Extending its football winning streak to four games on Saturday, Nov. 9, might come down to one factor for Arkansas Tech University — containing East Central University running back Ontario Douglas.
“He’s a really explosive kid,” said ATU head coach Kyle Shipp when asked about Douglas. “We’re really going to have to key on him because he can run it and catch it out of the backfield. I think he’s the best running back in the conference. We have to know where he’s at.”
The Wonder Boys (3-6) and the ECU Tigers (1-8) will conduct their 22nd all-time meeting beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday at Norris Field in Ada, Okla. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will provide live coverage.
Douglas will enter the game No. 2 in the Great American Conference in rushing (115.8 yards per game) and No. 1 in the league in all-purpose yards (142.7 per game). His 4.1 receptions per contest are eighth-most among GAC players in 2019.
As a sophomore, Douglas is part of a youth movement under second-year East Central head coach Al Johnson. Five of the Tigers’ eight losses have come by nine points or less.
“(ECU) is young,” said Shipp. “They are probably playing and starting more freshmen than anyone in the conference…maybe in the country. They are dangerous. I try to remind our guys every week that every team we play can beat us. The second we think we can’t take our opponent seriously or focus, we get beat. We’ve seen it happen this year. Our guys are starting to understand that if we do what we’re coached to do, stay focused and play hard, we’ve got a chance to win.”
Arkansas Tech collected its third straight victory by defeating Southeastern Oklahoma State University 38-20 in Russellville last Saturday. The Wonder Boys scored 21 points off turnovers, notched 12 tackles for a loss and made seven quarterback sacks in the win.
“We did a good job of taking care of the football and taking turnovers away,” said Shipp. “We’re starting to play well together. Guys are getting more comfortable and understanding the system better. When you are comfortable, you make more plays. They’re believing in what we’re doing, and that goes a long way.”
Following the ECU road trip, the Wonder Boys will return home to close out the 2019 season with a 2 p.m. contest against Harding University at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville on Saturday, Nov. 16.