Haskell dumps Bacone

Those first two blowouts? Fuhgeddabout ’em.

Haskell Indian Nations University football players erased their memory banks and stunned Bacone College, 29-22, on Sunday afternoon at Haskell Stadium.

“We’re a new team now,” said HINU defensive end Robert Howard, whose late fumble recovery in the end zone broke a 22-all tie.

Haskell certainly didn’t resemble the team that was thumped, 62-7, at South Dakota Tech, then suffered a 66-9 flogging at Missouri Southern.

“We’ve been a team looking for an identity,” HINU coach Eric Brock said. “We went to a no-huddle, stand-up offense today, and maybe that’s it.”

That Haskell would run a new offense with a minimum of mistakes was one thing. That a true freshman making his first collegiate start would be the quarterback made the victory all that more impressive.

Ryan Alden, who had been used sparingly in mop-up roles in the first two games, threw three touchdown passes – two to Casey Wilson – while operating the basic offense used by Kansas University.

“I found out for sure on Thursday I’d be starting,” Alden said. “And, yeah, I was a little nervous, but I got over it probably the second time I went out there.”

Alden is a 6-foot-3, 200-pounder from Walla Walla, Wash., who picked Haskell over Western Oregon.

“I figure this is a great experience,” Alden said. “I was never around the Indian culture back home, and coming here gives me a chance to learn about my heritage.”

Brock did not travel to Walla Walla to watch Alden play.

“I made one trip via MyTube,” Brock said with a smile. “That’s how I found out about him.”

With Haskell lagging 22-15 late in the third quarter, Alden marched the Fightin’ Indians 79 yards in 11 plays to forge a 22-all deadlock.

During that march, Alden completed four of five passes for 63 yards, including a 19-yard TD pass to running back Quentin Haynes, who made a diving catch in the end zone.

The score remained knotted until Howard’s heroics.

After a Matt Martens’ punt and a Bacone holding penalty on the return, the Warriors were on their own two-yard line with just under three minutes remaining.

“I had a feeling we’d go into overtime,” said Howard, who is called ‘Bama by his teammates because he hails from Mobile, Ala.

But Bacone (1-2) opted to run the shotgun out of its own end zone and, when the snap bounced off QB Spencer Johnson’s hands, Howard scrambled after the ball.

“He picked it up, and I was thinking safety,” Howard related, “but he fumbled it again, and I kind of pulled it out from him.”

Scheduled for Saturday, the Indians’ home opener was postponed because of wet field conditions.