Lions' Big Plays Doom Wonder Boys

Nationally third-ranked North Alabama used big plays to top the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys 28-0 at Braly Municipal Stadium in Florence, Ala., on Saturday night.

The Lions (5-0 overall, 2-0 GSC) got first-half touchdown passes of 31 and 39 yards from quarterback Lee Chapple to take a 14-0 lead.

A 30-yard interception return for a touchdown by Bryan Thomas with 11:55 left in the third quarter gave UNA some added breathing room at 21-0.

From there, the Lions turned it over to their ground game on offense and a stingy defense for their second consecutive shutout. North Alabama had defeated Lambuth 31-0 the previous week.

UNA’s Wes Holland closed out the scoring on a 12-yard touchdown run with 2:37 to go in the third quarter.

Arkansas Tech (2-3, 1-2) had one last scoring chance in the final minute, but the Wonder Boys were stopped on fourth down at the 1-yard line. The game marked the first time that Arkansas Tech had been shutout since a 30-0 loss against Valdosta State on Nov. 8, 2003.

The disparity on the scoreboard was not reflected in the final statistics. North Alabama finished with a 265-264 edge in total offense and turnovers were even at two apiece. The Wonder Boys ran for 76 yards, more than twice the average allowed by the Lions in their first four games.

Tech quarterback Rico Keller completed 22-of-39 passes for 188 yards. Tavin Davis rushed 21 times for a career-high 67 yards for the Wonder Boys. Roger Jackson made five catches for 67 yards and Jarrod Martin had five receptions for 45 yards.

UNA’s Chapple completed 18-of-31 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns. Holland had 14 carries for 70 yards. Ten different receivers caught passes for the Lions.

Tech’s defense was led by Danny Martin, who had 10 tackles, and Antonio Charles, who made nine tackles and had an interception.

The Wonder Boys will return home to host Ouachita Baptist at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9, at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field.