The football team has played in its share of closely-contested games this season, but the Oct. 24 match-up against East Central University (ECU) was not one of them. Behind nine touchdowns and 557 yards on the ground — 392 of which they compiled in the first half alone — the Bisons ran past the Tigers of ECU 62-20 to move to 6-2 on the year.
Head coach Ronnie Huckeba said he and the team were expecting a tough game, but once they got things rolling, everything began to snowball in their favor.
“I was not expecting us to win the game that handily,” Huckeba said. “I really thought we would be in for a battle. But you have to give credit to our coaches and our players. We had a great plan; they were ready to play. They went out and executed at a very high level. Once we got rolling on offense, (ECU) really had no answer, which was very encouraging to see.”
The Bisons rushing attack was led by junior fullbacks Michael Latu and Dwayne Carter, who both carried for a career-high 138 yards with Carter finding the end zone twice and Latu once. Junior quarterback Park Parish also got in on the scoring for the eighth game in a row. He punched it in twice to bring his total touchdown count for the season to 17, good for a tie with Alan Dixon for the school record which Dixon set back in 1972.
Parish said that although the individual record has been a personal goal, it is not something he is focused on right now.
“I am trying not to get caught up in the record talk,” Parish said. “Not that it is not a goal that I have, but it would not be possible without the guys doing the dirty work for me. I am blessed to play with a bunch of guys that are so unselfish and are willing to lay their bodies on the line for me on every single play.”
After the win against ECU, the Bisons are now tied with Arkansas Tech University for second place in the Great American Conference (GAC), with both teams chasing first place Henderson State University.
The team will take to the road tomorrow Oct. 31 to face off with Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU), who has won its last three games and every game on its home field this season. They upset the Bisons two years ago in the 2013 season opener; a loss which came back to bite the Bisons as they fell short of the NCAA DII playoffs.
Huckeba said that their focus has to be week-to-week at this point of the season, and that he is not worried about the team looking ahead.
“Our guys are smart enough to know that we need to take care of our business to be in the (GAC title) race,” Huckeba said. “All you have to do is turn on the film to see that (SWOSU) is a good football team. They’ve played us well defensively the last couple of years and they are going to defend their home turf, so we know it is going to be a battle up there.”
The Bisons kick off with SWOSU tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Weatherford, Oklahoma.