Grounded: Big fourth quarter lifts Harding past Savage Storm
By Zach Maxwell Sports Reporter
A dismal ground game doomed the Savage Storm, who amassed just 24 rushing yards in a 42-10 home loss to the Harding Bison on Saturday.
The Bison, the top-ranked rushing team in Division II, chewed up 274 yards on the ground. But nobody on either team outside of the quarterbacks surpassed 100 yards.
Southeastern (2-7 on the year and 2-6 in GAC play) got 282 yards passing. Nick Sioson was 21-of-35 with 199 yards but was sacked five times.
Backup QB C.B. Cantwell was 5-for-10 in fourth quarter action with 46 yards, and Kaymon Farmer had an option pass good for 37 yards to Anthony Gale in the third quarter.
Gale had the Storm’s only TD of the afternoon as time expired in the first half. The 83-yard drive began with an INT for Eric Walker and continued on pass hook-ups from Sision to Gale and Chad Laury before the score.
Harding (6-2) struggled early but led 7-0 after one quarter and 14-0 early in the second before Gale’s TD cut the lead to 14-7.
Trailing 21-7 late in the third, Gale’s goal-line catch from Farmer had the Storm threatening to close the gap. But SE had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Chris Peoples and Harding took a 21-10 lead into the fourth quarter.
Peoples set a perfect 65-yard kickoff into the Bison end zone, but Harding’s Donatella Luckett evaded Storm defenders for a 61-yard return.
Harding went on a 21-point streak in the fourth quarter to push the game out of reach. Mistakes piled up on the Savage Storm, including an interception and a fumbled punt which put the Bison in scoring position for their final strike.
Leading receivers for the Savage Storm were Anthony Foster (7 for 87 yards), K. Farmer (6 for 51), A. Gale (5 for 74) and Xavier Smith (3 for 32). Top rushers were Devlon Wortham (8 for 43 yards) and Nelson Akinwande (6 for 17).
Sioson lost 26 yards on sacks to drive down the Storm’s net ground yardage to just two dozen. The overall gain was just 70 yards to 274 for Harding.
Derek Ogg led the Storm defense with 12 tackles and Malique Earl had 11. Daniel Riley of Harding had three of the team’s six QB sacks. Durant native Cordell Zalenski - in his sophomore year at Harding - had two tackles for the Bison defense.
The Savage Storm are in the midst of their fourth straight losing season and will not improve on last year’s 4-6 mark. SE travels to Arkansas Tech (4-5, 4-4) this Saturday. The final game of the season will be on Nov. 16 against ECU at Paul Laird Field.
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