Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern football team got to within three points (24-21) late in the third quarter, but fourth ranked Northwest Missouri scored 28 unanswered points and defeated the Lions 52-21 on Senior Day at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.
Southern (3-5, 2-5 MIAA) out gained the Bearcats (8-1, 6-1 MIAA) 302-298 and had five more first downs (22-17) but Northwest had two special teams touchdowns to help do in the Lions.
Southern was led offensively by Landon Zerkel as the junior was one reception from tying the school record for receptions (13) with 12. However, the 12 he grabbed put him in front of Southern Hall of Famer Rod Smith with 159 career receptions. He is now in second place all-time behind Colin Bado's 250.
Defensively, the Lions picked up a defensive score when Demon Haire and Kenny Smith teamed up in the endzone to sack quarterback Blake Christopher and force the fumble which Haire recovered for the score. Richard Williams led the Lions in tackles with ten, while Haire had nine and CJ Broades picked up seven.
After Northwest scored just one and a half minutes into the game, the Lions used an 18 play, ten minute drive that resulted in a six yard Webster score to tie the game at seven. Northwest scored twice more, before Haire's fumble pickup in the endzone made the halftime score 21-14.
A 40 yard field goal from Todd Adolf with eight minutes to go in the third made the score 24-21, before Westfield's run with 23 seconds left in the quarter cut the lead to three at 24-21.
Northwest answered right back, however, and the Bearcats took the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a Jordan Simmons touchdown. Northwest would add three more scores.
The Lions will be back in action next week when Southern travels to Fort Hays to take on the Tigers. Kickoff is slated for 2 pm.