By: Michael Stewart – Special to Guthrie News Page
LANGSTON, Okla. – After an entertaining first half that saw each team take the lead twice, the Langston Lions finally seized control over the Texas Wesleyan Rams over the final 31:29 of game time to win their 16th consecutive Homecoming contest by a score of 42-31.
Trailing 17-7 after one quarter of play, Langston improved to 6-0 on the season after scoring 28 straight points, all from touchdown passes via junior quarterback Larry Harrington. He finished the game 12-for-19 passing with 312 yards and five total touchdowns. He also had 13 carries for 56 yards rushing in a day that saw Langston’s offense earn 505 total yards.
Langston got their largest lead of the game at 35-17 with 12:33 remaining in the contest, when Harrington found John Louis on a 76-yard dagger that effectively sealed Texas Wesleyan’s fate. The play, which could reasonably be compared to Auburn’s game-winning “Prayer at Jordan-Hare” against Georgia in 2013, was the second TD reception for the freshman wideout from Kenner, La. He finished with 110 yards receiving after catching a 34-yarder from Harrington in the second quarter.
The win effectively secured a de facto title game in the NAIA’s Sooner Athletic Conference, as Langston (#18 in NAIA) will travel to Surprise, Ariz. to take on the ninth-ranked Ottawa University Spirit. Both teams are the last undefeated squads in the SAC, and the victor will likely secure an NAIA playoff bid.
Ottawa leads the overall series 3-1, and is seeking a fourth straight win over the Lions after Langston won their initial meeting in 2018 by a score of 63-56 on Sept. 8 inside W.E. Anderson Stadium. The last meeting between the two teams was just over six months ago, when the Spirit won on Langston soil for the first time in a 28-24 triumph.
Langston will play Ottawa at 8:45 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23. A live radio broadcast of the game will be on KRMP 92.1 FM and 1140 AM in Oklahoma City. You can also download the STREAM by Perry Publishing and Broadcasting app if you aren’t in the metro area to hear the broadcast.
NOTES FROM HOMECOMING:
- A native of Raleigh, N.C., Harrington started in consecutive games for the first time this season after struggling mightily in Langston’s season opener at Oklahoma Panhandle State. In that 10-7 victory on Sept. 4, he only threw for 130 yards, but ran 21 times for 90 yards and the only touchdown for LU in the second quarter.
- For the rest of September, sophomore RaQuon Washington played well in each of the next three wins. The biggest highlight including a record-setting 85-6 home win on Sept. 25 against Arkansas Baptist College. That game set a record for most points scored in Langston University history, as the Houston native was responsible for eight total touchdowns (four passing and four rushing) and 296 of Langston’s 687 total yards.
- Harrington and Washington split time evenly in the 30-0 road win at Lyon College, the second shutout of the season for Langston, and the first since a 50-0 win at Wayland Baptist on Sept. 18. Homecoming marked the first game in which Washington did not see significant playing time since the season opener at OPSU.
- With the win, the Lions improved to 16-3 over the last 20 years at Homecoming. Before the current winning streak, Langston lost three straight Homecoming games from 2002 to 2004. The COVID-19 pandemic eliminated football last Fall for Oklahoma’s only HBCU, and an abbreviated season was played in the Spring, where a shorthanded squad struggled to a 2-3 mark.
- The closest win during the streak for Langston was in a 21-20 nail biter in 2017 against Arizona Christian played on Oct. 21. After a scoreless first quarter, Langston nearly blew a 21-point lead until wet turf on a botched extra-point attempt after a multiple-hour rain delay prevented ACU from tying the game with 17 seconds left.
- The biggest margin of victory during this consecutive Homecoming run was a 76-7 blowout in 2006 over Lincoln University (Mo.) on Oct. 28. Langston led 34-0 after one quarter and 48-0 at halftime. Lincoln scored their only touchdown in the third quarter.
- Coach Quinton Morgan is 47-10 midway through his seventh season, his sixth as the full-time head coach without an interim tag. He took over after Dwone Sanders was fired and finished 5-0 at the end of the 2015 season. His winning percentage entering this week is 82.4 percent.
Michael Stewart is a former Sports Information Director at his Alma Mater of Langston University, graduating in 2009 with Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism. He also has served as S.I.D. at Tuskegee University in Alabama, and was the Sports Editor of the Guthrie News Leader from 2008 to 2010. Stewart is a 2004 graduate of Guthrie High School.