RUSSELLVILLE -- Henderson State came up with a clutch touchdown drive late in regulation, then another on the first possession of overtime, to fight past Arkansas Tech, 38-31, on Saturday night for its first win of the year.
Trailing 31-24 with 2:44 left in the game, Henderson (1-1) got the ball back on its own 12-yard line needing a touchdown. Quarterback Richard Stammetti led the Reddies on a nine-play drive, capped by a 21-yard touchdown grab from Chase Lodree in traffic, to tie the game at 31-31 with 46 seconds to go in regulation. All 88 yards on the drive came through the air.
Arkansas Tech (0-2) could not score and the game moved into overtime, where Henderson got the ball first after losing the coin toss. Twice, Ben Johnson made drive-saving catches on third down to keep the possession alive. Stammetti later dove into the end zone from one yard out to put Henderson in front, 38-31.
Needing a touchdown, the Wonder Boys could not manage a first down on their only possession in overtime. Robert Thomas stopped scrambling Tech quarterback Carter Burcham on third down to force fourth-and-nine. An errant throw on fourth down sent the Reddies' sideline into a celebration as they held on for their first win of the season.
Stammetti finished 25 of 56 through the air for 315 yards and four touchdowns. Lodree caught nine passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. Johnson also caught six passes for 61 yards and two scores.
Linebackers Cameron Sonnier and Cameron Schulz were everywhere for the Reddies defensively. Sonnier had 13 tackles, two stops for loss and an interception. Schulz had 12 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. Jake Chatman also had an interception for Henderson and Bryston Gipson blocked an Arkansas Tech field goal attempt late in the first half.
Henderson led, 21-17, at halftime, but the Reddies muffed the kickoff return to start the second half. Tech recovered and took it back for a 21-yard scoop and score touchdown to take a sudden 24-21 lead seconds into the third quarter.
A Temo Martinez 23-yard field goal was the only other score for Henderson. The Wonder Boys scored their initial go-ahead touchdown on a fourth-and-four conversion, which went for 35 yards with 6:06 left to play.
Arkansas Tech outgained Henderson, 479-410, and ran 99 plays, but the Wonder Boys were penalized 14 times for 119 yards in the loss. The Reddies' defense was swarming, particularly in the second half, and finished with 11 tackles for loss in the game.
The win was Henderson's first overtime win, or game, since 2013, when the Reddies defeated Ouachita Baptist, 60-52, in triple overtime in the Battle of the Ravine.
The Reddies return to action Saturday when they travel to Alva, Okla., to take on Northwestern Oklahoma State (0-2) at 6 p.m.Sports on 09/10/2018
Print Headline: HSU survives OT thriller at ATU