MONTICELLO — Henderson State used five first-half interceptions to beat Arkansas-Monticello 37-21, Saturday in Monticello.
With the win, coupled with Southern Arkansas’ win over Ouachita Baptist, Henderson State clinched at least a share of the Great American Conference title. It his Henderson’s third league title in the last four years.
With the Reddie offense struggling, it was the defense that stepped to forefront as UAM managed just 69 yards in the first-half.
The defense made its presence known on UAM’s first series as Christian Love picked off a Cody Trimble pass at the UAM 45 to set up Henderson’s first score.
On the Reddies’ second play, Daniel McCoy broke free for a 43-yard touchdown with 13:41 left in the opening quarter.
The Henderson State defense came up big again on UAM’s next possession as Gary Vines picked off Trimble and went untouched 69 yards to pay dirt.
Just 46 seconds later, the Reddie defense recorded their third interception of the game as Chris King was Henderson’s recipient of Trimble’s errant pass. The Reddies capitalized as Charles Gonsalves kicked a 39-yard field goal to make the score 17-0 with 8:14 remaining in the first quarter.
Late in the first quarter, Zack Richardson recorded Henderson’s fourth interception of the opening quarter as he picked off Colton Morrison to set up another Reddie score.
Henderson State, 9-0 overall and 8-0 in the GAC, took advantage of the UAM gift as McCoy scored on a 5-yard dive to make the score 24-0 with 1:57 remaining in the opening stanza.
Gonsalves added field goals of 33 and 30 yards in the second quarter, while UAM ended the half with a pick-six by Damarcus Robinson to make the score 30-7 at the break.
Henderson State’s only score of the second half came when Al Lasker returned a Reagan Wise punt 63 yards for a touchdown to increase the Henderson lead to 37-7 with 9:44 left in the third quarter.
The remainder of the second half belonged to UAM as the Boll Weevils compiled over 240 yards of offense, but the Reddie lead was too much for the Boll Weevils to overcome.
The Reddie offense had its lowest output of the season as Henderson totaled just346 yards including 194 yards passing.
Kevin Rodgers was limited to 21-of-34 passing for 194 yards with Darius Davis leading the Reddie receivers with 78 yards on 7 receptions. Davis eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark and became only the third receiver in HSU history to reach that plateau.
McCoy led the Reddie ground game having 16 carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
Vines ended the day with nine tackles and had a pair of interceptions to pace the Reddie defense.
Blake Lopez collected a career-high 11 tackles, while Keaton Stigger had9 tackles in just one half.
Henderson State was plagued by 12 penalties for 200 yards.
Henderson State returns to Carpenter-Haygood Stadium next Saturday as the Reddies play host to Southern Arkansas with kickoff set for 1 p.m. The game will be the final regular-season home game of the season with 23 Reddie seniors being honored prior to kickoff.