Tuesday, August 24, 2010

LSC Roundup 8-24

D2Football.com preseason Top 25 poll and All-America Teams announced
Defending national champion Northwest Missouri State tops the poll released this morning.  Runner up Grand Valley State, North Alabama, Abilene Christian and Central Washington round out the top 5.  West Texas A&M is the next LSC team ranked at #11, followed by Texas A&M-Kingsville at #13, Midwestern State at #17 and Tarleton State at #18.  Other Super Region 4 teams include Washburn at #9, Missouri Western at #14 and Nebraska-Omaha at #20.

Abilene Christian has two players named to the D2 Football.com first team -  offensive lineman Trevis Turner and defensive end Aston Whiteside.  The second team includes defensive end Bryan Braman and defensive back Curtis Jefferson, both from West Texas A&M, and cornerback Rodney Mitchell from Eastern New Mexico.

A&M-Commerce nears 2010 Harvey Martin Classic - Brent Lyday, Texas A&M-Commerce
COMMERCE, Texas – Anticipation is building around the Texas A&M University-Commerce football team, its students, alumni and fans as the Lions have hit the practice field in preparation for the upcoming season and the 2010 Harvey Martin Classic. The third annual matchup is set for Saturday, Sept. 11, at 5 p.m. against the Angelo State Rams at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

“This will be my third year playing in the Harvey Martin Classic and it is still just as special,” said Taylor Fore, Lions wide receiver. “We are excited about playing again this year.”

East Central players pay tribute to Cali at Photo Day - Jeff Cali, Ada Evening News
Ada — Everything was going as smooth as silk at the East Central University football team’s photo day when I noticed it.

The team photo was done and we were halfway through the individuals. It was big senior Rodney Picou’s turn to take a knee in front of Ada Evening News Chief Photographer Richard R. Barron. It was then that I saw it.

The legend of Jeff Cali is quite known in these parts. And it grows every year during every AEN Football Prediction Race. People just can’t figure out why a multiple champion and Hall of Famer hasn’t won a title this century.

One loyal reader even made a visit to the sports desk this week to try and get me to cancel the 2010 Ada Evening News Football Prediction Race (true story). His excuse was that myself and sports writer Bob Forrest could make better use of our time. His near exact quote was ‘Nobody reads it. It’s just a bunch of inside jokes anyway.”

LSC Fall Sports Preview Series: Northeastern State - Nick Eatman, LSC Office
RICHARDSON, Texas – This is the 12th of a 16-part series, analyzing the fall sports of each school in the Lone Star Conference. Today will feature Northeastern State.


For the first time in 10 seasons, the Northeastern State football team will have the same offensive coordinator coaching the same system from the previous year.

That kind of continuity alone has third-year head coach Kenny Evans excited about the upcoming season in Tahlequah. Evans also likes the fact 17 starters of 40 returning lettermen are back from a 2009 squad that went 2-9. But even with a lot of returning depth, Evans said this year’s team will count on some newcomers.

“The number one thing we’ve done is that we’ve felt like we brought in some good football players,” said Evans, who is 3-19 at NSU. “That’s what makes us good coaches. We’re excited about the direction we’re headed. We have a solid nucleus.”

Defensively is where the RiverHawks must improve mightily. It’s not every day a team averages 32.5 points a game in its final four contests, and loses them all. Ironically enough, NSU’s two wins last year were games the team scored just 17 and 13 points respectively. But too many times the offense put up some points with nothing to show for it.

This year, the RiverHawks return a pair of quarterbacks who started five games each. Kenny Davis started the last five games, passing for 765 yards and five scores. Woody Wilson opened the season as the starter, passing for 472 yards but also rushing for 252. Either NSU quarterback should have some weapons at receiver. The RiverHawks return a pair of All-LSC second-team wideouts, including sophomore Trey McVay, who led the team in receptions (29), receiving yards (343) and touchdowns (six). Ben Randle, the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Fame pass-rusher John Randle, had 263 yards last year with four touchdowns. At tailback, Prince McKinney returns after starting seven games last year. He’ll run behind sophomore fullback John Stelly, a first-team All-LSC selection last year. Tight end Logan Cawyer returns after earning All-LSC honorable mention honors last year. The offensive line returns six players, including Colton Ables, who moves from tackle to guard, Phillip Boyd and Chris Cherry.

On defense, the RiverHawks have eight starters back from last year, along with a few impact newcomers, like linebackers Gus Jones (Oklahoma) and Chris Meyers (Kilgore JC). They will join linebacker Jon Evans and Donald Dangerfield, two more All-LSC standouts from last year. Defensive tackle Billy Blackard, a transfer from Oklahoma last year, earned All-LSC second-team honors last year. The secondary has a few returnees in Troy Adams, Brian Johnson, Marquin Watts and Nick Dobler.

“We feel like we have built a foundation that we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Evans said. “I’m just hoping that light we’re seeing at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train. But we are excited and we do feel like we’re turning the corner.”

LSC Fall Sports Preview Series: Midwestern State - Nick Eatman, LSC Office
RICHARDSON, Texas – This is the 11th of a 16-part series, analyzing the fall sports of each school in the Lone Star Conference. Today will feature Midwestern State.


With just three returning starters from last year’s 9-3 team that advanced to the NCAA Division II Playoffs, Midwestern State might have to score a lot of points if it wants to repeat as LSC South co-champions. It’s a good thing they have the quarterback to do it.

Senior Zack Eskridge, a Harlon Hill candidate and the LSC preseason Offensive Player of the Year, returns to lead a high-potent offensive attack. Eskridge already owns several school passing records and need just 616 more yards to become MSU’s all-time leading passer. Last year, Eskridge led the nation with a 180.2 passer efficiency rating and his 236 completions, 3,295 passing yards and 29 touchdowns were all MSU single-season records. But MSU head coach Bill Maskill, who enters his ninth season (61-27 at Midwestern) knows he must put a solid supporting cast around Eskridge.

“He makes our team go,” Maskill said of his quarterback. “I think any time you’ve got a quarterback coming back like Zack, you’ll have a chance to win.”

Last season, the Mustangs went 9-3, losing all three games by a field goal, including a 24-21 loss to Abilene Christian in the first round of the playoffs. MSU was involved in a four-way tie for first in the LSC South. Running back Marcus Mathis returns after rushing for 480 yards and two scores. Neal Carr added seven rushing touchdowns and 300 yards. Some of Eskridge’s top targets include Sheldon Galloway, who had 52 catches for 642 yards and five scores. David Little had 556 receiving yards and three scores. Hank Gilley is the only returning starter on the offensive line.

Defensively, senior free safety Austin McDaniel returns, along with strong safety Ryan Craven, who is the team’s leading returning tackler with 74 stops last year. Matt Ellerbrock had 58 tackles at the inside linebacker position, along with 3 ½ sacks and 10 tackles for loss. The Mustangs will once again have a tough schedule, which includes five road games against Central Oklahoma, ACU, Eastern New Mexico, West Texas A&M and Texas A&M-Kingsville.

“We think we have the players to have a good team,” Maskill said. “But like always, it will be a tough schedule. That’s what you expect every year in this conference. Every week is going to be a battle. I think this could be the strongest this league has been in my eight years here.”

It was billed as a dress rehearsal Friday night at Benson Stadium when Incarnate Word’s football team went through its entire game-night routine. Then, sophomore quarterback Paden Lynch undressed his opponents to the tune of 31-0.

Coach Mike Santiago and his staff put the first team offense and the first team defense on the same side in black shirts with the “two’s” and others on the opposite side in white jerseys. Lynch ended up with the first offense when senior signal-caller Thomas Specia was given the night off to rest his weary shoulder. Lynch went immediately to work.

The format called for two 15-minute quarters with a halftime break in between. “This was our dress rehearsal,” Santiago said. “We needed to know how to do even a pre-game.”

Just 2:23 into the first quarter sophomore running back Trent Rios went over from the five ending a four-play, 40-yard drive for Lynch and his buddies.

With 10:10 on the clock Lynch uncorked a 32-yarder to senior wide receiver Jacob Love who had gotten behind everyone. Lynch did it again with 11 seconds left in the first by tossing two yards to junior running back Donald Gies. Those scores combined with three successful PAT’s by junior Thomas Rebold gave the black team a 21-zip margin at the break.

Senior running back Al Furlow ran five yards at the 8:38 mark of the second half and again Rebold kicked the point after making it 28-0 before Rebold hit a 37-yard field goal to cap the night’s scoring.

“We wanted to see our two’s against our one’s,” Santiago explained. “The way we always have done it is one’s vs. one’s and two’s vs. two’s. We wanted to focus on how particular individuals did against particular individuals. There are lots of battles going on here. In three weeks we go on the road and we want to see which 60 guys are on the bus.”

Lynch finished the night with five completions in seven throws for 89 yards and the two scores. He had no interceptions and to the pleasure of offensive line coach Tony Marciano, no sacks. Love caught four passes for 80 yards and the one touchdown.

On the ground Furlow was the top guy with his 46 yards on six carries. Lynch checked in here also by carrying it three times for 38 yards.

Santiago addressed the situation surrounding Specia by saying “Thomas will start against Langston.” He added “I was encouraged by that position (quarterback) tonight. It’s good to have decisions to make at several positions.”

On Sunday the Cardinals will go through a “Langston scouting day” before getting the normal Monday off as they enter into their game-week routine.

Langston comes to Benson Stadium on Saturday, August 28, for a 7 p.m. kickoff. This begins UIW’s second season of Division II football after going 5-5 in its inaugural year. The Cardinals this time around are playing in the South Division of the ever-tough Lone Star Conference.

Countdown To Kickoff! - UCO Sports Information
entral Oklahoma kicks off the 2010 football season Saturday when the Bronchos host Pittsburg State in a battle between two of the winningest teams in NCAA Division II history.

Game-time is 7:00 p.m. at Wantland Stadium. Click here for the complete release.

The game will be broadcast on Fox SportsRadio (AM 1340) or click here for the live stats of the game.

Defensive Preview
SOSU Sports Information

DURANT, Okla. - With the 2010 football season nearing kickoff, check out an interview with defensive coordinator Jeff Fitzgerald previewing the defensive side of the ball in advance of the season opener against henderson state on Aug. 26 at 7 p.m.

WICHITA FALLS, Texas - Former Rider High School standout Abbie Lewis will transfer to Midwestern State with the intent to compete on the women's tennis team.

"Abbie is a fantastic addition to the 2010-11 squad," MSU coach Scott Linn said. "It's great to have another local lady competing for the Mustangs."

Lewis, who graduated a semester early, signed as part of MSU alum Todd Petty's Top 20 women's recruiting class of 2010 at Texas Tech according to TennisRecruiting.com but did not appear in a match for the Red Raiders.

The Wichita Falls native competed three seasons at Rider High School helping the Raiders to three Class 4A State Team semifinals. Lewis was a two-time state doubles qualifier advancing to the finals in 2008 and qualified for state singles play as a junior in 2009. As a senior, she trained at the Austin Tennis Academy under the tutelage of Jack Newman and was also recruited by Oklahoma State and Auburn.

"Abbie will be a major factor in putting this program in a position to win over the next four seasons," Linn said. "I am very excited to have her as a part of the program."

Mustangs bolster roster for championship run with eight transfers - MSU Sports Information
WICHITA FALLS, Texas - Expectations at Midwestern State were only whetted by the school's first NCAA Division II Elite Eight run last season. The Mustangs, who reeled off the school's best season with a 31-3 mark in 2009-10, took the first step toward defending their South Central Regional and second-straight Lone Star Conference championships as MSU coach Grant McCasland announced the 2010-11 signing class Friday afternoon. The class consists of eight transfers including one senior and seven juniors which includes four guards and four forwards.

"This class comes in with a lot of experience," McCasland said. "They've decided on Midwestern because they want to compete for a national championship. They have bought into it as a group and come with that goal in mind."

Guards include Kevin Loyd (Grambling State), Michael Loyd (BYU), Deuce Nichols (Blinn College) and Kavon Rose (Lamar State/TCU), while Thomas Colbert (Northeast (Neb.) CC), Clinton Houston (San Diego), David Terrell (Morehead State) and Darrick Thomas (Wallace State-Hanceville) add to a deep core at the forward position.

The Mustangs return five letter winners from the 2009-10 squad including seniors Chris Hagan, Charlie Logan, Adrian Van Buren and Jon Trilli and junior Melvin Clark.

Midwestern State opens the season against NCAA Division II South Central qualifier Fort Hays State (Kan.) on Friday, Nov. 12 at Bruin Fieldhouse in Bartlesville, Okla. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. The Mustangs face NCAA Division I powers Baylor on Nov. 4 and Purdue on Nov. 9 in exhibition contests on the road.

Thomas Colbert

Pomona, Calif./Upland HS (Northeast (Neb.) CC)
Notables: Two-year standout at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb... enjoyed breakout sophomore campaign shooting 54.2 percent from the field on his way to 13 points a contest while pulling in 9.0 rebounds a game... averaged 6.3 points and 4.7 rebounds a game during freshman campaign of 2008-09... played for coach Dan Anderson at Northeast College... picked Midwestern over St. Cloud State, Bethune Cookman and Texas A&M International...
What coach McCasland said: “Thomas loves contact, but can also score the basketball from the perimeter and he's crafty on the block. He definitely brings the level of toughness we need to compete for a national championship."

Clinton Houston

Dallas, Texas/Marcus HS (San Diego)
Notables: Clinton Houston transfers to MSU after spending three seasons at the University of San Diego... averaged 5.6 points and 3.5 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game during junior campaign of 2009-10... tallied career-high 21 points and completed a double-double with 11 rebounds in a 72-65 win against Houston on Nov. 27, 2009... matched career high with 11 rebounds against San Diego State on Dec. 2, 2009... played in 21 games with season highs of 5 points against San Francisco and seven rebounds agianst Loyola Marymount as a sophomore in 2008-09... played in 21 games while making one start including season highs of 6 points against UTSA and seven rebounds versus Pepperdine... rated No. 19 on 2007 TexasHoops.com Top 150 recruiting list... picked Midwestern over Angelo State, Hawaii and Wright State...
What coach McCasland said: “Clinton is a versatile forward who really understands the game and comes to Midwestern with valuable big game experience at the Division I level."

Kevin Loyd

Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman HS (Grambling)
Notables: Played last two seasons at NCAA Division I Grambling... efficient guard boasted a 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio in first two collegiate seasons... averaged 4.8 points 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists while appearing in 28 games at Grambling as a sophomore last season... posted at least four assists in nine games including a season high of 12 against Mississippi Valley State... tallied campaign best 12 points at Northwestern State and Alabama A&M... appeared in 24 games as a true freshman averaging 1.5 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists including a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (26 assists/13 turnovers)... picked Midwestern over Azusa Pacific, Northern Kentucky and Biola...
What coach McCasland said: “Kevin is the ultimate team-first player who has played a lot of minutes against high level competition. Not only has he proven he can run a basketball team, but he has the ability to knock down the 3-point shot."

Michael Loyd

Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde HS (BYU)
Notables: Michael flashed superior athleticism, quickness, explosion and potential in two seasons at BYU... appeared in 68 games covering the 2007-08 and 2009-10 seasons for the highly successful Cougars... the primary back-up at point guard averaged 5.1 points and 1.1 assists per game in 2009-10 while helping BYU to a 30-6 mark and an NCAA Tournament appearance... brokeout with a career-best 26 points while helping Cougars to a 99-92 double overtime win over Florida in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in the spring of 2010... was one of six double-figure games for Loyd who averaged 14.1 minutes a contest... followed a 19-point, 4-rebound showing against New Mexico on Feb. 27, 2010 with an 18-point, 6-rebound performance at Utah on March 3, 2010... averaged 2.0 points and 1.2 assists including a season-high 15-point effort against Jackson State in frosh campaign of 2007-08 to help BYU to a 27-8 record and an NCAA postseason showing... picked Midwestern over Central Missouri, Southwest Baptist and Northern Kentucky...
What coach McCasland said: “Michael has the ability and experience to be one of the top guards in NCAA Division II basketball. He's proven at the highest level that he can make plays not only for himself, but for his teammates."

Deuce Nichols

Houston, Texas/Marshall HS (Blinn College)
Notables: Makes the move to Midwestern State as a proven scorer after a standout junior college career at Blinn College... started 27 games while showing all-around game with 13.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.9 steals a game as a sophomore in 2009-10... exceptional shooter connected at an 80-percent clip at the charity stripe and boasted a .480 field goal percentage while hitting 38 percent of his 3-point efforts... scored 20-or-more points on five occasions including a season-high 25 points against Trinity Valley Community College on Feb. 10, 2010... showed passing ability by logging eight assists against Tomball College and Bossier Parrish CC... averaged 7.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.6 steals as a frosh in 2008-09 while connecting on 88 percent of his charity tosses... rated No. 76 on 2007 TexasHoops.com Top 150 recruiting list... picked Midwestern over Central Missouri, Boise State and Missouri State...
What coach McCasland said: “Deuce comes from a basketball-rich family. He can be a consistent scorer and a hard-nosed defender."

Kavon Rose

Detroit, Mich./Finney HS (Lamar State)
Notables: Kavon joins the Mustangs after competing with NJCAA Lamar State in 2009-10... averaged 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists for the Seahawks as a sophomore... shot 44 percent from the field including a 3-point percentage of .360... scored 20-or-more points in six games including a campaign-best 25 points against Delgado CC on Jan. 4, 2010... competed freshman season of 2008-09 alongside former MSU standout Jason Ebie at TCU... appeared in 16 games while making four starts for the Horned Frogs... averaged 3.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 15.9 minutes a contest including a season-high of seven points... a noted prolific prep standout at Finney High School in Detroit... acknowledged as the No. 2 player in Detroit and fourth-best player in the State of Michigan by the Detroit Free Press heading into senior season... picked Midwestern over Lamar, Tarleton State and Indiana State...
What coach McCasland said: “Kavon has a high basketball IQ. His ability to make plays will provide a dual offensive threat as a scorer and passer."

David Terrell

Houston, Texas/Sunnyside HS (Morehead State)
Notables: The athletic David Terrell arrived during the spring semester after suffering injury early in the 2009-10 campaign at Morehead State... appeared in two games for the Eagles last season... played for current coach Grant McCasland at Midland College during freshman and sophomore campaigns... averaged 12.0 and 7.0 rebounds a game during sophomore campaign... earned first-team All-Western Junior College Athletic Conference mention while helping the Chaps to an NJCAA national runner-up finish... ranked third nationally in field goal percentag (64 percent) and eighth in offensive rebounds (3.1)... averaged 8.1 points points and 6.8 rebounds as a freshman while appearing in 32 games and starting four times... rated No. 56 on 2007 TexasHoops.com Top 150 recruiting list... picked Midwestern over North Texas, Southwest Louisiana and Louisiana State-Shreveport...
What coach McCasland said: “DT is one of the most explosive athletes I've ever coached. He has a knack for rebounding the basketball and is a proven winner."

Darrick Thomas

Dallas, Texas/Samuell HS (Wallace State-Hanceville)
Notables: Darrick Thomas heads to Midwestern State as one of the top NJCAA Division I prospects in the nation accoring to Hoopmasters.com earlier this spring... the preseason NJCAA preseason All-American averaged 10.2 points and 7.5 rebounds while helping Wallace State-Hanceville to an Alabama Community College Conference state championship during sophomore campaign of 2009-10... scored 20-or-more points four times including matching season highs of 22 points against Northeast Mississippi CC and Marion Military Institute... logged seven double-doubles... had season-high 14 rebounds on two occasions... enjoyed breakout frosh campaign with averages of 11.5 points and 9.1 rebounds a game... logged 20-or-more points three times including a season-best 24-point, 12-rebound performance against Talladega College on Nov. 20, 2008... logged 10 double-doubles... posted career-high 21 rebounds against Alabama Southern CC on March 7, 2009... rated No. 32 on 2007 TexasHoops.com Top 150 recruiting list... picked Midwestern over Stephen F. Austin, Northeastern State and Eastern Illinois...
What coach McCasland said: “Darrick is a winner. He's an explosive athlete that can score the basketball in many ways and rebounds the basketball as well as anyone in the country."

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