By COURTLIN HAYGARTH | HSU Sports Network
ARKADELPHIA — After heading into the locker room ahead 21-13, Henderson State held Arkansas Tech to six second half points as the Reddies left Homecoming weekend with its sixth win of the season, 35-19. The victory secures HSU’s third consecutive winning season and its tenth since the formation of the GAC in 2011.
The Henderson offense delivered a season-high 525 yards of total offense, including 302 through the air as Andrew Edwards completed 19-of-28 passes for 302 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Wide receiver Xavier Malone was responsible for 207 of those as he pulled down 10 catches and two touchdowns, including an 80-yard bomb down the right sideline early in the third quarter.
Korien Burrell tallied 144 rushing yards on 19 carries for 7.6 yards per rush and two touchdowns, marking his first trip to the endzone since the second week of the season. The offensive fireworks showed HSU with a 300+ yard passer, a 200+ yard receiver and a 100+ rusher.
Defensively, Catrell Wallace, off his GAC Defensive Player of the Week nod, blocked a punt on Arkansas Tech’s first series of the game as it was Henderson’s first blocked punt since October of 2021. Jordan Owens led the team with six tackles while Cameron Thomas occupied the secondary by coming up with two pass break-ups, including on a fourth down that gave the ball back to the Reddies late in the fourth quarter to ice the game.
After the blocked punt less than five minutes into the contest, Edwards threw only his third interception of the season deep in ATU territory that Tech returned to the Henderson 46 yard line. The defense held up, holding Tech to a 43-yard field goal to give them the early lead.
A missed field goal on the other end for the Reddies gave ATU the chance to extend its lead again, but HSU forced Tech into its second punt of the game. The 30-yard boot gave Henderson great field position heading into the second quarter. Burrell capitalized on the great starting mark with a two-yard dive off the direct snap to finish the 10-play, 65-yard drive with seven.
Tech’s very next drive saw them retake the lead, 10-7, with seven and a half minutes remaining in the opening 30 minutes before Burrell’s second touchdown of the game, set up by a 37-yard out to redshirt freshman wide out Cameron Jackson, gave the Reddies the lead for the final time. An ATU field goal was met by another Edwards touchdown, this time to Matt Childers, as HSU went into the locker room with the eight point advantage, 21-13.
Henderson started off the second half quick as the first drive of the third showed Malone with his first touchdown grab of the game on a 31-yard deep slant across the middle of the field to put HSU ahead, 28-13. After a couple punts by either side and a fourth-down stop from the Reddies at their own 20 yard line, Edwards connected with Malone on an 80-yard strike to signify the final momentum shift with 3:31 left in the third.
Arkansas Tech was able to score on the next possession, but a missed two-point try kept the deficit at 16 for the Wonder Boys. After forcing what was only HSU’s second punt of the game, Tech’s final ditch effort was thwarted by Thomas’ second pass break-up on a fourth-down play inside Henderson’s 30 as the Reddies were able to run out the final 5:39 on the clock.
Henderson State (6-2) will leave Carpenter-Haygood Stadium for the final time this season when it heads to Bethany, Oklahoma to take on Southern Nazarene Saturday, Oct. 29. Kickoff from the Sooner State is set for 2 p.m.