East Central to battle SOSU in Durant Saturday

Richard R. Barron/The Ada NewsEast Central quarterback RayJohn Austin-Ramsey hands the ball off to freshman running back Orlando Douglas earlier this season. Douglas enters Saturday’s Great American Conference showdown with rival Southeastern with 999 rushing yards.

The East Central University football team will play its final game of the 2017 season against archrival Southeastern on Saturday afternoon.

Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Paul Laird Field in Durant.

Both teams have had their fair share of struggles this season. The Tigers enter the game at 2-8 on the year, while the Savage Storm stands at 6-4 but is riding a four-game losing streak after winning six straight to start the season.


The series

The all-time series with the Savage Storm dates back to 1909, with the Tigers trailing 48-46-6 overall after dropping the last three meetings. The series is currently knotted at 11-11 when the Tigers are on the road.


Last Meeting

ECU was on the wrong side of a 34-27 decision to Southeastern Oklahoma in the final game of the 2016 season played at Norris Field.

It was the 100th meeting between the two storied programs.

The Tigers had plenty of offensive firepower on this day, compiling 422 total yards. However, they didn’t have an answer for Southeastern’s super-efficient, balanced offense. The Savage Storm rushed for 234 yards, and quarterback CB Cantwell completed 21-of-23 passes (a school record for completion percentage at 91.3 percent) for 210 yards. SOSU won time of possession, 34:31 to 25:29.

The Tigers never led in the contest, but they stayed on the Savage Storm’s heels throughout.

East Central kicker Jarod Haynes booted a 37-yard field goal with 2:59 left in the game to get ECU within a touchdown at 34-27.

Ty Miller recovered an onside kick for SOSU, but the Tiger defense forced Southeastern’s second punt of the game — a pooch kick by Cantwell. The Tigers had one last gasp of hope, getting the ball at their own 15.

ECU quarterback Brooks Holder gained one first down with a 10-yard scramble, but he followed that with four straight incomplete passes that ended any hopes of a last-second rally.

Camnik Campbell set a new single-season total tackles record after recording 17 (11-6) in the game. Campbell ended the season with 125 total tackles (53-72), breaking the record of 113 set by Jameel Whitney a season ago.

Holder had a solid game at quarterback for ECU, completing 23-of-35 passes for 311 yards with one touchdown. Tailback Xavier Scott rushed for 48 yards on 11 carries.


Douglas eyes 1,000

Freshman Ontario Douglas is set to break the 1,000 rushing yards mark in the final game of the year. Douglas is sitting at 999 rushing yards, which is the most in a single season by an ECU players since 2014 when JoJo Snell recorded 790 yards rushing.


Scouting Southeastern

• During the Savage Storm’s last three losses — to Southern Arkansas, Harding and Arkansas Tech — they have been outscored 146-32.

• Freshman Rashod Polk leads the Southeastern rushing attack with 122 carries for 643 yards and six touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Austin Skinner has completed 95-of-197 passes for 1,180 with six touchdowns and five interceptions. SOSU’s top receiver is freshman Jaylen Sims with 40 catches for 564 yards and three scores.

• Defensive leaders for the Savage Storm include freshman Hunter Powell with 78 tackles (4.0 for loss), one interception and two PBUs. Senior Justin Young has logged 72 tackles (5.0 for loss), two interceptions and one quarterback sack.

Note: East Central sports information director Teri LaJeunesse contributed to this report.

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Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.