Big return for Tech’s Reasnor

Ty Reasnor suffered a broken wrist last season in Arkansas Tech’s game against Southern Arkansas. The Wonder Boys quarterback received redemption in last week’s season opener.

Reasnor, a 6-2 senior from Cashion, Okla., passed for three touchdowns and ran for another as Tech rallied for a 28-21 victory over the Muleriders.

“Ty is the type of player who just gets ready to play,” Tech Coach Raymond Monica said. “It was unfortunate he got hit [in the 2016 game] but he stayed in the game and completed a touchdown pass a few plays later.”

Reasnor started Tech’s first four games of 2016 but sat out the remainder of the season because of the injury. In his return last Thursday, Reasnor was 14 of 24 for 215 yards. He also ran 5 times for 23 yards, including a 10-yard game-winning touchdown with 2:43 remaining.

On Tech’s game-winning drive, Reasnor set up his own touchdown run by completing a pass to junior fullback Chris Eastburn for 18 yards to the Southern Arkansas 11 on a second-and-16 play.

In the game’s final 11:07, Reasnor went 4-for-4 passing for 85 yards.

Reasnor and Wonder Boys (1-0) will attempt to extend their winning ways at Henderson State (1-0) on Saturday. The Reddies have won the last six meetings between the two programs but Tech holds the overall series lead 43-42-1.

“Your quarterback is the most important player most of the time because he touches the ball more than anyone,” Henderson Coach Scott Maxfield said. “If your quarterback is healthy and playing well, you’re going to have good results. And right now, [Arkansas Tech] has a guy making a lot of good decisions.”

Tech trailed three times by seven points to SAU but Monica said his team never seemed to feel the stress of being behind.

“I didn’t see it on the sideline,” Monica said. “We kept playing hard and never got down on ourselves. It could have gone either way. It came down to a play here and a play there. We took advantage of our opportunities when we had them.”

BACK IN TIME

Henderson State is not big on time of possession, but that has not been a major problem.

The Reddies were last in the Great American Conference in time of possession in 2016, holding on to the ball an average of 26.01 minutes per game. In last week’s 28-20 victory at Harding, Henderson held possession for only 24:10 minutes, including a second-half total of 8:58.

Coach Scott Maxfield did not seemed overly concerned.

“If you can’t score points, it’s a problem,” Maxfield said. “But we feel like we can grind it out if we have to.”

Henderson had two first-half drives that took more than five minutes. The first (5:40) was a 13-play, 89-yard possession that ended with Andrew Black’s 1-yard touchdown run. The second (5:39) used 13 plays and went for 64 yards, but ended with a missed field goal.

Harding led the GAC in time of possession last season, averaging 35.06 minutes a game.

0-2 FOR SOMEBODY

Harding and Southern Arkansas were two of the preseason favorites to win the Great American Conference. One of them is hoping to avoid an 0-2 start.

The two teams play Saturday night in Magnolia.

“Hopefully there is a sense of urgency for our guys,” SAU Coach Bill Keopple said. “There’s nothing appealing about being 0-2 to start the season and I’m sure Harding doesn’t find anything appealing about being 0-2.”

Harding committed three turnovers in the second half of a 28-20 loss to Henderson State. SAU lost two fumbles, shanked a punt that led to an Arkansas Tech touchdown and was flagged 15 times for 126 yards in a 28-21 road loss.

“We definitely had our share of penalties,” Keopple said. “There were 15 called on us and that’s a lot. It’s a lot when two teams commit 15 penalties.”

On the positive end, SAU quarterback Barrett Renner, a junior from Rowlett, Texas, completed 33 of 44 passes for 343 yards. Tanner Hudson, a senior tight end from Camden, Tenn., led all receivers with 8 catches for 73 yards.

Harding had 225 yards rushing against Henderson State, including a 109-yard effort from senior Zach Shelley.

Harding has won its last 11 meetings with SAU, including a 35-14 victory in Searcy last season. The Muleriders have not defeated Harding in Magnolia since 1991. SAU last defeated Harding in 2003 in Searcy. Harding leads the all-time series 27-25-1.

“They’ve definitely had our number, but these are different teams,” Keopple said. “If history is to be believed, we wouldn’t have much of a chance, but this game comes down to these teams on this time and on this day.”

The Muleriders have been very good at Wilkins Stadium, going 4-0 at their home stadium in 2016 and 19-3 in Magnolia since the start of the 2012 season. Two of those three losses were to Harding.

RECORD PERFORMANCE

Cole Sears set a University of Arkansas at Monticello record last season when he threw for 533 yards in a 59-56 loss to Northwestern Oklahoma State. It was the most passing yards in a single game in a Great American Conference game in 2016.

The two teams will play Saturday in Alva, Okla.

Sears completed 33 of 55 passes and threw for 6 touchdowns in last season’s game against the Muleriders. Four of the touchdowns came in the fourth quarter.

“It was a crazy game,” UAM Coach Hud Jackson said. “It was one of those deals where who ever had the ball last won. We were beat up a little bit for that game last year, but it was pretty amazing.”

Sears, a 6-3 junior from Hoxie, started this season with a 230-yard passing perforrmance in a 20-19 loss to Southwestern Oklahoma State.

The Boll Weevils have lost their last 12 road games and are 1-30 in games played away from Monticello since 2011.

“At this point, that doesn’t even need to be addressed to our players,” Jackson said. “But as a coach, I can’t help but think about it. … You start to thinking, should you change how you travel? Do you change your pre-game meal? Do you change the time you start to do certain things?

“A lot of those games have been close. Playing hard for four quarters has never been an issue.”

BROKEN ARM

Southern Arkansas defensive back Stacy Lawrence, a 5-10 junior redshirt from Irving, Texas, suffered a broken arm in the Muleriders’ 28-21 loss at Arkansas Tech last Thursday.

Coach Bill Keopple said Lawrence’s right arm was broken in three places between the elbow and wrist and that the injury occurred on the game’s fourth play.

“This is disheartening,” Keopple said. “Stacy led the league in interceptions last season. He was named to the All-Academic team and could have graduated in August if he had wanted to.”

Lawrence, a chemistry major, intercepted five passes and was in on 54 tackles (32 solo, 22 assisted) in 2016. Keopple said Lawrence may be able to return in six weeks.

“We don’t know if he’ll make it back or not,” Keopple said. “We’ll look at it when the time comes and do what’s best for Stacy.”

PAUL SHARP CUP

The rivalry between Ouachita Baptist and Southwestern Oklahoma State has become known as the Paul Sharp Cup. Sharp is an OBU alumnus and also is the all-time winningest coach at Southwestern Oklahoma with 92 victories (1986-2004). Sharp led the Bulldogs to the NAIA National Championship in 1996.

The two 1-0 teams are scheduled to play at Weatherford, Okla., on Saturday.

OBU holds a 5-1 advantage over the Bulldogs since the two teams became members of the Great American Conference, but Southwestern won the last time the two teams played in Weatherford (58-38 on Sept. 19, 2015).

EXTRA POINTS

Henderson State safety Sheldon Watson was named the Great American Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week. The junior from Palestine, Texas, recorded two interceptions in the Reddies’ 28-20 victory over Harding. His first interception came on Harding’s first drive of the second half and his second occurred with 21 seconds left in the game. He also had five tackles and a pass break up. … Quarterback Noah Holle (20 of 27 passing for 351 yards) of East Central (Okla.) was named the Offensive Player of the Week and linebacker Dominic Blue (blocked field attempt with 10 seconds left) of Southwestern Oklahoma State was named the Special Teams Player of the Week. … Hendrix sophomore quarterback Miles Thompson was selected as the Southern Athletic Association’s Offensive Player of the Week for his play in the Warriors’ 56-28 victory over Lyon. Thompson completed 29 of 37 passes for 385 yards and 6 touchdowns. Teammate Ben Luedtke was named the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week. Luedtke returned four kickoffs for 164 yards, including one for a 95-yard touchdown. … Southern Arkansas defensive back Elgin Moore was ejected for targeting in the fourth quarter of last week’s loss to Arkansas Tech, but Great American Conference officials overturned the ruling after viewing film of the play. Moore, a 6-0 redshirt senior from Minden, La., had a team-high 12 tackles in last week’s game and is scheduled to play in Saturday’s home game against Harding. … Harding running back Zach Shelley needs 80 yards to become the seventh Bison to rush for more than 2,000 yards in career.

Sports on 09/08/2017

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