LAKELAND, Fla.—Four turnovers put Southeastern in an early 10-point hole.
Another stellar night by the Fire defense helped SEU bounce back and win.
The Fire defense recorded five sacks and limited Keiser to just 201 yards on 57 plays in a 27-17 victory over the Seahawks in the first meeting between the programs.
Each of the first two Southeastern (6-3) drives ended in turnovers. On the opening possession, the Fire drove down to the Keiser 20, but fumbled. Following an interception, Keiser took over at the SEU 18 and got a field goal.
“We put our defense in a bind in the first quarter with three turnovers, but they stepped up and got momentum back for us and we were able to make some things happen in the second quarter and second half,” said coach Keith Barefield.
A second quarter fumble turned into a Keiser touchdown with a 32-yard pass on the first play following.
The Fire took advantage of some good field position, scoring on an 11-yard pass from Cooper Jones to Antwain Adams with 4:47 left in the second quarter. Adams finished with a game-best seven catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.
More good field position on the final drive of the half got the Fire into scoring range again. Aided by a fake field goal, the Fire tied the game on a 22-yard field goal with four seconds left in the second.
Larson also added a 41-yard field goal with 8:46 left in the third to give the Fire their first lead.
Bryan Bell carried the ball a school-record 35 times for 190 yards, and scored on a six-yard run with 13:30 left in the contest.
“I didn’t realize I carried the ball that much, I just got in a rhythm and kept going and trusting my line,” said Bell. “We were getting a good push all night, they gave me little seems and I kept hitting them full speed.”
The Seahawks ended the 20-point run with a four-yard touchdown run with 5:42 to play to get back within three, but Tyrell Williams iced the game with a five-yard TD run with 2:44 left.
Fire QB Cooper Jones was 17-of-29 passing for 192 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and was sacked just once.
“I was proud of Cooper, he started out a little shaky, but showed the mettle he’s made of,” said Barefield.
Keiser was held to just 10 first downs by the Fire defense, and were just 2-of-13 on third down. Lamont Trent made 14 stops, and Mike Mitchell was in on 3.5 sacks among his eight tackles.
The Fire conclude the regular season against Faulkner on Thursday night, with a chance to clinch a share of the Mid-South Sun Division with a win.