Spada provides helping foot in victory

Friday, August 29, 2008
AARON EISEHAUER ~ Southeast kicker Doug Spada punted during Thursday's game against Southwest Baptist University at Houck Stadium.

Doug Spada did have a previous kick in the back of his mind as he prepared for a 47-yard field goal late in Thursday's contest with Southwest Baptist.

It wasn't either of the previous misses that night from shorter distances.

"The only thing I was thinking about was that Austin Peay game last year, and how I missed it when we were tied," Spada said. "I was glad I was able to make it this time to tie it."

Spada's kick with 1 minute, 41 seconds remaining pushed Southeast Missouri State into a 28-28 tie en route to a 35-28 overtime win against the Division II Bearcats in the season-opener at Houck Stadium.

It came in a game in which the usually steady junior, who was 14-for-22 last year, missed from 35 yards in the first quarter and 34 yards in the third quarter. Both times, he was kicking into the west end zone, which had a little wind blowing in.

"The wind does mess with it, but today I don't think it was a factor," Spada said. "It was just my mistake.

"My teammates picked me up. I was able to get my head back in the game and focus on my mechanics."

Spada, an honorable mention All-American last year when he averaged 42.5 yards per punt, opened this season with five punts for a 47.6 average.

"I felt like I've made tremendous strides and I'm more consistent now," Spada said.

His long of 54 yards, and three kickoffs into the end zone, all came when Spada was kicking with the wind at his back.

He made a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter and was confident with the wind behind him on the final kick toward the same field goal post.

"I felt good," he said. "It's always good even if it's only a couple miles an hour. It's always good to feel that extra little boost for you."

Southeast coach Tony Samuel also was confident.

"You've got to go with Doug," he said. "When it counted, he made it."

Spada, who missed a 39-yarder at the end of regulation last year in a 34-31 double-overtime loss against Austin Peay, said the feeling Thursday was much better.

"I was ecstatic, of course," he said. "I was jumping up and down and hugging my teammates. It hasn't sunk in yet, but it feels great."

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