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Wonder Boys Fall in Football Season Finale

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Nationally fifth-ranked Harding University completed the first undefeated football regular season in school history with a 42-7 Great American Conference win over Arkansas Tech University at First Security Stadium in Searcy on Saturday afternoon.

The Bisons (11-0) had already clinched the GAC championship outright before Saturday. Their win over the Wonder Boys likely assured Harding of the opportunity to host a first-round game in the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

Despite the loss, Arkansas Tech (6-5) finished its 2016 season with a winning record. Combined with a 9-3 record in 2015, it marks the first time in a decade the Wonder Boys have assembled back-to-back winning seasons.

Quarterback Park Parish carried 15 times for 134 yards and three touchdowns for the Bisons on Saturday. He had a 28-yard touchdown run with 3:19 to go in the first quarter, a 1-yard touchdown run at the 6:06 mark of the second quarter and a 64-yard touchdown scamper with 3:21 remaining until halftime to give Harding a 21-0 lead.

Daylon Markham sent the Bisons to the intermission with a 28-0 lead behind his 45-yard interception return for a touchdown with 19 seconds left in the second quarter.

Harding added a 15-yard touchdown run by Michael Latu and a 6-yard touchdown run by Brandon Gates in the fourth quarter.

Arkansas Tech avoided the shutout when Bruce Livingston recovered a Bisons' fumble and ran it into the end zone from four yards out with 27 seconds remaining. Livingston had 10 tackles and two forced fumbles.

The Bisons, owners of the No. 1-ranked rushing offense in NCAA Division II, rushed for 425 yards on Saturday. Harding's defense, ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II in scoring defense, forced five turnovers and limited the Wonder Boys to 85 yards of total offense.

Saturday's game marked the final career contest for 17 Arkansas Tech seniors --- Greg Abrams of Lakeland, Fla., Nick Akins of Mesquite, Texas, Seth Culp of Temple, Texas, D’Vonta Derricott of Richmond, Va., Michael Fine of Springdale, Tim Finley of Augusta, Demetris Ford of Magnolia, Lovis Hall of Carthage, Texas, Bo Harper of Monroe, La., Bruce Livingston of Bradenton, Fla., Trey Martin of Hot Springs, Quincy Peyton of Mesquite, Texas, Matthew Shade of Mineola, Texas, Ian Shuttleworth of Bryant, Luke Starks of Bigelow, Christian Van Buren of Pineville, La., and Henry Wesley of Winnsboro, La.