Despite strong momentum and a mostly stellar defensive stand against one of the top football teams in the country, Southeastern fell 44-35 on Saturday at the hands of the Henderson State Reddies.
The Reddies (3-0 on the season and 2-0 in the conference) got four touchdowns from Keaton Stigger and three field goals from Charles Gonsalves in the win. HSU took a 17-7 lead after one quarter but the Savage Storm cut it to 17-14 by halftime.
Henderson upped the lead to 10 early in the third until Southeastern got a touchdown from Xavier Smith and a 100-yard INT return for senior Logan Russell to take a 28-24 advantage.
The Reddies got good field position going into the fourth and settled for a field goal to cut Southeastern’s lead to 28-27. On the Storm’s next possession, Chris King intercepted the ball for HSU to swing the momentum around.
The Reddies found end zone twice in three minutes for a 41-28 lead. With just over six minutes left in the game, SE quarterback Nick Sioson found Chad Laury for a 55-yard scoring reception and Chris Peoples (5-for-5 on PATs) made good to cut the Reddies lead to 41-35.
Gonsalves nailed a 25-yard field goal with 1:58 to go and the nine-point lead was more than Southeastern could overcome.
“We were prepared this week, we played hard,” said Southeastern Head Coach Ray Richards. “We’ve got a chance to be a real good football team, but it’s going to be a battle every week.”
The Savage Storm (1-2) got 377 yards from nine receivers as quarterback Nick Sioson went 34-for-58 on his way to four TDs and two INTs. Anthony Foster led the way with 127 yards on eight receptions.
Week one stand-out Devlon Wortham had just one carry for six yards.
“There will be some times when certain guys step up and be that (go-to) guy,” Richards said. “After that first game, a lot of people keyed on Devlon. I think they are preparing for him well.”
Kaymon Farmer had two touchdowns on nine receptions for 82 yards, while Anthony Gale added 50 yards on seven touches. Ladarius Abrams was the top rusher with 46 of Southeastern’s 97 ground yards on 11 carries.
Russell’s INT came after several determined defensive stops for the Savage Storm. The offense was forced to punt and a disastrous snap was recovered by the Reddies just short of the blue turf midway through the third.
Russell picked off the first pass in the end zone and returned it all the way north to tie an 86-year old INT record set by Calvin Beams in 1927.
“Logan made a great running catch,” Richards said. “Logan is fast, so it didn’t surprise me when he caught it. It was the first Interception in his career and one he will never forget.”
Southeastern will hit the road this week to play Ouachita Baptist (2-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday in Arkadelphia, Ark. The Tigers were 24-17 winners over East Central on Saturday.