BELTON, TX – Despite an early exit from the NCAA Division III football playoffs, the future never looked brighter for the Louisiana College Wildcats.
Despite losing 59-20 to perennial D3 powerhouse, American Southwest Conference champion, and the No. 2 ranked University of Mary Hardin Baylor Crusaders, the Wildcats (8-3) certainly have no reason to hang their heads. In fact, the Cats’ outstanding season should give Louisiana College plenty to build upon.
After four straight 7-3 seasons, LC (8-3) turned in its finest season in modern-day school history by winning eight games this year. There only two regular season losses came at the hands of two nationally ranked powers [UMHB 30-3 and Wesley 25-22].
They also became the first Louisiana College men’s team to make the Division III playoffs. The softball team has played in eight straight regional, placing third in the 2008 Division III World Series. The women’s basketball team has made the playoffs three years in a row, winning a first-round game last year.
“Any time your fate is in the hands of a committee [LC was hoping to be one of eight wildcard bids in the 32-team playoffs, with 24 spots going automatically to conference champions], you just don’t know what they’re going to decide,” said Dennis Dunn, who has a 45-25 overall record as the Cats head coach. “For them to decide we’re worthy is a tribute to our team and the work they put in.”
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the No. 2 ranked Crusaders were not in a good mood after being seeded third by the NCAA selection committee, and they took out their frustrations on Louisiana College. UMHB outgained LC 674 yards to 432.
Still, LC was not without its bright spots.
Running back Ryan Montague rolled up 171 all-purpose yards – 111 rushing and 60 receiving – while scoring two touchdowns. His 111 rushing yards gave Montague 1,110 for the season, making him only the second back in [modern day] school history to pass 1,000 yards. Wayne Davis accomplished the feat in 2003.
Montague also tied Davis’ school record for rushing touchdowns with 13 for a season.
Quarterback Jamie Bunting, who had 310 yards in the game, also earned himself a spot in the record books as he became the third LC QB to go over the 3,000 yards passing in a single season as he finished the year with 3,090 yards and 24 TDs. He joins Wesley Cooper and Ben McLaughlin.