West Texas A&M receiver Shakell Brown, right, hauls in a catch that resulted in a touchdown passed defender LaDarian Hudson during the Maroon & White game at Buffaloes Stadium on Saturday. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]
West Texas A&M wrapped up its spring football schedule putting on a very upbeat and entertaining Maroon and White spring game for over an estimated 400 fans in attendance on a chilly Saturday night at Buffaloes Stadium.
WT head football coach Hunter Hughes shook things up from years past drafting between his 100 plus player roster to make up the Maroon and White teams. The game lasted close to two hours at a high-tempo pace playing 20 minute quarters with a running clock.
In the end, the matchup was highly competitive with the Maroon squad coming away with a 45-42 win on a game-winning 45-yard field goal by kicker Gage Urias as time expired.
“We got a lot of plays in,” said Hunter Hughes, who is 20-19 overall entering his fifth season as the WT head football coach. “We got a lot out of this. We were excited, we loved seeing our fans in attendance. I may have bent the rules a little bit because I wanted a close game. I wanted to see a kicker win it, and we did. But it was a good way to end spring football.”
The Buffs — coming off the heels of a shortened six game schedule in the fall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which was still more than any other team in Division II — wrapped up its 15th and final practice of the spring Saturday.
Fans enjoyed plenty of action on both sides of the ball and saw plenty of talent from a roster of retuning talent, and new players added in the spring.
West Texas A&M quarterback Nick Gerber delivers a pass during the Maroon & White game Saturday. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]
One position not in question is the most prominent one. WT has its quarterback in two-year starter Nick Gerber who suited out for the White team. Gerber took command of the offense moving the ball up the field on his opening drive that resulted in a 30-yard strike to Shakell Brown for a touchdown. The Levelland graduate then seemed to find what could be a new favorite target in Azusa Pacific transfer, Noah Bogardus, who enrolled at WT this semester after Azusa Pacific shut down its football program.
The redshirt sophomore was a human highlight reel leaving Buff fans wanting more Saturday night. In the second quarter, the 6-foot-3 speedy wide out hauled in a leaping catch over a defender maintaining possession while falling on his back for 42 yard snag. Two plays later, Gerber rolled left and was able to find Bodargus in the back of the endzone for a score. The duo connected on another TD later in the game as Bodargus ended the scrimmage with over 100 yards receiving.
“This was a great night,” said Bodargus, who was honored with the Brittan Golden Wide Receiver Award during spring workouts. “The fans were crazy, and I loved the environment. I played here for Azusa Pacific in 2019, and I loved this stadium. Coach Hughes and everyone welcomed me with open arms, and it’s felt like family since I came to campus.”
Hughes echoed the receivers comment.
“When Azusa Pacific dropped its program I reached out to a former coach there and asked them who is a good,” Hughes said. “He immediately said Noah Bogardus. We’re happy to get him. He’s worked out great and he’s fit in really well with our team.”
WT proved it has a stable of running backs behind an ever improving offensive line. Khalil Harris, and Brandon Blair had solid moments during the game, and Jarrod Compton showed off his versatility out of the backfield with superb runs, and with his hands. Compton scored the opening touchdown on a screen pass, and added a rushing touchdown later on.
The defense also showed just how much talent is on that side of the ball. Gage Smith picked off backup quarterback Brett Leach for a 45-yard touchdown, and outside linebacker Tre’Von Moseley made a house call on a scoop and score.
West Texas A&M linebacker Eric Collins has made 38 career starts during his stellar career. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]
However, no one covered ground like returning senior linebacker Eric Collins. Collins was a menace for the Maroon team by blitzing the QBs, shutting down running backs in the backfield and racking up over 12 tackles.
Collins, an All-Lone Star Conference linebacker, was a part of Hughes first recruiting class. The 6-foot-4, 200 pounder has missed one game in four years, making a career 38 starts with 246 career tackles.
“Since I got here I’ve known the leadership torch was going to get passed down to me,” Collins said. “We’re a family here at WT, and we have a great connection. That comes from great leadership from the coaches to our veterans.”
The Buffs open the 2021 campaign at home against Texas College on Thursday, September 2. Check out the full slate below, as well as all of the 2021 spring award winners.
West Texas A&M left tackle and Stratford graduate Parker Hanna was honored with the Dan Sherwood Panhandle Award on Saturday. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]
West Texas A&M 2021 spring football awards
Eugene Sims Defensive Line Award: Ashton Reynolds
Jared Brock Inside Linebacker Award: JT Cavender
Chaun Thompson Outside Linebacker Award: Tre’Von Moseley
Tae Evans Defensive Back Award: Satchel Escalante
Sergio Castillo Specialist Award: Aaron Coash
Reggie McElroy Offensive Line Award: Zane Madison,
Dustin Vaughn Quarterback Award:
Eugene Mercury Morris Running Back Award: Khalil Harris,
Jordan Johnson Tight End Award: Jeremie Karngbaye
Brittan Golden Wide Receiver Award: Noah Bogardus,
Dan Sherwood Panhandle Award: Parker Hanna
Aaron Mullane Academic Award: Brandon Blair
Jerry Behrens Most Improved Award: Shakell Brown
Keith Null Leadership Award: Jeremie Karngbaye
Charley Martin Outstanding Teammate Award: JT Cavende