Spectacular season ends as late onslaught dooms Wildcats in playoffs

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – The Louisiana Christian football team did not trail until deep into the third quarter and it was still a one-possession ballgame with three minutes remaining, but three scores in the final 2:47 turned a nail biter into a deceiving 56-28 loss Saturday in the first round of the NAIA playoffs.

The Wildcats (9-2) ended the year with a school-record nine wins, the best winning percentage (.818), and the first conference football championship in program history spanning 84 seasons. Baker advanced with a 9-2 record.

The heartbeat of the Wildcats’ defense, fifth-year senior Andre Reed, left it all out on the field as he logged seven tackles (four solo), a game-high two tackles for loss, and scored his first career touchdown with a 20-yard scoop-and-score on the contest’s opening possession.

Another one of the pillars that built the LCU program over the past five seasons was quarterback Sal Palermo III, who went for a contest-best 177 passing yards and a score while also punching one in on a QB sneak.

LCU’s D’Mario Weathersby flew around Liston Stadium, tallying a Wildcats/2023-most 10 tackles (four solo). Wilbert Robertson made a season-high six tackles and forced a fumble for the second straight week, and Cole Jones broke up a pass for the tenth time in 11 matchups this year to wrap up these graduating seniors’ careers.

The final Wildcat who had a substantial impact on Saturday that will be graduating was Devin Briscoe, who tied for the team lead with four receptions including his third career touchdown as a receiver, ending the day with 82 total yards.

Pop McGhee entered the postseason as the top defensive back in the NAIA with 14 pass breakups and added two more to his final tally, winding up with multiple passes defended in each of his last three contests.

Daylon Charles was the clear frontrunner for LCU’s offensive MVP, gashing the BU defense for 122 yards on 16 carries for a 7.6 average. He also had the longest play from scrimmage on either side as he rumbled a career-long 60 yards for a touchdown while also notching a season-long 20-yard catch. All-in-all, Charles piled up 153 all-purpose yards on 19 total touches for a combined average of 8.1 per play.

Kavin Touriac raised his benchmark for tackles heading into next season, posting a career-best nine tackles which included two behind the line of scrimmage and an impressive seven solo takedowns.