NATCHITOCHES, La. — Broderick Reeves and Jordan Hicks converted key first downs to prolong a late drive and the Incarnate Word defense held in the final minute to beat Northwestern State 21-18 on Thursday night in the Southland Conference opener for both teams.

Hicks had receptions of 16 and 26 yards on Incarnate Word’s final possession and Reeves’ 29-yard run put the Cardinals (1-1) on the 28 with 2:30 to play.

Northwestern State (0-2) forced a punt and started from its own 25 with 1:06 left. The Demons moved into Cardinals territory but failed to get within field-goal range before time ran out.

Reeves had 101 yards rushing and Hicks caught six passes for 95 yards for the Cardinals.

Reeves’ 11-yard TD run late in the third quarter gave Incarnate Word a 21-11 lead. Chris Jones’ 3-yard run pulled the Demons within 21-18 with 11:25 left in the game.

Tuff Jones had six catches for 111 yards to lead Northwestern State.