UWA trounces Stillman in season opener

Trent Thompson runs in the open field against Stillman College.

Trent Thompson runs in the open field against Stillman College.

LIVINGSTON — West Alabama rolled up 496 yards of total offense while limiting Stillman to just 134 on the way to a 52-9 season-opening victory in Tiger Bowl II Saturday night at Tiger Stadium.

The win improves UWA to 1-0 with a quick turnaround for a Thursday game against Cumberland at home. Stillman is 0-1.

“I was pleased with our effort,” UWA head coach Brett Gilliland said. “Any time you put 52 points up and run 83 plays on offense it’s a pretty good night.

“Our defense handled them. They came out to make a statement and did,” Gilliland said. “Jared Washington, Michael Williams, Jherron Jones and all those guys up front played very well and allowed our linebackers to roam and make plays.”

Stillman led 7-3 after the first quarter before West Alabama outscored SC 42-2 over the next 30 minutes. West Alabama limited Stillman to minus 2 yards rushing in the first half and just 48 for the game.

West Alabama’s opened the scoring when Garrett Mattix kicked the first field goal of his UWA career from 21 yards out with 9:16 left in the first quarter. Stillman answered quickly on a 66-yard TD pass from Li’Jon Cordier to Malik Williams giving SC a 7-3 lead with 7:04 left in first quarter.

“We had a blown coverage on that play,” UWA linebacker Quentin Harton said. “We changed the coverage and one of the guys didn’t get the change, but our goal is to always stop the run first and get at least three turnovers.”

West Alabama collected four Stillman turnovers, with Darius Ellis, Tyler Sims and Chris David recovering fumbles. Davis also intercepted a pass. Harton led UWA tacklers with six. Torrence Willis had five.

Named UWA’s starting quarterback on Friday night, Tennessee Tech transfer Trent Thompson responded by completing 19-of-26 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns before giving way to redshirt freshman Dezmon Huntley early in the third quarter.

Tyler Rogers runs against Stillman College.

Tyler Rogers runs against Stillman College.

Sophomore receiver Randy Satterfield was on the receiving end of both of Thompson’s touchdown passes, one for 32 yards and the other from a yard out. Satterfield ended up with six receptions for 94 yards.

“The first one I threw to Randy was a duck, but I trust him to always come down with it. He seems to defy gravity,” Thompson said. “I felt good, but there a lot of things I can do better and there is plenty of room for improvement.”

“I was waiting for the ball and just saying to myself, ‘hurry up and get here’,” Satterfield said. “I don’t know how I do things like that. I just play.”

Sophomore running back Rashaad Lee scored on runs of 1 and 4 yards while finishing with 54 yards on 13 carries. Huntley was UWA’s leading rusher with 60 yards on four carries, including a 39-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Ty Hill effectively put the game away for an electrifying 88-yard punt return for a touchdown in midway through the third quarter. Hill had an earlier 68-yard TD return called back for a block in the back penalty earlier in the game. The senior from Douglas, Georgia, averaged 31.8 yards on four punt returns and returned one kickoff for 20 yards.

Brent O’Neal capped off West Alabama scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter, putting the Tigers up 52-9. O’Neal ran nine times for 45 yards in the fourth quarter.

Rashaad Lee crosses the goal line for a touchdown against Stillman College.

Rashaad Lee crosses the goal line for a touchdown against Stillman College.

Following a 34-yard run by Robert Myers to the Stillman 1-yard line as time was expiring, West Alabama took a knee to end the game.

Cordier completed 8-of-14 passes for 117 yards for Stillman. Malik Odom caught five passes for 40 yards. Rovonta Johnson was the leading rusher for SC, carrying 11 times for 24 yards.

Michael Herrod had 10 tackles to lead Stillman’s defense. Everett Curry tackled Thompson in the end zone for a safety to round out Stillman scoring with 8:55 to play in the third quarter.