Tigers fall short to Reddies in BOTR thriller

December 1, 2023

December 1, 2023

By Sam Bennett, Staff Writer

In the heart of Arkadelphia, Ark., the 96th annual Battle of the Ravine unfolded at Cliff Harris Stadium, showcasing the fierce rivalry between Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson State University. At the game on Nov. 11, the Reddies unfortunately came out ahead, defeating the 10th-ranked Ouachita Tigers 31-27 in another BOTR classic.

Henderson State strategically played keep-away, controlling the time of possession with a dominant 39 minutes and 35 seconds, leaving Ouachita with the ball for only 20 minutes and 25 seconds. This ball-control strategy proved effective as the Reddies executed an admirable 13 out of 18 third-downs successfully, allowing them to sustain crucial drives and keep the Tiger offense off the field.

The turning point of the game came in the third quarter with Henderson State capitalizing on an 11-minute possession and outscoring the Tigers 14-0, giving the Reddies a commanding 28-13 lead heading into the final quarter. 

Despite the odds stacked against them, the Tigers roared back in the waning moments of the game. Junior Eli Livingston orchestrated a 77-yard drive, culminating in a rushing touchdown with only 1:38 left on the clock. A two-point conversion narrowed the gap to 31-21. A successful onside kick by Gabe Goodman and a subsequent 50-yard drive led to another Livingston score, bringing the Tigers within striking distance at 31-27 with just 44 seconds remaining in the game. 

However, Henderson State was able to secure the win by recovering the subsequent onside kick and finished the matchup by running out the clock.

The game’s highlights extended beyond the on-field action. Ouachita senior QB Riley Harms set a new single-season passing touchdown record with 22, senior kicker Gabe Goodman claimed the single-season extra point record with 55 and junior RB Kendel Givens became the Ouachita career scoring record-holder with 378 points.

As history has shown, the Battle of the Ravine is more than just a football game. It’s a week-long celebration of school spirit and tradition on both campuses. Students eagerly anticipate this annual showdown.  

One such tradition, “Guard the Tiger,” involves different classes protecting Ouachita’s beloved Tiger statue from Henderson’s interference each night of the week. The excitement reached its peak on Friday night, with social clubs hosting events that brought the entire Ouachita community together.

In the end, the 96th Battle of the Ravine goes down in the books with Henderson State snagging the win, tightening the series to 46-44-6, favoring the Tigers. As folks reminisce about the game’s highs, lows and record-breaking achievements, next year’s clash is already on the mind. Ouachita will be itching for payback, and Henderson State fans will be hoping for a repeat performance. The Battle of the Ravine saga continues, furthering a historic rivalry and promoting school spirit in the years to come.

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