Monday, August 31, 2009

LSC Football - Weekly Release 8-31

Complete Release

Players of the Week
Daniel Nichols, Southeastern Oklahoma State, Sr., WR, Cooper, Texas/Cooper HS
Nichols helped lead Southeastern to a 54-38 win in the season opener against Henderson State, turning in a seven catch, 131 yard performance that saw him tie the school record for touchdown catches in a game with three. Nichols moved to within 140 yards of second place on SE's career receiving list, and is 10 TD's away from the top of the career TD list. He had a long of 46 yards and hauled in all three passes sent his way in long yardage situations, converting five first downs total.

Stephen DeGrate, Texas A&M-Commerce, Sr., LB, Dallas, Texas
DeGrate made a team-high 11 tackles and forced two fumbles in the Lions' 21-7 loss to Angelo State. He also had a tackle for loss and recorded a game-high eight solo tackles. The Lions' defense held the Rams ground game to under 100 yards as they managed 91 yards on 39 carries for a 2.3 yard per carry average.

Brian Didonato, Central Oklahoma, Fr., P, Mustang, Okla./Mustang
Freshman place-kicker scored seven of UCO's 13 points in a 42-13 road loss to No. 7-ranked Pittsburg State. Didonato made his first-ever collegiate kick by hitting a 41-yard field goal in the first quarter to pull the Bronchos within 7-3, added the extra point after UCO's lone touchdown in the second period and made a 33-yarder early in the third period as the Bronchos got within 21-13. He also handled the kickoff duties for UCO.

Joe Williams, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Sr., RB, Houston, Texas/Forest Brook
Williams went three seasons without scoring a single touchdown. That streak came to an end in a big way against Delta State when he scored three times in the Javelinas 28-17 upset win. He scored the team's first touchdown of the season on a two yard run in the second quarter. He scored again on a one yard run on fourth-and-goal in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, he clinched the win with a 9-yard jaunt with 0:39 remaining. He finished the game with a career-high 80 yards on 14 carries.

Roderick Smith, Tarleton State, Sr., RB, Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite HS
Smith tied a school record in touchdowns scored and points scored in a single game. Smith had a touchdown from 32 yards out to put the first points on the board in Thursday's season opener. He then scored from 13 yards, 10 yards and two yards to put the Texans ahead 28-7 after the PATs. The Texan senior played the whole first half but sparingly in the second.

Arthur Johnson, Abilene Christian, Jr., LB, Rowlett, Texas/Rowlett HS
Johnson led the Wildcats in tackles and scored ACU's first touchdown of the season as he and the rest of the Wildcat defense picked up a sputtering offense in No. 5 ACU's 19-14 win over No. 2 Northwest Missouri State in Thursday's nationally televised NCAA Division II Game of the Week on CBS College Sports. With 4:25 left in the first quarter, Johnson scored on a 42-yard fumble return after NW Missouri quarterback Blake Bolles dropped the ball. Johnson's touchdown return gave ACU a 9-0 lead, an advantage the Wildcats would not relinquish the rest of the night.

Jeff Edwards, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Sr., LB, Houston, Texas/Westside
Edwards made six tackles in the game and likely made the play of the game. With the Statesmen driving to take a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter, he deflected a pass and then came down with the interception inside the 10-yard line. Eight plays later, the Javelinas took the lead for good.

Garrett Lindholm, Tarleton State, Sr., K, Pflugerville, Texas/Pflugerville
Lindholm scored eight points in Tarleton's season opener, connecting on all five extra point attempts along with a 44-yard field goal. He also had eight kickoffs for 550 yards with two touchbacks and a 68.8 yards per kick average.

LSC Power Poll - Week2

  1. Abilene Christian (1) - Defense led way to win over #2 Northwest Missouri.
  2. Texas A&M-Kingville (3) - Hogs upset #3 Delta State despite 5 turnovers.
  3. Tarleton State (4) - Solid offensive, stellar defensive performances.
  4. West Texas A&M (2) - GV outscored WT 28-0 during 12 minute stretch.
  5. Midwestern State (6) - New Mexico Highlands only in MSU territory twice all night.
  6. Southeastern Oklahoma (7) - McCutcheon ties SOSU record w/5 TD passes
  7. Central Oklahoma (5) - Bronchos were within 13-21 late in third quarter
  8. Angelo State (9) - Neiswander effective in return, defense holds TAMC under 200 yds
  9. Texas A&M-Commerce (8) - offense not in gear yet, just two possessions of more than 5 plays
  10. Northeastern State (12) - Offense moved the ball well, Wilson with 325 yds total offense
  11. Eastern New Mexico (11) - 513 yards passing, 2 rushing.
  12. East Central (10) - not many positives from this game.
  13. Southwestern Oklahoma (13) - run defense gave up 399 yards. JR Hammond bright spot on offense.

LSC Roundup 8-31

Javelinas Celebrate Their Victory Against Delta State (with video)
KINGSVILLE - The Javelinas had a lot to celebrate after the Hoggies rallied from a 14-point hole to defeat third ranked Delta State in their home opener.

With the win it's safe to say Hoggie football is back on the map.

Turnovers and penalties nearly doomed blue in the first frame as a fumble and an interception led to Statesmen scores. However, the second, third and fourth frames were a different story.

Former ASU coach reunites with players 40 years after revamping program
When Grant Teaff was hired as the new head football coach at Angelo State University following a 2-9 season in 1968, to say that the Rams’ program was under the radar would be an over-statement.

Teaff inherited a program that wasn’t even in the air, more like still buttoned up in the hangar and grounded for maintenance.

In his three years as the head man, Teaff worked some magic, opened the hangar doors, taxied the program into position and took it off the ground faster than an F-18 in afterburner.

In the Nick of Time (Aug 31)
Seeing a big old goose egg on the bad guys’ side of the scoreboard doesn’t happen much at Midwestern State. If you want to see MSU shut somebody out, go watch soccer. Football shutouts happen about once every three years.

The 41-0 skunking of New Mexico Highlands in the season opener Saturday night was just the third shutout Bill Maskill has seen in his eight seasons at MSU — the first in four years. There have only been eight shutouts in the 21 years since the school resurrected the program.

OK, nobody needs to get overly excited about this one. The Mustangs were playing against an offense that threw 12 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions a year ago.

HU — as Highlands likes to be called — is not OU.

Flashes of brilliance
A good number of the 15,093 fans in attendance Saturday night at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium - primarily West Texas A&M fans - packed up and hit the road with 3:11 left in the third quarter of the Buffs' 37-23 loss to the top-ranked team in the nation.

When Grand Valley State linebacker Luther Ware scooped up a bouncing fumble on a botched snap on a field-goal attempt and rambled 72 yards for a touchdown, the game may have been all but over at 34-9 in favor of the Lakers, but the rest of the season remains for WT.
After the game, that was the Buffs' attitude.

The Lakers were as good as advertised, but, at times, the Buffs were their own worst enemies, and their costly mistakes Saturday night can be corrected.

"I don't give any defense any credit anyway," said WT tight end Tyson Williams, who had a game-high eight catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. "(GVS) was a good team, but our mentality is that we don't give any defense any credit."

DSU Falls In Opener
Joe Williams rushed for three touchdowns and Billy Garza threw for 306 yards to lead the No. 24-ranked Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelinas to a 28-17 upset of the Delta State Statesmen on Saturday at Javelina Stadium.

The Javelina defense put the clamps down the high-power Statesmen offensive unit, limiting Delta State to 234 yards of total offense. Matt Dean's 36-yard field goal as time expired in the first half was the only offensive score allowed by Texas A&M-Kingsville. Delta State quarterback Garrett DeWitt completed 13-of-32 passes for 154 yards. His counterpart Garza, a transfer from the University of Illinois, completed 22-of-38 pass attempts. Williams rushed for 80 yards en route to his three scores. Trevar Deed was Delta State's leading rusher, accumulating 59 yards on the ground. The Javelinas reeled off 506 yards of total offense in the game.

Local college football report: Specia impresses for UIW
Game balls
> UIW QB Thomas Specia, a Reagan graduate, totaled 352 yards (277 passing, 75 rushing) and five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) in the Cardinals’ inaugural game.
> UIW freshman WR Derrick Walls, also from Reagan, had five receptions for 111 yards and two touchdowns, plus a 70-yard punt return.
> A&M-Kingsville RB Joe Williams scored three TDs to go along with 80 yards on 14 carries.
> A&M-Kingsville LB Jeff Edwards intercepted a Garrett DeWitt pass inside the Javelinas’ 10-yard line. The pickoff led to Kingsville’s first lead.

No. 1 Grand Valley snuffs Buffs; Kingsville shocks No. 4 Delta State
Lone Star Conference teams went 2-2 against ranked Division II teams the first week, including Abilene Christian’s 19-14 win Thursday over No. 2 Northwest Missouri State.

A&M-Commerce drops opener to Angelo State, 21-7
Pack backs run wild in opening win
Northeastern Drops Hard-Fought Opener
Bronchos fall in season opener

No. 5 Mustangs blank St. Edward's
AUSTIN, Texas — Midwestern State couldn’t find the net Sunday afternoon. But finally persistence paid off in the 88th minute when junior Bryce Taylor banked a through ball off the post and into the goal to give the Mustangs a 1-0 decision over St. Edward’s.

“The guys will be surprised to see we only had 18 shots on the stat sheet. It seemed like so many more,” MSU coach Doug Elder said. “We had a ton of chances, a lot of shots blocked and a shot was cleared off of the line. We just kept pounding it and pounding it.”

MSU women upend No. 14 Central Missouri
No. 14 Central Missouri pounded the box and produced plenty of opportunities Sunday afternoon at the MSU Soccer Field. But Midwestern State keepers Ashley Meek and Mallory Whitworth sent the Jennies packing without a goal to show for their efforts as the Mustangs came away with a 1-0 win.

ACU notches second straight shutout
Ho-hum, another 1-0 victory. Abilene Christian improved to 2-0 to start the soccer season with a 1-0 shutout of St. Mary’s on Sunday at Wildcat Soccer Pitch.

Lady Buffs notch 2-0 win
The West Texas A&M women's soccer team defeated Texas-Permian Basin, 2-0, at Odessa.
An own-goal mistake on a corner kick gave WT a 1-0 halftime lead. WT made it 2-0 when Becky Hewson drilled a one-timer into the back of the net with 20 minutes left.

The Lady Buffs (2-0) will meet Central Missouri State at 3 p.m. Friday in Commerce.

Buffs defeat UTPB, 2-0
Ben Everson scored his first goal of the season on an assist by Victor Olivares to lead the West Texas A&M men's soccer team to a 2-0 win against Texas-Permian Basin at Odessa. After a UTPB own-goal mistake in the first half, Everson and Olivares teamed on a throw-in during the 48th minute.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

LSC Superlatives - Week 1

Best Team Performance - Tarleton - Dominant on both sides of ball; In first three quarters, offense totalled 354 yards, while defense allowed just 230 yards enroute to 42-7 lead. Totals for entire game 429 yds offense, 317 yds defense, final score 45-16 over Arkansas Monticello.

Best Team Defensive Performance - ACU - allowed just 230 yards and 1 TD to the offense of #2 ranked Northwest Missouri
Best Team Offensive Performance - Southeastern Oklahoma - 172 yards rushing, 359 yards passing, 54 points

Offensive Player of the Week - Dallas McCutcheon (SOSU) - 21-37 359 yds and 5 TDs
Defensive Player of the Week - Jaron Burgess (SWO) - 12 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 Int
Special Teams Player of the Week - Jerome Hewitt (SOSU) - 218 return yards

LSC Roundup 8-30

Blue crush
Javelinas pull off upset win in opener
KINGSVILLE — It was a win. It certainly wasn’t pretty. But it certainly was the biggest victory in Bo Atterberry’s two-plus years as Texas A&M-Kingsville’s football coach.

A&M-Kingsville shocked fourth-ranked Delta (Miss.) State 28-17 Saturday night in front 10,500 people at Javelina Stadium. The Javelinas won their first season opener under Atterberry. They had to overcome five turnovers and 102 penalty yards to do so.

But the Javs’ defense pitched a shutout in the second half, snuffing the high-powered Statesmen to 234 yards, far shy of the 471 they had averaged last season. A&M-Kingsville senior Billy Garza threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns and senior running back Joe Williams scored three TDs, running for 67 yards.

While the Javs coughed up the ball five times, they made the most of their one forced turnover. Jeff Edwards’ interception of Garrett DeWitt stopped the Statesmen at the A&M-Kingsville 11 early in the fourth quarter. The Javs calmly moved down the field, and Garza hooked up with Gregory-Portland-ex Connell Davis on a 47-yard scoring pass. The try for two failed but the Javs had their first lead of the night at 21-17.
Related: A&M-Kingsville slips past No. 3 Delta State
Related: Hogs Knock Off #3 Delta State (with video)

Too tough to handle
In a typical football game that lasts three hours, a few plays here and there wouldn't seem that big a deal as to which team wins and loses. However, that was the case Saturday night, as a handful of plays did in the West Texas A&M Buffs.

Despite a competitive performance, especially in the first half, the 11th-ranked Buffs fell to the top ranked team in the nation, the Grand Valley State Lakers, 37-23, in front of 15,093 fans at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium. A couple of long pass plays in the first half, combined with a couple of special teams miscues and trouble in the red zone, ruined any chance of a WT upset.

"Overall, I was pleased with the effort of the kids," said WT head coach Don Carthel, whose team is 0-1 to start the season for the first time in his five seasons.

WT offense holds its own
Though it didn't show in the final score, West Texas A&M's offense did a good job Saturday night in the season- opener at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium. The No. 11 Buffs (0-1) lost to No. 1 Grand Valley State, 37-23, but the offense produced 452 yards, including 408 passing with a new quarterback working with new tools.

WT led the game through nearly the entire first half, and outproduced the Lakers on offense (GVS had 377 total yards). First-time starting quarterback Taylor Harris looked calm and operated the offense like a veteran. He hooked up the most with sophomore tight end Tyson Williams, who also made his first start and caught eight balls for 92 yards.
Related: Loss won't spoil season

Off and running: Rams take first opener since 2006
Angelo State University won its season opener for the first time since 2006 Saturday with a 21-7 victory over Texas A&M-Commerce at San Angelo Stadium.

Josh Neiswander, making his first start at quarterback since last year’s season opener when he broke his leg, passed for 241 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Rams to their first win over the Lions since 2004.

Mustangs wrangle Cowboys
BeeJay Mathis has been among the national leaders in punt returns each of his two years at Midwestern State.

After Saturday night’s performance against New Mexico Highlands, he will be again this year.
Related: Highlights

UIW sets bar high in debut
The madness at Benson Stadium had subsided for only a few seconds Saturday night when Incarnate Word quarterback Thomas Specia turned to trainer Caesar Martinez and asked, “Does your head hurt?”

On this night and amid this scene, it's unlikely anyone could have answered “no.”

Watching an unlikely 18-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle to three over the waning minutes of the program's first game, the Cardinals held on to stun Mexico's Monterrey Tech 42-39 before a standing-room-only crowd of 6,235 fans.
Related: Walls produces huge night in UIW's victory

Lady Buffs take final two matches
Rambelles spike two more foes

ACU picks up first volleyball win
ACU shocks ranked Central Missouri in women's soccer

Why does Hitler hate so much?

I think we know now....enjoy!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

LSC Roundup 8-29

Javelinas football to face formidable foe in opener
CORPUS CHRISTI — KINGSVILLE — There is a bit of a roadblock in front of Texas A&M-Kingsville’s path back to national football respectability. It stands in the form of perennial Gulf South Conference power Delta (Miss.) State, ranked fourth in the preseason AFCA poll. The Statesmen come calling to Javelina Stadium for the season opener starting at 7 p.m. today.

But much like last year’s road opener against NCAA Division I North Dakota, third-year Javelinas coach Bo Atterberry isn’t shirking from the task. Instead, the Javelinas will again use the opener as a measuring stick of how far the program has come — and how much longer the trek will be.

“Well I can’t really find much negative to think about because it’s scheduled at this point. You sit down and weigh your options,” Atterberry said. “To me, this being our third year, we went and faced a smaller Division I last year. We want to be at the top of Division II. Why not find out? What a great opportunity.

“There’s a lot of teams that wish they had a highly ranked team coming in their place so they can make a statement. I think our guys will be ready to go,” said Atterberry, whose Javelinas are coming off a 7-4 season. “We’ve always viewed this as a great opportunity and we’re just trying to cherish the opportunity. I really can’t think of a negative.”

The maroon & white zone
Analysis, statistics, strategies, quotes and numbers about today's game between the No. 11 West Texas A&M Buffaloes and the No. 1 Grand Valley State Lakers ...
1st and Goal: The Buffs have to keep the game on the field and not in the newspapers, polls, Web sites or blogs. According to regular season winning percentage the past four seasons, this game is a matchup of the top two teams in the nation, regardless of division. GVS has not lost a regular season game since October 23, 2004 - a winning percentage of 100 percent (40-0) the past four years. The Buffs are right behind at 93.2 percent (41-3). The difference is the postseason - GVS is 51-2 overall with a pair of national titles since 2005. WT is 44-7.

"This is like a national semifinal game right out of the chute," said GVS head coach Chuck Martin.

"A game like this can really help us or it can hurt us," said WT head coach Don Carthel. "It depends on how we handle it and how we grow from it. We are a young team."

Related: Mark Ford
Guest Picker: Terry Funk
Coach Speak
Starting Lineups

Mustangs unsure about what to expect in opener
The Midwestern State Mustangs aren’t quite going into tonight’s season opener against New Mexico Highlands blind, but they could use a good pair of glasses.

With no film on the Cowboys and quite a few transfers on their roster, the MSU coaching staff hasn’t been able to find out a great deal about the visitors.

So they’ll have to settle for making sure the Mustangs are at their best as they go for their ninth straight win in a season opener.

Kickoff tonight is set for 7 at Memorial Stadium.

ASU senior linebackers primed for breakout season
They call themselves “The Four Horsemen.”

They are the four senior linebackers at Angelo State University, one of the most talented and experienced group of LBs in the Lone Star Conference.

And they are ready for the 2009 season to begin so they can back up their credentials and help turn the ASU program back into the winning one fans are used to.

UIW faces unusual challenge in Monterrey Tech
There were two grainy videos, ever-changing rosters and a confusing Spanish-only Web site.

And that's just about the extent of what the Incarnate Word Cardinals scrounged up in scouting their first opponent, Monterrey Tech of Mexico.

“Definitely a lot harder than it usually is,” defensive coordinator Todd Ivicic said with a grin.

Other Sports News
Mustangs open season with two 3-1 losses
Crandall collects rebound to lift MSU past St. Mary's, 1-0
Own goal costs No. 5 Mustangs, Incarnate Word wins 1-0
ACU shocks ranked Central Missouri in women's soccer

Friday, August 28, 2009

LSC Roundup 8-28

Unlikely heroes lift ACU to win to open season
Two guys who fought their way onto the Abilene Christian University football team as walk-ons stepped into the limelight Thursday night at Shotwell Stadium.

Arthur Johnson, a fifth-year senior, returned a fumble 42 yards for a touchdown, and Casey Carr, a fourth-year junior, set up another touchdown with a 37-yard interception return to spark the No. 5 Wildcats past No. 2 Northwest Missouri State. 19-14, before a storm-battered crowd of 11,322.

Both started out as walk-ons.

“I’m just proud of those guys.” ACU coach Chris Thomsen said. “To be walk-ons in college football and earn scholarships like they have and step up in a big game like says a lot about them.”

It’s the second consecutive year the Wildcats have beaten Northwest Missouri in the season opener.

Defense carries load in Wildcats victory
The Abilene Christian University may be in need of a good body shop to straighten out the dents inflicted Thursday by Northwest Missouri State. The Wildcats, however, never broke down in taking a 19-14 victory over the No. 2 Bearcats at Shotwell Stadium.

With so many new faces on offense, it fell to the ACU defense to keep things in hand in their season opener. Every time it appeared the Bearcats were about to get things going, the defense made the plays to keep No. 5 ACU in the lead, if not in control.

Defensive end Ashton Whiteside capped the performance with a sack and forced fumble on a Bearcats fourth down from the ACU 30-yard line with 3:09 remaining in the game. That final stop allowed the Wildcats to run out the clock.

“It was just a good effort,” Whiteside said. “Our coaches preach to us about running to the ball, running through the block, and our whole defense did a good job of that. The whole time we were talking about ball key, and they didn’t get us once on that.”

UAM Falls in Season Opener
Tarleton State's senior tailback Roderick Smith had four rushing touchdowns at halftime, aiding the Texans to a 45-16 victory over the University of Arkansas at Monticello football team in the 2009 season opener for both squads.

The Texans (1-0) finished the game with 245 yards rushing on 36 carries and limited the Gulf South Conference's best rushing team in 2008, UAM (0-1), to only 82 yards on the ground on 39 carries.

Junior preseason All-GSC quarterback Scott Buisson was also shut down by the TSU defense, gaining only six yards on 14 attempts. Buisson was sacked three times for a loss of 31 yards. Through the air, the Metairie, La. native connected on 17 of 27 pass attempts for 176 yards, including one touchdown pass for 46 yards to senior Spenser Garrison with 9:20 left in the second half. That touchdown drive of three plays and 70 yards lasted only 59 seconds.

Page paces ESU victory
EMPORIA -- La'Darrian Page made a big splash in MIAA football in 2007 as a freshman at Missouri Western, rushing for 1,261 yards to earn second team all-conference honors.
After spending one year at Hutchinson Community College, where he was an All-American, Page is back in the MIAA. Page traded the black and gold of Missouri Western for similar colors at Emporia State, and the results look similar.

Page ran for 153 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries in his debut, leading the Hornets to a 48-17 season-opening victory against Southwestern Oklahoma State on Thursday at Welch Stadium. Page, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound junior, displayed his speed and elusiveness, breaking off runs of 29, 36 and 50 yards.

"We wanted to come out and be explosive," Page said. "We didn't want to wait until the second quarter to make plays. We wanted to come out fast. I'm happy. I did a good job hitting the holes and finding the creases. The offensive line did a good job blocking for all of the backs and we all got in the end zone at least once."

Reddies Fall in Opener
It was evident which team was the more experienced team Thursday night in Durant, Okla. as Southeastern Oklahoma rolled to a 54-38 victory over Henderson State.

The Savage Storm looked like they were in midseason form as they took advantage of great field position all night while the Reddies showed they were an inexperienced team and to make matters worse Henderson State had to work with a long field nearly every time they had the ball.

There was no doubt that field position was key as SEOSU averaged beginning its offensive series from their own 43 while the Reddies ' average starting field position being their own 25. SEOSU racked up 531 yards of total offense while the Reddies managed just 317.

Mavericks ambush East Central, 48-0
Quarterback Greg Wunderlich engineered a University of Nebraska-Omaha offense that compiled 277 total yards and 19 first downs in the opening half alone as the Mavericks overwhelmed the East Central University Tigers 48-0 Thursday night in the season opener for both teams at Al F. Caniglia Field.

The loss spoiled the second debut of ECU head coach Tim McCarty, who guided the Tigers in 2004 and 2005 before spending the last three seasons at Kansas State. McCarty won both of his season openers those years. But the third time wasn’t meant to be as ECU has now dropped all other of its season openers since winning the initial game of the 1996 season.

RiverHawks Lose Season Opener
Tahlequah, Okla. -- Northeastern State couldn't overcome a ninty-minute rain delay and the pin-point passing for Arkansas Tech quarterback Nick Graziano Thursday night in the RiverHawks season opener.

Graziano passed for 354 yards (26-39-1) and four touchdowns in leading the 24th ranked Wonderboys to a 44-32 win over Northeastern State at Doc Wadley Stadium.

Riverhawks quarterback Woody Wilson was also impressive in his Northeastern State debut passing for 232 yards; (17-33-1) and two touchdowns.

Javelinas want to keep momentum from 2008
KINGSVILLE — The product by no means is finished. A football program that has weaned itself off successive losing seasons for the first time since the turn of the century is decidedly on the rebound. And with a crop of young, energetic coaches, optimism is on the rise within Texas A&M-Kingsville’s football ranks.

While last year’s 7-4 record represented a four-game swing from Bo Atterberry’s first season as coach in 2007, the task now is sustaining the turnaround. That starts with the foundation — the players — and weaving a thread on a yearly basis to ensure the fabric of players remains taut. It is much like the one that made the Javelinas a perennial threat in the Lone Star Conference and on the national stage.

“Obviously you do it through recruiting and staying the course,” Atterberry said. “Making sure even the young guys understand the philosophy and the foundation, the importance and what a privilege it is to be a Javelina. You just continue to try and get the best players in here we can.”

New-look Mustangs ready to build own legacy
Reality smacked Midwestern State coach Venera Flores-Stafford earlier this week. Just five players on this year’s roster recorded stats for last season’s 25-9 squad which achieved the program’s first national ranking as the core of seniors advanced to the Lone Star Conference Tournament three times in the last four years including the school’s first NCAA Division II postseason appearance in 2007.

With just two returning starters and just one returning senior, the Mustangs will have a new look and feel.

“It’s exciting and nerve-wracking going into this season,” Flores-Stafford said. “This team has a fun personality and is very easy to be around. While there is a lot of uncertainty, these girls love to work hard.”

ASU volleyball powers to victory
The Angelo State University volleyball team opened the 2009 season with a dominating victory against New Mexico Highlands in the first game of the Angelo Retina ASU Invitational Thursday at the Junell Center.

Rambelles set to kick off '09 season today
The end of the 2008 season left a bad taste in the mouths of the returning members of the Angelo State University women’s soccer team. In head coach Travis McCorkle’s first season, the Rambelles were 10-4-1 overall and 4-1 in the Lone Star Conference. But over their last five matches, they went 0-3-1 and missed the LSC tournament for the first time since 2002.

Dominguez powers WT to 3-0 victory
West Texas A&M used 10 shots to score three goals in a 3-0 season-opening men's soccer victory against St. Edward's on Thursday at Austin. Forward Victor Olivares and midfielder Jacob Fynboe Jensen hooked up twice for two scores, one in each half. Dominic Furness scored the final WT goal with 41 seconds left.

Buffs cruise in opener
West Texas A&M used 10 shots to score three goals in a 3-0 season-opening men's soccer victory against St. Edward's on Thursday at Austin. Forward Victor Olivares and midfielder Jacob Fynboe Jensen hooked up twice for two scores, one in each half. Dominic Furness scored the final WT goal with 41 seconds left.

Mustangs want to build on momentum in 2009
Admittedly, one season usually doesn’t have an impact on the next. But even Midwestern State coach Jeff Trimble admits with eight starters and 18 letter winners returning from last season’s 14-7 squad which rattled off seven-straight wins to end the regular season just might make the difference in 2009.

“We’re returning so many players, so the confidence could make the difference,” he said. “It will be easier to find our rhythm and play as a team. We will have to find our identity early.”

No. 5 Mustangs start season in transition Two-straight trips to the NCAA Division II national quarterfinals including a venture to the Final Four two seasons ago have placed Midwestern State close to the top of the small college soccer world. It has also given the Mustangs a No. 5 ranking in the preseason NSCAA national poll.

“It’s one of those years where people expect us to win because we’re Midwestern,” MSU coach Doug Elder said. “We’ve been on the top of the mountain and everyone wants to push us off of the hill and everyone feels this is the year for that to happen.”

Thursday, August 27, 2009

LSC Roundup 8-27

Wildcats, Harp ready to play a song of revenge
The Abilene Christian University football suffered only one loss last season. Unfortunately, it came in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals — at the hands of Northwest Missouri State University. Ever since that season-ending 45-36 loss in Abilene, ACU senior Tony Harp has been itching for the rematch — knowing the Wildcats open the season against Northwest Missouri.

That day has come.

ACU, ranked No. 5 in the American Football Coaches Association national poll, plays the No. 2 Bearcats at 7 tonight in the opening game of the Action Sports Medicine Champions Classic at Shotwell Stadium.

“We’ve got a chip on our shoulder, and we want revenge,” said Harp, a starting free safety.

Javelinas expect big second season from QB Garza
KINGSVILLE — Most people would welcome getting another opportunity at anything they may do. When you are Billy Garza, and you have had a full year to fully embrace the offensive scheme he again will be directing for Texas A&M-Kingsville, the second and final chance may be huge. The reason is simple: Garza etched his name into the Javelinas’ record books in three categories and he did so essentially on a learn-as-you-go basis last season in helping guide the Javelinas to a 7-4 record.

“That’s a big thing. Last year he didn’t really know too much about the offense. But this year he’s got it to perfection,” said junior Ryan Lincoln, who figures to be on the receiving end of many of Garza’s passes this season. “It’s even better because he automatically knows what to do. That’s a good thing, probably the best thing to ever happen to us,” said Lincoln, who had 48 receptions for 740 yards, second on the ballclub last year. “In one year look what he did, breaking those records without not really knowing the offense. Now this year he knows it. There’s no telling what he’ll do this year.”

The senior quarterback set single-season standards in completions (209), attempts (370) and passing yards (2,787). He also fell just short of cracking Abel Gonzalez’s single-season bests in touchdown passes and total offense.

Related: 2009 LSC South Division preview
Related: 2009 LSC North Division preview
Related: Javelinas Keeping An Eye On Delta State Linebacker (with video)

NATHAN WRIGHT: Neiswander back from injury, as good as new
It has been almost a year since Angelo State quarterback Josh Neiswander’s junior season ended before it even really began.

Neiswander broke his leg in the Rams’ season opener against Texas State. After he had completed 18 of 25 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns.

“On both sides of the ball we were playing well,” Neiswander said. “Our defense was doing good. I think we were doing good on offense.”

Rams football turning the corner
The Angelo State football team has averaged fewer than three wins a season over the past three years. That streak began a year after the Rams went 9-3 and advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs.

The Rams and ASU head coach Dale Carr believe they have the experience and the talent to make a significant improvement this season. They just have to stay healthy.

“It’s that simple,” Carr said. “We need to stay healthy. That has been our focus as a staff. It has been the No. 1 focus, period. Nothing else is more important than keeping our guys healthy.”

Buffs' foe boasts 42-game regular-season win streak
If the Grand Valley State Lakers were applying for a job, they would have a sparkling resume.

Experience: The Lakers open the season as the No. 1 team in the nation in NCAA Division II for the sixth time since 2000 and return six offensive and eight defensive starters from last season's 11-1 playoff team.

Qualifications: Four national titles since 2002 and 42 consecutive regular-season victories.

However, to get the job done against the No. 11 West Texas A&M Buffs on Saturday at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium, GVS head coach Chuck Martin (61-5 in his sixth season) can't put much stock in past accomplishments.

"No one remembers who is the preseason No. 1 but who is the postseason No. 1," said Martin, who guided the Lakers to national titles in 2005 and 2006. "You take pride in it, but all that does is put a big X on your chest and everybody wants to knock you off that much more."

NSU set to open year
TAHLEQUAH — After a month of intense practices and preparation, the Northeastern State football team is set to kickoff their season tonight against No. 24 Arkansas Tech at Gable Field.

Kickoff for coach Kenny Evans’ second season opener at NSU is 7 p.m.

“Our guys have been very positive,” said Evans. “There’s lots of subdued confidence right now. They know where we’ve been. They are excited about the opportunity to wake the program up. We have brought in a lot of new people that want to be a part of that.”

UCO offense gears for Pitt
EDMOND, Okla. — Central Oklahoma head football coach Tracy Holland has reason to be excited about his offense.

After last season’s 16-12 season-opening loss to Pittsburg State in 2008, Holland and the 16th-ranked Bronchos have solved some of the offensive issues that plagued them against the No. 7 Gorillas. For one, the Bronchos will not be platooning quarterbacks as they are set on first-team All Lone Star Conference North QB Brandon Noohi. In last year’s game, Noohi did not last a full game as Holland said the Bronchos were in the process of trying to line out their offensive situation.

“We had a pair of quarterbacks that we were looking at,” Holland said. “With Brandon, he really came around in game five.”

UIW's No. 1 fans flying high
If there's a downside to Incarnate Word kicking off football in three days, it's that school president Louis Agnese only has so much longer to boast about a certain streak.

“For the last 129 years, Incarnate Word has been undefeated. I'd like to keep it that way,” he jokingly told the Cardinals following a recent practice.

That UIW's perpetually unthreatened mark in football is suddenly in jeopardy speaks to just how far the school has come in recent years. Thanks to Agnese's vision and UIW benefactor Tom Benson's funding, the once-unlikely, years-in-the-making dream of bringing college football to UIW will become a reality when the Cardinals open their inaugural season Saturday. They play Monterrey Tech at 7p.m. at Benson Stadium.

“We talked about it, talked about it, talked about it,” Agnese said. “Now, it's finally going to happen.”

Tarleton defense better get used to seeing good QBs
Western, Northwest set to open season
Arkansas Tech Set for Opener
Arkansas Tech coaches optimistic at luncheon
Northwest Missouri State now belongs to QB Bolles
Texas State opens 21st FCS Coaches Poll
Area College Report - Aug. 27, 2009
Mavs open season Thursday against East Central

College volleyball: Angelo State dealing with higher expectations
In his first season as head coach of the Angelo State University volleyball team, Chuck Waddington led the Rambelles to their first Lone Star Conference tournament berth since 2004.
This season, Waddington and the ’Belles have set their expectations much higher.

A year ago, the Rambelles went 20-14, winning one more match than they did in the previous three seasons combined (19-65). They went 8-5 in the LSC and advanced to the postseason event but lost in the first round to Abilene Christian.

“It was a nice stepping stone for us,” Waddington said of last season. “I think we started to turn the corner to create a winning attitude here again. Our kids are kind of used to winning now, which is kind of nice. What that brings to this year is a group of returners that can set the tone for the new kids coming in. The players that are returning can really set the standard for what is expected and how you can achieve a successful season.”

Lady Buffs ready to go
After two weeks of learning, practicing and scrimmaging, the WT volleyball team is ready to start the season.

Getting to this point was not easy, new Lady Buffs coach Jason Skoch said, especially for the freshmen.

"The first day of preseason, I wasn't too happy with them," Skoch said. "We had some freshmen that came in and I had some expectations. We needed around four people to step up, and the first week the freshmen didn't look good. They were afraid of stepping on toes, they were not sure of themselves and they played hesitant."

Lauffer expects to open season on a strong note
The West Texas A&M soccer teams kick off their seasons today. The No. 25 Buffs are on the road at St. Edward's in Austin for a 5 p.m. match. The Lady Buffs open up their season on the pitch on WT's campus at 3 p.m. against New Mexico Highlands.

Head coach Butch Lauffer thinks both squads should start the season strong.

Rike announces new Rams
Angelo State men's basketball coach Fred Rike has announced the addition of six new players to his roster for the 2009-10 campaign."We are going to be more athletic than ASU teams in the past," Rike said. "These six newcomers along with our seven returning players will make us a conference contender this year and help us be more competitive on a national level."Of Rike's six transfers, two are seniors, three are junior and one is a sophomore.

"We are expecting to win both games and get off to a proper start," Lauffer said. "It is real important to get off to a good start."


WICHITA FALLS, Texas - Midwestern State opens the 2009 cross country season ranked 16th in the United State Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Preseason Poll released Wednesday afternoon.

The Mustangs also rated second in the South Central Region ranking released earlier in the week.

Midwestern will rely on a returning core of six runners including All-South Central Region harriers Lindsey Pate and Kayla Hendrix.

(West Texas A&M is ranked 5th in the South Central Region, Incarnate Word is 9th and Central Oklahoma is 10th)

Coach McElroy Show set to start today at 11 a.m.
STEPHENVILLE - The Sam McElroy Coaches Show is set to begin at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26 at Texas Bank on the corner of the Northwest Loop and Wolfe Nursery Road.

The 30-minute show is broadcast live and is hosted by the voice of the Texans, Dr. Ron Newsome. He and fourth-year head coach Sam McElroy will discuss the 2008 season, upcoming opponents and other exciting issues related to the Tarleton football program.
Link to

LSC Scoop Pre-season All LSC and Power Poll

LSC Scoop Power Poll Week 1
  1. Abilene Christian - newcomers have some big shoes to fill, and don't have the luxury of a warm-up game
  2. West Texas A&M - see above
  3. Texas A&M-Kingsville - are the Javelinas ready to take that next step?
  4. Tarleton State - is this the year the Texans break through?
  5. Central Oklahoma - riding LSC's longestw winning streak into Pittsburg.
  6. Midwestern State - easiest LSC opener of any team.
  7. Southeastern Oklahoma - drop a couple of notches from DCTF due to QB questions
  8. Texas A&M-Commerce - Newcomers need to gel quickly in important LSC game.
  9. Angelo State - Will Rams defense continue to improve, will Neiswander returning to QB make the offense more of a threat?
  10. East Central - tough opener for Tim McCarty, will offense show more balance?
  11. Eastern New Mexico - young pups ready to prove pre-season prognosticators wrong.
  12. Northeastern State - Riverhawks brought in a lot of new blood on the field and sidelines.
  13. Southwestern Oklahoma - dropped a few spots when top RBs did not return.

No team lost more firepower than the Abilene Christian Wildcats. Players like Billy Malone, Bernard Scott and Johnny Knox don't come around often, and almost never on the field at the same time. Losing two first team All LSC South linemen doesn't help matters either. But it appears that ACU has some capable replacements. Zach Stewart and Clark Harrell at QB, Justin Johnson, Reggie Brown and Daryl Richardson at RB, while returning WR Edmund Gates, and linemen Tony Washington, Trevis and Royland Tubbs should keep ACU at or near the top of the LSC offensively. The defense should continue to improve as six players who received LSC post season honors return. Sprinkle in some talented transfers, and defense for ACU won't be an afterthought. Playoff team and favorite to win LSC.

Don't expect much sympathy from West Texas A&M. They lost QB Keith Null, WR Charly Martin, and LB Jared Brock - not only great players, but leaders on and off the field. Taylor Harris should be ready to step in at QB - he has performed well in spot duty the last three seasons. At RB Keithon Flemming suffered an injury to his elbow in a recent scrimmage, but is expected to return strong later in the season. In the meantime Kelvin Thompson will be the starter. He has logged a fair amount of playing time backing up Flemming and Wayne McKnight the past two seasons. AJ Ruffins is the leading returning receiver, but will need help. Stephen Burton and Anthony Burrell should contribute right away, and several youngsters are ready to make their mark. The offensive line should be a strength, with All American J'Marcus Webb, Brad McCarty, Jon Ioane, Daniel Sherwood and Hector Rodriguez providing solid experience. The line may be the strength of the defense as well. Another All American candidate, Broderick Marshall, and Eugene Sims anchor the line. Anthony Scott and Mark Ford return at linebacker, and Curtis Jefferson and Tae Evans are back in the secondary. Several transfers will be in the mix on defense, especially in the secondary. Playoff contender and LSC contender.

Texas A&M Kingsville didn't face the same losses as ACU and WT. They did lose their leading reciever, Jareko Taylor, and running back, Billy Martin, but return their other starters. Billy Garza is back after setting team single season records for passing yards and TDs. Ryan Lincoln, Damian Couthren and Daryl Malone are back at WR, but they will need some of the youngsters to step up. At RB, Joe Williams and Myron Brew return, and are joined by RS freshman Jonathon Woodson and transfers Connell Davis and Fred Winborn. The offensive line returns intact, and added OSU transfer Trent Perkins. On defense, seven starters return, but they must replace both defensive ends, team captain Mike Martinez at LB and All American Jabir Perkins in the secondary. Playoff contender and LSC contender.

Tarleton State will be ready to move up should any of the top three stumble. Junior Scott Grantham returns for his third season as the starting QB. In his first two seasons, he has thrown for 4,875 yards and 38 TDs. Roderick Smith returns at RB. He has rushed for 2,408 yards and 28 TDs in his career, and could become the Texans' all-time leader at the end of the season. Devin Guinn and Jahmeel Hobson are the top returning receivers. Three offensive line starters will need to be replaced, but returnee Dustin Washburn was an honorable mention LSC South honoree last season. The strength of the defense looks to be the line, with Jamaal Steamer, Alonzo Horton and Ben Taifane returning. Marcus Phillips returns at LB, and Vance Ibewuike and Brandon Johnson are back in the secondary. Playoff contender.

The LSC team with the longest current winning streak? Central Oklahoma. The Bronchos started off 2008 with an 0-4 record, before turning things around. Offensively, they lose three 2nd team All LSC North performers, but return QB Brandon Noohi, WRs Ryan Gallimore, Kendall Hendricks, and Daniel Morrell and welcome back RB Ben Birmingham who missed 2008 with an injury. Jermell Cudjo and Freddie Harris are back on the defensive line, and have Terry Hardeman and Terrance Hill right behind them at LB. The secondary must replace three LSC honorees from last season. Playoff contender.

Midwestern State enters 2009 with fewer question marks than last year. Zack Eskeridge returns at QB, after closing out 2008 in strong fashion. Marcus and BeeJay Mathis (not related) return at RB, and Andy Tanner, Tyron Morrison and David Little at WR. The OL lost just one starter, with Lance Calloway and Dillon Sullivan each receiving honorable mention LSC South honors. On defense, six starters have moved on, including three on the line. Steven Turner and Kennedy Ezimako will be back, as will Emmanuel Bagley at LB, and Antoine Cumby, Micah Hill and Ryan Craven in the secondary. Playoff contender.

Southeastern Oklahoma ended 2008 as the second hottest team in the LSC North. The Savage Storm finished the year on a 5-1 tear, taking second place in the division. They will have to replace QB Brandon McCain, who threw for 2,145 yds and 22 TDs. Dallas McCutcheon and Justin Pitrucha are the top candidates to fill that spot. SOSU should be able to move the ball on the ground with returning RB Baylen Laury and newcomer Josh Johnson. When SOSU does pass the ball, Daniel Nichols and Jerrod Temple are the top returning targets and Barrett Fontenette returns to the team as well. The defense returns 5 All LSC North performers - DT Dexter Elliot, DE Alex Moore, LB Noe Lopez, LB/DB Johnny Seals and DB Bernard Daniels.

The mystery team of the LSC might well be Texas A&M Commerce. The past few seasons have seen the Lions play strong defense and inconsistent offense, bascially finishing each season within a game of .500. This year, with a new coaching staff, the offense is expected to play a much more wide open style. QB Reid Herchenbach transferred from Alabama State and is expected to start. At running back, West Virginia transfer Jetavious Best highlights a group that also includes returnee Marcus Graham. Ernest Quander and Taylor Fore return at WR, and will be joined by newcomers Alex Castillo and Jordan Wright. RJ Brisbon is the leading returner on the offensive line. The defense will return more familiar faces - Willie Green, Andre Smith, and Andrew Schwapp on the line, Chad Washington and Cory Whitfield at LB, and Alex Contreras, AJ Billings and Shea Rodriguez in the secondary. Newcomers Antony DeGrate and Jacoby Veals should be in the mix on the line, while Michael Cleveland, Israel Hughes and Chez Thomas help out in the secondary.

The Angelo State Rams took a step forward defensively last year, but a seaon ending injury to QB Josh Neiswander in the opening game set the offense back a step. End result a 3-8 season. Neiswander is back under center, but Daniel Thomas has graduated - Michael Simpers will try to fill that void. The Rams top two recievers are also gone, but transfer V'Keon Lacy, Jeremy Hill and Garrett Tidwell are ready to take their spots. Three starters also return on the offensive line. On defense, six starters return from the front seven, including NT Cody Smith and LB Edward Cantrell. Rickey McKinley is the only returnee in the secondary.

East Central brought in a new/old coach to lead them in 2009. Tim McCarty was the head coach for ECU in 2004 and 2005 and led the Tigers to their last winning season. While ECU went 3-8 last year, the cupboard isn't bare. Two-time All LSC North QB Marcus Johnson returns, as does leading rusher Josh Maldonado, WR Jerold Loveless and three starters on the line. If the line can remain healthy, it could be one of the top units in the North, allowing ECU to be more balanced on offense. The defense returns 8 starters, but they will be pushed by some newcomers, especially at linebacker and the secondary.

Eastern New Mexico went through growing pains last year, as expected. By no means are they out of the woods - the offense could have just two seniors starting. QB JJ Harp, WRs Darian Dale and Matt Handler will just be sophs, and TJ Cleavinger, Karlton Graves and Tanner Streety are just juniors. The second year of the transistion to the Air Raid offense should be much smoother. The defense will need to improve dramatically if the Hounds are to contend. Seven starters return to try and turn things around.

Northeastern State only had one victory to show for 2008, but they were oh so close in several other games. On offense All LSC North WRs Jarrett Byars and Damien Henderson are gone, but with their top two returning QBs, top RB and several transfers, things should be better. Its the same outlook for the defense. They lost Curtis Mayfield and Broderick Mondy, but with TJ Raymond, Terrence Gaston and Johnny Evans back and several newcomers added, the Riverhawks should be much improved.

Southwestern Oklahoma was 3-8 last season, losing a few heartbreakers. Steve Day returns at QB, as do two of his top receivers, Johnathan Haggerty and Joe Sawyer, along with three starters on the line. Three all LSC North perfomers won't be back - OL Jerrod Hunt, WR Kyle Wimberly and RB Luke Lundy. The Bulldogs defense should be good again, but will be hard pressed to lead the LSC in yards allowed again. Seven starters are back, including first team LSC North LB Jason Burgess and honorable mention cornerback Jeff Lemon.

LSC Player of the Year - Keithon Flemming, West Texas A&M
Offensive Player of the Year - Roderick Smith Tarleton
Defensive Player of the Year - Jimmy Saddler-McQueen, Texas A&M-Kingsville
Special Teams Player of the Year - Cody Smith, Texas A&M-Kingsville
Newcomer of the Year - Justin Johnson, Abilene Christian

QB Billy Garza TAMK
RB Baylen Laury SOSU
RB Marcus Mathis MSU
WR Edmund Gates ACU
WR Daniel Nichols SOSU
TE Joe Sawyer SWO
OL Tony Washington ACU
OL Trevis Turner ACU
OL J'Marcus Webb WTAM
OL RJ Brisbon TAMC
OL Markeith Wesley TAMK

DL Jamaal Steamer TSU
DL Aston Whiteside ACU
DL Jermelle Cudjo UCO
DL Eugene Sims WTAM
LB Fred Thomspon ACU
LB Jaron Burgess SWO
LB Nathan Uland ENMU
DB Bernard Daniel SOSU
DB Curtis Jefferson WTAM
DB Eric John TAMK
DB Tony Harp ACU

Return Specialist BeeJay Mathis MSU
Kicker James Chandler WTAM
Punter Juan Velasco TAMC

LSC Scoop Game Previews (8-29)

New Mexico Highlands at Midwestern State
Mismatch of the week
NMHU was 3-8 last season, with wins over teams with a combined record of 9-23. Three of the losses were by 7 or fewer points, however. They were picked to finish 9th in the 10 team Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and had no players selected the preseason all conference team. Midwestern State should be able to use this game to work out some kinks against a live (but overmatched) defense.
MSU 56-14

Eastern New Mexico at Colorado State-Pueblo
CSUP played their first season since 1985 last year, and were respectable finishing the season 4-6, and narrowing losing two others. Chase Vaughn leads the defense, which gave up 21.1 points (4th in the RMAC) and 355.7 yards per game (7th) last season. The offense struggled, gaining just 229 yards (last) and scoring just 15.1 points (7th) per game. They struggled passing (163.4 yards - 9th) and stopping the pass (241 yds - 8th), which doesn't bode well agains the Greyhounds. Offensively, they didn't run the ball well either (66 yds per game - 9th) but limited opponents to just 115 yds per game (6th). This should be a good challenge for ENMU to start their 2008 campaign, and we look for their passing game to have improved from 2008.
ENMU 28-24

Southwestern Oklahoma at Emporia State
Emporia State, 4-7 last year, was picked to finish 8th in the 10 team MIAA for 2009. Three of their losses were by one score. Former Northeastern State offensive coordinator, Garin Higgins, is 7-15 in his two seasons as head coach at ESU. Senior Andre El-Sloan returns for his third year at QB, and added Juco All American La'Darrian Page at RB. The Hornets were effective running the ball (134 yds per game), but struggled a bit in the passing game (161 yds per game, 11 Ints). Four offensive linemen who started at least 5 games return as well. The defense (5th in the MIAA) returns 3 of the top 4 tacklers from last year. Teams were able to run against ESU (166 yds per game, 7th), while the pass defense gave up 187 yds per game (4th). It will be interesting to see what kind of running game SWO is able to muster in their opener. Equally interesting will be their run defense against what appears to be an improved running offense for ESU.
Emporia State 35-21

Arkansas Tech at Northeastern State
The Wonderboys, 5-5 in 2008, return 18 starters for the 2009 season - 7 on offense, 8 on defense and 3 on special teams. One newcomer will be QB Nick Graziano, a transfer from Nevada. ATU must also replace two of their top three receivers. The Wonderboys averaged 30.5 points and 446 (178 rushing and 268 passing) yards per game last year. Defensively, the top 6 tacklers return. That should help them improve on last season's 33.6 points and 461 yards allowed per game. Teams rushed for 220 yds and passed for 241 yds per game. Northeastern State is ready to put 2008 behind them. It should be noted that four of their losses were by a combined total of 12 points - they easily could have finished 2008 with a 5-6 record. The offense was 12th in points scored and last in total offense last season. They do return their top two QBs, and RBs, but must replace Jarrett Byers and Damian Henderson at WR. Defensively was a bit better, with NSU finishing 11th in points allowed and 10th in total defense. Three LSC North honorees return and will be joined by a few transfers that will push for playing time.

Last year's game was the sixth straight win (22-3) in the series for the Wonderboys. The 3 points and 287 yards allowed were season bests. The Riverhawks led 3-2 at halftime, but ATU scored TDs on all 3 of their second half possessions to take the win. Looks like 7 in a row for the Wonderboys 35-21

Henderson State at Southeastern Oklahoma
The Reddies were 5-5 last season, losing three games by a TD or less (including a 4 point loss to #10 Valdosta State). They scored 32.8 points per game, passing for 330 yds and rushing for 118. The defense gave up 28 points and 434 yards per game. Keep and eye on senior QB Roch Charpentier threw for 3,157 yds and 25 TDs.

Southeastern Oklahoma will be looking to avoid last season's slow start, which found them at 1-4 after five weeks, and getting outscored by a 81-214 margin. The quarterback position is a bit of a question mark, but with Baylen Laury back and joined by Josh Johnson, the running game should be improved. When SOSU does throw the ball, there are several good receivers to choose from, with Daniel Nichols and Jerrod Temple leading the way. On defense, the secondary will be challenged. The Savage Storm did lead the LSC with 18 Ints last year, with Bernard Daniel and Johnny Seals each picking off three.

SOSU finished strong last year, and if they get decent QB play and don't turn the ball over, they should keep that momentum. SOSU 28-21

Arkansas-Monticello at Tarleton State
The Bollweevils were 7-4 in 2008, with three losses by a TD or less (including a 6 point loss at Delta State). UAM scored 34.3 points per game, while giving up 29.1. They led the GSC with 499 yards per game and were remarkably balanced (244 yds rushing, 255 passing). The defense gave up 393 per game, 101 on the ground, and 292 through the air. The player to watch is junior quarterback Scott Buisson. All he did last year was rush for 120 yds per game (along with 12 TDs), and throw for 2,700 yds and 25 TDs. UAM also has Johnny Polite (628 yds rushing) and WRs Tim Harris and Clarence Denmark (113 combined receptions, 1,737 yds, 20 TDs). For the defense, seven players with 44 or more tackles return.

The Texans welcome back preseason LSC South offensive player year Roderick Smith, two year starting QB Scott Grantham and WR Devin Guinn, but must replace three starters on the line. Tarleton's offense was just as balanced as the Bollweevil's (188 yds passing, 187 rushing) if not as prolific. The Texan's had the top pass defense in the LSC, giving up just 197 yds per game, while teams rushed for 122. The secondary lost 3 starters from last year, so look for the newcomers to be challenged.

This should be a great opening game for both teams, and has the potential to be a shootout. UAM comes into the game with most of the playmakers intact from a big year. Look for them to put the Texan defense on their heels, and their defense to do just enough to escape Stephenville with a win. UAM 38-31

Texas A&M-Commerce at Angelo State
This is probably the most important game this week, national rankings aside. This is a matchup of two teams that start off in the middle of the initial LSC Scoop Power Poll, and cannot afford to lose these types of games. Both teams were in the bottom half of the LSC offensively and in the middle to upper half defensively. Last year, the Lions sacked Will Mezger on a fourth and goal play, preserving a 13-10 win in Commerce.

Angelo State welcomes back Josh Neiswander at QB. Neiswander, who passed for 1,900 yards in 2007, was injured in the Rams' season opener against Texas State, and the Rams struggled all season. Michael Simpers (also out last year with an injury) looks to replace Daniel Thomas at RB, and Jeremy Hill and Garrett Tidwell will get the nod at WR. The Rams defense improved greatly in 2008, and returns 6 of their front 7, but must replace 3 in the secondary.

Texas A&M-Commerce will have new faces all around the field. Offensively, Alabama State transfer Reid Herchenbach should get the start at QB., while West Virginia transfer Jetavious Best and returnee Marcus Graham will look to replace Nabil El Amin. The leading returning receivers are Ernest Quander and Taylor Fore, but with a more wide open offense, look for several others to be involved as well, including Sophomore Adam Jones, Freshman Jordan Wright, and Freshman TE TJ Nielsen. The defense returns a few more familiar faces, including DL William Green and LB Chad Washington, both 1st team LSC North picks last season.

While ther will probably be more offense than last years game, this will probably still be low scoring. Both teams could really use an early season confidence boost and conference win. We'll take the Rams at home. ASU 21-14

East Central at #23 Nebraska-Omaha
The Mavericks were a playoff team last year, dropping a first round game to fellow MIAA team Pitt State 33-21. They finished the season 7-4, dropping contests to Pitt State (twice), NWMSU and Truman State. Primarily a running offense, UNO led the MIAA with 270 yds per game. The passing game was 9th (142 per game), leaving them third in total offense (412 yds) and 4th in scoring (30.9). They have to replace their QB, top RB, and do not have a WR that caught a pass last year, but they do return all five offensive line starters. The defense was also 4th in points allowed (24.8), and total yards (351). They allowed 154 yds rushing and 197 passing.

East Central will try to be a more balanced team in 2009 - over the last three seasons, they have gained fewer yards rushing than any other LSC team. A healthy (and improved) offensive line will help, and having Marcus Johnson back at QB will keep teams from loading up on the run. The Tigers will need to show to greatly improve (last in points allowed and rushing yards, 12th in total yards allowed, and 5th in passing yards allowed).

ECU's offense should keep this from being a complete blowout, but the Mavs should win 42-28

Central Oklahoma at #7 Pittsburg State
The Bronchos open the 2009 season against one of the perennial powers in D2 football - the Pitt State Gorillas. Led by head coach Chuck Broyles (193-41-2 career record), the Gorillas finished last season 11-2, with both losses coming to rival Northwest Missouri. Offensively, PSU averaged 35.5 points and 433 yards per game in 2008. As usual, the running game was very strong (235 yds per game) while the passing game was solid (198 yds per game). They will have to replace most of last years starters, including QB Mark Smith, RB Caleb Farabi, their three WRs and four offensive line starters. The defense returns 8 starters from a squad that allowed 23.5 points and 321 yards per game led by All American safety Alex Kuhlman.

UCO comes into the game riding a 7 game winning streak and ranked #16 in the AFCA poll. Nothing in the statistics suggests domination - 6th in scoring offense, 8th in scoring defense, 10th in total offense, 9th in total defense. What does stand is turnover margin (+12), red zone offense 4th, and red zone defense (2nd) - the Bronchos just didn't beat themselves. The offense returns their top skill players, but must replace three 2nd team All LSC North linemen. On defense, the defensive line and linebackers each return two all LSC North performers, but the secondary must replace three who received postseason honors last fall.

The Bronchos came within one big play of upsetting Pitt State last year. The defense did their part, containing the powerful Gorilla offense, and forcing 5 turnovers. The offense was unable to convert those opportunities, and PSU held on for a 16-12 victory. Despite returning so few on offense, Pitt State has proven through the years that they can reload the offense with little to no disruption. Their defense should be even better this year. With the game in Pittsburg, Kansas, that spells for a long day for UCO.
Pitt State 38-17

#3 Delta State at #24 Texas A&M-Kingsville
Coach Ron Roberts expects an offensive showcase as the Statesmen come to Kingsville for the first meeting between the two teams. Delta State was 2nd in the GSC in scoring (36.2 per game) and total offense (471 yards per game). They are led by Garrett DeWitt, who threw for 3,277 yds and 28 TDs last season. His favorite target is Trevar Deed, who rushed for 608 yards and 8 TDs and caught 78 passes for 879 yards and 7 TDs. Several DI transfers at WR should keep pass defenses honest. The offensive line returns four starters, led by All GSC Pete Vaesau, and preseason selections Jason Donnal and Brad Latham. Six starters return on defense, including All American Lardester Hicks-Green. The defense was 2nd in yards allowed (318) but did allow 26.3 points per contest. The run defense was especially tough, giving up just 83 yards per game, while teams passed for 235. DSU finished last season 10-2, losing to IAA McNeese State in the season opener, and to #5 North Alabama in the national quarterfinals.

The Javelinas come into the contest with almost all of the offense and defense returning intact. They averaged 31.3 points and 430 yards per game. Billy Garza (2,787 yds 23 TDs) returns as does Ryan Lincoln (48-740 4 TDs) and Damian Couthren ( 38-606 5 TDs). TAMK also returns their complete starting offensive line, but must replace leading rusher Billy Martin. Seven starters return for a defense that led the LSC in rushing defense (80 yds per game), but was only 11th against the pass (260 yds per game). Overall they placed 6th in yards allowed (340) and 5th in points given up (24.6).

On paper the teams seem very similar, pass-oriented, but with running games that defenses have to respect. The defenses were good at stopping the run, but only average on pass defense. While we think Kingsville will be improved this season, the Statesmen are probably still a bit better. DSU 35-31

#1 Grand Valley State at #12 West Texas A&M
If you want an early season test to see where you stand, why not schedule the best? The Lakers have 4 titles since 2002, and are annual contenders to win it all. The offense led the GLIAC with 38.5 points per game, and showed great balance (228 yds rushing, 201 passing). QB Brad Iciek returns for his senior season. He has thrown for 5,267 yds and 63 TDs in his career, and has been the GV starter the past two seasons. His top target is Blake Smolen (76 career receptions for 1,303 yds, 3,937 all purpose yards). Junior James Berezik will be back at RB - he has 2,424 yds and 23 TDs in two seasons. The offensive line must replace three starters, but is consistently one of the best in the nation. On defense, Preseason All-American Danny Richard and Alex Gilde anchor the line, all three linebackers, and both safeties are back. The Lakers limited teams to just 12.7 points and 279 yards per game in 2008.

On the other hand, West Texas A&M will be sporting fresh faces in numerous spots. QB Taylor Harris will take over for St. Louis Ram QB Keith Null, and Kelvin Thompson will step in at RB for the injured Keithon Flemming. At WR, AJ Ruffins leads a host of newcomers in trying to replace Charly Martin, Seth Hayden and Carl Johnson. The line has the most returnees, led by J'Marcus Webb. Defensively, 4 of the front 7 return, but the loss of Jared Brock leaves a huge hole. The defense was very good against every team, with the glaring exception of ACU. They will be facing a different offense than they are used to seeing - one that is not flashy, but very efficient and experienced.

The pass defense of Grand Valley allowed just 163 yards per game last year, so it will be very interesting to see how they fare against the WT aerial circus. This will be a good test for both teams, but GV just has too many returnees this year. GVSU 38-31

Game of the Week
#2 Northwest Missouri at #6 Abilene Christian
It doesn't get any better than this, does it? The two top teams in Super Region 4 squaring off in the season opener, with a rematch later in the season a distinct possibility. The teams split last year's games, with ACU taking the opener in Maryville 44-27, and NW returning the in Abilene 45-36 in the national quarterfinals. Blake Bolles will take over at QB for the Bearcats. In spot duty last year, Bolles completed 72% of his passes for 546 yds and 6 TDs, while rushing for 356 yds and 6 more TDs. LaRon Council returns at RB - he rushed for 1,739 yards and 35 TDs last year. Abe Qaoud and Nick Rhodes are the top returning receivers (combined 75-1,035 10 TDs). Four offensive linemen have to be replaced. On defense, the Wildcats will see 9 players that started against them in the playoff game. That defense led the MIAA allowing just 19.2 points and 301 yards per game.

ACU will have a lot of new faces on offense - especially at the skill positions. At QB, Zach Stewart is expected to get the start, but Clark Harrell could figure in as well. With no more Bernard Scott at RB, OU transfer Justin Johnson, Daryl Richardson and Reggie Brown all look to contribute. Edmund Gates returns at WR, but will need some help to keep defenses from doubling up on him all the time. The offensive line should give whoever gets the nod at QB time to throw, while opening holes for the running backs. All American Tony Washington, Trevis Turner and Royland Tubbs all return as starters. On defense, Aston Whiteside and Bryson Lewis return on the line, backed up by Fred Thomspon and Eric Edwards at LB, who are in turn backed up by Tony Harp, Drew Cuffee and Richard Havins in the secondary. ACU also added several transfers who will try and work their way into the mix.

This should be a doozy. Both teams have new faces in key spots on offense, but NW returns the bulk of a stingy defense that slowed down the 2008 blitzkrieg offense of ACU. That signals another NW victory to us. NWMSU 38-28

LSC Scoopcast - Week 1 Now Available!


Come find out about Recent LSC News, our Weekly Pick 'Em with this week's guest Great White Buffalo, and listen to Blake's apparent issues with Portales, NM.

Click on the "Scoopcast/Radio" tab on the sidebar on the right of this screen, and enjoy the podcast. Let us know what you think...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2009 Preview - Abilene Christian

2008 Recap
The 2008 season could not have gotten off to a better start for Abilene Christian. The Wildcats marched into Maryville, Missouri and beat the #3 NMSU Bearcats 44-27, overcoming a 21-7 first quarter deficit. The offense rolled up 516 yards and the defense limited NWMSU to just one scoring drive over the final 3 quarters. The team did not suffer a letdown during conference play, winning their next 9 games, scoring fewer than 42 points just one time, while allowing more than 17 just once as well. The only team to play them within 20 was West Texas A&M in week #8. The teams would meet again in the second round of the playoffs, with ACU winning again, this time 93-68 (see the WT preview for more details). This would set up another rematch, this time with Northwest Missouri.

Both teams scored 4 times in the first half, but for NWMSU it was 4 TDs, while ACU had to settle for 2 FGs and trailed 28-20 at the half. In the second half ACU struck first, to pull within 1 at 28-27. NWMSU would score on their next three drives and their defenes would pick off two ACU passes to take the rematch 45-36.

Offensively, ACU was off the charts in 2008. The Wildcats set an LSC mark by scoring 52.3 points per game. They were also tops in the LSC in total offense (558.8 yds per game), had the #1 rusing offense (235.5 yds per game, 6.8 yds per carry) and the #2 passing offense (323.2 yds per game). Billy Malone led the LSC in passing efficiency (189.7) and threw for 3,213 yds and 36 TDs. His favorite target was once again Johnny Knox (56-1,069 13 TDs), but Edmund Gates , Jonathan Ferguson, and Bernard Scott all did their part as well. Scott topped the 2,000 yard rushing mark for the second time (2,156 yds and 28 TDs), just missing out on his record numbers from 2007. The skill players had the luxury of playing behind 3 first team and 2 second team All LSC South honorees.

Defensively, ACU finished second in the LSC in scoring defense (22.9) and fifth in yards allowed (339.9). (The numbers would have been 17.2 pts and 288 yds per game taking out WTAM, just to be fair like the WT preview). Opponents could muster just 84.9 yards on the ground (second) but through the air gained 255 (ninth). (Again minus WT, that would be 83 rushing and 205 passing). Aston Whiteside had a stellar RS freshman season, with 16 TFL and 9 sacks, while Fred Thompson had 14 TFL and 7.5 sacks from his LB spot. Both return, as does Tony Harp, who had 53 tackles and 4.5 TFL from the secondary.

2009 Outlook
Out with the old
QB Billy Malone - LSC Career leader in almost every category, including passing yards (12,012) and TDs (114), 1st LSC South, and All American
RB Bernard Scott - Single season LSC Rushing leader (2,165 yards, and 35 TDs) 1st LSC South, All American, Harlon Hill Trophy Winner
WR Johnny Knox - 118 receptions, 2,227 yds, 30 TDs in two seasons, 1st LSC South
WR Jonathan Ferguson - 35-573 3 TDs, 2nd LSC South
TE Kendrick Holloway - 21-213 5 TDs, 1st LSC South
OL Sam Collins - 1st LSC South, Gene Upshaw Award Winner
OL Joseph Thompson - 1st LSC South
DL Vantrise Studivant - 25 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 1st LSC South
LB Mike Kern - 65 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1 Int, 1st LSC South
DB Alex Harbison - 26 tackles, 2 Ints, 6 passes BU, 2nd LSC South (injured)
DB Nick Fellows - 64 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 Ints, 2nd LSC South
K Matt Adams - 13-16 FG, 78-81 PAT, 117 pts, 1st LSC South

Welcome Back
FB Emery Dudensing - 1st LSC South
WR Edmund Gates - 31-716 8 TDs, 1st LSC South
TE Trey Simeone - 1st LSC South
OL Tony Washington - 1st LSC South, All American
OL Trevis Turner - 2nd LSC South
OL Royland Tubbs - 2nd LSC South
DL Aston Whiteside - 30 tackles, 16 TFL, 9 sack, 3 passes BU, 1st LSC South
LB Fred Thompson - 56 tackles, 14 TFL, 7.5 sack, 4 passes BU, 1st LSC South
LB Bryson Lewis - 55 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 3 passes BU, 2nd LSC South
LB Eric Edwards - 56 tackles, 4 TFL, 1.5 sacks, HM LSC South
DB Tony Harp - 53 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 Int, 4 passes BU, 1st LSC South
DB Craig Harris - 30 tackles, 3 Int, 5 passes BU, 2nd LSC South
DB Drew Cuffee - 23 tackles, 3 Ints, 5 passes BU, HM LSC South

In with the new
QB Clark Harrell (Tulsa, 2008 redshirt)
RB Daryl Richardson (Cisco JC)
RB Justin Johnson (OU)
RB Reggie Brown (Blinn JC)
WR Dennis Campbell (Rutgers)
WR VJ McElroy (Baylor)
WR Chris Fowler (Angelo State)
WR Terrell Woodall (Laney College)
WR Kendrick Johnson (Kilgore JC)
OL Larry Landry (Memphis/College of the Sequoias)
DL Marvin Jones (Lane College)
DL Mike Jones (Valley CC)
DL James Peters (Texas Southern)
LB Kevin Washington (Notre Dame)
LB Courtney Lane (Tyler JC)
DB Major Culbert (Nebraska)
DB Courtney Williams (Washington State)
K Dale Wallace (Louisiana Tech)
K Spencer Covey (OU)
P Mark Sprague (Blinn JC)

All Conference Candidates
All from Welcome Back list, QB Zach Stewart, QB Clark Harrell, RB Justin Johnson, WR Dennis Campbell, WR Chris Fowler

All American Candidates
OL Tony Washington
OL Trevis Turner
DL Aston Whiteside
LB Fred Thompson
DB Tony Harp

Big Games
Aug 27 #2 Northwest Missouri - rematch of last season's opener and national quarterfinal playoff contest
Oct 17 #12 West Texas A&M
Oct 24 @ Tarleton State
Oct 31 #24 Texas A&M Kingsville
Nov 7 @ Midwestern State

Best Case Scenario
11-0 Replacements for Malone, Scott, Knox and company make for a smooth offensive transition. Defense improves enough to keep winning in playoffs from being dependent on high scoring shootouts.

Worst Case Scenario
7-4 Team struggles with chemistry from so many new faces, offense comes back to earth, still really good, but not ridiculous anymore, while the defense continues to struggle against ranked opponents.

LSC Roundup 8-26

Javelinas: Strong Front-line Force (with video)
KINGSVILLE - When the number 24 Javelinas take the field against third-ranked Delta State in the season opener Saturday, keep an eye on the guys in front of quarterback Billy Garza. They might just be the foundation on which an upset is built.

"If we go, the team will go," three-year captain Markeith Wesley said.

Wesley has reason to be confident. He leads an offensive line that returns all five of last season's starters and depth to spare. That unit helped the Javelinas rack up 430 yards and 31 points a game in 2008.

"So now, it's like the time where we come out and have fun. That's the most important thing about football. You can get all uptight and you've got to be able to have fun. We're able to come out and relax. We know what we're going to do. We know the system and we're able to get things done," Wesley said.

"It's always been my opinion that the offensive line is one of the key factors to how a team does. We will definitely take the burden on our shoulders and we're ready to run with it," center Tim Byerly said.

UCO's Jermelle Cudjo worth talking about
EDMOND — As a defensive coordinator at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Steve Patterson was all too familiar with Jermelle Cudjo, one of the Bronchos’ best players on defense. He tried to sway Cudjo to Miami, losing the battle but not the war.

"I tried to get him out of Lawton MacArthur, and he picked UCO,” Patterson said. "But I still get to coach him anyway.”

Their paths crossed again when Patterson came to UCO. Football coaches don’t often gush about their players, but Patterson has trouble finding much of anything Cudjo (6-2, 300) does wrong.

"He’s a great young man with great character,” Patterson said. "He goes to class. He makes good grades, and on top of that he’s a great football player. He’s special.”

The senior is a pre-season All-American after finishing last year with 60 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He wants a little more for himself and for UCO’s "Code Red” defense.

"Code red is preparation, playing hard, max speed and finishing,” Cudjo said. "If we do that all the time I don’t think anyone can beat us. We’ve had a lot of intensity, and we’ve bonded. Everyone is on the same page.”

Thompson takes on bigger role
Now that junior running back Kelvin Thompson is the main man of the West Texas A&M running game - at least for the time being - how does he compare to the injured Keithon Flemming, the Lone Star Conference Preseason Player of the Year who has piled up 3,212 all-purpose yards during the past two seasons?

Go to the sources - Flemming and Thompson. Who would win a 40-yard dash between the two?

"Ah, you can't put us on the spot like that," said Flemming, who was sporting a large brace on his left arm Monday after suffering a dislocated elbow in WT's final preseason scrimmage Saturday.
Thompson's response? "I don't think we've done that (a 40-yard dash)."

The answer will have to come on the field, but the Buffs are confident the offense will keep humming. With Flemming out an estimated four to six weeks (results of a Monday MRI are expected today), Thompson takes one of the spotlight roles in the WT offense in a spotlight game - the 11th-ranked Buffs open the season Saturday against Grand Valley State, the No. 1 team in the nation.

"If I said I wasn't disappointed about the injury, I'd be lying," said Flemming. "But everybody knows what Kelvin can do. We'll be fine. There are a lot of good players on this football team. Hopefully, when I come back, I'll be able to go full out."

State college notebook: Tough road ahead for UCO
Central Oklahoma won’t waste any time testing its seven-game win streak dating back to last year when it faces No. 7-ranked Pittsburg State on Saturday night. It’s part of a string of difficult games to open the year. UCO also travels to West Texas and Texas A&M-Kingsville.

"For the first five weeks it’ll feel the same as if we’re in the national playoffs; it’s that caliber of team week after week,” UCO head coach Tracy Holland said. "We’re going to have to have that mentality to be successful.”

Tigers hit the road Thursday
ADA — If opposites truly attract, East Central University’s 2009 season opener at Nebraska-Omaha should feature quite a collision.

Other than their overall youth, Tim McCarty’s ECU squad and Pat Behrns’ Mavericks have almost nothing in common — starting with the head coaches. McCarty is beginning his his second tour as the Tigers’ head man, while Behrns is entering his 16th season at UNO.

ECU has a new offensive scheme but a veteran quarterback; the Mavericks have the same old system but a new man under center for the first time in three seasons.

McCarty has a re-tooled offensive line with only one returning starter; Behrns lost 21 seniors off last year’s 7-4 squad but returns his offensive line almost totally intact.

UNO has one of the best kickers in Division II in Greg Zuerlein; ECU hasn’t had a field goal of more than 40 yards since 2005.

And then there’s tradition.

NSU Opens Season Thursday Night
Tulsa - While teams like OU, OSU and Tulsa begin their seasons next week, there's plenty of football to talk about this week. Northeastern State begins its season Thursday night, hosting Arkansas Tech. The Riverhawks were 1-and-10 in Kenny Evans' first season as head coach. But, Evans enters his second season at NSU with optimism.

Quarterback Kaelin Woods (Miami HS) returns for his senior season after starting six games in 2008. He completed 101-of-192 passes for 1,207 yards and seven touchdowns. Kenny Davis (Adair HS) also returns at quarterback. As a freshman, Davis started five games and completed 55 percent of his passes for 757 yards and five touchdowns.

South Side players ready for college football
Diego McClain was about to burst at the seams last week, reveling in a moment he didn’t expect life to provide him and playing a position he associated with his late brother.

The Highlands High School alumnus arguably was the individual standout in the University of the Incarnate Word’s final preseason football scrimmage at Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium. Saturday, he’ll play his first football game since the 2004 season.

“Diego did a great job,” Incarnate Word coach Mike Santiago said. “He was coming off the ball well and getting into the backfield. He did a great job of disrupting the offense.”

BEARCAT NOTEBOOK: Northwest plans football watch party for Thursday
Northwest departs for Abilene
Grand Valley State football team knows it can't coast in opener ...
2009 football outlook: Allendale
Big Country QBs top college ranks in '09
Third-ranked Statesmen set to open season Saturday
ESU Hornets prep for Thursday showdown
Hornets open season at home
Reddies Begin Season Thursday
Emporia State hopes newcomer Page sparks running game
Central Washington picked to defend GNAC title

Continuity key for Javelinas volleyball
CORPUS CHRISTI — KINGSVILLE — Optimism always is at a premium around the Texas A&M-Kingsville volleyball camp at this time of year. Rightly so, one would surmise, considering none of the current Javelinas wants to continue the annoying trend.

Success hasn’t come often in Kingsville. Seventeen times losing records have been posted in 21 years. There have been appearances in postseason Lone Star Conference tournament, including two in the past four seasons. But the consensus is that enough is enough. With a core of nine returning players, a new path to success is in the works.

“It has been an issue. The turnover rate hasn’t been well. I really think this is the year to turn it around,” said 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter Kristen Chancellor, a three-year letterwinner who led the Javelinas in attack percentage, aces and blocks. “We do have nine coming back and it’s a solid nine and nine that have played so I think it’s going to be great for us to have the great core and then the freshmen that can step in.”

LSC Fall Sports Preview Series: Midwestern State
Since head coach Bill Maskill took over the program in 2002, the Mustangs have finished in the top half of the LSC standings and have enjoyed a winning conference record every season.

But getting over the hump and winning the conference has eluded the Mustangs, who finished 6-4 last season after starting the year 4-0. Maskill is hoping on senior leadership this year, with over 20 seniors, which more than doubles the number last season.

"We had a real young team last year with just 10 seniors," said Maskill, who has compiled a 56-24 record in seven years in Wichita Falls. "This year, we've got 20 seniors. I believe in senior leadership and I think it translates into team chemistry, morale and ultimately more victories."

LSC Fall Sports Preview Series: Texas Woman's University
There are plenty of reasons for Shelly Barberee to be excited about her team as she enters her seventh year as Texas Woman's head coach. Not only are the Pioneers coming off a 20-13 record and eight Lone Star Conference wins, the most since 2004, but the team also returns 11 letterwinners who should provide plenty of experience.

TWU finished fifth in the regular-standings, but qualified for the LSC postseason tournament, where they knocked off Midwestern State in the first round, before falling to eventual champion West Texas A&M in the semifinals. But despite the experience returning for 2009, this is not last year's team. Barbaree knows it won't be easy to replace three key seniors, including four-time All-LSC selection Kandis Schroeder.

"We graduated some amazing athletes this past season, but I feel confident in the players that are joining the program," said Barberee. "We have three great athletes as well as great people coming in to complete the 2009 team."

Market Watch: Five Players With Rising Stocks (Charly Martin article)

Lone Star Conference

Angelo State University

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University

Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M-Kingsville

Texas Woman's College

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

Western New Mexico