For nearly two full years, Southwestern has virtually reigned over the Oklahoma small college landscape in Great American Conference play by going a perfect 10-0 against its Sooner State brethren in the conference.
Riding a red-hot start to the season the Southeastern Savage Storm will look to knock the Bulldogs from that throne this afternoon and stay unbeaten in the 2 o’clock Homecoming kickoff at Paul Laird Field.
Southeastern is coming off a dramatic 30-27 last-second win at Northwestern that equaled their best start (5-0) since 1988 when they reached the second round of the NAIA playoffs.
In addition to continuing their undefeated string, the victory also moved the Savage Storm into the NCAA Division II national rankings, checking in 23rd this week.
“Northwestern is a really tough place to play,” head coach Bo Atterberry commented. “We controlled momentum through the first half but they were able to get it in the second half. We fortunately regained it in the fourth quarter and came up with the last drive to win. I am very proud of the guys.
“It’s been tough to win at Alva since I’ve been around here and we were able to escape against a quality football team.”
Atterberry pointed to the play of his offensive line and freshman running back Rashod Polk, especially on the game-winning march in the closing minutes. Polk ended with a career-high 201 yards on the ground on 31 carries while the Savage Storm attempted just 15 passes.
Rollin Kinsaul had just one completion – for a touchdown – while Austin Skinner came off the bench to hit on five of 10 for 102 yards despite adverse conditions with a strong wind.
“Anybody watching early in the season could see he (Polk) has some juice,” said the Southeastern head coach. “His opportunity came up Saturday and he definitely capitalized on it. People don’t talk about Rashod though without the offensive line and it was a good collective effort there to get him all those yards.
“Rollin (Kinsaul) was a little off and banged up. We went to Skinner and he produced. It’s a little different situation after (C.B.) Cantwell went down to have two quality guys to step up. Skinner may get the start this week just to see what he can do in that role.”
Once again, junior kicker Joel Carlos came up clutch in the Northwestern win, connecting on all three field goal tries, including the game-winning 32-yarder, which Atterberry admitted that Carlos had on his bucket list of goals.
“A game-winning field goal in that situation was one of the things on Joel’s bucket list,” he stated. “There is no Joel Carlos kick however without a good snap and hold.
“We really weren’t in sync the entire game but found a way to get it done at the end. The defense came up with key takeaways and offense drove the ball for points when they had to.”
This week’s challenge is a Southwestern squad that is known for its defense and that unit has been taking the ball away from opponents at a tremendous rate with 12 for the year.
Not to be outdone, the Savage Storm is tied for the national lead in turnover margin for the season at plus-11.
“Southwestern is a quality team and it’s always a tough game when we play them,” Atterberry added. “We have to prepare well and get ourselves in position to be the best we can be. I’m sure they (Southwestern) have some confidence coming off a win last week. I expect them to be balanced offensively if need be. And they are always solid on defense. That’s just a trademark of a Southwestern team.
“We just have to take care of the football and be efficient in all phases. Turnover ratio is a glaring statistics in teams that are winning and so far we’ve done a pretty good job in that department.”
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or email@example.com