MONTICELLO — In his senior year last fall at Barbe High School in Lake Charles, La., Jamie McGee came in against West Monroe in the semifinals of the state playoffs and made a crucial field goal late in the game to lead his team to the win.
And on Saturday night, McGee proved why he was so highly sought after by Arkansas-Monticello as he nailed a 43-yard field goal — the longest of his collegiate career — to put UAM ahead for the final time at 22-20 with 10:03 left in the game.
The score would hold as the Weevils (2-1, 2-1 GAC) won their second straight game by knocking off Northwestern Oklahoma State (0-3, 0-3 GAC) at Willis “Conoy” Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium.
“I definitely felt good,” McGee said. “Kickers do the same thing in practice that they do in games. And that’s in my range.”
McGee contributed nine points for the Weevils as he also had a 32-yard field goal in the first quarter and a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter.
“One of those kicks that he made was into the wind,” UAM head coach Hud Jackson said. “And he is a smart enough kid to know you can’t kick that ball high.
“That young man is a heck of a kicker and was very good in high school. We recruited him hard and we are glad we have him.”
McGee’s go-ahead field goal capped off a 10-play drive that started at the UAM 46-yard line. Starting quarterback Colton Morrison, who finished 18-of-32 for 120 yards, made some crucial third-down completions — including a 20-yard pass to Trey Taylor on a third-and-long situation.
Taylor’s catch setup the field goal attempt on NWOSU’s 26-yard line.
“I knew it was a big kick,” McGee said. “I have confidence in my abilities and I wasn’t worried about it.”
McGee said he did kick a 52-yard field goal in high school, so he knew the attempt was in his range.
“It is always a good feeling, when you get past the 35-yard line, you can start thinking about kicking a field goal,” Jackson said. “The confidence that I have in him, I can assure you, is very high.”
Jackson said he had no plans on trying to go for it on fourth down.
“It’s always good to have that kind of confidence in your kicker,” Jackson said. “I’ll be honest, the last couple of years, we haven’t had that.
“Jamie is one of those kids who knows how to handle it and can come in and kick a big field goal.”
UAM’s defense sealed the win with two very important turnovers late in the game.
With less than seven minutes left in the game, UAM sophomore Marshall Everett fell on a fumble at UAM’s 38-yard line after a bad exchange by NWOSU’s offense.
Following a three-and-out on offense by UAM, DeMarcus Robinson intercepted a passs by NWOSU quarterback L.T. Pfaff and from there UAM was able to run out the clock as the Rangers were out of timeouts.
“Those were two very big defensive plays,” Jackson said. “But our defense played well tonight. There was just two or three big plays that they gave up.
“But when it came down to it, they knew they would have to create some turnovers to give us a chance.
“I’m very proud of the whole defense, but DeMarcus Robinson I am especially proud of. That was a big interception.”
Trailing 14-9 late in the second quarter, UAM receiver Jamal Nixon broke for a 76-yard touchdown reception to give the Weevils a 16-14 lead with 1:47 left in the first half.
“Jamal is a big physical kid and if you get the ball in his hands, he is going to do some really good things with it,” Jackson said. “You know when he has it — look out.”
Cody Trimble threw the screen pass to Nixon and he took it 76-yards for the touchdown.
Nixon caught the ball on the far side of the field and brought it back towards the home stands — breaking tackles along the way. Thanks to a good down field block by teammate LaMarcus King, Nixon was able to run it all the way in for the score.
“LaMarcus King is a big guy,” Jackson said. “He was a defensive end at UCA and he has had to overcome a bunch since he’s been here.
“That play he made was tremendous.”
Jackson said he was extremely proud of King for just that one play.
“You are not going to find a more team player than LaMarcus King,” Jackson said.
That lead would hold until NWOSU scored on a 1-yard run by Zachry Doyle with 13:52 left in the fourth quarter.
Nixon finished with seven catches for 110 yards and one touchdown.
UAM will travel to Weatherford, Okla., next week to face Southwestern Oklahoma State, who lost 20-17 to Southern Arkansas on Saturday.