Last-Minute TD Lifts SWOSU Over Tech

Dustin Stenta’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Ross Lane with 28 seconds remaining gave the Southwestern Oklahoma State Bulldogs a 23-20 Great American Conference victory over the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys at Fast Lane Field in Weatherford, Okla., on Saturday.

The game-winning touchdown was set up by a Clarence Laster interception with 2:32 remaining in the fourth quarter. Laster returned his GAC-leading seventh interception of the season to the Arkansas Tech 32-yard line.

Six plays later on fourth-and-goal from the 2, Stenta’s second touchdown pass of the day was the game winner for the Bulldogs (5-5 overall, 3-4 GAC).

Arkansas Tech closed out its 2011 football season with an overall record of 2-8 and a GAC mark of 1-4.

Stenta completed 15-of-28 passes for 140 yards. He also ran eight times for 97 yards. D.C. Walker carried 26 times for 103 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs.

Laster, who also leads the conference in tackles, made nine stops for the SWOSU defense.

Tech’s Casey Henderson carried 26 times for a career-high 141 yards and two touchdowns.

Cody Jones made his second start of the season at quarterback for the Wonder Boys. He completed 11-of-22 passes for 126 yards in wind gusts that were measured as high as 39 miles per hour.

Myron Johnson paced the Arkansas Tech defense with nine tackles.

Southwestern Oklahoma State took a 7-0 lead on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Stenta to Eric Charles with 14:10 left in the second quarter, but Arkansas Tech scored the final 13 points of the opening half.

First came a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Roger Jackson at the 6:04 mark of the second quarter. The point after touchdown kick was no good, leaving SWOSU with a 7-6 lead.

The Wonder Boys took their first lead less than four minutes later when Henderson scored on a 6-yard touchdown run. Hayden Severs was successful on the first extra point try of his career and Tech led 13-7 with 2:20 to go in the half.

Both of Arkansas Tech’s first-half touchdown drives began in Bulldog territory after short SWOSU punts into the wind.

Despite having the wind in their face again to begin the second half, the Bulldogs drove 80 yards in nine plays for a tying touchdown. Walker covered the final seven yards with a touchdown run to tie the score at 13-13 with 10:33 left in the third period. The extra point was wide left.

Henderson put the Wonder Boys back in front with a 1-yard touchdown plunge at the 4:53 mark of the third quarter. The go-ahead touchdown was set up by an interception by Joe Means (photographed). Severs’ extra point made it 20-13.

Colton Rainey’s longest field goal of the season — a 39-yard boot with 12:31 to go in the fourth quarter — cut the Arkansas Tech advantage to 20-16.

The Wonder Boys maintained that lead until the final seconds. Even after Laster’s interception, Arkansas Tech’s defense stuffed three consecutive running plays from the 1-yard line to keep hopes of a season-ending win alive.

But on fourth-and-goal from the 2, Stenta faked the hand-off to Walker, rolled right and tossed the football to Lane in the right side of the end zone. It was only Lane’s third reception of the season and the first touchdown catch of his senior year.

Arkansas Tech concludes its 97th football season with 526 all-time wins, 10th-most in NCAA Division II history. The Wonder Boys will play a complete GAC schedule for the first time in 2012.

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