It was 72 years in the making, and boy, was it sweet!
Playing their first football season since 1940, the Wayland Baptist Pioneers captured their first victory of the year on Saturday afternoon in front of 3,000 fans at Greg Sherwood Memorial Bulldog Stadium, defeating Howard Payne University, 27-23.
Redshirt freshman Kendall Roberson of Lubbock scored all four Wayland touchdowns, including the go-ahead score on a 2-yard run with just 47 seconds left in the game. That followed a 1-yard TD run just three minutes earlier that pulled the Pioneers to within 23-20.
After Wayland's defense forced the Yellow Jackets into a 3-and-out, the Pioneer offense took over with great field position - the Yellow Jacket 30-yard line -- following a 9-yard punt. A pass interference penalty got the Pioneers halfway home, but an illegal block penalty set them back to the 16. However, another pass interference on Howard Payne set Wayland up with a first down at the 5, and Roberson went over for the score two plays later. Reid Layton booted the extra point.
With 47 ticks left on the clock and 85 yards away from Wayland's end zone, Howard Payne took over. The Jackets completed a short pass before freshman Cody Frye intercepted a pass to seal the deal.
Roberson scored the game's first touchdown on a 44-yard run just 1 minutes into the first quarter. Howard Payne scored the next 10 points to lead 10-7 at halftime.
Roberson regained the lead for the Pioneers, 14-10, on a 16-yard TD run with 3:45 left in the third. The Jackets scored a pair of quick touchdowns early in the fourth quarter after Wayland fumbled a kickoff, giving Howard Payne the ball at the Wayland 40-yard line. The Jackets needed only three plays to find the end zone, assuming a 23-14 lead with 10:17 left in the game prior to the Pioneers' late heroics.
Led by Roberson's 169 yards rushing on 25 carries, Wayland ended with 408 yards of offense compared to 349 for the Jackets (0-3). Pioneer quarterback Luis Gonzalez completed 21-of-34 passes for 259 yards. Saul Elizalde was the team's top receiving, grabbing six catches for 73 yards.
Wayland improved its record to 1-1 on the season. The Pioneers play on the road the next two Saturdays - at 6 p.m. Sept. 22 against McMurry in Abilene then at 2 p.m. against Texas College in Tyler - before turning home to take on Langston, Okla., on Oct. 6.