The Savage Storm took the 12th-ranked Tigers to the mat Saturday, but ran out of time on their final drive as Ouachita Baptist escaped with a 27-24 win.
This game see-sawed throughout the rainy afternoon, and Southeastern held a 24-20 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Tiger passer slipped out of a tackle and connected with Chris Rycraw to get the lead back in OBU hands for good.
“We played hard, we had opportunities,” said SE Football Coach Ray Richards. “The game could have gone either way. We had a lot of penalties and that really hurt us.”
This is the second year in a row that the Savage Storm have lost to OBU by three points. “We’re right there, just inches away from becoming the team I think we can be. We just have to fight the fight every day.”
Jercolby Bradley scrambled out of the pocket often, picking up 135 yards on 21 carries. The junior quarterback from Irving, Texas was 16-for-29 passing with 181 passing yards. He had a hand in all three Storm touchdowns – two on keepers and another on a pass to Krishon Daye.
The Tigers took a 7-0 lead on an opening-drive touchdown sparked by a 69-yard run for backup QB Ty Towers. But Keelen Green picked up 45 yards on the return and 15 more on an ensuing reception. But the offense sputtered and had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Chris Peoples.
As the mistakes piled up for Ouachita, Southeastern was able to recover a botched punt snap in the red zone. Daye scored on a nine-yard pass from Bradley to give SE a 10-7 lead as the first quarter ended.
Ouachita would tie the game on an early second quarter field goal from 39 yards out, then take a 17-10 lead on a 25-yard pass from Towers to Brett Reece just before the half.
In the third, Green made another big return (85 yards on three returns for the day) which set up a Bradley keeper for a Storm touchdown at 12:51. Peoples secured a 17-17 tie with his point-after kick. The Tigers would settle for a field goal on a six-minute drive which gave the visitors a 20-17 lead at the end of three.
Ladarius Abrams broke away for a 44-yard gain just before the end of the quarter, setting up an early fourth quarter score for Bradley. His 19-yard run and Peoples’ sixth point of the day gave Southeastern a 24-20 advantage with 14:16 left.
At 9:44, Ouachita Baptist completed an 8-play 69-yard drive with a touchdown pass from Towers to Rycraw for the 27-24 lead. From that point, clock management was the name of the game.
Southeastern was forced to punt at 7:07, then OBU chipped away at the clock with short gains. Southeastern got the ball back on the Tiger 8-yard line with 2:29 left in the game.
Chad Laury picked up a first down on a pass from Bradley, then the quarterback moved the chains on a third-down keeper with 90 seconds left. He did it again on fourth and five with under a minute to go, and once more around midfield with 10 seconds left before time ran out on the Storm.
Southeastern falls into a dangerous 0-3 conference record (1-3 on the season) while OBU cruises to 4-0 with a 2-0 GAC mark. The Savage Storm will visit Arkansas Tech (1-3 before a Saturday game against Northwestern Oklahoma) this coming Saturday at 6 p.m.