DURANT, Okla. — Southeastern Oklahoma State fought 16th-ranked Harding to a half-time tie, but was hit with 21 unanswered points in the second half of a 35-14 loss in Great American Conference action at Paul Laird Field.
“I’m proud of the way our kids battled and that’s what I told them. With the situation we’re in with the record we have,” Storm head coach Tyler Fenwick said. “With the tough losses that we’ve had, our kids are fighting and battling and I think that’s a sign for a really good future. The foundation is good. The kids know how to fight and I’m proud of them for that.”
Southeastern (1-9, 1-9), which has lost eight straight going into its final contest at home against rival East Central at 2 p.m. on Saturday, had 147 yards through the air and 133 on the ground.
Daulton Hatley completed 15-of-29 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. Katrell Blakely was his top target with five catches for 43 yards while Braxton Kincade hauled in three for 35 yards and a score and Duce Pittman chipped in three for 36 yards.
Rashod Polk finished with 63 yards on nine carries and Ryan Taylor added 40 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Southeastern held the advantage in the time of possession at 30:19 thanks to two drives that lasted more than five minutes, including a 7:33 scoring drive in the first half.
A trio of Storm defenders finished with double-digit tackles as Conner Swope and Kalim Baldwin posted 13 tackles each and Josh Mulumba made 11 stops. Jonathan Torres also added a sack on Harding’s only passing attempt of the day as the defense held the Bisons to no passing yards.
Harding forced Southeastern to a three-and-out to open the game and then marched 72 yards in six plays for a Tristan Tucker 10-yard touchdown run to take the early 7-0 lead.
Both teams followed with fruitless drives before the Storm put together a seven-play, 51-yard drive that ended with a 19 yard Hatley-to-Kincade TD strike to knot the game at seven with 3:26 to go in the first quarter.
Harding answered on its ensuing drive, scoring on the first play of the second quarter with a Taylor Bissell 32-yard run to take a 14-7 lead.
But again Southeastern found an answer with a drive of 14 plays that covered 76 yards and took 7:33 with Taylor scoring on a two-yard run to knot the game at 14.
Harding opened the second half by going 71 yards in eight plays to take a 21-14 lead at the 11:11 mark of the third quarter.
After a three-and-out the Storm defense recovered a fumble and burned 5:21 off the clock on the ensuing drive but a Pablo Tarango field goal missed the mark and the Storm remained behind by a touchdown.
Preston Paden tacked on a 38-yard touchdown run to open the fourth quarter and Bissel’s 10-yard TD run with 6:58 to play to fashion the final score.