Truman rallies past Van Horn for first win

By Colby Gordon Special to The Examiner
Posted: September 15, 2017 - 11:25 PM

Charlie Pugh had a quiet confidence his team would come through.

Pugh, Truman’s first-year football head coach, had no sense of panic when Van Horn decided to go for 2 after having pulled within 22-21 with less than 90 seconds left Friday at Independence All-School Stadium.

After all, Pugh has Caleb Loa on his team.

Loa and fellow senior linebacker Juan Flores stopped Falcons running back Terrion Seddens short of the goal line to preserve Truman’s 22-21 win.

“It was just a feeling,” Pugh said of his gut reaction before the 2-point conversion attempt. “It wasn’t because they had just marched down the field, but our defense ... those guys rise to the occasion. They stepped up and saved the game for us.”

It marked a fitting end, as Loa marked one of the significant reasons the Patriots won after helping keep the Falcons offense in check most of the game on defense, blocking a punt on special teams and rushing for 126 yards and two touchdowns on offense.

“When (Seddens) is in at quarterback we figured he was going to keep the ball,” Loa said. “Juan made first contact and I had to come with the boom after that.”

Pugh noted Loa not only had a special night, but that he’s a special player.

“He’s an animal,” Pugh said. “He really can do anything you tell him to do. He’s played guard for us. He’s one of those guys that has a motor that keeps on going and going and going. I’m very, very glad he’s able to be with us because he’s a big part of who we are and what we’re trying to do.”

In addition to Loa in the Patriots rushing attack, Truman fed Dave Rivera most of the game as he finished with 82 yards on 22 carries.

“I’m feeling it,” Rivera said after the game with a laugh. “I’m beat up a lot. But this win means a lot to us. It gives us motivation for the games in front of us.”

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