Thursday, October 22, 2009

LSC Roundup 10-22

Render honors fallen friend
When Arthur Render and Jasper Howard were little boys in Miami, Fla., Render and some of his other friends would always look out for Howard. But when Howard, a cornerback at the University of Connecticut, was stabbed and killed early Sunday morning, Render wasn’t there to help out his longtime friend.

Feeling helpless and needing to do something for his friend, the Midwestern State junior strong safety will wear his friend’s jersey No. 6 for the rest of his career.

“The whole situation still hurts me, and any time I think of him I picture myself being there and maybe I could have done something to help,” Render said. “I’ve know him since I was 8 years old and me and my other friends protected Jazz like a little brother. He’s not the type of guy that would have started a problem or a commotion. If I had been there, maybe it wouldn’t have happened. I wanted to honor him and I’ve dedicated the rest of my career to him. Me and him came from the same neighberhood and not too many of our friends made it out. He was the first person in his family to graduate high school and he was the first person to go to college. I know his mom is hurting right now and I really feel for her. To have the opportunity to wear his number is big. I felt I owed it to him

'Crazy Craven' hard to stop
The conversation was short and pretty predictable. MSU head football coach Bill Maskill said that free safety Ryan Craven was a little banged up and probably wouldn’t practice that day. Maskill was then asked if the junior would be playing on Saturday night.

“Yes. I expect him to play,” the coach said.

That’s because in his two-and-a-half seasons playing for the Mustangs, keeping the hard-hiting Craven out of the lineup has been anything but easy. His teammates call him “Crazy Craven” or “Dirty 30” (he wears No. 30) because of his approach to the game. But it’s easy to see they like having him on their side.

“I’m undersized so I have to go in there and bring it or I’m going to get run over,” the junior said. “I kind of look at it like it’s me against the world. It doesn’t bother me if people think I’m crazy. I’m kind of enjoying it. It’s kind of what I’ve been since I was a freshman and I enjoy it.”

Javelinas face prolific Greyhound offense
The numbers are astounding. One-plus years after chunking their long-standing Triple Option in favor of the “Air Raid” spread offense, the young Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds are generating offense at a record-setting pace.

On the heels of a four-game losing streak, fifth-year coach Mark Ribaudo and the Greyhounds are eager to start ringing up numbers in the column that counts — wins.

“We’ve played a lot of freshmen, but the good thing about playing freshmen is they become sophomores. So this year we’re playing with a lot more sophomores and juniors, so that part of it has been great,” said Ribaudo, whose 2-6 Greyhounds travel to Texas A&M-Kingsville for Saturday’s Lone Star Conference South Division game. “And then we even went to this no-huddle, fast-paced (offense) and that’s been great. When it works, when we’re able to string together first downs, we can really be a pretty daunting offense. So we have really taken some strides we think.

“But we still have a long, long way to go, as our record of 2-6 indicates. But every team we’ve played we’ve been in the game. We’ve been leading the game or it’s been a close one at the end — 10-point difference, four-point difference — and that wasn’t the case last year. So we’re really happy with the progress, but we’re a little impatient. We wish it would move along a little faster and we can get some ‘W’s.”

ASU MIDWEEK: Flemming's return to Buffs boosts offense
It is no coincidence that West Texas A&M’s upset of No. 1 Abilene Christian last week coincided with the return of running back Keithon Flemming.

Flemming, who was a second-team all-Lone Star Conference selection last year after rushing for 756 yards and 13 touchdowns in an injury-shortened season, dislocated his elbow in the Buffs’ final preseason scrimmage in August.

He spent WTAM’s first six games watching for the sidelines. During that time, the Buffs struggled to a 1-5 start.

He returned two weeks ago in the Buffs’ 34-24 victory against Eastern New Mexico. He had 101 all-purpose yards (52 rushing, 49 receiving) and accounted for two of WTAM’s four touchdowns in the game.

School of hard knocks
The West Texas A&M Buffaloes may be an uncharacteristic 3-5, but there's more than a won-loss record to the season. For example:

The Buffs defense, usually overshadowed by WT's potent offense and much maligned after coughing up 93 points against Abilene Christian in the final game of 2008, has cowboyed up. Factor in the second half against No. 2 Central Washington on Sept. 12, and the WT defense is allowing only 21 points a game against a gauntlet that includes four teams ranked among the top 17 in the nation.

There's the return of running back Keithon Flemming

LSC rankings (from the Abilene Reporter News)
1. ACU (7-1, 5-1 LSC) — Still No. 1, thanks to A&M-Kingsville’s 38-7 loss at Midwestern State. But the Wildcats must bounce back from last week’s loss to West Texas A&M this week or things could ugly in a hurry.

2. Tarleton State (7-1, 5-1) — The Texans have been living something of a charmed life this season. Can they keep it going in a must-win game against ACU this week in Stephenville?

3. Midwestern State (6-2, 4-2) — Mustangs put on a dominating performance against Kingsville, perhaps salvaging their playoff hopes. They’ll still have to run the table, including a regular-season finale with ACU.

Recruiting News
Area players fill spots for top-ranked Blinn
Andrew Jones 6-3, 315 lb defensive lineman gettin looks from West Texas A&M, Abilene Christian and Midwestern State.

Work in progress
Kirsten McCowan has gotten more than 20 kills and played in about 30 percent of No. 6 West Texas A&M's volleyball matches this season - as a true freshman.

But that's not enough for the Lady Buffs' fiery middle blocker. McCowan wants to be on the court for every point, and she won't stop until she achieves that goal.

"I just want to get better. Right now I want to get better because I'd like to play more," McCowan said. "I just want to be on the court. I always feel like I have something to prove. I have to prove that I can do it."

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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