MONTICELLO, Ark. – Southeastern turned to its back-up quarterback Nick Sioson to guide the offense to nearly 500 yards and pick up its third-consecutive win of the season with a 41-35 victory over Arkansas-Monticello on Saturday afternoon in Monticello, Ark.
The win moves the Savage Storm to 4-4 on the year and 2-4 in GAC play and gives SE three-straight wins for the first time since the middle of the 2009 season.
“We’ve got a pretty good football team,” said head coach Ray Richards. “We lost some heartbreakers early that we could have won. Our guys are feeling good.”
They showed that good feeling on the field offensively as both the running and passing game was working well for the Storm.
A big part of the offensive success was the poise that Sioson showed while making his first career start in place of an injured Jercolby Bradley.
Sioson was solid in managing the offense, hitting an impressive 14-of-17 through the air for 249 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His 249 yards passing is the second-most passing yards this season and his 89 yard completion to Keelen Green is the longest play for the Storm on the year.
“I though Nick did a tremendous job,” said Richards of Sioson. “He hit a couple passes and really managed the offense.”
Green was Sioson’s favorite target on the day, hitting him four times for 111 yards and the score. With the second 100-yard receiving outing of the season, Green moved into the top spot on the team among SE receivers with 23 catches for 309 yards.
For the first time in a month the Storm was outrushed by a total of 273-to-233, however SE did finish with a100-yard rusher and three scores on the ground.
Ladarius Abrams turned in his second 100-yard rushing performance of the season, posting 107 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown.
The Storm outgained UAM on the contest overall with 482 yards of total offense compared to 448 yards by the Weevils.
On the defensive side of the ball Jacoby Crowley turned in his best outing of the year, forcing both UAM turnovers. Crowley put SE on the board three plays into the contest with a pick and a 42 yard return for a TD and later stripped and recovered the ball on a kick return to give SE a short field that led to a 28-14 SE lead at halftime.
As mentioned, Crowley put SE on the board first when he ended UAM’s opening drive three plays into the game with an interception that he returned 42 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead just 1:39 into the contest. It’s the second interception return for a score on the season for the Storm.
Southeastern would stop the Weevils on their next drive and proceeded to take their first offensive possession 43 yards on nine plays with Don Brown plunging in from one yard out to spot the Storm a 14-0 lead with 6:31 to play in the first quarter.
The defense would force another punt on the next drive and the SE offense went back on the march from their own 25 all the way down to the Boll Weevil 23 before UAM’s Deshaun Thomas forced a Kirk fumble and fell on it.
The Weevils would drive the ball back down the field 77 yards on nine plays before Nick Williams scored on a 38 yard run with 10:46 to play in the second quarter to trim the SE lead to 14-7.
The turnover bug bit Southeastern again on the following kickoff when Andrew Jackson forced a Morris fumble and Anthony Hughes fell on it at the Storm 29 yardline.
Damon Wicker would score four plays later from 12 yards out to knot the game at 14-14 with 8:47 to play in the half.
SE would settle down on offense on its next possession, marching the ball 75 yards on 13 plays and capped it with an Abrams one yard run with 3:02 to play in the second quarter to go up 21-14.
Crowley would make his presence felt again on the following kickoff when he stripped the ball from Ivory Washington and recovered it at the UAM 34 yardline.
The Storm would take advantage with an eight play drive that saw Brown pick up his second score of the contest to put the Storm in from 28-14 with 15 second to play in the half. The drive was kept alive when Sioson found Green for 14 yards to convert a fourth-and-five and later hit Daye for 13 yards to convert on third-and-nine.
The Storm did not do anything with their first possession of the second half, and UAM took advantage by taking its first drive of the second half 43 yards in eight plays before Williams scored from two yards out at the 8:48 mark of the third quarter to make the score 28-21.
Neither team could do much over the last half of the third quarter, but the Storm defense would step up on the second play of the fourth quarter when Ryan Harkness would stop Williams for a one-yard gain on fourth-and-three.
SE would waste little time taking advantage when Sioson would convert a third-and-five on the ensuing drive in style by hitting Green for an 89 yard touchdown strike to push the lead back out to 35-21. The 89 yard connection is the longest play for the Storm this season.
Southeastern would hold UAM to a three-and-out on the next drive and get the ball back on their own 44 yardline with 10:40 left and needed just two plays to put the ball in the endzone. First Kirk picked up 29 yards to the UAM 29 before Sioson found Morris for a 29 yard TD toss. The lead would be stay at 41-21 with a bobbled snap on the PAT.
The Weevils would come storming back however, scoring on its next drive on a 51 yard TD pass from Wicker to Trey Taylor with 8:19 to play to trim that SE advantage to 41-28.
The UAM defense would force a third SE turnover on the next drive and score five plays later on a Williams two-yard run that made the score 41-35 in favor of SE.
The Storm would get the ball back with 5:14 to play looking to run out the clock and would get some help from the Weevils when Greg Wilson committed a personal foul when SE was looking at fourth-and-three that moved the ball to the SE 44 yardline with a fresh set of downs.
Sioson would later find Daye for a nine yard completion to convert on third-and-six, and Don Brown would turn in a pair of runs, the first going 12 yards and the second going 17 yards to ice the game and seal the SE win.