It is often said during true rivalry games to throw the records out the window.
There’s likely not much better an example of that than the Southeastern-East Central rivalry, which hooks up for the 101st time on Paul Laird Field today starting at 2 p.m.
Southeastern holds a slim 48-46-6 lead in the all-time series but more often than not the usual perceived better team doesn’t always win the game.
The Savage Storm enter this week’s season finale in the midst of a tough four-game losing skid that has seen injuries continue to mount. Don’t expect the 2-8 Tigers to provide very much sympathy as a win would pretty much make their season.
In the past two weeks Southeastern and East Central have faced common opponents in Harding and Arkansas Tech with the Tigers actually holding a slight edge in point differential. East Central has lost those two contests by a combined score of 82-23 while Southeastern has been outscored 97-13 by the same pair.
“Our senior class is about to play it’s last game and we are very blessed to be a part of the 101st game of this series,” Southeastern head coach Bo Atterberry commented. “East Central is definitely playing better than early in the season. They look good up front and have a good young running back that I think is leading the league statistically.”
Southeastern is coming off a tough 48-10 loss at league leading Arkansas Tech in which they spotted the Wonder Boys a 31-0 first half lead and were never able to recover.
The Savage Storm did manage 369 yards offensively, which was their best total during the recent four-game skid. They however couldn’t slow down the Arkansas Tech offense that accumulated 535 total yards, including 390 rushing.
Quarterback Austin Skinner was lost to injury in the second half and previous injured Rollin Kinsaul returned to steer the Savage Storm offensive unit.
“Arkansas Tech is a very good football team in all phases of the game,” Atterberry said. “Injuries are a part of the game. We’ve had a mixture of guys in and out of the lineup throughout the year but that’s no excuse. I’m proud though of the way some of our younger guys have stepped up in difficult situations. They have continued to fight every game. We just haven’t been able to execute consistently enough at a high enough level to win football games during this stretch.
“We just have to move forward, keep preparing and hope for the best. Every week us as coach try to stay consistent with our approach.
Winners of just one of its last nine games, East Central has been able to put up solid offensive numbers with a powerful rushing attack that has been one of the best in the Great American Conference.
The Tigers average 333 yards per game rushing and are scoring nearly 35 points an outing. They haven’t passed all that much as evident by the Tigers’ 46 yards per game through the air.
Ontario Douglas is the leader of the cast out of the backfield and currently just one yard shy of reaching 1,000 for the season.
One of the Tigers’ strong suit defensively has been defending the rush as well, yielding just 113 yards an outing on average.
It has also been a series of streaks for each program.
Southeastern has won the past three game while East Central captured the four prior to that. The Savage Storm had won the six years before the that.
The majority of those were decided in the fourth quarter, usually by a touchdown or less.
“Hopefully we can put it all together against East Central this week and finish on a strong note,” Atterberry added. “A lot over the last 10 years it’s come down to one play or one possession late games most of the time.”