By Alex Gonzalez
(Glendora) — The Azusa Pacific Cougars played their final home game of the 2019 season Saturday night with a 27-24 loss against the Central Washington Wildcats at Citrus college.
Central Washington quarterback Christian Moore scored two touchdowns, one through the air and one on the ground. Micheal Roots also added a rushing touchdown in the win for the Wildcats.
To open the game, APU was able to march down the field and score thanks to Dante Davis’ touchdown run. The lead didn’t last, however, when Central Washington scored 10 points on consecutive drives.
First, Patrick Hegarty booted a 22-yard field goal with 4:14 in the first quarter. Then just before the frame ended, Michael Roots took the handoff and bulldozed his way into the end zone.
APU was able to answer back and tie the contest up at 10 thanks to Ramzee Jaridly’s 20-yard field goal to start the second quarter.
The Wildcats then took the lead midway through the second when Moore optioned to keep the ball and raced to the end zone untouched to give the Wildcats a 17-10 lead after the PAT.
Following a significant return by the Cougars, it didn’t take long for the offense to add points. Tyrone Williams Jr. dropped back and found Brandon Jackson deep, who snagged the ball with one hand and took it to the house for six.
The Wildcats responded on the ensuing drive when Moore used his arm to give his team the lead when he found Jojo Hillel alone in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown giving his team a 24-17 lead just before the half-time whistle.
With both teams trading field position in the third quarter, Central Washington extended their lead when Hegarty converted his 29-yard field goal in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats’ special team didn’t help their defense on the ensuing kick when Hegarty kicked the ball out of bounds, and then Eric Wilkes was flagged for a personal foul after the play had ended.
With the Cougars set up at midfield, Williams was able to construct a drive that would lead the offense down the field and ultimately result in a touchdown when he called his number and ran it into the end zone with just over 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
APU then forced Central Washington to punt on their next drive. With the offense pinned against their end zone, they were able to move the ball effectively, but once the Cougars got into Wildcat territory, the defense tightened up and forced the Cougars to turn the ball over on a fourth and long with 4:36 left to play in the fourth quarter.
With less than two minutes to play, APU’s defense forced Central Washington to turn the ball over, giving them one more chance at either tying the game up or going for the win. Unfortunately, Williams and the offense failed to get passed the 50 and went down against the Wildcats.
With the loss, the Cougars fell to 1-7 on the year and look to rebound next week when they hit the road to play Western Oregon. For Central Washington, they will play their final home game against Southwest Baptist (MO).