Dave Henry, Amarillo Globe News
When West Texas A&M linebacker Zane Farris went down with a broken leg before the season started last year, he had no idea he would be a trendsetter.
Farris created a fad that wasn't popular, though - with him or anyone in the WT program.
Farris, a junior outside linebacker from Nazareth, suffered a fractured fibula in his right leg during preseason two-a-days - the result of a collision with a teammate that cost the Buffs captain the 2009 season.
Unfortunately, Farris' injury was the first of many for the WT linebacker corps - a weird sort of plague that forced the Buffs to start 13 players at linebacker last season in their 3-4 defense.
Fellow linebackers Mark Ford and Kevin McCluskey also suffered season-ending injuries, while Tascosa's Anthony Scott, a second-team Lindy's preseason All-America, was one of the few WT linebackers to remain relatively unscathed.
"I don't think we were cursed (at linebacker). It was just one of those things," said Farris, who has 49 career tackles in 20 games. "For me, I didn't think I would ever get hurt. It kind of opened my eyes. You realize that you better take advantage of every chance you've been given."
UIW quarterback is disciplined on field, a free spirit off of it
David Flores, KENS TV
It figures that University of the Incarnate Word senior quarterback Thomas Specia is a picture of poise on the football field.
After all, how tough can it be facing defenses that want to knock your head off when you’ve bagged a 275-pound bear with a bow, as Specia did in Manitoba, Canada, in May?
Preparing for his second season as UIW’s starting quarterback, Specia approaches football with the same mindset he’s honed as a hunter and fisherman. He is patient, stays cool and leaves little to chance.
“Thomas is very mature, very experienced,” UIW head coach Mike Santiago said Tuesday. “His leadership qualities are good. He’s a solid, solid guy and a calming force for the other players. They follow him.
“Does Thomas have the best arm? Nah. Is he the fastest guy out there? Nah. But when you put it all together, Thomas is a good quarterback. A lot of quarterbacks have trouble with the speed of the college game, but Thomas sees and plays it slowly. That’s his strength.”
LSC Fall Sports Preview Series: Angelo State
Nick Eatman, LoneStar Conference Offic
RICHARDSON, Texas – This is the ninth of a 16-part series, analyzing the fall sports of each school in the Lone Star Conference. Today will feature Angelo State.
ASU head coach Dale Carr and his staff doesn’t have to look any further than last season to realize the depth and firepower that exists in the LSC South Division. The Rams had a 6-2 record in mid-October with impressive wins over Midwestern State and Texas A&M-Commerce, two teams that would eventually share respective division titles. But with playoff hopes on the line, ASU would falter down the stretch, losing their last three games to LSC-South foes and finish the season 6-5. But don’t think that’s derailed Carr’s confidence heading into his sixth season.
“This is clearly the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here. This is the team we set out to field when I got here in ’05,” said Carr, who is 23-31 at ASU. “This is very a good team, but the offset to that is we’re going to play a lot of good football teams.”
ASU has a familiar face at quarterback once again in senior Josh Neiswander, a sixth-year veteran who has two redshirt seasons. But he’s coming off a season where he passed for 2,933 yards – good for fourth in the LSC statistical rankings last year.
“Josh is an impressive individual in more ways than one,” Carr said of Neiswander, who graduated last December. “He’s certainly the bell-cow for what we think is going to be a very prolific offense. He’s someone we think the NFL scouts will be looking at.”
Another reason this offense should be so prolific is wide receiver V’Keon Lacey, a second-team All-LSC pick who led the conference with 74 catches, along with 878 yards and 10 scores. Sophomore receiver Dakari Pecikonis was the LSC South Freshman of the Year with 35 grabs for 757 yards, leading the conference with a 21.6 average to go along with seven touchdowns. Running back Dwight Pete returns after rushing for 563 yards and five scores. Up front, three starters are back in juniors Stephen Boyles, Connor Cook and Keefer Preece to anchor the offensive line.
Only four starters return on defense, but Carr isn’t too concerned.
“Defensively, we’ve lost a few players, but we’ve replaced them with better athletes,” Carr said. “I think we’re going to be fine on that side of the ball.”
Defensive tackle Cody Smith was a second-team All-LSC pick last year and should lead the way. The secondary returns three starters in Jake Eannarelli, Alvin Johnson and cornerback Markeith Jones, an All-LSC honorable mention selection in 2009.
“I don’t know if we have a chink in our armor,” Carr said. “I don’t think we’re great anywhere, but I don’t think we’re going to be bad anywhere. And those are good types of football teams. They’re put together without any weaknesses.
“But it’s going to be tough week in and week out. There’s just not a gimme game in this conference. But we know we’ve got a good football team.”
Wildcats to scrimmage Thursday
ACU Sports Information
ABILENE -- The ACU Wildcats will work under the lights for the first time this summer Thursday night when they go through a controlled scrimmage at Shotwell Stadium.
The scrimmage will get started with special teams work at 8 p.m., followed by offense vs. defense. The Wildcats, ranked No. 7 in the country by the American Football Coaches' Association, will open the season on Sept. 4 at No. 10 Washburn (Kan.).
While the No. 1 offense will work against the No. 1 defense for "about 20 plays," according to ACU head coach Chris Thomsen, most of the scrimmage will be dedicated to getting the newest faces on the Wildcat roster some extensive work.
Thomsen said there are several freshmen and transfers who have caught the eye of the coaching staff, and those are the players they're most anxious to see in a game-type atmosphere.
"T.R. Varnado (freshman from Stephenville) has really played well on the defensive line, and we want to see more of him (Thursday)," Thomsen said. "All of our transfer defensive backs are playing well, and we'd like to get a look at those guys and see how those positions are going to shake out.
"On the offensive line, (freshman) Logan Hoppenrath is a guy we're looking at potentially playing a big role this year," Thomsen said. "And (transfer guard) Dylan Blount has really come on and is playing well in camp. He's going to be a good player for us."
As for the play of quarterbacks Mitchell Gale and Clark Harrell, Thomsen said, "both have improved somewhat, but we really need to see them take a step (Thursday)."
Secondary Shines During Wednesday Football Practice
Angelo State Sports Information
SAN ANGELO, Texas – Angelo State’s defensive unit continued its ascent with three interceptions during Wednesday morning’s football practice at the LeGrand Sports Complex. The Rams completed their seventh practice session of the fall in a little less than two hours.
The Rams’ offensive line held off the defensive line during one-on-ones, but the defensive secondary shined in the team portion near the end of practice. Junior defensive back Terrance Preston picked off two passes and returned one for a touchdown. Lance Tissue also snagged an errant pass and returned it for a score.
Angelo State will hold a two-a-day practice Thursday, with a morning session in half pads at the LeGrand Sports Complex, and an evening session in full pads at San Angelo Stadium. The Rams are scheduled to scrimmage at the LeGrand Sports Complex Friday at 1:30 p.m.
WTAMU Tabbed No. 7 in AVCA Preseason Poll
WTAM Sports Information
LEXINGTON, Ky. The West Texas A&M Lady Buff Volleyball team has earned the seventh spot in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II Coaches Preseason Poll, according to a release from the AVCA on Wednesday. WTAMU has now appeared in the Top 10 of the AVCA preseason poll for three straight years and a total of 11 times in school history. The Lady Buffs, who received a total of 561 points, will face three teams in the preseason Top 25 in 2010, including No. 5 ranked Central Missouri, No. 10 ranked Metro State and No. 19 ranked Pittsburg State.
WT picks up the No. 7 spot after finishing the 2009 campaign ranked No. 3 in the final AVCA poll. The Lady Buffs are coming off a 39-4 season that saw WT advance to the NCAA Division II Championship game and claim their fourth-consecutive Lone Star Conference title.
Defending NCAA Division II Champion Concordia-St. Paul holds the No. 1 position after collecting all 32 first-place votes and a total of 788 points. Cal State San Bernadino ranks second in the preseason poll, while Tampa locked up the No. 3 position. Indianapolis picks up the No. 4 spot just ahead of UCM at No. 5 and Washburn earned the No. 6 spot just ahead of WT. Rounding out the Top 10 are No. 8 California-San Diego, No. 9 Minnesota Duluth and No. 10 Metro State.
The Lady Buffs are one of six teams in the South Central region to earn a spot in the preseason Top 25 poll, while being the only school in the LSC to garner a spot in the poll. The Lady Buffs open the 2010 campaign on Friday, Sept. 3, when they host the 2010 BritKare Lady Buff Classic.
ACU Receives Votes In First Poll
Lawton native named to UCO golf hall of fame
UCO Sports Information
Todd Dayton, one of the most decorated players in Central Oklahoma's golf history, was inducted into the program's hall of fame Monday evening at Quail Creek Country Club in Oklahoma City. Dayton became the newest member of the Links Legends during a banquet following the annual fund-raising tournament.
A native of Lawton, Todd was a four-time All-Lone Star Conference selection and a three-time All-American for the Bronchos. He played in 45 tournaments at UCO, winning eight titles while recording an amazing 30 top-10 finishes.
POWELL, DELGADILLO ARE CLASS OF 2010
Incarnate Word has announced its Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2010 and the two selectees piled up the accolades during their time at UIW and after their eligibility was completed they continued to find success in their chosen fields.
The UIW Class of 2010 is soccer star Christie Powell and baseball standout Hector Delgadillo. The two will be formally introduced at halftime of the first Incarnate Word football game on Saturday, August 28. That game will have the Cardinals hosting Langston University with a 7 p.m. kickoff at Benson Stadium on campus.
After graduating from UIW cum laude in 1996, Powell earned a master’s degree and now is working for her Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. Her academic honors at UIW included being a three-time NAIA Academic Scholar-Athlete as well as GTE Academic All-District.
On the field she achieved NAIA All-American status in 1996 ending a four-year period when Incarnate Word was a cumulative 58-15-8 reaching the regional tournament twice and the NAIA national tournament once.
When his time at Incarnate Word was finished Delgadillo left the Cardinals baseball program owning the record book for pitching. Among his still-standing records are most wins (38) in a career, most complete games (34), complete games (11) in a single season, most innings pitched (396.1), and most strikeouts (310) for a career. Over his four years of competition Incarnate Word was a cumulative 137-87 reaching the NCAA Division II regional tournament once and winning one Heartland Conference title.
After his four years at UIW, Delgadillo was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays. He played two years of minor league baseball in that organization. He posted a mark of 11-6 over those two seasons striking out 96 in 121 innings pitched.
Criteria for selection to the UIW Athletic Hall of Fame include earning a University degree, being five years beyond their time of eligibility at Incarnate Word combined with their sporting and academic accomplishments. Other considerations are activities in the community beyond the boundaries of the UIW campus.
Stevenson Signs with Javelinas
TAMK Sports Information
Texas A&M-Kingsville head men’s basketball coach Pete Peterson announced that former Chabot College standout Mark Stevenson will be competing for the Javelinas during the 2010-11 season.
Stevenson, a 6-2 guard from South Bend, IN, played two seasons at Chabot College in Hayward, CA. He was a two-time all-league performer for the Gladiators. He led the team with 13.9 points per game while knocking down 59 three-pointers and shooting 79.5 percent from the free throw line in 2009-10. He scored at least 20 points on six occasions including a season high of 30 at San Jose City.
As a freshman, Stevenson led the Gladiators with 11.6 points per game. He connected on 72 three-pointers at a 41.6 percent clip and shot 45 percent from the field overall. He had five 20-point performances, including 24 in his career opener when he went 7-for-10 from three-point range against Cosumnes River.
At Chabot, Stevenson played under Denny Aye who has 722 career victories in 34 years of coaching.
“We are extremely excited to bring a player of this caliber into our program, especially at this late date,” said Peterson. “Mark is a scorer, pure and simple, getting it done by attacking the basket or consistently hitting the deep three-pointer. He is also an outstanding rebounder and not afraid to mix it up inside with the big guys. I feel he should have an immediate impact on our program and in our conference.”
Stevenson is the son of Mark Stevenson, Sr. and Ramona Phillips and plans to study Computer Science. His father played basketball at Notre Dame while his mother played basketball at Iowa State.
UIW Sports Information