UWA takes down Stillman
By By Jimmy Boone/special to The Star
September 14, 2003
LIVINGSTON, AL The University of West Alabama broke a curse, and made a breakthrough as it defeated Stillman College 24-17 on Saturday afternoon.
The breakthrough came early in the game as 5-foot-5, 140-pound senior placekicker Tonya Butler kicked a 27-yard field goal with 9:41 remaining in the first quarter.
The Associated Press reported that it is believed that Butler is the first woman ever to score a field goal in NCAA history.
Butler, who would later kick three extra points ended the game with six total points.
Last season West Alabama seemed cursed by games that were affected by rain. When a downpour began in the second half, UWA head coach Randy Pippin remembered his losses last year.
The kick by Butler put UWA up 3-0.
In the second quarter Stillman answered as Kevin Fleming booted a 45-yard field goal to tie the game.
Stillman added a touchdown when Carlos Harvest caught a 39-yard pass from Tyvun Green to go up 10-3. Meanwhile, the UWA offense was struggling against the Stillman defense.
West Alabama then drove 69 yards in 11 plays, eating up four and half minutes. Derick Spellers dove in from two yards out to tie the game at 10-10 at the half.
UWA took the lead as Gilliland found Laramie Cook with a 31-pass in the third quarter.
When the rains began to fall, both teams began to slow down and become more deliberate. Stillman would take over the ball early in the fourth quarter. Stillman ate up over eight minutes off the clock as they drove 56-yards in 14 plays behind the power funning of fullback Charles Johnson
Johnson ran one-yard as Stillman tied the game at 17-17.
West Alabama again answered with a 15-play 75-yard drive that ate up almost seven minutes of the clock.
The drive almost ended when UWA faced a fourth-and-seven from the 21-yard line. Under a strong rush, Gilliland completed a pass to Will Harter to the Stillman eight yard line.
Pippin said he never doubted choosing to go for the first down. "Plays don't make players, players make plays," Pippin said. "Our players really rose to the occasion today."
Gilliland would sneak into the end zone to give West Alabama the winning score.
West Alabama faces Gulf South Conference foes Arkansas-Monticello on the road next week.