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Sam Houston State Gallops Past SNU in Lonestar Bowl

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Sam Houston State Gallops Past SNU in Lonestar Bowl

Stokley charges on. Olly Laseinde photo.

Sam Houston State torched Southern Nazarene 66-24 to win the Lonestar Bowl at NCR's championship weekend.

Southern Nazarene is a new school-supported program and is very young. They have produced a solid record, but were up against it facing a big, powerful SHSU side.

Early on in the game it became clear that Sam Houston inside center and captain Jaxon Stokley would have a big influence on the game. Able to break tackles and threaten as a runner, Stokley also knew enough to use his size and power as a decoy and instead set up his teammates.

His first big run looked to produce the first try of the game, but SNU worked back nicely, got the ball back, and eventually got a kickable penalty that flyhalf Josh Robertson put over.

Sam Houston answered right back. A big break by wing Joe Wervis, Jr. got SHSU into SNU territory, and when the Crimson Storm lost the ensuing lineout, Sam Houston went to work. They spun it wide and wing Etienne Tenie was over to make it 5-3.

Another big, charging run, this time by No. 8 Corinthian Cromier, got SHSU right down to the line and while he didn't score he did knock one defender right off his feet.

Soon SNU got a lineout inside their 22 and lost the ball again. The Bearkats spun it wide right and fullback Lane O'Brien was in.

Sam Houston continued to play an aggressive style of play and their forwards did well to maintain good body height and make it difficult to tackle them. 

SHSU very aggressive and good on body height. Stokley was a force in the midfield and SNU really struggled to contain him. Another charge of his set up a try for Tenie and then Cromier added one. SNU finally got a little go-forward and a thundering run from hooker Luis Camacho put them over.

That made it 27-10 at halftime.

The second half brought with the question of whether SHSU would maintain the same intensity, and whether the smaller, shiftier SNU side would finish stronger. Early on Southern Nazarene got themselves back into the game with a wild try from inside center Dayton Bradford. He made a break on the outside and then launched a kick to the middle near the posts. The ball baounced awkwardly and rolled away from Bradford, but somehow he chase it down and got a hand on it to score.

The tries started to flow after that and SHSU sealed it 66-24.

It was a very impressive showing by Sam Houston State, which brought a nice combination of skills to the game. Stokley credited the forwards for their hard work throughout and was right to do so as the Bearkats pack was tireless.