Henderson State survived a scare by Southeastern Oklahoma as the Reddies rallied for a 44-35 win over the Savage Storm Saturday in Durant, Okla.
Trailing 28-24 at the end of the third quarter, the Reddies scored 20 fourth quarter points and got some big plays from the defense to rally for the win.
The Reddies, 3-0 on the year and 2-0 in the Great American Conference, cut the deficit to 28-27 on the opening play of the fourth-quarter as Charles Gonsalves kicked a 26-yard field.
Henderson State’s defense then came up big as Chris King intercepted a Nick Sioson pass and returned it to the Reddie 46.
Rodgers threw his only touchdown pass of the game as he hit Darius Davis for a 26-yard score to put Henderson back on top 34-28 with 12:58 to play.
With his touchdown reception, Davis tied a Henderson State record for career touchdown receptions collecting his 16th score.
The Reddie defense held SOSU to three plays and out and got a solid punt return by Al Lasker to set up Henderson at the SOSU 34.
Linebacker Keaton Stigger was called to do double-duty as he called to play fullback. The Collierville, Tenn. native finished a five-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown to give HSU a 41-28 lead with 10:49 left in the game. It was Stigger’s fourth touchdown of game on four carries.
Southeastern made the score 41-35 with 6:22 remaining as Nick Sioson hit Chad Laury with a 55-yard scoring strike.
Gonsalves then gave the Reddies a 9-point cushion with a GAC record-tying third field goal, splitting the uprights from 25-yards with 1:58 left. Mark Czaus made a great catch on a tough snap and placed the ball perfectly for Gonsalves.
Cameron Deveraux sealed the deal with an interception on SOSU’s next drive.
Henderson State began the game scoring on its first series as Stigger scored on a 2-yard plunge with 11:25 left in the first quarter. It was Stigger’s first career offensive carry. The drive was kept alive as Rodgers connected with Davis for 35-yards on 4th and long.
Two possessions later a 37-yard pass from Rodgers to Davis down to the Storm 4-yardline to set up another touchdown run by Stigger to make the score 14-0 with 5:38 remaining in the opening quarter.
Southeastern got on the board late in the quarter as Sioson hit Kaymon Farmer for a 9-yard touchdown to make the score 14-7.
Gonsalves tacked on a 30-yard field goal on Henderson’s next possession to increase the Reddie lead to 17-7.
The Reddies were held in check in the second quarter, while Southeastern put together a 7-play, 77-yard drive capped off by a 7-yard pass from Sioson to Farmer to make the score 17-14 at the break.
Stigger increased Henderson’s lead to 24-14 with a 2-yard run to begin the second half, before SOSU’s Xavier Smith caught a 20-yard strike from Sioson to answer.
Late in the third quarter, the Reddies got a big play from Joseph Snapp as he recovered a fumble at the SOSU 3-yard line following an errant snap on a punt.
With Henderson State facing 3rd-and-goal, Rodgers was picked off by Logan Russell and went 100-yards untouched for the go-ahead score with 2:48 remaining in the third quarter.
Rodgers ended the night completing 27-of-50 passes for 384 yards, while the Reddies totaled 513 yards of total offense.
Davis had a career-high 187 receiving yards on 8 receptions, while Ryan McDonald rushed 24 times and compiled 81 yards on the night.
Defensively, Stigger also led the Reddies with 11 tackles including two for lost yardage, while Christian Love had 10 stops.
Henderson State will next play host to East Central on Saturday, Sept. 28 with kickoff slated for 3 p.m. at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium. The game will feature Family Day and the 17th Annual Hall of Honor Ceremonies.
Fan Day activities include free games for the kids, bouncy houses, snow balls, cotton candy, etc. Family Day events begin at 11 a.m. in the HSU tailgate area. The tailgate sponsor is Smart GMC Buick of Malvern.
The 2013 Hall of Honor Inductees include: George Baker, Rick Minter, Doug Smith, Guss Robey, Sue Ehrgood, Kelcie Glidden, and Woody Jolley. A special presentation to the family of Willie Tate will also take place.
Hall of Honor festivities begin at 11 a.m. at the Garrison Center Day Gym.