Wednesday, November 11, 2009

LSC Roundup 11-11

Johnson's final show nearly his best
East Central University’s hard-luck Tigers relived some of that old “Magic” in Saturday’s rivalry showdown with Southeastern at Norris Field. In the end, though, the Tigers’ last-gasp rally in their 11th and final game of 2009 was a microcosm of the 10 losses that came before it.

Even for a young team, ECU seemed to invent ways to lose this fall during what, to all but the most hardcore observers outside the program, was a lost season. Tim McCarty, who directed the 2004 Tigers to the school’s last winning season and returned to Ada this fall after a three-year stint as an assistant at Kansas State, stressed youth during a short but encouraging recruiting season that was well underway for the other teams in the Lone Star Conference before he was named to replace Kurt Nichols as ECU’s head coach.

Russell: Lone Star Conference makes mark with four teams in playoffs
Although there are several teams in the MIAA that don’t particularly like it, it is impressive to see four Lone Star Conference teams selected for the NCAA Division II playoffs out of Super Region Four. And the hottest — if not the best — team will also get to play one more time this season.

The only bad part of the first-round pairings is that they are both rematches.

No. 6 Abilene Christian will be coming to Wichita Falls to take on No. 3 Midwestern State for the second straight week, while No. 5 Tarleton State is returning to No. 4 Texas A&M-Kingsville for a rematch of the Oct. 3 game the Javelinas won 34-20. But it does look good for the LSC and the South Division, and the conference is assured two spots in next week’s regional semis.

“Obviously we’re very excited,” LSC commissioner Stan Wagnon said. “And for all four to come out of one division makes it even more remarkable. Then to have our first-year association with the Kanza Bowl and have a fifth team (West Texas A&M) go, shows the power of that division.”

But is that much power in a division — the South was 22-2 in crossover games — a good thing?

Five burning questions for UIW football
Incarnate Word’s first season of football has come and gone, and the Cardinals now head to Year 2 having left an indelible first impression. UIW won its season opener in stirring fashion, rallied from 28 points down in its first road victory and even managed a four-game winning streak on the way to finishing 5-5. As the Cardinals prepare for the offseason, Express-News beat writer Chad Peters answers a few questions surrounding the program:

1. Can the encore top the debut?
2. Which begs this question: What exactly does a five-win first season mean for next year?
3. Was UIW happy with its reception?
4. What’s missing?
5. Who’s the QB?

Ford trucks way into spotlight
Alan Ford had to chuckle when asked how it felt to be the University of the Incarnate Word’s all-time quarterback sack leader.

It’s just one of the perks of playing in a first-year program.

Ford, a former standout at Calallen, led the Cardinals with 6.5 sacks in their inaugural season. UIW raised a few eyebrows by compiling a 5-5 record with a roster made up almost entirely of sophomores and freshmen.

“We’re very excited about what happened,” said Ford, who started all 10 games at the right defensive end spot as a redshirt-freshman. “This year was a learning year. I felt like we did extremely well.”

Who will be the next WKU football coach?
After Monday’s firing of Western Kentucky head football coach David Elson, WKU athletic director Wood Selig said “everyone’s a candidate,” but of course declined to offer specific names.

In the interest of speculation - and that’s all most fans can do at this point - we offer a list of possible coaches who might be given the reins to the Hilltopper program, listed in no particular order.

Guy Morriss
Former head coach at the University of Kentucky and Baylor, Morriss has experience with teams in trouble. He took over a Wildcat program that had been rocked by a recruiting scandal and then started his tenure at Baylor during an era in which the Bears had won just one Big 12 Conference game in their previous 36 tries. Morris doesn’t have a stellar overall head coaching record at the FBS level (27-54) and is currently the head coach at Texas A&M-Commerce, a Division II school.

(Other names listed in article Romeo Crennel, Willie Taggart, Tony Franklin, Darryl Drake, Trooper Taylor, Randy Sanders, Jim Chaney, Jeff Brohm, Chris Hatcher and Don Martindale)

TWU notebook: Pioneers excited about tournament berth
Last Thursday — Nov. 5, 2009 — is a day that those in the TWU athletic department will remember for some time.

It was a rare day on which three of the school’s five programs not only competed but also won, led by the soccer team’s first-round victory in the Lone Star Conference tournament and the basketball team’s upset of crosstown foe North Texas in an exhibition game.

But perhaps no TWU team benefited as much from the day’s good fortune as the volleyball squad, which outlasted South-eastern Oklahoma State in five sets.

The Pioneers parlayed that win and a sweep of East Central (Okla.) on Saturday into a berth in the LSC postseason tournament. Such a scenario seemed unlikely only a week ago, when TWU was tied for 10th place in the league.

Men's Soccer Rankings
3. West Texas A&M
8. Midwestern State

USTFCCCA All South Central Region Team
Sydnee Cole of Midwestern State was the only LSC represenative. She placed 15th at the regional meet with a time of 22:34.62.

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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