No. 5 Henderson State Reddies vs. Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys
Memorial Stadium, El Dorado, Ark., Saturday, 3 p.m.
Henderson State will take part in the fifth annual Boomtown Classic in El Dorado as the Reddies face Arkansas Tech at Memorial Stadium, Saturday with kickoff set 3 p.m. Since Henderson State was supposed to play host to Arkansas Tech this season at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium, the Reddies will be the home team.
REDDIE REPORT: Henderson State is coming off a 45-17 Homecoming win over Southwestern Oklahoma to improve its record to 4-0 at home and 6-0 on the season.
Henderson’s explosive offense averages a GAC best 603.3 yards and 58.5 points per game. Kevin Rodgers, a two-time National Player of the Week selection, averages 397.7 yards passing per game and has tossed 20 touchdowns.
Last year against the Wonder Boys, Rodgers completed 21-of-32 passes for 381 yards and six touchdowns. Rodgers has a record of 20-2 as Henderson’s starting quarterback.
Darius Davis is second in the GAC in receiving, averaging 106.7 yards per game. The junior from Frisco, Texas caught two passes for 20 yards and a 10-yard touchdown last year against ATU. Robert Jordan became Henderson’s all-time leader in receiving yards last week after having 5 catches for 93 yards. Jordan has compiled 564 yards on 38 receptions and five scores this year. Last year Jordan had two catches for 63 yards against ATU.
The Reddies lead the GAC in total defense allowing 290.5 yards per contest. Keaton Stigger leads the GAC with 65 stops including 8.5 for lost yardage. Stigger also leads the GAC in rushing touchdowns with nine scores. Ricardo Mendez follows Stigger with 43 tackles and has 5.5 tackles for lost yardage to his credit. Tim Llewellyn leads the team and is tied for the GAC lead in interceptions with three.
ABOUT ARKANSAS TECH: Arkansas Tech is coming off an impressive 14-13 win over Southern Arkansas last week.
Offensively, the Wonder Boys rank ninth in the GAC in total offense averaging 361.0 yards per game. Arkansas Tech averages 25.3 points per contest. ATU is led by quarterback Luke Halpin. Halpin has completed 113-of-170 passes for 1127 yards with six touchdowns this season. Halpin threw for 274 yards completing 22-of-32 passes last week against SAU.
Ketrich Harmon is one of the top running backs in the league averaging 94.5 yards per game. Harmen carried the ball seven times for 58 yards last year against the Reddies. John Simpson is ATU’s top receiver having 18 catches for 216 yards this year. Cassius Washington is also a receiver to keep an eye on. Washington has seven receptions for 151 yards including 100 yards last week against SAU. In last year’s game, Washington led ATU with seven catches for 125 yards.
ATU has the second best pass defense in the GAC, allowing just 193.2 yards per game. The unit is led by Logan Genz who ranks third in the GAC with 55 tackles. Wesley McKinney follows with 51 tackles.
ATU is coached by Raymond Monica who is in his first season at the helm in Russellville. Monica spent the last seven years as head coach at Kutztown (Pa.) compiling a record of 45-34 including two NCAA playoff appearances.
SERIES VS. ARKANSAS TECH: Arkansas Tech and Henderson State meet for the 89th in a series that dates back to 1920. Arkansas Tech leads the all-time series having a 42-41-5 record. The Reddies have won the last two meetings and three of the last four games.
LAST YEAR VS ATU — HSU 73, ATU 34: Henderson State’s high-octane offense continued to roll as the Reddies opened GAC play with a 73-34 thrashing of Arkansas Tech. Kevin Rodgers continued his stellar sophomore season going over 300 yards passing for the fourth straight time dating back to last year. The Rockwall, Texas product completed 21-of-32 passes for 381 yards and six touchdowns
while rushing for another.
Before Rodgers even touched the ball against Tech on Saturday, Henderson State got on the board as Israel Valentin returned the opening kickoff 92 yards to set the tone for the Reddies’ eventual scoring rampage.
From that point on, Henderson quickly built a 29-0 lead as Kevin Nichols scored on a 4-yard run, followed by a 54-yard score by Jarvis Smith. Rodgers then began the second quarter with a 17-yard strike to Labroderick Barnett. Elliot Hebert and Dustin Holland both had 37-yard touchdown receptions to make the score 56-20. Rodgers later hit Hebert for his longest pass of the night of 54-yards for the final score. Smith was the workhorse for Henderson’s ground game as he totaled 155 yards on 18 carries. A pair of Reddie receivers went over 100-yards for the second time this season as Holland totaled 121 yards on 7 receptions, and Hebert had 105 yards on 3 catches.
STIGGER AND RODGERS EARN WEEKLY HONORS: For the second time this season, Keaton Stigger was named Beyond College Sports Network and GAC Defensive Player of the Week, while Kevin Rodgers earned GAC Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season. Stigger earned the national honor after recording 19 tackles including 13 solo stops in Henderson State’s 45-17 win over Southwestern Oklahoma.
Playing after the passing of his grandfather earlier in the week, the linebacker from Collierville, Tenn. had two tackles for lost yardage, one sack, and two pass breakups. Stigger also broke free on fourth-and-1 and scampered 17 yards for his ninth rushing touchdown of the year.
Rodgers went over the 300-yard passing mark for the 14th time during his career, completing 29-of-40 passes for 378 yards and four touchdowns. The junior from Rockwall, Texas has been named GAC Offensive Player of the Week 10 times in 24 games played.