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Henderson State runs way
past West Alabama, 30-27

By By Ryan Satcher/staff writer
October 13, 2002
LIVINGSTON, Ala. The Reddies of Henderson State ran, ran and to mix up the University of West Alabama defense ran the ball some more here on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors ran the ball 70 times for a total of 393 yards on a wet field to take a 30-27 win and spoil the Tigers homecoming game.
Quarterback Blake Christenson carried the Henderson State offense with 26 carries for a total of 211 yards. Arthur Bennett had 96 yards on 20 carries for the Reddies.
The Tigers got on the board first in the contest on a field goal by Ben Thoma. The 37-yard field goal capped off a 10-play, 40 yard drive and gave West Alabama an early 3-0 lead.
The Reddies fumbled the ball on their next possession, but the Tigers were unable to capitalize on the mistake and had to punt the ball from the Henderson State 35-yard line.
The punt sailed into the end zone and the Reddies took over the ball at their own 20. They drove the ball down the field and after eight plays Zach Elbert hit a 45-yard field goal to tie the game.
On the first play of the next possession for West Alabama, Kyle Henderson was hit after catching a pass and fumbled. Henderson State fell on the ball at the Tiger 36-yard line. Three plays later, Christenson carried the ball in from seven yards out. The PAT gave the Reddies a 10-3 lead with six seconds left in the first quarter.
The Tigers put together a nice drive in the second quarter. West Alabama took over the ball on its own 16-yard line and drove deep into Henderson State territory. The drive stalled at the Henderson State nine-yard line and the Tigers had to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Thoma to make the score 13-6.
It looked as if the Reddies would take the lead into the half, but the Tigers were able to put a touchdown on the board in their final possession of the half. Brett Gilliland hit Henderson with a 31-yard pass with one second left in the half to give West Alabama a 13-10 lead at the half.
Henderson State came out in the second half and took the momentum of the game back. The Reddies scored on their first two possessions of the half to take back the lead for good.
Henderson State took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards on five plays to score a touchdown. The big play of the drive was a 47-yard run by Christenson. He also finished off the drive with a five-yard run to make the score 17-13 with 12:45 left in the third.
The Reddies added a field goal on its second possession. Elbert hit a 29-yarder with 7 seven minutes left in the quarter to stretch the lead Henderson State lead to 20-13.
The Reddies stretched the lead to 27-13 late in the third quarter. Arthur Bennett carried the ball in from 11 yards out to cap off an 11-play, 53-yard drive.
The Tigers finally came to life in the fourth quarter. Bryant Marlow forced a fumble at the UWA 27 and Melvin Cotton picked up the ball and carried it to the Henderson State 31. Five plays later, Gilliland scored on a one-yard run to cut the lead to 27-20 with 9:40 left to play.
Henderson State continued to run the ball and put together an impressive drive to put three points on the board. More importantly, the Reddies milked the clock. Elbert hit a 37-yard field 8:50 seconds after Henderson State took over possession of the ball.
The Reddies kicked short on the kickoff and the Tigers took over the ball at the HSU 49. Three plays later Gilliland hit Bakari Bryant on a 16-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 30-27.
The onside kick was recovered by HSU and it ran the clock out to take the three-point victory.
The disappointing loss drops the Tigers to 3-3 on the year and 1-3 in Gulf South Conference play. The Reddies move to 2-4 and 2-2 on the season. UWA will host West Georgia at 1 p.m. next Saturday.