By COURTLIN HAYGARTH | HSU Sports Network
ARKADELPHIA — The Henderson State Reddies return to Carpenter-Haygood Stadium at GeoSurfaces Field Saturday, Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. to host the Southeastern Oklahoma State Savage Storm. The Reddies are currently sporting a 10-game winning streak over SE while the two teams have not met in Arkadelphia since 2018.
STORYLINES: SETTING THE SCENE
In its first trip to Magnolia since 2012, Henderson State lost its first game of the season against Southern Arkansas, 28-24. The Reddies have not lost two consecutive regular season games since 2018. Back in 2019, HSU did lose to Ouachita Baptist followed by Missouri Western St. in the postseason bowl game.
Southeastern comes into Carpenter-Haygood Stadium off its worst loss of the young season, falling 45-34 at home against Southern Nazarene. The Savage Storm last loss two games in a row in 2019 when they finished the year with a 1-10 record.
Henderson head coach Scott Maxfield, after clinching his 120th victory at HSU to become the winningest coach in program history, is one win shy of reaching 150 all-time victories in Maxfield’s coaching career.
REDDIES REPORT: OFFENSE
The Reddie offense outgained Southern Arkansas 478 to 330 Saturday, but was just 3-of-10 on third down conversions compared to SAU’s 8-of-13 conversion rate. The HSU offense has recorded 450 or more total yards in three consecutive games, including back-to-back contests with over 300 passing yards. Henderson’s offense ranks second in the GAC with 467.5 yards per game.
Andrew Edwards continues his impressive redshirt freshman campaign. Since taking over the starting job in game two for an injured Landon Ledbetter, Edwards has completed 51 of 76 passes (67.1%) for 864 yards and 10 touchdowns to only one interception. Among the league leaders, the Bentonville, Arkansas native is second with 288 passing yards per game and is tied for the league lead with 10 scores.
Xavier Malone has shown to be one of the premier wide receivers in the entire country four games into the 2022 season. The former Northeast Mississippi Community College prospect is 11th in all of Division II with 120.2 receiving yards per game and is tied for third with six receiving touchdowns. Malone has posted three straight games of 100+ yards and a score.
Senior wide receivers Malone and Chris Hatzis have combined for 688 of HSU’s 1043 total receiving yards this season. The late emergence of transfer wideout Matt Childers has given the Reddie offense an additional threat on the outside as Childers has strung together back-to-back outings of 50+ receiving yards.
Korien Burrell continues to lead the HSU backfield in rushing, registering 354 yards, including zero negative yards, on 59 carries for an average of 6.0 yards per rush. Burrell’s five rushing touchdowns is also tied for fourth in the conference. As a team, HSU is sixth in the league with 206.8 rushing yards per game.
REDDIES REPORT: DEFENSE – SPECIAL TEAMS
Henderson’s defense forced two turnovers Saturday night against the Muleriders as Andrew Croker and Darrick Rose Jr. each came up with an interception. The HSU defense has forced four takeaways through the first four games this season.
After recording a team-high seven tackles against SAU, defensive back Tim Jennings is tied with Jakob Neel for the most tackles on the squad with 20. Neel has recorded one sack and two and a half tackles for loss on the year.
Shaq’ke Robinson leads the GAC and is tied for 15th in the country with four sacks on the season, while Gary Lewis is tied for the conference lead with six tackles for loss. As an entire unit, HSU’s defense leads the league with 17 sacks for 89 yards.
Henderson is fifth in the league in scoring defense, giving up 23.8 points per game. Defensive coordinator Greg Holsworth‘s squad excels at stopping the run as they are second in the GAC, allowing just 113 yards on the ground per game. The success HSU has had at getting to the quarterback quickly aids a secondary that is 12th in the league in pass defense (293.3 ypg).
Kicker Tristan Heaton is a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals but has missed three PATs this season. Heaton, who also covers punting and kickoff duties, has delivered an average of 39.6 yards per punt, including a long of 53, with three coming to a stop inside the opponent’s 20 yard line.
Wide receiver Braden Boykin had a crucial muffed punt Saturday that allowed SAU to retake the lead in what would wind up being the final score of the game. Boykin does lead the team with 194 kick return yards and nine punt return yards.
True freshman Jody Easter has shown some flashes in the return game, backing up Boykin with 72 kick return yards on just two returns for an average of 36 yards per return and was a holding penalty away from another 30+ yard return this past Saturday.
Southeastern Oklahoma State suffered its second loss to Southern Nazarene in three years, falling in this year’s matchup, 45-34. The Savage Storm allowed SNU to run for 451 yards – 8.5 yards per carry – as the Crimson Storm only needed 49 yards through the air to get the win.
On the season, SE’s offense has operated as one of the best in the conference, producing 36.5 points per game for second in the GAC, including a league-best 351.3 passing yards per game. While the Storm’s defense does rank No. 1 in pass defense (152.0 ypg), they are 12th in rushing defense, giving up 284.8 yards on the ground per outing. In addition, SE’s scoring defense has them at 11th (41.3 ppg).
That potent offense is fueled by the best quarterback-receiver tandem in the league with play caller Daulton Hatley and wideout Marquis Gray. Both players top the league in their respective yardage categories, with Hatley being tied for third in the country with 338.3 passing yards per game.
Saturday, fans will see two of the best wide receivers in all of Division II going at it, as Gray of Southeastern is second in the nation with 149 receiving yards per game while Malone is 11th. Both Gray and Malone pose as big-play threats, with each playmaker averaging over 21 yards per reception. Gray had 201 yards on seven receptions against SNU.
Keeping that high-powered offense on the sideline was the key for Southern Nazarene and will have to be the key for Henderson come this Saturday. The Crimson Storm held the ball for 39 minutes and 16 seconds, leaving SE with just 20 minutes and 44 seconds of game action. SNU ran the ball 53 times compared to just 13 passes.
Defensively, Southeastern has failed to hold a team below 34 this points season. Conversely, no team has scored over 30 against Henderson through four games. Saturday will pit strength against weakness for both squads; HSU’s rushing attack versus SE’s rushing defense and the Savage Storm’s passing offense versus the Reddie passing defense.
Southeastern has recorded one kickoff return for a touchdown so far this season when sophomore wide receiver Kaleb Whitley took a kick back 96 yards in the season-opener against Arkansas Tech as part of SE’s double-overtime victory over the Wonder Boys. Whitley is averaging 39.6 yards per return through four games.
THE COACHING MATCHUP
After become the winningest head coach in Henderson State history with 120 wins, Scott Maxfield now has 149 victories in his coaching career. With one more win, Maxfield will reach 150 wins during his coaching tenure. In his 16 seasons at HSU, Maxfield has only ever lost to Southeastern once and has never lost to SE since the formation of the GAC in 2011.
Fourth-year and third-season head coach Tyler Fenwick turned around the Savage Storm football program in two short years. After going 1-10 in his first season in 2019 followed by the Covid-19 canceled season in 2020, Fenwick led SE to a 9-3 record and a postseason victory in the Live United Bowl in 2021.
THE LAST MEETING
Then-No. 13 Henderson St. came to Durant, Oklahoma last year and defeated the Savage Storm in a tightly contested battle between two undefeated teams, 27-24. Southeastern led after first quarter, 7-0, and maintained the advantage until halftime when HSU scored with 38 seconds left in the opening half to take its first lead of the game.
After a go-ahead field goal by former-Reddie Temo Martinez put Henderson ahead 27-24, HSU’s defense held the Storm offense scoreless for the final nine minutes of regulation to come away with the victory. Southeastern was held to 219 passing yards and 91 rushing yards.
Henderson delivered a balanced attack on the offensive side of the ball that September day, recording 195 passing yards and 161 rushing yards. Former-HSU quarterback Adam Morse led the team in rushing with 46 yards while tight end Ayden Shurley led the team in receiving yards with 66 on four catches.
HALL OF HONOR
The 25th Hall of Honor class at Henderson State will be inducted on Friday night at 7 p.m. in the Garrison Center grand ballroom and will be honored at 1:35 p.m. on the field before kickoff on Saturday. The 2022 class features two football standouts on either side of the ball in Garett Manning and Terry Rogers, star centerfielder Tadarious Hawkins, golf legend Matt Jennings, women’s basketball record-holder Dulincia Keener, softball slugger Jeaniel Pati, and basketball great Sam Barker. Receiving special recognition as a part of this year’s Hall of Honor class are former Reddie Golf coach Forrest Schultz, who is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, and former Sports Information Director David Worlock, who was selected as the Willie Tate Humanitarian Award winner.
IMPORTANT GAMEDAY INFORMATION
Several different parking options are available for game day. CADC SCAT buses will be staged at the corner of 12th and Wilson streets two hours prior to kickoff, allowing fans to use the parking lots around Henderson’s main campus. The free shuttles will travel down 12th street and drop fans off in two locations: the front of the Wells Center on M.H. Russell Drive, for those who wish to partake in pregame activities, and at the main gate to Carpenter-Haygood Stadium at GeoSurfaces Field. The shuttles will also run up to an hour after the game ends, allowing fans to board at the main gate as they exit and ride back to their cars on campus.
The two other available public parking lots are the Formby Center lot, located directly in front of the Formby Athletic Complex and next to the Reddie Villas, and the South Wells Center lot, located directly in front of the Duke Wells Center.
For Reddie Club members, Red and Gray reserved lots are located directly behind the main stands and above Clyde Berry Field. These lots require your Reddie Club parking passes. Handicapped parking is also available in the Red and Gray lot directly behind the main stands.
Ticket windows at the stadium open two hours before game time. Tickets can also be purchased digitally at hsusports.com/tickets. For more information on buying tickets online, CLICK HERE. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children. Children five years of age or younger are allowed free admission. All students, faculty or staff with a valid Henderson State ID will be admitted for free, as will children five years old and younger.
WHERE TO LISTEN
The game will be broadcast and available by the Henderson State Sports Network on KDEL 100.9 FM and KVRC 1240 AM in Arkadelphia, KWPS 99.7 FM in Hot Springs, KYXK 106.7 FM in Gurdon, and KZYP 104.1 FM/1310 AM in Malvern. Coverage begins one hour prior to kickoff.
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