Alva Review-Courier -

Fumbles Prove Costly as No. 7 Harding Powers Past Henderson State in 2018 Season Opener


August 31, 2018

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. — Henderson State racked up 324 yards of total offense on Thursday night, but No. 7 Harding scored 21 points off of three Reddie fumbles and pulled away to win the season opener for both teams, 41-17. The win is Harding's third-consecutive victory at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium and Ruggles Field, and snaps Henderson's nine-game winning streak in opening games.

The Bisons got off to a quick start, and used a 25-yard field goal and an 11-yard scoop and score on a Reddie fumble from cornerback Frank Herbert to jump out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

Henderson answered early in the second with a five-play, 57-yard scoring drive, capped off by a 26-yard strike from junior quarterback Richard Stammetti to sophomore receiver Chase Lodree. The score was the first of both player's careers and made it 10-7, but Harding responded with a 90-yard touchdown drive of its own on the next possession to extend its lead to 17-7. Another Reddie fumble on a strip sack of Stammetti minutes later gave the Bisons the ball back deep in Henderson territory, and they again took advantage, as Preston Paden powered in from a yard out to make it 24-7 at the half.

The Reddies put together a scoring drive to start the third, as freshman kicker Temo Martinez nailed a 32-yard field goal on the first attempt of his college career to make it 24-10. A Bisons' fumble on their ensuing possession was recovered by sophomore cornerback Antonio Franklin at the Harding 30-yard line and gave Henderson momentum, but the Reddies failed to capitalize, and went just six yards in five plays before turning the ball over on downs.

The big fourth down stop swung the momentum back to Harding, who got a 29-yard field goal, followed by a 36-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth, to seize a 34-10 advantage with less than a quarter to play. Henderson showed fight, as Stammetti hooked up with Lodree for their second touchdown of the game on a beautiful 9-yard fade with 12:08 left to go, but again the Bisons responded, this time with a 7-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, which pushed their lead out to 41-17 and put the game on ice.

Stammetti was steady in his debut for Henderson under center, and finished 21-of-33 for 234 yards and two touchdowns, while completing passes to eight different receivers. Lodree caught three passes for 48 yards and two scores, and junior running back Logan Moragne carried the ball 15 times for 77 yards on the night. Mercardo Anderson and Cameron Sonnier led the Reddies' defensive efforts, as both finished with eight tackles and a tackle for loss.

Henderson was out-gained on the ground 307-90 in the loss. Harding defensive end T.J. Winslow loomed large in the outcome, and had three sacks and two forced fumbles to lead the way for the Bisons.

The Reddies return to action on Saturday, Sept. 8, when they travel to Russellville, Arkansas, to take on Arkansas Tech at 6 p.m.


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