Southeastern tops Arkansas Tech on opening night
Via Southeastern Oklahoma State Sports Communications
DURANT, Okla. – A Trey Keatts field goal would send Southeastern's 2022 opener versus Arkansas Tech to overtime, where a Caleb High TD would give the Storm a lead in the second overtime frame before Jaiveon Gardner forced a fumble on the one-yard line which was recovered by Conner Swope to cap an exciting 41-34 victory on Thursday night at Paul Laird Field.
The win opens the Savage Storm season at 1-0 heading into its first rad game, a Sept. 10 trip to Searcy, Ark., to take on nationally ranked Harding.
Before it got a chance to win in overtime, Southeastern found itself at its own three-yard line with 1:15 to play.
Daulton Hatley would complete 7-of-9 passes and rush for a first down as the Storm marched down to the ATU four-yard line before Keatts connected on a 21-yard game tying field goal.
ATU would open with the ball in the first overtime and the SE defense would force the Wonder Boys to settle for a Jesus Zizumbo 37-yard field goal to take a 34-31 lead.
The Storm nearly answered with a touchdown, but a Duce Pittman catch in the endzone was ruled out of bound and Keatts would send the game to a second frame with a 23-yard field goal.
Southeastern would find paydirt in the second overtime as High would score from two-yards out to give the Storm a 41-34 lead.
ATU would answer by picking up 24 yards on the first play of its OT series, but Gardner would meet Jordan Edington at the line and force a fumble at the one-yard line which bounced backwards from the line where Swope tracked it down to secure the SE win.
Despite its troubles at times, the Storm offense amassed 484 total yards on the day, piling up 379 yards through the air and adding 105 on the ground.
Hatley finished the contest 34-of-46 for 379 yards and a touchdown, but was picked off once and suffered three sacks.
Marquis Gray put together a career day with 13 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown, while Katrell Blakely continued to rack up catches, finishing with 10 for 100 yards.
Duce Pittman picked up nine grabs for 45 yards and Braxton Kincade snagged nine for 41.
Deundre Wheeler collected 100 yards on the ground for the contest on 14 carries, including a 61 yard TD that is his career long.
Defensively, Maalik Hall picked up where he left off as GAC Defensive Player of the Year, piling up 14 tackles, with 3.5 of them going for losses with a pair of sacks.
Ke'Shawn Somerville and Alexce Marshall each added nine tackles, while Cameron Tate finished with eight.
Tate and Kevin Simes each logged a sack, while Tate and Gardner each forced a fumble, with Swope logging the lone recovery. Ja'Lon Freeman and Swope each broke up a pass.
SE would get on the board first in the game with Keatts connecting on a 22-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead at the 10:0 mark of the first quarter.
ATU would answer in kind on its ensuing drive as Zizumbo hammered home a 52 yard kick to knot the game at 3-3.
The Storm would suffer the first turnover of the season on its next drive, which the Wonder Boys would cash in on with a seven-play, 36-yard drive for e touchdown to take s 10-3 lead.
SE would chip into the deficit in the second quarter when Josh Mulumba would bring down ATU's Taye Gatewood in his own endzone for the safety to close the gap to 10-5.
Two drives later the Storm would regain the lead as Hatley found Gray for a 45-yard connection to take a 13-10 lead with 3:04 to play in the first half.
ATU would strike first in the second half, taking its opening drive 76 yards for a score and a 17-13 lead.
Southeastern would answer immediately however as Kaleb Whitley would bring the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to the house, the first kickoff return TD for SE since the 2011 season, giving the Storm a 20-17 lead.
The Wonder Boys would answer on its next drive though on a three-play, 65-yard scoring drive to take a 24-20 lead which would expand to 31-20 a drive later with 8:48 to play in the third.
SE would finally cash in a drive to begin the fourth quarter when Wheeler would break free for a 61-yard touchdown run, followed by a Hatley to Kincade two-point conversion to close the gap to 31-28.
Southeastern would get a huge defensive stop on fourth-and-two with ATU looking to put the game out of reach as Hall and Somerville would stop ATU's Simmons for no gain at the SE three-yard line to turn the ball over on downs and set up the final, game-tying drive.