MUSKOGEE — Langston continued to chase an NAIA football playoff berth Saturday afternoon, and this time the Lions might have caught the attention of poll voters.
Freshman quarterback Mark Wright Jr. passed for two touchdowns and ran for another in the second half to lead Langston to a wild 39-37 victory over No. 22-ranked Bacone before an estimated 2,000 fans at Muscogee-Creek Nation Field.
The Lions improved to 5-4 overall, winning their fifth straight game, and clinched the Central States Football League championship with a 4-0 record.
The CSFL title does not carry an automatic bid to the postseason, so unranked Langston needs to crack the NAIA's top 20 — and going into Saturday's game, the Lions had yet to receive a single vote.
But that might change Monday when the next ratings are released.
If the Lions can follow up next weekend with a home victory over winless Wayland Baptist (Texas), there might be enough evidence to give Langston a postseason bid, albeit by the skin of its teeth.
“We did what we were supposed to do, and we'll take a bittersweet victory like this, trust me,” said Langston coach Dwone Sanders, whose team's four losses were all on the road to NCAA Division I-AA schools. “This should get us some votes.”
For Bacone, its playoff hopes were dashed. The Warriors fell to 7-3 and 3-1 with one game remaining, against Southwestern Assemblies of God in Waxahachie, Texas.
Four turnovers in the second half doomed Bacone, although it rallied to take a 37-33 lead after trailing by 23. Langston turned three of those turnovers into points, getting Kenrick Robertson's 4-yard touchdown run, Wright's 16-yard TD pass to Sheldon Augustine and Ronald Burgess' 21-yard fumble return for a score.