ARKADELPHIA -- It took a while for Richard Stammetti to get comfortable in his role as Henderson State's starting quarterback last season.
"I was still technically the new guy," said Stammetti, who came in from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. "I had to come in and earn my respect and earn the leadership of the offense."
2018 Henderson St. results
5-6 overall, 5-6 GAC
DATE OPPONENT RESULT
Aug 30 Harding L, 41-17
Sept.8 Arkansas Tech W, 38-31
Sept. 15 NW Okla. St. L, 30-24
Sept. 22 SW Okla. St. L, 35-31
Sept. 29 Southern Nazarene W, 24-10
Oct. 6 Oklahoma Baptist W, 56-21
Oct. 13 East Central (Okla.) W, 31-10
Oct. 20 SE Okla. St. W, 20-17
Oct. 27 Southern Arkansas L, 34-14
Nov. 3 Ark.-Monticello L, 24-17
Nov. 10 Ouachita Baptist L, 38-10
COACH Scott Maxfield (99-54 entering 15th season)
LAST SEASON 5-6
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH QB Richard Stammetti, WR Chase Lodre, WR L’liott Curry, RB Logan Moragne, RB Querale Hall, OL Blake Dybala, K Temo Martinez
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH DE Robert Thomas, DT DQ Scott, LB Jake Chatman, DB Mercardo Anderson
NOTEWORTHY Reddies were picked in the coaches poll to finish fourth in the Great American Conference. … 7 starters return on offense, 6 on defense. … Scott Maxfield’s next victory will be No. 100 at Henderson, second to Sporty Carpenter (119-76-5) on the Reddies’ all-time coaches list. Only three coaches — Carpenter, Duke Wells, Jimmy Haygood — have had longer tenures. … Maxfield incurred his third losing season since arriving at Henderson in 2005. The Reddies bounced back with winning records of 8-3 in 2006 and 7-4 in 2010 after the two previous losing records. … There is a wealth of talent returning to an offense that averaged 25.6 points and 372.9 yards per game. Senior quarterback Richard Stammetti threw for 2,459 yards with 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Running backs Logan Moragne and Querale Hall combined for 1,168 yards and 10 TDs. Chase Lodre, who caught 5 TD passes, returns at one of the WR positions. L’liott Curry, a transfer from Central Oklahoma, is a physical presence at 6-2, 215. He caught 56 passes for 963 yards and 10 TDs in 26 games before missing most of last season with a knee injury. Darion Gray (34-462 receiving, 5 TDs in 2017) missed last season with a knee injury. Three starters return to an offensive line that allowed Reddies quarterbacks to be sacked 28 times. … The defense must replace last season’s top three tacklers — linebackers Cameron Sonnier and Bowen Sweeney and defensive back Malik Brown. DE Robert Thomas (38 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks) anchors a defensive line that also returns DQ Scott and Jacquez Neilson. Redshirt sophomore Jake Chatman (28 tackles, 3 INTs) takes over for Sonnier at linebacker. Anderson and CJ Jones combined for 97 tackles and 11. 5 tackles for loss. Sophomore kicker Temo Martinez was 10 of 16 on field goals and 34 of 35 on extra points. He kicked a 40-yard game-winner against Southeastern Oklahoma State.
Stammetti, 6-2, 210 pounds, ended with respectable statistics, passing for 2,459 yards and 18 touchdowns. He completed 53% of his passes (213 of 402), was intercepted 11 times and endured the bulk of 28 sacks suffered by the Reddies.
There was a transition for sure -- a California junior-college quarterback from Las Vegas moving to small-town Arkansas -- but mostly it was about learning the Reddies' offense under first-year coordinator Hayden Hawk, getting acquainted with his teammates and gaining confidence that he was the man for the job.
There is little doubt about that now.
Stammetti stalked the sidelines during Henderson's first scrimmage in mid-August, slapping hands and shouting encouragement to his teammates as the first team struggled in its first two series.
"I feel way more confident," Stammetti said. "Way more. So many playmakers coming back. So many toys for me to get the ball to. ... It's my offense. Definitely get to do what I want with it. Just go."
His teammates have noticed.
Offensive tackle Blake Dybala said Stammetti was part of the maturation process that occurred last season.
"He has that year under him," Dybala said. "He's more calm out there, more than anything."
Wide receiver Chase Lodre, one of Stammetti's favorite targets last season, said it takes time for a quarterback and receiver to get to know each other.
"We tried to get off real quick," Lodre said, explaining how they worked to get in sync. "But now, I feel real confident in my quarterback. He can put it there wherever I need it to be."
Lodre (34-462 receiving, 5 TDs) said there is no question the Reddies will be strong offensively, especially with the addition of junior transfer wide receiver L'liott Curry, who has 10 career touchdown receptions on his NCAA Division II playing resume and the return of running backs Logan Moragne and Querale Hall.
"Hey, ain't nobody going to be able to stop us," Lodre said. "Ain't going to be able to hold all of us. We've got our run game on point. We've got a lot of receivers that can play. We've got a quarterback that can put it there, and our O-line, they can block it down."
Then there is all the tradition of winning at Henderson, which has waned a bit since the departure of Kevin Rodgers, the state's all-time leading passer, after the 2014 season.
The Reddies have gone 11-2, 8-3, 6-5 and 5-6 in four seasons after a three-year run of 30-4 and three Great American Conference titles.
"I talked to Kevin Rodgers a couple of times," Stammetti said of the quarterback who passed for 13,678 yards and 124 TDs in four seasons. "He reached out to me. He told me if I needed anything to let him know."
Stammetti said his contact with Rodgers this summer meant a lot.
"It kind of helps to know he's got our backs," Stammetti said. "He set the standard."
The players, Stammetti included, are aware that Maxfield, who is shooting for his 100th career victory in Saturday's season-opener at Oklahoma Baptist, is not satisfied with the gradual decline in winning.
"He's a legend around here," Stammetti said. "5-6 didn't cut it. We knew that going in. Our saying here is Code Red.
"It's right now. We've got to do it right now. Get that bad taste out of our mouths, and I think we've got a good chance to do it."
Maxfield, moving around the practice field in a golf cart after suffering a broken foot during the summer, said he likes what he has seen -- so far.
"I feel a lot better than last year," Maxfield said. "A lot further ahead."
Sports on 09/02/2019
Print Headline: Stammetti more comfortable engineering offense