Saturday, March 23, 2019

Southeastern hosts No. 11 / 12 Cowboys at Senior Day Saturday

Posted: Friday, November 2, 2018 | Views: 627

Southeastern hosts No. 11 / 12 Cowboys at Senior Day Saturday
HAMMOND, La. – The Southeastern Louisiana football team will close out its 2018 home schedule on Saturday, hosting No. 11/12 McNeese at 2:30 p.m. at Strawberry Stadium.

Approximately 30 minutes prior to Saturday’s game, the 22 members of the Southeastern senior class will be honored before their final home games in the green and gold.

SLU will be recognizing defensive back Zeke Walker, defensive back Shamar Busby, wide receiver Jariah Tolbert, wide receiver Nih-Jer Jackson, quarterback Joey Verhaegh, wide receiver Jake Ingraffia, defensive back Aaron Craig, defensive back Brayleon Thorns, running back Julius Maracalin, running back Darren Johnson, defensive back Xavier Chatman, punter Jim Speights, kicker Jonathan Tatum, linebacker Tamarcus Russell, linebacker Ja’Hmal Macklin, linebacker Sean Clavelle, offensive lineman Lorenz Jones, long snapper Anthony Freeman, offensive lineman Kyle Strickland, wide receiver Ross Foreman, defensive lineman Imani Mitchell and defensive lineman Jon Miller.

“We’re glad our fans have one last opportunity to see our seniors compete at Strawberry Stadium,” Southeastern head coach Frank Scelfo said. “I’m personally thankful to this group and their willingness to buy into our staff in our first year. We’d love to send them out with a win on Saturday.”

Southeastern will also hold Military Appreciation and Local Heroes Day in conjunction with Saturday’s contest, as all military and service personnel will receive two free tickets with a valid ID.

Southeastern Louisiana and No. 11/12 McNeese both played close games last week, though the Cowboys were able to win their nail-biter.

Xavier Lewis was the standout performer for the Lions in their 28-25 loss at No. 22/23 Sam Houston State, finishing with eight tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in the loss. Chason Virgil threw for 274 yards and a touchdown to lead a Lion offense that finished with 453 total yards. Virgil also ran for a touchdown, but threw two interceptions.

McNeese edged No. 13 Central Arkansas, 23-21, in a battle of Southland co-leaders last Saturday in Lake Charles. In his first collegiate start under center, Cody Orgeron threw a touchdown and ran for another to lead the Cowboy offense. McNeese defensive back Colby Burton was named Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week after recording a pair of interceptions.

SLU enters its final home game of the season, averaging 28.7 points and 428.3 yards per contest. Virgil is currently third in FCS with 2,679 passing yards in his debut season in Hammond. The transfer from Fresno State has completed just under 61 percent of his passes to go with 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Virgil’s top targets are Juwan Petit-Frere (40 catches, 678 yards, 4 touchdowns), CJ Turner (36-422-2 TD), Jackson (28-306-1 TD) and Bransen Schwebel (26-419-3 TD). Johnson (451 yards, 3 TD) and Devonte Williams (251-4 TD) are the top contributors on the ground.

McNeese has the top defense in the Southland Conference, holding opponents to 23.1 points and 342.8 yards per contest. BJ Blunt leads the Cowboys with 76 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

Opponents are averaging 35.4 points and 485.9 yards per contest versus the Southeastern defense this season. Russell is second in the Southland and 11th in FCS with a team-high 95 tackles. Lewis (61), Thorns (52), Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund (51) and Walker (46) round out the Lions’ top five tacklers.

Russell leads SLU with nine tackles for loss, while Adeyemi-Berglund has a team-high four sacks. Lewis has three forced fumbles, while he and Tre’ Spann each have two fumble recoveries. Ferlando Jordan paces Southeastern with three interceptions.

Orgeron is slated to make his second start on Saturday, having thrown for 257 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions this season. Cyron Sutton (26 catches, 414 yards, 2 TD) is McNeese’s top pass catcher, while Justin Pratt (264 yards, 1 TD) and David Hamm (259-3 TD) are the Cowboys’ rushing leaders. McNeese is averaging 21.5 points and 298.8 yards per contest.

Two of the Southland’s top kicking and returns games will be on display in Saturday’s contest.

Tatum has connected on 11-of-15 field goals attempts, as has McNeese counterpart Gunner Raborn.

Petit-Frere (27.8 yards per kickoff return) and McNeese’s Benjamin Jones (28.7) are two of the league’s most dynamic kickoff returners.

Southeastern will have a bye next weekend before closing out the 2018 season at Nicholls on Thursday, Nov. 15 in Thibodaux. Kickoff for the 2018 River Bell Classic is set for 6 p.m.

Fans can hear the Nov. 15 game on the Southeastern Sports Radio Network (KSLU-FM (90.9), Kajun 107.1 FM, The Highway 104.7 FM and WFPR 1400 AM). Fans can also listen live at and via the Radio FX, TuneIn Radio and Lions Gameday Experience apps. Television details will be released by the Southland Conference on Monday.