TURNOVER HUNGRY: Defense leads Cardinals to bounce-back win

TURNOVER HUNGRY: Defense leads Cardinals to bounce-back win

The seventh-ranked Cardinals played a game of takeaway Saturday in Roswell, NM.

Behind a stingy defensive effort, the seventh-ranked Cardinals bounced back from a season-opening loss with a 39-7 win against New Mexico Military Institute in a Southwest Junior College Football Conference opener.

The Cardinal defense came up with five turnovers (four interceptions and a fumble) and turned the matter over to an efficient offense to give Sherard Poteete his first win as head coach.

Special teams also got in on the action for the Cardinals. Angel Sevier booted four field goals (26, 39, 35, 39) and punter Sam Aguilera averaged 52.3 yards on four punts.

NMMI (1-1) carried a 7-0 lead into the second quarter, but that would be all she wrote for the Broncos. The Cardinals led 10-7 at the half en route to putting the game away in the second half.

Elhadji Diop led the turnover-hungry defense with a pair of interceptions. Jayrin Wilson and Cedric Williams had one each.

Joren Dickey had 13 tackles (six solo) for the Cardinals. Kory Toliver had nine, Ethan Owens eight and Race Moser seven.

The Cardinals held NMMI to 267 yards (111 rushing, 156 passing).

The Cardinal offense produced 374 yards.

Colton Atkinson completed 13-of-26 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. Louisiana Tech transfer Elijah Walker, in his first appearance, connected on 4-of-5 passes for 64 yards and a score. He also rushed for 48 yards on nine carries.

Artiss Henderson led the ground game with 76 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.

C.J. Williams, Tyri'k Barnes and Deshon Moreaux each caught a touchdown pass. Barnes also threw a touchdown.

The Cardinals are now 3-0 against NMMI.

Next up for the Cardinals is Tyler in a 7 p.m. kickoff Saturday at Bruce Field. Tyler is 0-2 after dropping a 38-31 decision at home Saturday to Blinn.