UNA remains in driver seat in Division II

After a slow start for the Lions against Arkansas Tech on Saturday, UNA was able to finish on top of the Wonder Boys 44-10 and maintain the flawless record of 6-0.

Saturday’s game with Arkansas Tech marks the 16th all-time game between the two teams that dates back to 1970, with North Alabama leading the series 13-3. This will end the non-conference game stretch for the Lions, and conference play will begin with Delta State on Thursday. Arkansas Tech, 1-5 on the season tested UNA’s kickers (placing the Lions on natural grass for the first time all season) but gave UNA’s offense a chance to shine, as they are 122 points scoring for the season to their opponent’s 164.

“I was really proud of our team,” said head coach Terry Bowden. “We did have some mistakes early that kept us from putting this game away in the first half, but we talked about those mistakes and the penalties.”

Penalties were the key in this game against the Wonder Boys. UNA had 10 for 100 yards, while Arkansas Tech grabbed three for 12 yards.

“This is our last game we will play against this conference and their conference officials,” Bowden said. “We are a lot worse coached than the other team, I guess, when it comes to penalties.”

Starting quarterback Lee Chapple was the breadwinner in this game offensively speaking, completing 28-36 passes for 339 yards, with no interceptions, and three touchdowns. It was his third consecutive game that Chapple has managed over 300 yards in the passing game, also throwing for a career-long 70-yard touchdown to Tristan Purifoy in the first quarter.

Back-up quarterback Chris Alexander made his presence known coming into the game in the fourth quarter, passing 6-6 for 107 yards and a 68-yard touchdown to Marcus McQuarley.

“We just have to continue to do what we are doing: playing smart, staying focused, coming out strong and playing fast,” Alexander said. “Our plays on offense are designed to beat our opponents’ defense. We have big-time players on offense. If we give them the ball, they will make big plays for us.”

UNA’s offense was on, especially in the second half, having 27 first downs to Arkansas Tech’s 12, rushing 155 yards and passing 446 yards, putting UNA at 601 total yards for the night, making it just the 12th game in UNA history with over 600 total yards of offense.

Tommie Westbrook and Marcus Dowtin of the UNA defense both grabbed 10 tackles. Lucas Darr was able to block a Wonder Boys punt in the third quarter, giving running room for Marcus McQuarley to secure a two-yard touchdown for the Lions. Darr also grabbed an interception, and Janoris Jenkins nailed his first interception of the year.

“It was a good win for our team, and we will correct our mistakes,” Bowden said. “We will have a short week to prepare for Delta, and they will have a long week. We will have to get some rest after this game and then get everyone focused on the plan, do the best we can do and we’ll see what happens.”


Thursday, Oct. 13 will be a battle of two top teams in Division II, between the No. 1 Lions and the No. 2 Fighting Okra from Delta State in Braly Stadium at 7 p.m.