Three first-half touchdown passes by Northwestern Oklahoma State quarterback Cesar De Leon propelled the Rangers to a 21-0 Great American Conference football victory over Arkansas Tech University at Ranger Field in Alva, Okla., on Saturday afternoon.
De Leon finished 24-of-41 for 238 yards to lead the Rangers (3-4) to their first win over the Wonder Boys (2-5) since Sept. 18, 1993, snapping Tech’s seven-game winning streak in the series.
Two touchdowns in a span of 43 seconds in the opening quarter staked Northwestern Oklahoma State to a lead it never relinquished.
The Rangers first went on a 17-play, 93-yard scoring drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown pass from De Leon to Gavin Garner with 4:07 to go in the opening period.
Zave Goodrich added the extra point and NWOSU led 7-0.
Arkansas Tech lost a fumble on the first play of its ensuing possession, and the Rangers wasted no time cashing in the turnover. The next play was a 23-yard touchdown pass from De Leon to Kentrez Bell, and Goodrich’s extra point extended the margin to 14-0 at the 3:24 mark of the first quarter.
Another short field led to the Rangers’ third touchdown of the opening half. After beginning the five-play drive at the Tech 39-yard line, Northwestern Oklahoma State scored on a 20-yard pass from De Leon to Horatio Smith with 1:11 remaining until halftime.
Goodrich tacked on the extra point to send the Rangers to the locker room with what proved to be their final margin of victory.
The Wonder Boys committed five turnovers, compared to two for NWOSU. ATU was 0-for-3 in red zone scoring opportunities.
KJ Reid made a game-high 14 tackles for the Wonder Boys.
Arkansas Tech will celebrate its 2018 Homecoming by hosting Southwestern Oklahoma State University for a 2 p.m. contest at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville on Saturday, Oct. 20.