Thursday, September 2, 2010

LSC Roundup 9-2

D-II programs not afraid of big matchups - Dave Henry, Amarillo Globe News
Defending BCS national champion and AP preseason No. 1 Alabama opens its season against San Jose State.  The rest of the AP Top Five and their first foes?

No. 2 Ohio State takes on Marshall. No. 3 Boise State meets No. 10 Virginia Tech. No. 4 Florida challenges Miami of Ohio. No. 5 Texas is against Rice.

You'd have a hard time finding a bakery with as many cupcakes - there's only one big-time matchup in this bunch of pastries.

That's not the case in Division II, though, where football teams do not shy away from a challenge right out of the gate.

Rising Javelinas to be tested against No. 1 - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller
MARYVILLE, Mo. — As Year 4 of the Bo Atterberry era at Texas A&M-Kingsville dawns, a look back at what has transpired reveals a gradual rise in the football program's stability and success.

The core of the coaching staff has remained in place. The Javelinas were 3-8 in 2007, a cyclonic campaign in which Atterberry took the reigns in July following Keith Baxter's shocking departure after just six months on the job. A&M-Kingsville followed that with a 7-4 year in 2008, its first winning season since 2005, and topped that with the 9-3 record and tri-Lone Star Conference championship last season.

"Our expectations are high. I think we've created that competition at a lot of positions like we've wanted to do," said Atterberry, who helped guide the Javelinas to their first NCAA Division II playoff berth since 2004. "Some of it has been through transfers who haven't been here as long, so you always wonder about them learning and catching up enough for them to be impact players like you recruited them to be."

For the most part that has panned out. That being said, Thursday's season opener will be a barometer to see where the A&M-Kingsville program is, and against a university that has essentially built its program the same way as Atterberry has assembled his.

Javelinas football gameday: vs. Northwest Missouri State - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller
THE SCOOP: Winborn led the LSC in rushing and total TDs (19). Poppell gets the starting nod for the first time. Lincoln again led the Javelinas in receiving and with the return of Jonathon Woodson, Sherman Batiste and Joseph Vela, the emergence of freshman Robert Armstrong and addition of Arizona transfer Delashaun Dean, Poppell has ample weapons at his disposal. Ends Michael Talamantez and Matt Romig and tackle Dondi Cooks anchor a defensive front that has added 6-foot, 348-pound nose guard Johnny Tivao. LB Marcus Sanders, S Glover, S Corey Robertson and CBs Mardrick Johnson and Derrick Thomas provide experience. But the Bearcats are a formidable crew. An All-American, Bolles is steadily moving up the career charts and combines with Soy, the 2009 national receiver of the year, as a lethal pass-and-catch combination. Five offensive linemen return for the Bearcats and they have all-region returners at LB (Chad Kilgore) NG (Shayne Shade) and CB Ryan Jones.

related:Seniors ready to end streak - Northwest Missourian
related: Defending Titles - Northwest Missourian
related: Bearcats out to solve first game riddle - Maryville Daily Forum
related: Northwest vs. Texas A&M Kingsville scouting report - Sam Robinson, NewsPress
related: Northwest reinvents run game - Sam Robinson, NewsPress

Learning to cope - Joey D. Richards, Abilene Reporter News
Daryl Richardson and Reggie Brown provided a powerful 1-2 punch for the Abilene Christian football team last season — combining for 1,916 rushing yards and 23 touchdown. Richardson believed even greater things awaited the duo this season.

“Me and Reggie, I thought we’d get 1,500 (yards) apiece,” Richardson said.

However, Brown suffered a season-ending injury in practice two weeks ago, tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee — meaning Richardson now likely must shoulder much of the load on the ground, including No. 6 ACU’s season opener Saturday against No. 9 Washburn in Topeka, Kan.

It wasn’t how things were supposed to be.

related: Washburn football preps for No. 6 Abilene Christian - Washburn Review
related: Ichabods feeling the rush - Topeka Capital Journal
CALLING ALL CAPTAINS - Dave Henry, Amarillo Globe News

Maroon and White Zone
Analysis, statistics, strategies, quotes and numbers about today's season-opening and nationally ranked showdown between No. 8 West Texas A&M (0-0) and No. 2 Grand Valley State (0-0), 7 p.m. today, Lubbers Stadium, Allendale, Mich.

related: Starting Lineups - Amarillo Globe News
related: If You Go - Amarillo Globe News
related: Getting Personal With ... Aaron Wampler - Amarillo Globe News
related: Coach Speak - Grand Valley State head coach Matt Mitchell - Amarillo Globe News
related: GVSU football faces first test tonight - Holland Sentinel
related: Grand Valley State finds true leader in QB Kyle McMahon - The Detroit News

Built to challenge - Nathan Wright, San Angelo Standard Times
SAN ANGELO, Texas — In 2005, Angelo State University head coach Dale Carr led the Rams to the NCAA Division II playoffs in his first year with the program.

Last season, the Rams won six games, including an upset of nationally ranked Midwestern State.

But this year, Carr’s sixth season at ASU, is the one that he has been building to. This is the team that he says is the best he has had since arriving in San Angelo.

“When we came here in 2005, we were really shooting to turn the corner in 2008,” Carr said. “You can only grow these guys up so fast. Every year we have gotten better. I don’t think that has shown in our wins and losses.

“This year, I feel like from tailback to free safety and all in between, we are really good at every position. And we have depth at every position.”

MSU coach apprehensive ahead of season opener - J. Scott Russell, Times Record News
The word to best describe Midwestern State head coach Bill Maskill as he gets ready for his ninth season opener with the Mustangs is “apprehensive.”

But no matter what his feelings, the Mustangs will open the 2010 season at 8 p.m. today against the New Mexico Highlands Cowboys at Perkins Stadium in Las Vegas, N.M.

The No. 17 Mustangs are coming off a 9-3 season that saw them share the division and conference titles while advancing to the NCAA playoffs. The Cowboys were 1-10 last season, including a 41-0 setback at the hands of the Mustangs.

“Not knowing what they’re going to do; not knowing what we’re going to do, I’m apprehensive,” Maskill said. “I don’t have a bad feeling. I just don’t feel we’ve had the time to prepare the way we need to. We’ve been rushed. We’ve got so many new players. In one way that’s a good thing because they’re going to get better as the season moves on. But right now they don’t all know what they’re doing.”

East Texan previews 2010 Lions football season - Caleb Slinkard, The East Texan
Prediction: This is one of A&M-Commerce’s most favorable schedules in a long time, and Morriss’ squad has a chance to record double-digit victories. A more realistic finish is 8-3.

Tigers to face hapless Tigers - FHSU University Leader
Fort Hays State University got off to a sluggish start early in its game Saturday night against Western State College, but after two practices that have run later than usual this week, the team is looking to continue building on its success.

The Tigers will face East Central University at 7 p.m. Saturday at Lewis Field. Fort Hays head coach Kevin Verdugo said East Central will pose a very interesting challenge despite being a team that went 0-11 last year.

“They’re going to be a good football team. I know they struggled this year, but go look at their (depth chart) and not many of those guys were there last year,” Verdugo said.

NSU opens grind at TSU - Ben Johnson, Muskogee Daily Phoenix
TAHLEQUAH — Northeastern State kicks off its brutal six-game stretch to begin the 2010 season tonight with a road contest at Tarleton State. But perhaps the RiverHawks can conquer the murderous schedule if they just win their season opener.

“Your first game of the year sets the tone,” said NSU coach Kenny Evans, whose team will take on the Texans tonight at 7 p.m. at Tarleton’s Memorial Stadium.

The RiverHawks, who went 2-9 in 2009, begin the current campaign with six teams either ranked in the AFCA Division II top 25, just outside the top 25 or in the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision). Tarleton State, a team that went 10-3 in 2009, is one of those teams that falls just outside the top 25 in the “receiving votes” category. The Texans, who are under new guidance of first-year coach Cary Fowler, received 24 votes to land at No. 34 in the latest addition of the D-II poll.

“It’ll be a tough place to play in Stephenville, Texas,” Evans said. “We will have to be on top of our game to be in the game like we were a year ago.”

Joey D. Richards's LSC rankings - Joey D. Richards, Abilene Reporter News
1. ACU (0-0) — No. 9 Washburn poses big test for No. 6 Wildcats in season opener. Defense should be great once again, but will the offense be better? We’ll find out Saturday in Topeka, Kan.

2. West Texas A&M (0-0) — The Buffs ended the season as the hottest team in the LSC, winning six straight games. Tonight, they face No. 2 Grand Valley State, the defending national runners-up. Grand Valley beat them 37-23 last year in Canyon to start WT’s 0-3 slide.

UIW football standout embraces heritage with passion he shows on field - David Flores, Conexion
It's always tough to lose a season opener, especially at home, but University of the Incarnate Word defensive tackle Diego McClain found something to be positive about in the Cardinals' 28-20 defeat to Langston State (Okla.) on Aug. 28.
“What it shows is we had a bad game and they had a good game and we lost by only eight,” said McClain, a junior. “That says a lot. If things had been a little bit different, we could have won 23-21.”

McClain is right. Sometimes the margin between victory and defeat is razor thin. But however you spin it, UIW has some work to do before playing Southeastern Oklahoma in its first Lone Star Conference game ever Sept. 11 in Durant, Okla.

Athlete's got heart, smarts - Miguel A. Castro, Conexion
It's no secret, nor has it been for quite some time.
University of the Incarnate Word football coaches and players have known for two years.

Trent Rios, on the other hand, has been hearing it his whole life.

“All I've heard for as long as I can remember is, ‘You're too short,' or even that speed is a problem for me,” said the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Cardinals running back.

When it comes to actually believing all the talk, Rios won't have any of it.

While there were probably other sports that would have fit him sizewise, the Smithson Valley grad opted to stick with the one he is most passionate about.

“Just because I'm small doesn't mean that I can't play on the same level as some of these guys,” said Rios, who is half-Hispanic. “It's all in your heart, and that's how I take it.”

Well, maybe not just in his heart.

Four returnees form MSU's core - Trey Reed, Times Record News
The faces are changing at Midwestern State, but Doug Elder knows the secret for continued success.

“We have to get our guys to understand why and how we win soccer games at Midwestern,” said Elder as he prepared the Mustangs for the season opener against Texas A&M International at 7 p.m. today at the MSU Soccer Field. “It takes consistency and you have to win the games you’re supposed to win.”

The Mustangs have done just that over the past four seasons, claiming results in 67 matches on the way to four straight NCAA Division II postseason appearances, including trips to the Final Four in 2007 and to the Elite Eight in 2008 after starting the run with a regional finals appearance in 2006.

Lauffer expects big season from talented squad - Terrence Hunley, Amarillo Globe News
For the first time since there has been a women's soccer team at West Texas A&M, Butch Lauffer is not coaching it.

Lauffer now has his focus solely on the men's soccer team and has his sights set on excelling.

"We've been trying to focus on our team and get them ready to play," Lauffer said.

"We're trying to integrate all the new players. Preseason has been a bit shorter this year, so we are trying to balance the work load. We are trying not go overboard. I think we've been fairly successful."

Lady Buffs strong defensively - Terrence Hunley, Amarillo Globe News
New year. New coach. New field. Same philosophy. The No. 6 West Texas A&M women's soccer team made several changes during the offseason. But one thing has remained constant: a strong defense.

First-year coach Chad Webb made the jump from assistant to head coach during the offseason and is proud of the way his team has worked. Webb is looking to build upon a 15-3-4 record last season and wants to make it back to the NCAA tournament.

"These girls took the offseason seriously," Webb said. "They came in good shape and have good conditioning. We have four of the five members of the defense back. Other than that our midfield and up front could be just as good or better than last year. They've worked really hard."

ACU's cross country coach takes post week of first meet - Joey D. Richards, Abilene Reporter News
Chris Woods is hitting the ground running, literally. Woods took over as the Abilene Christian University cross country coach this week — less than a week before the team’s season-opening meet, which is Friday in Waco.

Rambelles' goal: LSC title, get into NCAA tourney - Nathan Wright, San Angelo Standard Times
SAN ANGELO, Texas — For many reasons, the 2009 Angelo State University volleyball season was a success. The Rambelles won 19 matches and advanced to the Lone Star Conference tournament for the second year in a row. At that tournament, they lost a five-set match to Abilene Christian in the semifinals. Despite having a team loaded with freshmen and only two seniors, however, the Rambelles were left wanting more.

They are taking that desire into this year’s season that begins tonight against Florida Southern at the Florida Southern Classic in Lakeland, Fla.

“We were extremely close to what we wanted to achieve,” third-year ASU head coach Chuck Waddington said. “To have that talent returning tells me that it is doable. I think it says the same thing to the girls. They understand that it is not way off in the distance. It is very tangible to us.”

Three Lady Buffs lean on 3-4A experience - Ricky Treon, Amarillo Globe News
Three members of the West Texas A&M volleyball team share something that helped them make the transition from high school to one of the best Division II college teams in the country.

Lauren Beville, Haleigh Cearley and Ashley Davis played in District 3-4A.

Beville won a state title with Hereford in 2008, and Davis won one with Randall last year. Cearley has no championship rings, but she faced both of those teams during her playing career at Caprock.

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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