With all the twists and juicy turns in Saturday’s first-round NCAA Division II playoff game between Texas A&M-Kingsville and Tarleton State, arguably the most thrilling ballgame to take place at Javelina Stadium, there was a bit of delicious irony.
For all of the dominoes that had to fall for the Javelinas to secure their first spot in the playoffs in five years, there were as many out-of-the ordinary factors that led to their demise to the Texans in double overtime 57-56.
Texans show off resiliency
KINGSVILLE — It would be easy to chalk up Tarleton State’s defining moment on Saturday as a leg and a prayer.
Indeed, a 64-yard field goal to force overtime, courtesy of Garrett Lindholm’s right foot, is an atypical occurrence.
Then again, there were too many season-saving plays late in regulation and overtime to single one out from the Texans’ 57-56, double-overtime victory over Texas A&M-Kingsville in the first round of the NCAA Division II football playoffs at Javelina Stadium.
Perhaps quarterback Scott Grantham, the overtime hero, said it best.
“That’s the most ridiculous game I’ve ever been a part of,” said Grantham, who put forth a gritty effort despite a nagging shoulder injury.
64-yard field goal one for the books
Garrett Lindholm’s 64-yard field goal as regulation ended tied for the third-longest field goal in NCAA history.
The longest Division II field goal is 67 yards, by Fort Hays State’s Tom Odle against Washburn in 1988.
Five kickers have made 67-yard field goals, with all of them kicked off tees. The longest not kicked off a tee was a 65-yarder by Kansas State’s Martin Grammatica against Northern Illinois in 1998.
Ove Johansson of Abilene Christian kicked a 69-yard field goal against East Texas State (now Texas A&M-Commerce) on Oct. 16, 1976, for the longest collegiate field goal.
However, Abilene Christian was not an NCAA-member college at the time.
DII playoffs: ACU wins rematch, advances
A different week and a different outcome.
No. 18 Abilene Christian returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, got 10 points off turnovers in the second half and held off a late rally to knock off No. 7 Midwestern State 24-21 Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs at Memorial Stadium.
It was the second straight week the two teams played each other at Memorial, with the Mustangs taking a 15-13 win in the regular-season finale that almost cost former DII No. 1 ACU a trip to the playoffs.
Abilene Christian (9-3) advances to Super Region Four semifinals next week against second-seeded Northwest Missouri State. The Mustangs finish the year at 9-3.
“They drove over 90 yards against our defense and we couldn’t stop them,” MSU coach Bill Maskill said. “We had the one drive in the fourth quarter, but most of the time the quarterback didn’t have enough time to throw the ball.
Gholson: Statistics don't always tell the whole story
Zack Eskridge got hit hard and often Saturday afternoon, but the Midwestern State quarterback shrugged off talking about any soreness or pain he may have felt.
He has a whole year now to get over all that. No practice next week. No game next Saturday.
The final score hurt much, much more.
Abilene Christian’s 24-21 playoff win over MSU ended Eskridge’s and friends’ championship season.
WT powers by ACU in LSC volleyball tourney final
Abilene Christian jumped on West Texas A&M in Game 1, hitting.256, but it was all Lady Buffs after that as WT claimed another Lone Star Conference volleyball tournament championship Saturday at the WT Fieldhouse.
After losing 27-25, WT posted 25-13, 25-15, 25-19 wins over ACU. The Wildcats were swept by the Lady Buffs in LSC regular season play but had won 17 straight matches since an Oct. 5 loss to No. 5 Central Missouri..
The Lady Buffs automatically qualified for the South Central Region tournament while ACU, ranked No. 8 in the region entering tournament play, will have to wait for the tournament field announcement, which is scheduled for today.
Best yet to come for MSU women
Looking back on her first season with Midwestern State women’s basketball, coach Noel Johnson doesn’t give herself a very good grade.
It doesn’t matter that she was hired late in the school year or that she had few returning players, The 8-18 mark the Mustangs put up would only be good enough for a D if the second-year coach was doing the grading.
But with a full season of recruiting under her belt, as well as a full offseason to work with her players, Johnson is ready to start getting better grades.
“For the first year we probably did about 50 percent of what we should have,” Johnson said. “We had a lot of new kids in a new league. I’d probably give myself a D or a D-.
“But we had a great offseason in the spring. The core kids did a fantastic job breaking it down and refining our game. And then they did a great job of carrying it on. In recruiting we went young at the guard position because we knew we had so much coming back. We knew we needed some kids to help us in the paint, and also come out and shoot the 3. We did a good job getting Nolisha (Markham) and Aqueelah (Watkins).”
Javelinas open season feeling confident
KINGSVILLE — Four of the six seniors on the Texas A&M-Kingsville women’s basketball team have been through the rocky times.
It started with an 8-19 record as freshmen and regressed to 7-20 in Scott Hyland’s first year as coach. The Javelinas improved to 16-11 last season, their first winning record since the 2000-01 season.
So it is understandable that there is a modicum of optimism about this season’s prospects, with an eye on a Lone Star Conference postseason berth for the first time since the 2001-02 season.
“I see that we all have a pretty good work ethic. We’re all working really hard trying to get to that goal,” said senior guard Dyana Bullinger, a second-team all-LSC South Division pick a year ago who averaged 9.3 points per game and made 44.4 percent of her 3-point goals. “It’s not clicking right now but I know that it will because we’re all working for it.
“Right now it’s starting to come together. It’s taking some team, but with every team it does,” she said. “So just seeing us working this hard every day, you just know it can happen.”