It took over 60 years but the Southwestern University football team finally came through with a victory.
The Pirates got four interceptions from their defense and four touchdown passes from Bryan Hicks en route to a 27-20 triumph over Sul Ross State in their season opener. It was Southwestern’s first victory since November 4, 1950 and therein lies the story.
Southwestern wasn’t bad for all those years, it just didn’t have a football team. Deficits in the athletic department and a decline in enrollment led to the end of football at the school with the last game being played on Nov. 18, 1950.
It took over 60 years, but this being Texas, football found its way back to the Southwestern campus. Thanks in large part to the financing of boosters like San Antonio billionaire Red McCombs, Southwestern hired coach Joe Austin in 2012 and took the field as a football team in 2013.
The return wasn’t a rousing success, the Pirates went 0-10 last season and the closest game they played was an 18-point loss. This season’s opener was supposed to be against Hardin-Simmons but it was called after multiple weather delays. That game was declared a no contest per NCAA rules and since it was a non-conference matchup, the game will not be rescheduled while statistics for the game will not be counted as official and not count toward season totals.
So after waiting 63-plus years for a win, the Pirates had to wait another week, but it only made the win all the more sweet.
Southwestern rallied from behind twice and took a 27-13 lead about halfway through the third quarter.
We never gave up,” said Hicks. “It came down to us going out and playing the best we can. We knew if we did that we would have a chance to win.
“We never gave up,” said Hicks. “It came down to us going out and playing the best we can. We knew if we did that we would have a chance to win.”
The win was a long time coming, but it wasn’t easy. Sul Ross State scored on a 3-yard run by Derrick Bernard with 1:11 to go and the Lobos then recovered the ensuing onside kick with 1:04 to play, taking over at the Southwestern 41 yard line. The Pirates defense rose to the occasion and Sul Ross wasn’t able to convert a 4th-and-4 from the 35 allowing Southwestern to run out the clock and ice its historic victory.
“I’m really happy for our guys. They are able to seeing hard-work starting to pay off,” Austin said. “Today we were able to see a lot of what we’ve been working towards pay off and we made some big plays. We left points out there, but we definitely showed we are heading in the right direction. Now we’ve learned how to win, we don’t’ want to get away from getting better every day. And that starts with East Texas Baptist next week.”
The Pirates were unable to make it two wins in a row despite out gaining ETBU 541-480. Southwestern committed six turnovers in a 58-34 loss.