Wildcats Host Tigers In 24th Edition Of Border Claw Battle

Published 10:56 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

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The Louisiana Christian University football program will welcome the visitors from Marshall, Texas and former American Southwest Conference rivals, the East Texas Baptist Tigers, under the Thursday night lights of Central Louisiana in the “Battle for the Border Claw”.


The Wildcats will be the only college or high school football program in the entire state to be in action on Thursday evening, home or road, so the regional spotlight will be firmly fixed on Wildcat Field.

Know Before You Go:


  • Time & Date 
    • August 31, 2023 (7 p.m.) 



  • Location 
  • Series History 
    • Louisiana Christian Leads 12-10-1 (54.4%) 


  • Last Meeting 
    • February 27, 2021 | Louisiana Christian 23, East Texas Baptist 17 | Pineville, Louisiana (Wildcat Field) 


  • Winning Streak 
    • Louisiana Christian (W1) | East Texas Baptist’s Last Win: November 16, 2019 (31-7) 

(RV) Louisiana Christian Wildcats:

  • Expectations surrounding this 2023 iteration of LCU football are sky-high as the team is receiving votes in the NAIA Preseason Top 25 for the first time since joining the division in 2021 and will be eyeing its first postseason appearance since 2012 with a number of key players returning to Pineville.


  • The Cats entertained the masses with a high-scoring, dynamic system that saw the Orange and Blue put together over 4,000 yards of total offense that averaged 30-plus points a night, really coming into their own during its season-ending six-game winning streak.


    • All-SAC Honorable Mention signal-caller Sal Palermo laces up the cleats one more time, running it back after a dozen passing touchdowns, eighth rushing touchdowns, and 2,221 all-purpose yards.


    • Behind him in the backfield will be Devin Briscoe, who will have the distinguished honor of donning number zero in 2023. The graduate student and former Nicholls State transfer nearly snagged double-digit scores (9) on the back of 4.6 yards per carry.


    • The receiving corps brings back All-Conference First Team tight end Jacob Ganote on top of Ethan Christman, Sammy Feaster, and Glenn White, in addition to pass-catching threat Daylon Charles from the running back slot.
  • On the other side of the ball, Defensive Coordinator Tyson Andrus will have an arsenal of playmakers to deploy including five 2022 All-SAC honorees listed below.


    • Anchoring the line will be CFB Network NAIA Second Team All-American Logan Brimmer who brings a whooping 21 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks back into the fray.


    • Linebacker Andre Reed tied with Brimmer for the title of top returning tackler on this year’s squad with 54 in total that saw him drag down five ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage and break up two would-be completions.


    • Arguably, the deepest position group on the club will be a defensive back unit that sports not one, not two, but three All-Sooner selections.
      • The trio of Bennie Clark III, D’Mario Weathersby, and Cole Jones combined to pick off four passes, knock down 24 pass attempts, force two fumbles, tackle nearly a century mark’s worth of foes (98), and takedown three quarterbacks for sacks.


  • Both last season’s primary punter (Mason Ingram) and kicker (Levi Hilborn) are ready to roll once again, the former being an All-SAC Honorable Mention.


    • Ingram pinned the opposition inside its own redzone eight times, forced seven fair catches, boomed a pair of punts 50-plus yards, and gave up just a single touchback.


    • Hilborn converted four-of-five (80%) field goal attempts and Hunter Martensson blasted 15 kickoffs into the painted portion of the field for touchbacks.


  • Andrew Maddox, Patrolling the sidelines for his fourth season, is the reigning 2022 SAC Co-Coach of the Year  and currently slots second on the program’s wins list since reinstatement (13) while leading LCU to its first winning record in eight seasons the campaign prior.


East Texas Baptist Tigers:

  • East Texas Baptist, picked to finish fourth in the ASC Preseason Poll, had one of the best defensive lines in the nation a season ago, racking up the second-most tackles for loss per game (9.2) and 12th-best sack average (3.40) in the NCAA Division III while leading the conference in third down defense (.340).


  • Leading the returners for ETBU is All-Region Second Team selection and First Team All-ASC defensive end Jahkamian Carr, who finished the campaign with 24 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks.


  • Robert Williams returns to patrol the Tigers secondary, leading the American Southwest Conference in passes defended per game at 1.1 along with teammate Trint Scott, who has since graduated.
  • Both of the team’s top offensive weapons, quarterback Cornelius Banks and running back Melek Hamilton.
    • Banks played in nine of the team’s ten contests in 2022 as a true freshman, completing nearly 60% of his passes for 11 touchdowns to go plus four scores on the ground.


    • Hamilton topped the crowded backfield with 540 yards, good enough for the runner-up spot in the ASC, and hitting paydirt four times as well.


  • The program will be competing for the first time under its new regime under first-year Head Coach Calvin Ruzicka, who stepped into the role when previous leader Brian Mayper retired after six seasons in Marshall.


Follow the football program on Facebook (@LCUWildcatsFootball), Twitter/X (@LCU_Ftball) and Instagram (@LCU_Ftball).


Follow the Wildcats on Facebook (@LCUAthletics), Twitter/X (@LCU_Wildcats) and Instagram (@LCU_Wildcats).


#ClawsUp | #Focused