>> by Ray Fink
OBU Sports Information Director
TYLER, Texas—Cale Grauer threw three touchdown passes, and Austin Manger added a school-record four field goals, as Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) finished its first football season since 1940 with a 39-28 victory at Texas College, Sat., Nov. 16.
“I’m so happy for our kids and how they worked each week, and we have three seniors who went out strong. Austin Manger went out with a bang,” said OBU Head Coach Chris Jensen. “Texas College still had hope until he made that last one and made it a two-score game.”
Manger converted two 40-yard field goals, another from 28 yards and one from 22 yards for a record four-field goal game. He also was perfect in three extra point attempts (PATs) in the contest to finish the season with a perfect 31-of-31, tying the NAIA lead in percentage with the third-most attempts.
Kimes Gilbert also played a strong game from his defensive end position, recording a school-record five sacks. Both Gilbert and Manger received Central States Football League (CSFL) Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Week honors, respectively.
“He’s a warrior out there,” Jensen said of Gilbert. “He needs to be recognized for his efforts as an All-Conference player and we’ll push for that. He may be an All-American. He’s relentless and it’s like he never gets tired.”
OBU fell behind quickly, 14-0, with Steers quarterback Curtez Griffin running for one touchdown and throwing to Jamaal Johnson for another.
The Bison got on the scoreboard with 4:43 left in the first quarter when Grauer hit Eric DeLay from 25 yards out for a touchdown. Manger’s PAT made it a 14-7 game.
Grauer passed to Derek Serowski for a 10-yard touchdown to tie the game with seven seconds left in the first quarter.
Manger got his first field goal of the game from 40 yards out with 10:33 left for OBU’s first lead of the game, 17-14, and after a TC fumble, knocked home his 28-yarder for a 20-14 edge.
Griffin got the lead back for the Steers on a 16-yard scoring strike to Joshua Isaac with 5:28 remaining in the half, 22-20.
A Grauer to Serowski pass got OBU back in great field position and Jordan Barnes completed the drive with a two-yard run to make it 26-22, but the Bison missed a two-point conversion attempt.
Grauer tossed an eight-yard scoring pass to Cody Miller for the 33-22 lead with 50 seconds left and the Bison took that lead to halftime.
Manger kicked a 22-yard field goal for a 36-22 lead early in the third. Griffin threw a touchdown pass with 7:59 left in the third quarter, but Brynden Pitzer picked off the two-point conversion. OBU’s lead was down to 36-28.
Manger hammered in the final nail from 40 yards away with 2:15 left in the game.
OBU finished the season with a 3-8 record. After an 0-5 start, which featured the Bison holding leads in most of those early contests, OBU went 3-3 down the stretch, with two of those victories against CSFL opponents.