September 24, 2012 at 10:44 AM CDT - Updated June 28 at 7:42 AM
TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (September 22, 2012) – The Stillman Tiger football team opened conference play with an impressive 27-8 victory over the visiting Kentucky State Thorobreds. With the win, the Tigers evened their record at 2-2 overall, but earned the more important victory in SIAC action.
Stillman senior receiver Damian Ford proved to be an early contributor in the contest, scoring the Tigers first two touchdowns on passes from quarterback Joshua Straughan. With 5:23 left in the first quarter, Ford connected with Straughan on a 60-yard catch and run giving Stillman a 7-0 lead. Late in the second quarter, with Straughan scrambling from defenders, the freshman signal caller lobbed a pass to the corner of the end zone for the senior receiver to haul in for the second score of the game.
Stillman, who seemed to control the momentum of the game for three-plus quarters, also had success on defense and in special teams. After Stillman's first score, defensive back James Bigham picked off a Martez James pass. The Tiger defense held strong in the first half, ending two KSU scoring opportunities stopping the offensive drive on downs. Senior linebacker Larry Harris forced a fumble in the second half and had an interception in the third quarter to end KSU offensive drives. Senior kicker Alejandro Huerta connected on field goals of 45 and 41 yards while punter Sean Allen averaged 31.6 yards on seven punts.
"We started to come together as a team tonight," said Stillman coach Teddy Keaton. "We are still not where we want to be, but we had some big plays from several players tonight. We are still a work in progress, but I am pleased with how we continued to play hard all night." In the game, KSU held a 139-57 rushing advantage, most coming in the second half. Stillman held the advantage in the air 209-154. The Stillman defense forced five fumbles, with three changing possession and the momentum of the game. The Tigers also held KSU to 4-of-14 on third-down opportunities, an area they have worked on since the Ouachita contest. For KSU (1-2, 0-1 SIAC), Justin Williams had 21 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown. James was 17-of-28 for 113 yards and two interceptions. Vance Locke caught four passes for 33 yards. Kenny Townsend had eight tackles including 1.5 tackles for loss. Carlos Ware added seven stops.
For Stillman, Straughan finished 13-of-25 for 201 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Ford caught six passes for 144 yards and two scores. Eric Childs and Zamir Carlis each had nine tackles with Carlis adding a sack. Carlos Wilson and Elzie Kitchen finished with six tackles each.
Stillman will travel to Jackson, Tennessee to take on the Lane College Dragons next Saturday. Kentucky State will take on Albany State in the Chicago Football Classic.