Southeastern overcame an injury to senior quarterback C.B. Cantwell and 119 yards in penalties to rally past Oklahoma Baptist for a 21-17 home-opening win on Saturday night at Paul Laird Field.
Cantwell was off to another strong start, hitting 13 of 16 passes for 211 yards before going down midway through the second quarter with a leg injury and did not return.
With their starting signal-caller sidelined, the Savage Storm relied heavily on another solid defensive performance, quality rushing attack and another big special teams play to notch the victory while improving to 2-0 on the season for the first time since the 2011 campaign.
“It took a lot of guys working together tonight to get it done,” head coach Bo Atterberry commented. “We were out of sync at times but you have got to work through that early in the season. I’m proud of the way the guys competed but we still have to get better before next week at Ouachita Baptist.”
After seeing Oklahoma Baptist get things going with an 88-yard march to start the final quarter, Southeastern’s defense came up with a huge goalline stand to force a Luke Wendl 26-yard field goal with 9:12 left that gave the Bison a 17-14 edge.
That’s when the Savage Storm found a spark for the second week in a row from standout kick returner O.J. Walker as the Ardmore product returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to seemingly jump start a Savage Storm offense that had struggled to find the endzone for two quarters.
Taking over at the OBU 34, Southeastern put the game in the hands of an experienced offensive line and the running game with Kenneth Burks toting the ball six straight plays on the ground before bolting in for a three-yard touchdown run with 6:09 left in the fourth period.
The Savage Storm defense came through once again with a Larry Bridges interception at the Southeastern 43 virtually putting the icing on the victory with 2:51 to go.
Early on it looked like Southeastern might put up points similar to its opening 58-0 win over Southern Nazarene with the Storm needing less than two minutes to drive 80 yards with their first possession that culminated with a nine-yard scoring strike from Cantwell to Drake White.
A missed field goal and fumble thwarted the next two Savage Storm drives and the Bison found a big play late in the quarter when Isaiah Mallory broke loose for a 69-yard touchdown that knotted things at 7-7.
Penalties continued to hinder the Savage Storm offense and OBU was able to cash in another massive drive with a touchdown run with just 2:23 left in the half, carrying that 14-7 edge into the locker room at intermission.
Southeastern took the second half kickoff and Kinsaul immediately found Jaylen Sims, who made a sensational one-handed catch for 39 yards to ignite the charge. Six plays later he completed a nine-yard jump ball pass to 6-7 newcomer Codey McElroy in the back of the endzone to tie the game at 14.
It remained tied until the key goalline stand inside the 10-yardline by the Southeastern defense in the final stanza.
The Savage Storm finished with 499 yards of total offense with Burks leading the rushing attack with 25 carries for 121 yards.
White had another stellar receiving game with a team-high six grabs for 117 yards while Sims totaled three catches for 69 yards.
It was another tremendous effort by the Savage Storm defense, which held an explosive Bison offensive attack more than 200 yards below what they put up in the season opener against East Central.
Southeastern puts its unbeaten mark on the line Saturday when it visits another 2-0 team in Ouachita Baptist for a 6 p.m. kickoff.
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or firstname.lastname@example.org