Nicholls Defeats Southeastern to Clinch Undefeated Southland Conference Title in the River Bell Classic

Last night, Nicholls Colonels came up from Thibodaux to play Southeastern Lions in the River Bell Classic game in Hammond. This game was a close one ending in a one-possession outing. At halftime, the Nicholls were in the lead 14-13 and ended up staying in the lead and winning 21-16. This win marks the end of the regular season for Nicholls, who has finished the year with an undefeated conference record and changed their season record to 6-4. The River Bell Classic trophy will be at the home of the Colonels for the next year.

Starting with the ball Nicholls ended up punting after three plays. Nicholls’ first quarter started slow with the only score being from Southeastern on a fake field goal. Before this score happened linebacker Quinton Sharkey was disqualified from the game for targeting. This wouldn’t be the only player thrown out of the game for the Colonels. As the quarter changed, the Colonels were on the move downfield to score themselves.

Shortly after the second quarter started Colonels put their first points on the board with a quarterback run from Pat McQuaide. This touchdown play happened after they received a new set of downs on third and goal for pass interference on the defense.

Nicholls would look to keep this scoring mentality going after receiving the ball again after a Southeastern punt. This drive started with a couple of rushes from Jaylon Spears, who had himself a great day, before Pat McQuaide through a deep ball to David Robinson Jr. for a 78-yard touchdown with a little more than eight minutes left in the half.

On the Lions’ next drive, another Colonels player was ejected for a targeting hit. This time it was Tyler Morton on the hit on Rodeo Graham Jr. Despite having two players ejected, Nicholls was still in the lead 14-7. Southeastern would make a pair of field goals before the half ended.

The Lions would start with the ball during the second half, ultimately punting to their opponent. On this drive, it looked like nothing was going to happen from it. The drive consisted of an incompletion and a pass for a negative gain before a holding penalty was thrown. Colonels were now looking at a third and 21 on their 27-yard line. With nothing to lose, on third down, Pat McQuaide threw a pass to running back Jaylon Spears in the backfield to try to make something happen. That is very much what Jaylon did causing players to slip off of him until fully breaking away and running for a 73-yard touchdown. Southeastern would hit another field goal before the quarter ended making the score 21-16 going into the fourth.

There were no scores in the fourth but the chance to change the lead was always there.

After losing the turnover battle 2-0, Pat McQuaide threw a pick, and Jaylon Spears fumbled, Nicholls was still able to get the win.

This is because of the help of quarterback Pat McQuaide who threw 20 completions on 25 attempts for 300 yards and two touchdowns while having one interception.

Jaylon Spears was also a huge help in the running game and passing game rushing, on 14 carries, for 58 yards and catching four passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Nicholls receivers, Neno Lemay, Quincy Brown, and David Robinson Jr., all had huge gains and vital catches to keep the chains moving throughout their drives.

On the defensive side of the ball, Eli Ennis was the team-leading total tackler with eight. Jacob Parker and Keontae Williams both recorded one sack in this game, while Perry Ganci and Zack Bernard recorded a half sack. Two of these sacks came on Southeastern’s last drive causing a failed fourth and long conversion to seal the win for Nicholls. There were no turnovers in this game by the Colonels this game.

Overall, Nicholls played their game and stuck to their script to win the River Bell Classic this year. Sticking to what was working, airing out the ball while also trying to get their running backs the ball and letting them make plays seemed to be their success on offense.

Photos by Corey Perrillioux: