Jeff Cali Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Good golly, Mr. Holley.
East Central receiver Caleb Holley, a senior from Anchorage, Alaska, set a school record with 224 receiving yards to help the Tigers pile drive Northwestern 64-14 Saturday afternoon at Norris Field.
ECU climbed back to the .500 mark on the season at 3-3, while the Rangers are still winless at 0-7.
Holley had 10 catches before making an early exit in the third quarter and had three first-half touchdown grabs that helped the Tigers build a 50-7 halftime bulge. He broke the old record for receiving yards in the game of 183 that was set by Dave Davis back in 1969.
Quarterback Spencer Bond had his best game as a Tiger, completing 21-of-30 passes for 418 yards and five touchdowns. The former Madill High School standout had 387 yards by intermission, and that is believed to be a record for passing yards in one half.
The Tigers ended the second quarter by scoring two touchdowns in the final 14 seconds.
Holley scored on a 46-yard TD catch and run with 14 seconds left on the clock. He caught the ball near the 18 yard-line and spun out of a tackle attempt by Northwestern’s Kollin Retter and raced to the end zone.
After ECU’s Daren Campbell plucked a fumble out of the air on Northwestern’s next offensive play, Bond threw a strike to receiver David Moore, who made the grab at the 2 and split two NWOSU defenders to get the touchdown as time expired to give the Tigers their 50-7 lead.
East Central would race to a 30-0 lead on touchdown runs by tailback JoJo Snell of 2 and 9 yards, a 16-yard TD catch by Lindsey Anderson, Trevor Hunt’s 30-yard field goal and Holley’s first TD reception — a nifty 54-yarder. Snell had a productive day for the Tigers, finishing with 123 yards on 17 totes. He also caught three passes for 36 yards.
Northwestern running back Javari Liggins interrupted that ECU scoring spree with a 1-yard TD plunge with just 3:24 left in the second period, but the Tigers would score three more times.
Holley completed a four-play, 64-yard ECU drive with an 11-yard touchdown catch that led to the first half’s wild ending. ECU outscored the visitors 33-7 in the second quarter.
The Rangers got a sign of things to come right off the bat when ECU defensive end Charles Ramsey plastered NWOSU receiver Davontaa Bryant, forcing him to fumble on Northwestern’s opening drive. Carlos Nazario recovered the loose ball for the Tigers, who would take a 14-0 lead at the at the 7:42 mark of the opening quarter.
ECU’s Reuben Tiller out-jumped a Northwestern receiver for an interception on the Rangers’ next offensive series, and that led to Hunt’s field goal and a quick 17-0 Tiger advantage with 2:05 left in the opening frame.
Disaster struck for Northwestern again to open the third quarter. After an opening drive stalled at midfield, ECU’s Chance Carey blocked a punt attempt by Alex Dorrell and Nazario made his second big play of the game when he scooped the ball up and raced 30 yards for another Tiger score that put the hosts on top 57-7 at the 12:28 mark.
Running back Justin Todd, an Ada High graduate, tacked on ECU’s final touchdown of the game, a 1-yard run with just 52 seconds left in the third quarter. That TD was set up by Michael Allen’s 19-yard catch, during which he dove toward the corner of the end zone but was ruled down just before reaching the goal line.
Midway through the third quarter, Northwestern junior lineman Jacob McGuire was injured and had to be carted off on a stretcher. All X-ray results were negative, and he was able to return home just hours after the game ended.
NWOSU backup quarterback L.T. Pfaff — who set all kind of passing records during his prep career at Atoka High School — got some playing time in the fourth quarter and led the Rangers to their final touchdown, completing two passes for 24 yards and adding two keepers for 16 yards.
The Tigers would finish with a whopping 612 yards of total offense in the game. The 64 points is the highest point total for an ECU team since the Tigers defeated Midwestern (Iowa) 75-0 in 1966. ECU also defeated Bacone College 80-0 in 1939.
Coach Tim McCarty’s team travels to Weatherford next Saturday to take on host Southwestern. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.