- Ada, Oklahoma

November 1, 2013

East Central Football Notebook

Ada — The Game: The East Central University football team is at home for the final time of the 2013 season at Norris Field at 2 p.m. Saturday against Arkansas Tech. The game will be packed full of extra honors, as it is the annual Senior Day and Chickasaw Nation Appreciation Day. Also, the 1963 football team will be honored at halftime.

Senior Day: Saturday's game is the annual Senior Day, where ECU is honoring its 20 seniors: 1-George Robbins, 6-LaQuan Harper, 8-Caleb Holley, 10-Reuben Tiller, 11-Lindsey Anderson, 18-Austin Crisler, 25-Fred Gaines, 27-Justin Todd, 31-Terrence Holloman, 51-Antoine Peek, 56-Lamares Shields, 58-Ken Berry, 65-Stephen Mapp, 67-Bryant Newell, 74-J.J. Farrell, 77-Talon Starkey, 86-Cody Nall, 91-Charles Ramsey, 93-Alex King and equipment manager Wendell Reese.

Tigers of 1963: The ECU athletic department will be honoring the 1963 football team at halftime against Arkansas Tech. The 1963 team was the first integrated football team at ECU, and it laid the ground work for five straight Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference Championships.

Chickasaw Nation Appreciation Day: Saturday’s game is also Chickasaw Nation Appreciation Day, with Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby scheduled to do the coin toss. Anyone with a Chickasaw Nation ID or work badge will receive free admission. 

Scouting Arkansas Tech: The Wonder Boys are 3-4 overall and 3-3 in the GAC after dropping a 34-24 decision to Ouachita Baptist in their last outing.

ATU has had close games all season, averaging 23.8 points per game and allowing 26.9. The Wonder Boys seem to set up their scoring drives on the pass and then finish them off on the rush. ATU has 1,672 yards passing to 1,054 rushing this season, but the Wonder Boys have scored 15 rushing TDs and just seven passing. The Wonder Boys are 168-of-268 passing on the year and have thrown nine interceptions. However, they have also intercepted 11 passes for 217 yards. ATU has a strong defense against the rush at 1,248 yards allowed rushing and 1,799 passing on the season.

Ketrich Harmon is the top rusher for the Wonder Boys, with 582 yards on 80 attempts. He has four TDs, and the next player on the rushing list has just 158 yards. ATU is not expected to start their regular starting quarterback, Luke Halpin (1,4790 yards, seven TDs), who was injured last week against Ouachita Baptist.  Preston Conder will likely get the nod instead. He has seen action in five games this season and is 17-of-36 for 202 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. The top receivers for ATU quarterbacks are John Simpson and Jonathan Keener. Simpson has three TDs with 216 yards, while Keener has 176 yards but has yet to score.

Linebacker Logan Genz is at the top of the defensive charts for the Wonder Boys. Genz has 82 (39-43) total tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, two interceptions, four break-ups, six passes defended and one forced fumble.

Against the Wonder Boys:  After leading for most of the game, ECU earned a 33-30 win over Arkansas Tech at Thone Stadium on a 27-yard field goal from senior Brian Gonzalez in the last meeting on Nov. 3, 2012.

Spencer Bond was 16-of-26 on the day; he threw one TD and added two rushing touchdowns of his own. Caleb Holley caught the receiving TD for the Tigers and had three catches for 66 yards.

ECU garnered a total of 493 yards of offense to the Wonder Boys' 403, with the big difference coming on the rushing game. The Tigers rushed for a combined 268 yards to ATU’s 168.

The Series: The Tigers and the Wonder Boys have only played each other on 12 previous occasions, with ECU holding a 9-3 lead in the all-time series. The Tigers won the last two games, both being contested on the road. The first meeting was in 1930, when the Tigers claimed a 6-0 win.

Coach Raymond Monica: The new Wonder Boys head coach spent the last seven seasons as the head coach at Kutztown University in Kutztown, Pa., leading the Golden Bears to a cumulative overall record of 45-34, two NCAA Division II Playoffs appearances (2010 and 2011) and their first Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference championship (2011).

In addition, Kutztown achieved its highest national ranking ever (No. 6 in 2011) and established a new record for most wins in a single season in the 97-year history of the program (11 in 2011) under Monica's leadership. 

Monica was named PSAC and NCAA Division II Super Region 1 coach of the year in 2010 and 2011.

Perhaps the most extraordinary accomplishment of Monica's coaching career thus far came in 2011, when he helped Kutztown end a 60-year wait for its first PSAC championship in football.

Monica was hailed by Sports Illustrated in 2003 as one of college football's seven "Wise Guides." The article described him as "the best in the nation at getting ordinary players to do extraordinary things."

King of Defense: The awards keep rolling in for ECU senior Alex King after he had one of the best games of his career at Southwestern Oklahoma State (Oct. 26). After earning Great American Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors, he has now been named the Defensive Player of the Week.

King registered a career game in the Tigers’ 24-21 win against SWOSU. He set a GAC single-game record with 5.5 tackles-for-loss. He made more tackles (14) in the game than he had a season ago (13). He registered a pair of sacks and forced a fourth-quarter fumble with SWOSU driving at the five-yard line to save a touchdown. His 5.5 tackles for loss ranks him tied for third in the NCAA for TFL in a single game.

Campbell the Turnover King: During last week’s narrow 24-21 road win over Southwestern, ECU was the benefactor of five SWOSU turnovers. The Tigers recovered three fumbles (two by Daren Campbell and one by Cole Weber) and picked off two passes (one by Campbell and one by Reuben Tiller).

Up Next: The Tigers will prepare for their final two games of the 2013 season on the road. ECU will first have a strong test at Harding, which is ranked No. 2 in the GAC standings. Game time is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, in Searcy, Ark.