Fifth-Ranked Reddies Next Up for Tech will have the play-by-play description. With 18 consecutive regular season victories and a No. 5 national ranking to its credit, Henderson State is the reigning power in Great American Conference football. Defending champion of the GAC, Henderson State reached the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the first time in school history in 2012. The Reddies attained their highest-ever national ranking at the NCAA Division II level this week when they moved to No. 5 in the American Football Coaches Association top 25 poll. Henderson State’s 2013 football team is defined by what has thus far been an unstoppable offense. The Reddies lead NCAA Division II in scoring offense (58.5 points per game), total offense (603.3 yards per game) and passing offense (431.8 yards per game). Henderson State has scored 38 or more points in 17 consecutive regular season games. “It’s a total team effort,” said Arkansas Tech head coach Raymond Monica when asked about the Reddies. “They are very good on defense and they do a good job in the kicking game, so that’s all about field position. Offensively, it all starts with their quarterback. He’s a tremendous player, and there’s so much speed at wide receiver and in the backfield. They are good from top to bottom.” Henderson State quarterback Kevin Rodgers was a unanimous choice as the 2012 GAC offensive player of the year. Three separate organizations presented him with All-America honors at the conclusion of his sophomore season. He was also named first team All-NCAA Division II Super Region 3 and he was selected as the GAC male athlete of the year for the 2012-13 academic year. This season, Rodgers leads NCAA Division II in passing (397.7 yards per game). He ranks fourth in the nation in touchdown passes (20) and seventh in completion percentage (.692). Arkansas Tech will face the top-ranked passing offense in the GAC one week after it shut down the second-ranked passing attack in the conference. The Wonder Boys held Southern Arkansas University to seven completions in 27 attempts in the second half last Saturday, including 3-of-17 passing in the fourth quarter, as Arkansas Tech rallied for a 14-13 win over the Muleriders. “Our defensive line did a great job putting pressure on the quarterback, and I feel like we grew up a good bit in the secondary,” said Monica. Saturday will mark the first-ever appearance in the Boomtown Classic for both Henderson State and Arkansas Tech. The annual neutral-site, regular-season game pits two GAC members against each other. SAU, the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Ouachita Baptist University and Harding University have all previously appeared in the Boomtown Classic, which was founded in 2009. “An event like this has meaning beyond our football program,” said Monica. “It’s about the whole university. Anytime we can get our name out there around the state or the country, that’s a good thing. I’m excited about the opportunity.” Arkansas Tech is 44-37-4 all-time against Henderson State. The series dates back to Nov. 16, 1920, when Tech went to Arkadelphia and defeated the Reddies 13-0 behind the exploits of starting quarterback John Tucker. That first meeting between the two programs turned out to be a significant event in Arkansas Tech history. The Arkansas Gazette used the nickname “Wonder Boys” as a proper noun describing the Tech team for the first time in the headline of its post-game article the next day. The moniker stuck, and Arkansas Tech has maintained the nickname ever since.]]>