SEMO football gears up for home opener, quarterback-wide receiver duo share special connection

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – Paxton DeLaurent and Ryan Flournoy connected from the moment they stepped foot on the Southeast Missouri State University campus. 

“As soon as me and Ryan got here, there’s been a great connection,” DeLaurent said. “The second Saturday I was here… we’re on the field on a cold winter day, working those moves we worked in the red zone, those routes. We hadn’t even installed them yet. Older guys were showing us those routes. I know one-on-one, I feel good with him against anyone.” 

Flournoy said that connection extends beyond the football field. 

“I feel like we’ve got good chemistry. We go to cryo[therapy] together, so every Thursday, we get Wendy’s after cryo, so I feel like we’ve got a good relationship,” he said.

DeLaurent threw for 332 yards and four touchdowns without throwing an interception in the Redhawks 34-31 win over Southern Illinois. 

Fournoy hauled in 10 of DeLaurent’s 33 completions for 145 yards and a touchdown.

Head Coach Tom Matukewicz said the Redhawks’ victory against the 17th ranked Salukis was an impressive and exciting one, but there is still room for this team to grow ahead of their home opener this Saturday versus Nicholls State. 

“It was a beautiful ending to an unbelievable game, and it could have went either way,” he said. “Obviously we made one more play than they did. There are still a lot of teachable moments within that game that we have to look at and improve.” 

Not including the shortened 2020 season, the Redhawks have had a winning record at home every season since 2016.

Matukewicz said playing well at home is critical for his team.

“[Nicholls State] is a quality opponent and more than anything, just looking to defend our home territory,” he said. “It’s awesome to have our home opener. These guys can’t wait to show our community what we’re all about.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s game at Houck Field is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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