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Senior Day: Wonder Boys Host ECU Saturday

Fifteen Arkansas Tech University senior football players will play the final home game of their collegiate careers on Saturday, Nov. 3, when the Wonder Boys host the East Central University Tigers in Great American Conference action.

Fifteen Arkansas Tech University senior football players will play the final home game of their collegiate careers on Saturday, Nov. 3, when the Wonder Boys host the East Central University Tigers in Great American Conference action. 
 
Kickoff for the Wonder Boys (5-4 overall, 3-3 GAC) and the Tigers (4-5, 2-4) at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville is set for 2 p.m.

Party at the Plaza, the pre-game tailgating celebration outside the stadium on Centennial Plaza, will begin at noon.
 
Tickets will be available at the gate. Those with a valid Arkansas Tech identification card will be admitted free of charge.

It will be Local Heroes Day at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field. Active and retired military personnel, police officers, fire department personnel, emergency medical technicians and Pope County 911 employees can gain discounted admission of $5 per person for them and their families at the stadium ticket office.

Arkansas Tech will honor the following senior football players, listed with their position and hometown, during a pre-game ceremony:

*Shedrick Austin, defensive back, Crossett;
*Dwight Brooks, wide receiver, Clarendon;
*Roland Dampeer, defensive end, Mendenhall, Miss.;
*Justin Daniels, offensive lineman, Blytheville;
*Will Farley, defensive back, Rossville, Tenn.;
*Darrell Freeman, wide receiver, Arkansas City, Kan.;
*J.C. Haigwood, linebacker, Marshall, Texas;
*Donnell Jones, defensive back, Leavenworth, Kan.;
*Tyler Kell, offensive lineman, Nashville; 
*Tavadrick Lee, running back, Clarendon;
*Tanner Marsh, quarterback, Carrollton, Texas;
*Justin Moss, offensive lineman, Pontotoc, Miss.;
*Courtney Rockwell, defensive back, Texarkana, Texas;
*Josh Wilson, linebacker, West Memphis;
*Codey Zickefoose, linebacker, Glenpool, Okla.

“The word resiliency is part of this group’s character,” said Arkansas Tech head coach Steve Mullins when asked about his seniors. “Everybody in this class is on track to graduate. In fact, half of this group will graduate in December. We are very proud about that. If we can win this Saturday, they will be known as the group that got our program back on track with a winning record.”

East Central stopped a two-game losing skid with a 37-27 home win over then nationally 20th-ranked Ouachita Baptist last Saturday. ECU forced four turnovers and did not commit any as it displayed the form that caused GAC coaches to pick the Tigers to finish tied for second in the league race this season.

Defense is East Central’s strength. The Tigers lead NCAA Division II in turnovers forced (33) and they rank ninth in the nation in quarterback sacks (3.22 per game).

Among the Tigers’ top defensive players are Tyler McGrew and Jason Catchings. McGrew ranks fourth in the GAC in tackles (8.8 per game) and is the reigning Great American Conference defensive player of the week. Catchings has 10.5 tackles for a loss in 2012, which is tied for seventh-most in the conference.

“East Central will be one of the biggest and strongest teams we have seen all season long,” said Mullins. “Jason Catchings is a great player. It seems like he lines up at all 11 positions at one time or another during the game. He was an All-American last year, and he’s on pace to be that again this year.”

Running back Titus Mobley is the Tigers’ top offensive weapon. He ranks eighth in the GAC in rushing (62.9 yards per game).

ECU defeated Arkansas Tech 31-16 in Russellville last season. Mobley carried 19 times for 122 yards and a touchdown and Catchings made nine tackles to lead ECU to victory.

East Central has won six of its last seven meetings with the Wonder Boys, and the Tigers lead the all-time series 8-6.

Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will have the broadcast of the Tech-ECU game. Access an Internet stream of the broadcast.

After hosting East Central, Arkansas Tech will conclude its 2012 football season with a Nov. 10 game at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.

Learn more about Wonder Boys football.

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