Wonder Boys, Reddies Clash Saturday Night

Two football programs that are accustomed to winning will try to avoid an 0-2 start to the 2018 season when Arkansas Tech University hosts Henderson State University in Great American Conference action on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville.

Game tickets ($10 adults/$5 students and senior citizens) will be available at the stadium ticket office on game day. Those with a valid ATU identification card will be admitted free of charge.

Arkansas Tech (0-1) opened its season in Magnolia on Aug. 30 with a 38-0 loss at Southern Arkansas University. That same evening, 74 miles to the north in Arkadelphia, Henderson State (0-1) suffered a 41-17 home loss to Harding University.

The Wonder Boys have posted three consecutive winning seasons and earned post-game bowl invitations two of the last three years. The Reddies have posted eight consecutive winning seasons and were GAC champions in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

Fast starts have been part of the formula for success for both programs. Henderson State has not started a season 0-2 since 2009. The last time Arkansas Tech opened a season with back-to-back losses was 1996. One of those streaks will end on Saturday night.

“The team that’s going to protect the football and have the fewest penalties is going to have a great chance to win,” said Raymond Monica, ATU head coach. “You have to have the right fundamentals and be in the right place to force turnovers. Some people do a good job tackling and stripping the football all in the same motion. Trying to force turnovers is a big part of the game.”

The Wonder Boys applied that philosophy to great effect in a 26-3 win at Henderson State last season. Tech forced four Reddie turnovers, including three interceptions by ATU defensive back Cua’ Rose. He tied a 95-year old school record for most interceptions in a single game while helping the Wonder Boys earn their first win over Henderson State since 2009.

Live coverage on Saturday will be provided by KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com.