The University of Arkansas at Monticello football team was taken down by Great American Conference member Arkansas Tech in a closely contested match-up on the road in Russellville. The final score was 38-31.
The Weevils (1-2, 1-2 GAC) struck first in this contest after a 26-yard field goal by Josh Marini gave UAM an early 3-0 advantage. Arkansas Tech (2-1, 2-1 GAC) answered quickly with a field goal of its own along with a rushing touchdown by the Wonder Boys near the end of the opening quarter.
ATU continued controlling the pace in the second quarter and held a 17-10 lead over the visiting Weevils at the half. The third quarter saw each team answering one another throughout, as UAM was able to intercept a pass and return it to the end-zone for a touchdown to tie the game up, but the Wonder Boys struck back with three more scores of its own to increase the lead over the Weevils.
Imani Riley stopped ATU’s unanswered scoring streak late in the third quarter with an eight-yard rushing touchdown to put the Wonder Boys lead at 38-24. Cole Sears connected with Jalen Tolliver for a 70-yard touchdown pass that pulled the Weevils within seven points at the 11:35 mark in the fourth quarter.
A failed fourth and long attempt saw the Weevils turn the ball over on downs to ATU and the Wonder Boys sealed the victory with just over a minute remaining at 38-31.
“Unreal effort by our football team. We just have to fix breakdowns and keep ourselves out of games that come down to last plays,” head coach Hud Jackson said after the game. “Proud of how hard we played, kids playing through injuries, just really amazing. Have to bounce back now, and its a new opponent, new day.”
Arkansas-Monticello totaled 224 yards through the air on the night, and 160 on the ground as a team. Arkansas Tech finished the night with 330 passing yards and a total of 117 yards rushing.
Leading the UAM offense during the evening was sophomore running back Imani Riley who tallied a game-high 140 rushing yards on 30 overall carries and added one touchdown on the ground.
Junior Jalen Tolliver finished the evening with 122 yards receiving on four catches and one touchdown reception as well.
Defensively the Weevils were led in tackles by C.J. Hawkins and Josh Meis who totaled eight each. Jordan Stargell provided a huge play for the Weevils defensively with an interception returned for a touchdown in the third quarter. Lloyd Robinson added one interception and five tackles on the night as well.
The Weevils will return home for the next contest as they face GAC opponent Harding University at WCL Cotton Boll Stadium on September 24 with kick-off scheduled for 6 p.m.