Two streaks will be on the line Saturday afternoon when coach Bo Atterberry’s undefeated Savage Storm gridders host Henderson State in Great American Conference action.
Southeastern fans know the Storm own a 6-game winning streak, the longest since 1988 when coach Jon Lantz’ Savages posted a 10-0 start before falling in the second round of the NAIA playoffs at Paul LairdField.
The Reddies will be looking to extend their NCAA Division II road winning streak to 30. Any 30-game winning streak is remarkable, but winning 30 in a row on the road borders on the miraculous.
Henderson State escaped Oklahoma Baptist last Saturday with a 14-13 victory. OBU scored with 10 seconds to play, but HSU’s defense foiled a two-point conversion try.
THE PENDULUM always seems to swing and it seems to have done so this season for the Storm, at least through the first six games.
Close wins have been hard to come by in Atterberry’s Southeastern career.
A six-point to Ouachita Baptist came in the last 11 seconds in 2014. Even worse, a two-point defeat at the hands of Southern Arkansas saw the Muleriders scoring with 0:00 on the clock.
In 2015, the Storm lost to Harding in a wild 63-60 shootout in four overtimes. Trailing 42-20 to Ouachita Baptist, Southeastern scored three touchdowns in the last 5:14 before losing 42-40.
Last season, Southeastern fell 37-33 to Southwestern with 10 seconds remaining. The Storm led 11-3 at halftime, but the Reddies rallied for 10 points in the last half to win the game 13-11.
This year has been a different story.
Southeastern has pulled out four close victories with two wins coming with a combined 26 seconds left on the clock.
The Storm topped Southwestern 31-24 by scoring a touchdown with just 25 seconds remaining to cap off a great Homecoming weekend.
Northwestern fell 30-27 with nothing but zeros showing on the clock.
Earlier this year, Southeastern topped Oklahoma Baptist 21-17 and Ouachita Baptist 41-35.
THE LATEST GAC statistics show the Savage Storm alone at the top with a nifty 6-0 record.
Arkansas Tech, Ouachita Baptist and Southern Arkansas are tied for second at 4-2.
Arkansas-Monticello, Harding, Henderson State, Northwestern and Southern Nazarene are knotted at 3-3.
Southwestern is 2-4, East Central 1-5 and Oklahoma Baptist 0-6.
SOUTHEASTERN’S COMEBACK win over Southwestern boosted the Storm to No. 19 in the latest American Football Coaches Association poll.
The Storm, Oklahoma’s lone representative in the AFCA Top 25, are one of 11 6-0 teams in the poll, along with two at 5-0 and one 4-0.
Arkansas Tech dropped out of the poll and received one point this week.
HENDERSON STATE comes to town Saturday with a highly misleading 3-3 record.
The Reddies average 22.67 points a game and allow 25.17 ppg.
HSU rushes for 145.3 yards per outing and gives up 179.8 ypg.
Passing shows Henderson State averaging 233 yards while allowing 183.83.
The Reddies averages 378.3 yards per game in total offense and give up 363.7 ypg.
Individually, Andrew Black (6-1, 180, redshirt-junior quarterback from Tyler, Texas) averages 50 yards per game on 50 attempts for 250 yards and eight touchdowns. He averages five yards a carry with a long gain of 22.
Blake Faulk (6-0, 220, redshirt-freshman from Prairie Grove, Arkansas) has 37 rushes for 219 yards and one TD. He averages 5.9 per try with a long gain of 40 and 43.80 yards per game. Cobra Jones (6-2, 195, freshmanfrom LaPorte, Texas) has carried the ball 33 times for 165 yards to average 5.0 per rush with a long of 22 and 41.25 ypg.
Evan Lassiter (6-5, 220, senior quarterback from Coral Springs, Florida) has completed 60.4 percent of his passes with 96 of 149 for 836 yards, four scores, a long of 53 and 139.33 per game. Black has hit 41 of 70 passes for 516 yards and two TDs. He has a 58.57 completion percentage with a long of 72 and 103.2 yards per game.
Ben Johnson (6-2, 210, junior from Sapulpa, Oklahoma) leads the receivers with 21 catches for 251 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He averages 11.95 per catch with a long of 24 and 41.83 per game.
Darion Gray (5-10, 170, junior from Huffman, Texas) has 16 receptions for 225 yards and two scores. He averages 14.06 per catch and 37.5 yards a game.
Austin Bennett (5-11, 175, senior from Manvel, Texas, and the University of Oklahoma) has 18 catches for 195 yards. He averages 10.83 per grab with a long of 37 and 32.5 yards a game.
Cody Mikell (6-0, 215, senior from Poplarville, Mississippi, and Pearl River Community College) has punted 14 times for 655 yards and a GAC-leading 46.79-yard average. He has five punts downed inside the 20 with a long of 57 and six of 50 or more yards.
SOUTHEASTERN scores 37 points a game while allowing 20.76 ppg. Scoring is second in the GAC, defense against scoring is first.
The Storm are fourth in rushing at 201.7 yards a game and sixth in rush defense at 181.2 ypg.
Southeastern is fifth in passing at 245.83 yards per game and second in defending the pass by giving up just 172.17 ypg.
The Storm rank second in total offense with 447.5 yards a game and third in total defense at 353.3 yards per game.
INDIVIDUALLY, Storm quarterback Rollin Kinsaul has hit 47 of 77 passes for 61.04 percent, 561 yards and six touchdowns. He has been intercepted twice, has a long gain of 79 yards and averages 112.2 yards per game.
Austin Skinner has hit 33 of 56 passes for a 58.93 completion percentage, 440 yards, three scores and one interception. He has a long completion of 63 and averages 73.33 yards per game.
Rashod Polk is the leading rusher with 78 carries for 497 yards and four touchdowns. He averages 6.4 yards per rush with a long run of 51 and an average of 82.83 yards a game.
Drake White leads the receivers with 17 catches for 353 yards and three TDs. He averages 20.76 per grab with a long of 79 and 112.2yards per game.
Jaylen Sims has 19 catches for 239 yards and three scores. He averages 12.58 per reception with a long of 39 and 39.83 yards per game.
Joel Carlos is No. 1 in GAC field goals with nine of 13 for 70 percent. He has a long of 35 and has not had a kick blocked.
Carlos is No. 6 in punting with 29 for 1,125 yards. He averages 38.79 with a long punt of 56 yards and 13 downed inside the 20, two for 50-plus yards and has not had a punt blocked.
GAME TIME SATURDAY is 2 p.m. at Paul Laird Field.
A little extra spice for the fans will have Southeastern trying to extend its winning streak to seven and also trying to apply the brakes to Henderson State’s NCAA Division II-leading road winning streak at 29.
One of these streaks will be snapped. Come out and see for yourself.
Harold Harmon is the retired Sports Editor at the Democrat and Sports Information Director at Southeastern