PHOTO | Tara Espinoza
Two weeks are in the books for Wonder Boys football, and the team won one of their first two games for the first time since their 2017 United Bowl season, where they finished 8-4. Head Coach Kyle Shipp picked up his first ever win in September after Arkansas Tech defeated East Central 35-13 last Saturday.
There was a lot of good coming from Saturday’s performance, along with a much-needed win after a heartbreaking two-overtime loss at Southeastern Oklahoma to open the 2022 campaign. A few things could also be fixed before week three’s matchup against nationally ranked Ouachita Baptist.
The offensive attack was relatively even, with the ground game narrowly leading the way. Tech picked up 165 yards rushing, averaged nearly five yards per carrying, and had just three of their 34 attempts go for negative yardage. The Wonder Boys won the turnover battle three to two thanks to two interceptions by the defense.
The team was much more disciplined in the East Central win, with five fewer penalties than the loss to Southeastern Oklahoma. The Tech defense kept East Central and quarterback Kenny Hrncir on their toes with three sacks, allowing only 2.9 yards per carrying in the ground game.
The Wonder Boys put the game away with three consecutive touchdowns in their final five drives after leading 14-3 at the half.
Even though Tech came out on top, there is still room for improvement ahead of their game on Saturday against Ouachita Baptist. The Wonder Boys were just 2-10 on third down, with eight being 3rd and 7 or longer. The key for their matchup on Saturday is limiting 3rd and long situations.
Ball security has also been an issue for the Arkansas Tech offense, with three lost fumbles through the first two games, including one that ended the game against Southeastern Oklahoma.
If Tech is able to limit long 3rd downs and hold onto the football on runs, they should be in a position to defeat Ouachita; something Tech has not done since 2016.