MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

October 15, 2011

Fort Gibson grad sets national receiving mark in NSU's win

TAHLEQUAH — Trey McVay knew very early he was going to have a special day when he broke past coverage for a very wide-open first touchdown reception of the game here Saturday against Harding.

The touchdown catches and the yards just kept coming and coming, and the Fort Gibson High School graduate set an NCAA all-level record with 425 yards receiving in Northeastern State's’ 49-41 homecoming victory at Doc Wadley Stadium.

The 47-yard touchdown on the RiverHawks' second play from scrimmage was one of six touchdown catches in a 16-reception day for the NSU senior. A 14-yard pass from Johnny Deaton with just under eight minutes left in the game put McVay past the mark of 418 set in 2002 in Division III by Lewis Howes of Principia. The Division I record belonged to Troy Edwards of Louisiana Tech in 1998, 405 yards.

And it still took a blocked 38-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the game for NSU (4-3) to pull this game out. Chris Myers made the block, scooped the ball and ran 72 yards for a score as time expired for the only RiverHawks' touchdown not scored by McVay.

NSU had called three timeouts and helped Harding placekicker Eddie Carmona when Marquin Watts jumped offsides, pushing the ball up five yards. Watts got the block on that play but the penalty nullified it.

“But it gave them something to think of,” Myers said. “(Ryan) Keenom was lined up next to me and he told me, ‘I’ll block your man, just go get him.’ He did, I got free, the ball hit me in the stomach and the next thing, I see the ball rolling on the ground. I had no choice to but to take it to the house.”

And in doing so, he helped to avoid spoiling McVay’s day.

“He’s such a hard worker,” Myers said. “He deserved that record with a win.”

McVay had to work hard in practice as NSU coach Kenny Evans moved him from a split receiver to the slot.

“People had been double-teaming him so much, we thought if we moved him inside they might not pick it up and we’d get him on their safety and have a big mismatch,” Evans said. “And that was the result.”

From the first touchdown on.

“I knew the middle of the field would be open so once I beat my man I’d be one-on-one with the safety,” McVay said about the first TD catch. “Then once I beat him to the middle it was just a chance of catching the ball, trying to break a tackle and score.”

The adjustment to the slot wasn’t a big deal either.

“I’m not used to blocking a linebacker, not used to blocking safeties. I’m used to going one-on-one with corners,” he said. “I kind of know every position so it wasn’t too difficult learning all the formations, where I was supposed to go, when I was supposed to be there and how I was supposed to run it. But the blocking was pretty rough and they were physical.”

McVay’s TD catches were also of 20, 80, 6, 58 and 55 yards, all off the arm of Deaton (26-of-42, 542 yards). The 55-yarder gave NSU a seemingly comfortable 43-21 lead with 14:50 remaining in the game.

But the top rushing team in Division II took a page out of NSU’s playbook and went to an uncharacteristic passing game to get close. Quarterback Chaz Rogers hit Tyler O’Quin for 89 yards and Jeremy Holt for 75 to get within 43-35 with 13:12 to go. Coming in, Harding had completed just 15 passes,

The Bison (2-5), members of the Great America Conference which absorbed East Central, Southeastern and Southwestern as part of the Oklahoma breakoff from the Lone Star Conference, went back to the ground game after that. Rogers, who led his team with 127 yards on 13 carries, scored on an 11-yard run with 8:57 remaining. Watts blocked the point-after, after NSU had been flagged on a roughing the passer call followed by a holding call on Harding.

Coming into the game averaging 356 yards rushing, the Bison finished with 458.

McVay broke the school receiving yardage mark (231 by Josh Richey vs. Tarleton, 2003) with his first catch of the second half. McVay also set school marks in touchdown receptions (Mark Ross had four twice in 1979 against Southwest Missouri and Northwestern Oklahoma), pass receptions (Brent Orso had 12 against Missouri Southern in 1988) and total offense (Kaelin Woods had 410 against East Central in 2008).

“I’m going to go home and celebrate with my wife and kid,” McVay said.

Woods’ school mark of 425 passing yards in that 2008 game fell by the wayside thanks to Deaton’s 542. His six TD passes put him past the five made by both Kenny Davis (2010 vs. Eastern New Mexico) and Roy Burk (1970, Northwestern Oklahoma).

“Him getting past the safeties as easy as he did, it gave me lots of easy opportunities. Just throw it up and let him chase it down,” Deaton said. “He owes me a steak for this. I’ll get his wife to cook for both of us.”

NSU is at Arkansas-Monticello next week.

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