Coach Bo Atterberry’s Savage Storm gridders sprinted out to a 6-0 start to the 2017 season.
Then comes the mean old mother-in-law in the black hat who simply will not cut her visit short.
From the elevation of a first-place tie in the Great American Conference standing to a fourth-place tie, the Storm will host the East Central Tigers in Saturday’s season finale that will kick off at 2 p.m. at Paul Laird Field.
Pick a position and the Storm have been hammered there at one time or another through the last four games.
One has to start with the quarterback position, which was super solid at the beginning of the year.
First, senior starter C.B. Cantwell goes down for the year with a 2-0 record and a phenomenal 77.78 completion percentage on 21 of 27 passing with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Easy enough enough to replace, right?
Rollin Kinsaul (sophomore from Andalusia, Alabama) stepped in and went 3-0 as a starter in six games before he was injured and passed the baton to Austin Skinner (sophomore from Teague, Texas) who inherited the injury plague and went 1-4 as a starter until he was injured last week at ArkansasTech and handed the baton back to Kinsaul, who will have to put aside his injury and face the Tigers Saturday afternoon.
That injury string should be enough for any one team for any one year, right?
Throw in losing top rusher Kenneth Burks (junior from Mansfield, Texas), who averaged 88.25 yards in four games while scoring four touchdowns.
Rashod Polk (freshman from Arlington, Texas) got the call and has averaged 64.3 yards through 10 games while scoring six TDs.
The offensive and defensive lines, receivers and defensive backs have been hit sporadically through the year and one never knows when and where the next hit will come.
Yes, ma’am, the Savage Storm will suit up and show Saturday afternoon on Paul Laird Field for the 2 p.m. kickoff.
Coach Atterberry said, “We had a great start and were hoping for a special season, but you know how football goes.
“It’s disappointing, but our kids have never quit and I couldn’t be more proud of them. We’ll go out there with the ones healthy enough to go and do the best we can.
“Records don’t count in this game – never have – and you know we’ll get their best shot, you can count on that.
“I’m hoping we have a great crowd for this game. That would mean a lot to our players and coaches.”
THE LATEST GAC standings have been released and Arkansas Tech and Ouachita Baptist are tied for the top spot at 8-2.
Harding is in third place at 7-3 with Southeastern, Henderson State and Southern Arkansas in a three-way tie for fourth at 6-4.
Arkansas-Monticello is 5-5 with Northwestern and Southern Nazarene knotted at 4-6.
Southwestern checks in at 3-7, East Central is 2-8 and Oklahoma Baptist is last at 1-9.
EAST CENTRAL opened strong with a 55-34 win at Oklahoma Baptist before stumbling to a six-game losing streak.
The Tigers defeated Henderson and will bring a 2-game losing streak into the Southeastern matchup.
EC is averaging 23.8 points a game and giving up 38.
The Tigers rush for 142.2 yards a game and allow 203.8 ypg. Passing has East Central at 239.5 per outing with opponents averaging 253.9ypg.
Total offense has EC at 381.7 yards a game while allowing 457.7 ypg.
INDIVIDUALLY, the Tigers are led by junior quarterback RayJohn Austin-Ramsey (6-2, 205, San Antonio, Texas, and Trinity Valley Junior College).
He has completed 120 of 217 passes for 1,570 yards and 10 touchdowns while being intercepted sixtimes. He averages 196.2 yards a game with a long of 53 yards and a 55.3 completion percentage.
Noah Holle (6-5, 220, junior from Bakersfield, California, and Santa Barbara Community College) has hit 60 of 114 passes for 818 yards, six touchdowns and seven picks. He has a completion percentage of 52.6 with a long of 66 and 204.5 yards per game.
Ontario Douglas (5-11, 210, freshman from Lawton Eisenhower) is the top rusher with 181 carries for 999 yards and eight touchdowns. He averages 5.5 per carry with a long of 83 and 99.9 yards per game.
Tre’von Jackson (5-10, 210, junior from Sanger, Texas) has 74 carries 342 yards and four TDs with a long of 43 and 34.2 per game.
Trinity Benson (6-0, 180, junior from Lewisville, Texas) leads the receivers with 49 catches for 671 yards and three touchdowns. He averages 13.7 per grab with a long of 53 and 67.1 yards a game.
Dezmon Jackson (6-1, 185, senior from Pleasant Grove, Texas) has 27 catches for 429 yards and three scores. He averages 15.9 per completion with a long of 51 and 42.9 yards a game.
Jack Preston (6-2, 190, freshman from Amarillo, Texas) has 22 punts for 878 yards and a 39.9 average. He has a long boot of 73 yards with three downed inside thee 20, three of 50 yards or more and no blocks.
SOUTHEASTERN IS averaging 27.4 points a game and giving up 28.4 ppg.
The Storm rush for 159.9 yards a game and give up 228.4 ypg.
Passing shows Southeastern with 224.2 yards with opponents at 193.1 ypg.
Southeastern is averaging 384.1 yards a game while allowing 421.6 ppg.
These are tremendous numbers considering six of eight are starters or have played a lot on the defensive side of the ball.
Offensively, eight of nine have started or logged significant playing time.
Throw in the top return man and you wonder how the numbers have remained this high.
NOW THAT YOU have these numbers, you are cordially invited to throw them away and prepare yourself for the state’s true bedlam series.
INDIVIDUALLY, Jaylen Sims has 40 catches for 564 yards and three touchdowns. He averages 14.10 per grab with a long of 42 and 56.4 per game.
Drake White has caught 21 passes for 384 yards and three TDs. He averages 18.29 per catch with a long of 80 and 48 yards a game.
Joel Carlos has 53 punts for 2,029 yards and an average of 38.28 with a long of 59. He has had 23 downed inside the 20 with three of more than 50 yards and has not had a punt blocked.
These teams simply love to beat each other and beat up on each other. There’s no extra charge for the beat-up part of the action.
GAME TIME is 2 p.m. Saturday at Paul Laird Field.
Fans should arrive early, get good seats, kick back and enjoy the show. It oftenstarts well before the kickoff.
Throw in the tailgating and Storm Watchers have a full afternoon of entertainment right here at home. Parking is free of charge.