In the final home game of the 2015 season, the East Central University football team picked up a 21-18 win over Arkansas-Monticello in the annual homecoming game at Koi Ishto Stadium.
The Tigers (6-3, 6-3 GAC) saw a standout game by junior Seth Handley, who rushed for a season-high 190 yards. He had a few long runs, including a game-high 53 yard rush in his 27 attempts. Handley finished the game with 190 of the teams 194 rushing yards for the game.
Senior Rocky Moore went 18-of-25 for 221 yards and threw two passing touchdowns, with freshman Trinity Benson earning the most rushing yards at 43. Benson was one of eight ECU players with 20 or more rushing yards for the game.
"I was very pleased with Seth Handley's performance today," said head coach Tim McCarty. "He is a tough, conscious runner and you can tell that playing means something to him."
Seniors Spencer Bond and Jameel Whitney led the defense with 11 total tackles each, while Whitney earned a sack for 10 yards. Senior Karmah Yates and sophomore Rodrick Moore also recorded a sack each, with Yates earning six yards and Rodrick Moore 12.
Senior Jamal Hall started the scoring for the Tigers earning a 17-yard rushing touchdown, with 9:24 left in the first quarter for the 7-0 lead.
The Boll Weevils (1-8, 1-8 GAC) responded right after the start of the second quarter (14:49) with a 24-yard field goal to cut the deficit to four (7-3).
Both teams then picked up the defense the rest of the half and went into the locker room with ECU leading 7-3.
The Tigers came out strong in the third quarter, with senior Juwan Dotson bringing in a six-yard touchdown pass, with 12:21 left in the third quarter for a 14-3 advantage.
ECU pushed the lead out to 21-3 with 13:58 left in the fourth quarter when junior Drevon Kaywaykla caught a 10-yard TD pass.
It looked like ECU would take the 13-point win, but UAM started to fight back in the fourth quarter. With 5:27 left, the Boll Weevils cut the deficit to 10 with a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
The Tigers then ran off two minutes with their next possession that resulted in a punt.
UAM followed with a touchdown in less than a minute to cut the deficit to three (21-18), with 2:21 left on the clock.
ECU then just had to run down the clock, but after two rushing plays with yardage losses and an incomplete pass they were forced to punt and had only run off 19 seconds, with 2:01 left to play.
That is when the Tigers defense kicked up a notch. The Boll Weevils were forced to throw and despite getting three first downs, they threw three incomplete passes and then Whitney picked up his key sack for 10 yards to force a 51-yard field goal attempt that was short.
"It was an enormous play by Jameel Whitney," commented McCarty. "The sack ended up being the difference because I wasn't sure of the range on their kicker and it looked just about five yards short to me, so his 10-yard sack was huge."
That drive left just six seconds on the clock, which allowed ECU to take a knee for the final play and the 21-18 win.
"It was a highly charged game and very emotions and I give UAM credit for fighting their way back into the game," McCarty said. "I look at our side too and we are still fighting complacency. You have to play the full 60 minutes every game and we left 10 minutes on the field today."
The Tigers will now wrap up the 2015 season on the road, starting with a game at Southern Arkansas, Saturday, Nov. 7 at 2 p.m.