5 yards per carry, while picking up 159 yards passing with 14.5 yards per completion. Quincy used both the run and the pass to score on a critical drive late in the first half.

After Southwest Baptist scored on Collin Sutton’s 6-yard touchdown pass to go ahead 21-10, Quincy took possession at its own 25-yard line with 1:41 to play before halftime. The Hawks used five runs and three passes to get to the Bearcats’ 26-yard line with 23 seconds left.

Following a timeout, QU quarterback Drake Davis connected with Travis Isaac for a 26-yard touchdown pass that closed the gap to 21-17 going to intermission.

Teon Dollard’s 4-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter gave the Hawks a 24-21 lead, only to have the Bearcats kick a 26-yard field goal to tie the game 18 seconds into the fourth quarter. The QU defense kept Southwest Baptist out of the end zone despite a 15-play, 66-yard drive that lasted 8:01.

That was critical as the Hawks answered with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with JQ Brown’s 2-yard touchdown run. Marlin Washington’s 43-yard touchdown reception with 3:35 to go made it a two-possession lead, which was enough.

Dollard led the Hawks with 91 yards rushing on 11 carries, while Brown had 42 yards on 14 carries. Davis completed 11 of 22 passes with three touchdowns and no interceptions, and the defense forced two turnovers as senior linebacker Peyton Plunkett led the charge with eight tackles and senior defensive lineman David Tabakovic had two sacks.

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