Last high school football season, Jerreth Sterns and Bryse Salik were leading the Waxahachie Indians toward a three-round playoff march.
On Saturday, the two college freshmen squared off in their first-ever football game at the collegiate level.
Advantage Stearns and the Houston Baptist University Huskies.
HBU scored in all three phases of the game and set a school record with four interceptions in a 49-7 victory over Southwest Baptist in the season opener, which was delayed in the first quarter two hours, 18 minutes by thunderstorms, by Saturday night at Husky Stadium.
Stearns finished his Division I debut with four receptions for 62 yards for the Houston Baptist University Huskies. His longest reception on the afternoon went for 28 yards.
Salik completed 1-of-his-3 passes for five yards. He was also intercepted twice after coming in for Southwest Baptist University (DII) starting quarterback, Dylan Mountain.
Sterns initially committed to Army before signing with HBU, while Salik signed with the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and later enrolled at SBU.
Sterns accounted for 956 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 60 receptions last season for the Indians. He added another 416 yards and five touchdowns on 86 carries.
Salik completed 221-of-his-319 passes (69 percent) for 3,147 yards and 32 touchdowns to 12 interceptions during his senior year.
He finished his two-year varsity career with 5,063 yards on 339-of-530 passing (64 percent) for 55 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
Sophomore quarterback Bailey Zappe completed 21-of-31 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns for the Huskies (1-0). Sophomore quarterback Andrew Haidet completed 4-of-7 for 54 yards and a score.
Sophomore running back Dreshawn Minnieweather rushed 11 times for 96 yards and a touchdown.
Ten different Huskies made a reception, led by junior Nick Sexton with six for 48 yards and freshman Jerreth Sterns with four for 62 yards. Sophomore running back LaDarius Dickens and wide receivers senior David Racine, freshman Aaron Marquez and junior Jeremy Smith each had a receiving touchdown.
Sophomore linebacker Langston Tunson led HBU with 16 tackles, six for loss, two sacks and recorded an interception. Sophomore linebacker Caleb Johnson racked up 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks and sophomore safety Ethan Beek added eight stops. Senior cornerback Raphael Lewis returned an interception for a touchdown, while senior linebacker Kyle Bowling and sophomore safety Patrick Wolfe each came up with a pick. Senior Alec Chadwick handled all the kicking duties, going 7-for-7 on extra points, but missing field goals from 53 and 48 yards, and average 52.7 yards on six punt with a long of 65 yards.
Quarterback Dylan Mountain completed 9-of-21 passes for 66 yards and a pair of interceptions while rushing 14 times for 46 yards, and Bryse Salik was intercepted twice. Eric Knight carried 14 times for 33 yards and a touchdown, while Matt Lechuga caught three passes for 18 yards for the Bearcats. Tyler Curts recorded 12 tackles for SBU, while Connor Hicks and Quincy Jones Jr. each had eight.
HBU piled up 478 yards of total offense, 268 through the air and 210 on the ground, while holding SBU to 179 yards – 108 on the ground and 71 passing. The Bearcats held the ball for nearly nine more minutes than the Huskies and committed five fewer penalties.
Minnieweather got the scoring started with a 42-yard touchdown run up the middle with 6:18 left in the first quarter. Roughly four minutes of game time later, lightning and heavy rain delayed the game, with play resuming at 8:50 p.m.
The Huskies finished the first half with a flurry as back-to-back 14- and 23-yard runs by Minnieweather set up Zappe's 6-yard touchdown toss to Racine. On SBU's next possession, Bowling intercepted a pass that bounced off the chest of the Bearcats receiver who was falling to the turf and returned it 24 yards to the SBU 26. Zappe then hit Jeremy Smith with a back-shoulder touchdown for a 21-0 lead. Mountain was picked off by Lewis and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown to send the Huskies to halftime with a 28-0 lead. Lewis now has five career interceptions and has returned three of them for touchdowns.
Zappe completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Dickens out of the backfield with 7:05 left in the third. SBU lined up for a punt from its own end zone, but punter Jackson Bagley had trouble with the snap, sophomore defensive end Jeremy Ardoin chased him down, causing a fumble, which freshman running back Ean Beek scooped up and scored from two yards out and a 42-0 lead heading into the final quarter.
The Bearcats took advantage of a personal foul penalty, which set up Knight's 1-yard touchdown run out of the wildcat to get on the board with 9:47 to go in the game.
On HBU's next possession, freshman running back Myles Lewis had a 33-yard run, which set up Haidet's 17-yard touchdown strike to Marquez with 7:12 remaining to cap the scoring.
HBU opens Southland Conference play at home against McNeese Saturday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. at Husky Stadium.