The Lions lost their first game of the season to Nebraska-Kearney. The Lions were held to six points in the first half while giving up 33. The Lions would come back scoring 21 points in the second half to cut the lead to only six points before giving up a touchdown, which sealed the loss for the Lions.
“There are no double headers. We have been telling our players that all through camp and that’s part of the mindset that we need to get a Missouri Southern. We need to understand that we get one shot our opponents,” said head coach Jeff Sims. “Whatever happens when that ball is kicked off is that we have one opportunity to win that game.”
According to Sims during his press conference, the Lions will take the loss against the Lopers as a learning opportunity to go out and play hard to begin the game because there are no second chances to play these teams again until the playoffs begin.
Sims said this past Wednesday that he believes the team is filled with two different types of players. Young and talented and the older veterans, but the two have yet to be brought together.
“We have to have belief in each other,” said Sims. “We had an opportunity to go down and the take lead and take the ball back to win the game and we didn’t do that. A championship team would have done that.
There were some positives to takeaway from the game including the Lions continuing to improve.
“We are going to continue to improve and get better. Unfortunately, there are now double headers but we are going to keep getting better each week,” said Sims.
One player that impressed during the game against the Lopers was quarterback Jacob Park, who had 351 yards passing with four touchdowns and two interceptions, including a 93 yard pass to Dwayne Lawson in their record breaking games. Park did throw an interception late in the fourth quarter against the Lopers that helped seal the loss for the Lions.
“Throwing that interception across my body is something we are taught not to do,” said Park. “At my age where I am now that’s not a mistake I should make”.
Although Park had a mistake he still earned the trust of Sims to start being the leader of the football team. Something that Sims has wanted to the team to stay away from during the offseason.
“I’ve asked them not to stand out. Right now to be a leader you have to know your job inside and out before you can start telling people what to do,” said Sims. “I pulled Parks aside after practice to tell him its time for him to start people what to do. We gave him the opportunity for him to come out and show people what he [Jacob Parks] could do. Before this last game he wasn’t here for the summer and the kids never seen what he could do without seeing him play”.
Due to production times The Chart was not able to cover the Lions game against the University of Lincoln on Sept. 12, but you can find score on MSSULIONS.com. The Lions next game will be against the Northwest Missouri State University Bearcats on Saturday, September 21 at 6:00 p.m. The game will be in Joplin at the Fred G. Huges stadium.