ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – There was lots of late drama during the 93rd Battle of the Ravine at Cliff Harris Stadium.
An estimated 12,000 fans witnessed two touchdowns in the final 1:44 Saturday afternoon. Senior Brockton Brown scored from two yards with 35 seconds left, giving fifth-ranked and unbeaten Ouachita Baptist University its third straight Great American Conference football title with a 24-21 win over rival Henderson State.
Henderson appeared headed for the NCAA Division II playoffs when Querale Hall scored to the Reddies on top, 21-17.
It now looks like Ouachita Baptist and Harding will represent the GAC in the playoffs. Henderson is likely headed for the Live United Bowl in Texakana.
The Tigers also take a lead in the 124-year-old series with the win, OBU’s 27th consecutive GAC victory since 2017.
“I was smiling, walking up and down the sideline hollering encouragement because everyone was stressed out. I said guys, ‘This is the way I want to win this game.We’re a championship team, and I don’t want to win it any other way,”‘ said Brown, who now has 22 touchdowns this season.
“It was a big game, a tough situation, and we did it. I think our first touchdown at the end of the first half set the stage. We bumped shoulders, stayed together, and went down the field.”
OBU quarterback Brayden Brazeal ran for nine yards, then completed a 32-yard pass to Justin Dean to ignite the Tigers’ dramatic comeback. Allie Freeman’s seventh reception had OBU first-and-goal, and three plays later Brown scored from the wildcat formation.
Freeman’s spectacular 25-yard catch with 32 seconds left in the first half cut Henderson’s 14-0 lead in half.
Henderson had early 14-0 lead in battle
The Reddies (9-2) dominated the first 25 minutes of action, scoring two touchdowns on 1-yard plunges by Logan Moragne. HSU drove 75 yards in six plays for the game’s first points. An interception late in the first quarter had the Reddies setting up shop at the OBU 25.
Henderson drove from its 15 to the Tigers’ 22, but quarterback Richard Stammetti was intercepted.
OBU took the second half kickoff and marched 45 yards in nine plays to tie the score. Brazeal ran six yards up the middle, diving the final six feet for the six points.
The Tigers claimed their first lead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Texarkana sophomore T.J. Cole slipped out of the backfield for a 29-yard reception on a third down play. That set up a 36-yard field goal by Gabe Goodman with 11:40 left to play.
Brazeal netted 33 yards on the ground despite being sacked three times. He completed 18 of 25 passes for 223 yards. Shun’cee Thomas had 46 yards on the ground for OBU, with Cole adding 27 on six totes.
Henderson’s Hall was the game’s leading rusher with 76 yards on 14 carries. Stammetti completed 12 of his 19 passes for 189 yards. His favorite target was L’liott Cury, with six catches for 83 yards.