By Tim Peterson
(Glendora) – Azusa Pacific did enough offensively and the defense did the rest in a 17-7 win over West Texas A & M Saturday night in the 2018 season opener at Citrus College.
Zikel Reddick had a big night rushing for 197 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. Quarterback Tryone Williams Jr. made plays as well throwing for 121 yards and a touchdown but was also hurt by three interceptions. Weston Carr had six receptions for 74 yards.
The Cougar defense allowed only a late second quarter touchdown. They forced three turnovers including two interceptions by Lee Pitts.
The Cougars got on the board first on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Williams Jr. to Brandon Jackson to cap a 12 play, 75-yard drive on the first possession of the game.
Riddick capped a 56- yard drive with a 10-yard run with 4:32 left in the half to make it 14-0. This time APU needed just five plays to go 56 yards.
West Texas A&M pulled within a touchdown when Mitch Hood finished a nine-play, 81 yard march with a one-yard run.
West Texas A&M had a chance to tie late in the second quarter after an interception but Hood was picked off in the endzone by Lee Pitts – his second of the game and the Cougars led 14-7 at the half.
Reddick had 93 yards on 12 carries at the half. Williams was 9 of 13 for 98 yards and the touchdown.
A 39-yard Reddick run led to a 43-yard Jacob Hall field goal early in the third quarter to extend the Cougars lead to 17-7.
The Buffaloes drove down to the Cougar 13 yard line where they stalled. Michael Shipley missed a 30-yard field goal later in the third.
The Cougars stopped West Texas A&M on their own 16 yard line on fourth down with over two minutes remaining.
APU was forced to punt and the Buffaloes had one more shot but Hood was sacked in the final play of the game.
Hood was 21 of 36 for 199 yards but also threw the two picks for West Texas. APU held the Buffaloes to 105 yards on the ground.
“I was happy with our defense. I thought we played physical, but we do have a few things to clean up. We are young and need to just keep getting better.”
Next week the Cougars are home again to take on Simon Fraser.