Saturday, November 27, 2010

NCAA Playoff Second Round Recaps

No. 8 Mules boot No. 2 Wildcats from playoffs - Joey Richards, Abilene Reporter News
Central Missouri came up with a finishing kick to boot the No. 2 Abilene Christian Wildcats from the playoffs.

Eric Czerniewski hit Jamorris Warren for a 61-yard touchdown pass to break open a one-point game early in the fourth quarter, and Czerniewski came back to throw his sixth touchdown pass of the day — a 5-yarder to Warren — as the No. 8 Mules knocked off ACU 55-41 in a Division II second-round playoff game Saturday at Shotwell Stadium.

Javelinas season comes to stunning end - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller Times
KINGSVILLE — To the end, Texas A&M-Kingsville football coach Bo Atterberry said he always believed his Javelinas had a chance against Northwest Missouri State in Saturday’s second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

But as Atterberry also is fond of saying, at the close of business all that matters is the final score. And on a breezy, sun-splashed day in South Texas, it didn’t favor the Javelinas.

The defending Division II champion Bearcats kept their dreams afloat for successive gold balls as Blake Bolles’ 3-yard swing pass to Josh Baker with 18 seconds remaining rallied Northwest to a 35-31 victory over the Javelinas.

NW Missouri State's experiences pays off in win over Javelinas - Greg Rajan, Corpus Christi Caller Times
Northwest Missouri State’s football program made its first visit to Javelina Stadium.

But make no mistake — it was apparent the Bearcats had been there before.

With their national championship defense in jeopardy, the No. 3 Bearcats’ experience came to the forefront when it mattered most.

Northwest pulls off another late miracle - Missourinet
Late TD lifts Northwest Missouri over Kingsville in D-II playoffs - Abilene Reporter News

LSC Football Recap: ACU, TAMUK fall in second round

No. 8 Central Missouri 55, No. 2 Abilene Christian 41

ABILENE, Texas - Eric Czerniewski threw for 477 yards and six touchdowns to lead No. 8-ranked Central Missouri to a 55-41 win over No. 2-ranked Abilene Christian University in a second-round playoff game matching two of NCAA Division II’s top offenses.

The game pitted two quarterbacks who are finalists for the Harlon Hill Trophy as national player of the year, and they did not disappoint the crowd of 6,455 in Shotwell Stadium. ACU sophomore Mitchell Gale was 27 of 51 for 358 yards and five TDs, but Czerniewski, a senior, stole the show in a game that featured nearly 1,000 yards of offense. Mule wide receiver Jamorris Warren caught nine passes for 155 yards and three TDs, and Wildcat wide receiver Edmund Gates caught 6 passes for 117 yards and one score.

As it did the week before in scorching Texas A&M-Kingsville, UCM took a 21-0 first-quarter lead and never surrendered it while scoring 55 points again on an opponent from the Lone Star Conference. ACU, which finished the season 11-1 after winning the LSC, cut a 29-point UCM lead in the second quarter to 35-34 at the start of the fourth, but the Mules outscored the Wildcats 21-7 in the final 14 minutes to take the win.

The Mules, who finished second in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Conference, moved to 11-2, earning a national quarterfinal game Dec. 4.

Northwest Missouri State 35, Texas A&M-Kingsville 31

KINGSVILLE, TEXAS – The Texas A&M-Kingsville football team was 18 seconds away from slaying the beast on Saturday afternoon at Javelina Stadium, but the defending national champions Northwest Missouri State once again found a way to win in the NCAA Division II Playoffs with a 35-31 victory.

Bearcat (11-1) All-American quarterback Blake Bolles swung a pass out to tight end Josh Baker who was able to out run the Javelinas (10-2) to the corner of the end zone for a winning score from three yards out. It was the same corner where Tarleton State’s Scott Grantham had scored to defeat the Javelinas in the playoffs last year in double overtime.

The Javelinas had one last chance, but a Hail Mary attempt went incomplete on the final play of the game.

The game opened with everything going the way of the Javelinas. The Bearcats lost a fumble on the opening drive of the game when a snap went over the head of Bolles and into the hands of Kendrick Matthews (Houston/Marshall HS) of the Hoggies. The Javelinas converted the turnover into a Christian Brom (McAllen/McAllen HS) 28-yard field goal just 4:30 into the game.

The Javelina defense forced a three-and-out and the offense was back on the move. They converted a pair of third downs that eventually led to an Arron Fisher (Orlando, FL/West Orange HS) 3-yard touchdown run with 3:57 left in the first quarter.

The Bearcats responded with one of their patented quick-strike scoring drives. Bolles connected with Tyler Shaw on a 41-yard scoring pass thanks to excellent pass protection from his line. Todd Adolf’s extra-point made it 10-7 with 2:29 left in the quarter.

The Javelinas struck right back before the end of the quarter. Jonathon Woodson’s (Missouri City/Marshall HS) 44-yard kick return set the team up with excellent field position. Three plays later Nate Poppell (Spring/Spring HS) connected with Robert Armstrong (Cuero/Cuero HS) on a 16-yard touchdown pass with1:09 to play in the first quarter.

The Bearcats pulled back to within a field goal after a 10-play, 83-yard drive was capped by an 11-yard run by Bolles with 3:15 left in the first half. Bolles went 7-for-7 on the drive, but it was Kelvin Austin’s 29-yard run that was the big play of the drive.

Late in the half, the Javelinas were driving for another score, but were stopped at the 35-yard line of the Bearcats. Poppell appeared to have picked up the first down on a fourth down run, but was ruled down before picking up the necessary yardage.

The Bearcats opened the second half by attempting an onside kick, but the Hoggies were able to recover the ball. They took advantage by scoring on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Poppell to Ryan Lincoln (Bastrop/Bastrop HS) to take a 24-14 lead with 12:14 left in the third quarter.

After the teams traded punts, the Bearcats took over at their own 7-yard line. They proceeded to drive 93 yards in 13 plays over 4:33. Bolles completed a 27-yard pass to Jake Soy on third down and then he completed an 8-yard pass to Jordan Simmons on fourth down to keep the drive going on two occasions. They scored on a 1-yard race to the corner by Simmons with 1:00 to play in the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Javelinas scored on their first play when Lincoln broke two tackles on a reverse and scored on a 69-yard run to put the team ahead, 31-21.

The Hog defense forced a three-and-out and the offense was driving when a pass from Poppell got away from him and fell into the hands of Marciele Surrell.

The Bearcats took advantage of the miscue driving 56 yards in five plays. They were helped by a pair of pass interference calls against the Javelinas. Bolles connected with Baker on a 29-yard gain and then hit a wide open Soy in the end zone from 11 yards out with 10:19 remaining.

The Northwest defense then stepped up and shut down the Javelina offense over the next few minutes forcing three punts in a five minute stretch that proved to be critical. The Javelinas appeared to have regained the momentum after Tressor Baptiste (New York, NY/Curtis HS) forced a fumble that was recovered by Marcus Sanders (Houston/Westfield HS) with 5:38 left in the game. The Bearcats did not budge and got the ball back with 4:02 to play.

Bolles directed the Bearcats on a third long drive covering 80 yards in 12 plays. They converted on a pair of third downs and crossed into the red zone after a Javelina penalty to set up the winning score to Baker.

For the Bearcats it was their 12th consecutive win against Super Region 4 opponents and sixth straight win in the playoffs overall.

The Javelinas gained 420 yards on offense with 188 coming on the ground and 268 through the air. Lincoln led the offense with five catches for 94 yards, three carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns as he closed out a brilliant career. Woodson added 136 all-purpose yards while Armstrong added seven catches for 65 yards. Poppell finished the game 25-of-38 for 268 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Lincoln finished his career with a school record 210 receptions for 2,926 yards (2nd all-time). He led the team with 10 touchdowns on the season.

Poppell broke the school record for single season completions with 237 bettering Billy Garza’s mark of 225 set last year.

The Bearcats gained 470 yards of offense with 90 on the ground and 380 through the air. It was the most yards the Javelinas have given up all season long. Bolles went 32-of-53 for 380 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target was Soy who had 12 catches for a career high 161 yards and a touchdown. Baker added eight catches for 87 yards and a score. Austin led the team with 52 yards on seven carries.

The Javelina defense’s top six tacklers in the game were all seniors. Baptiste finished with a career high 11 stops, a forced fumble and a pass break up. DeIra Glover (Hempstead/Hempstead HS) capped his four-year career with nine tackles while fellow safety Corey Robertson (Denison/Denison HS) added seven tackles and two pass break ups.

The Bearcats were led by linebacker Chad Kilgore and defensive lineman Josh Lorenson. Kilgore had 11 tackles while Lorenson had 10 stops, two sacks and four tackles for loss.

The Bearcats advance to host conference rival Central Missouri on December 4 at noon in Maryville, Missouri.

LSC Game Day Roundup 11-27

Plenty on line in Javelinas rematch with NW Missouri St. - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller Times
KINGSVILLE — Football coaches are fond of saying that the road to a national title must go through the defending champions.

If that is to be the case for Texas A&M-Kingsville, the Javelinas must travel that path twice.

This time, fourth-ranked Javelinas get No. 3 Northwest Missouri State at home. A&M-Kingsville (10-1) hosts the 10-1 Bearcats at 1 p.m. Saturday at Javelina Stadium in a Super Region Four semifinal of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The winner earns a shot at either No. 2 Abilene Christian or No. 8 Central Missouri, the region’s Nos. 1 and 4 seeds, respectively, in next week’s regional final.

In the season opener, A&M-Kingsville shut down the defending champs’ vaunted offense to 189 yards in the 16-7 win in Maryville, setting a defensive tone that has carried the Javelinas throughout the season. While it was a big win, to be sure, it loomed larger as the season progressed and the Javelinas were able to secure a first-round bye last week as the region’s No. 2 seed. But avoiding a rematch with the third-seeded Bearcats simply wasn’t possible.

“I think this matchup for us, based on what we wanted to do this year, we kind of expected that we were going to have to play them again at some point, considering who they are and what they’ve done and what their plans were,” A&M-Kingsville coach Bo Atterberry said. “Obviously, we’re excited about it being at our stadium, for sure.

“I don’t put a whole lot of stock into playing teams twice, once, five times,” Atterberry said. “We just prepare to put our best product out there on Saturday regardless of who the opponent might be.”

Bearcats Try To Avenge First Loss Of Season In Next Playoff Game -
Mules Hit The Road To Take On The Wildcats -

ACU opens playoffs with national title hopes - Joey Richards, Abilene Reporter News
There was a time when just getting to the playoffs was a big deal for the Abilene Christian football team.

Not anymore.

The Wildcats, who ended a 29-year playoff drought in 2006, are preparing for their eighth NCAA Division II playoff game in five years. It’s the seventh playoff game for some of the seniors on the team. This time, however, they won’t be happy with anything less than a national title. which would be a first since an NAIA championship in 1977.

“When you’ve been five years in a row, your guys get a different expectation of what they want,” ACU coach Chris Thomsen said. “It’s no longer good enough just to get into the playoffs. They want to progress and take steps toward getting to a national championship level.”

Bryson Lewis, a starting defensive end, is one of eight seniors on the team who have been part of four playoff runs. ACU has not failed to win least one playoff game since their freshman season — including a national quarterfinal berth in 2008.

“We definitely want to win it all,” Lewis said. “Even though we won conference this year and in ’08, at this point, that’s not enough for us. We want that national championship title.” - Joey Richards, Abilene Reporter News
No. 8 Central Missouri (11-1) at No. 2 Abilene Christian (11-0)

Noon today * shotwell Stadium * KULL 92.5-FM

n What’s riding on this game: The winner advances to play the No. 3 Northwest Missouri State (10-1) vs. No. 4 Texas A&M-Kingsville (10-1) winner in the Super Four Regional final next week. If ACU wins, it would host the game at Shotwell. Northwest Missouri plays Kingsville at 1 p.m. today in Kingsville. This is the first meeting between ACU and Central Missouri.

n Last week: Central Missouri scored four touchdowns — three in the opening quarter — before West Texas A&M even got on the board in the Mules’ 55-35 victory in Warrensburg, Mo., at Audrey J. Walton Stadium. The Wildcats, the No. 1 seed in the region, had a first-round bye.

n Scouting Central Missouri: The Mules are averaging 490 yards and 40.6 points a game — both good for fifth in the nation. The Mules are led by quarterback Eric Czerniewski, who has thrown for 4,518 yards (3rd in nation) and 38 touchdowns this season. He’s also thrown 12 interceptions. He has plenty of weapons around him in running back Anthony Stewart, receiver Jamorris Warren and tight end DeMarco Cosby. Stewart, a 5-9, 190-pound senior, is a dual threat, who leads the Mules in rushing (986 yards, 13 touchdowns on 185 carries), and he’s second on the team in receiving (69-781, 4 TDs). Then there’s Warren, a 6-1, 195 senior, who’s No. 8 in the nation in receiving yards (94-1,248, 17 TDs). Cosby, a 6-4, 230-pound senior, is third on the team in receiving (59-772 yards, 9 TDs). Paul Stephens, a 5-9, 170-pound senior cornerback, has four of his team’s 13 interceptions, including two of three Mules’ picks in last week’s game. The Mules are giving up 400.5 yards (137th in nation) and 26 points (75th in nation) per game. The Mules’ lone loss was a 17-16 decision against Northwest Missouri on Nov. 6 in Warrensburg.

LSC Game Day Roundup 11-27

Plenty on line in Javelinas rematch with NW Missouri St. - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller Times
KINGSVILLE — Football coaches are fond of saying that the road to a national title must go through the defending champions.

If that is to be the case for Texas A&M-Kingsville, the Javelinas must travel that path twice.

This time, fourth-ranked Javelinas get No. 3 Northwest Missouri State at home. A&M-Kingsville (10-1) hosts the 10-1 Bearcats at 1 p.m. Saturday at Javelina Stadium in a Super Region Four semifinal of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The winner earns a shot at either No. 2 Abilene Christian or No. 8 Central Missouri, the region’s Nos. 1 and 4 seeds, respectively, in next week’s regional final.

In the season opener, A&M-Kingsville shut down the defending champs’ vaunted offense to 189 yards in the 16-7 win in Maryville, setting a defensive tone that has carried the Javelinas throughout the season. While it was a big win, to be sure, it loomed larger as the season progressed and the Javelinas were able to secure a first-round bye last week as the region’s No. 2 seed. But avoiding a rematch with the third-seeded Bearcats simply wasn’t possible.

“I think this matchup for us, based on what we wanted to do this year, we kind of expected that we were going to have to play them again at some point, considering who they are and what they’ve done and what their plans were,” A&M-Kingsville coach Bo Atterberry said. “Obviously, we’re excited about it being at our stadium, for sure.

“I don’t put a whole lot of stock into playing teams twice, once, five times,” Atterberry said. “We just prepare to put our best product out there on Saturday regardless of who the opponent might be.”

Bearcats Try To Avenge First Loss Of Season In Next Playoff Game -
Mules Hit The Road To Take On The Wildcats - - Joey Richards, Abilene Reporter News

Friday, November 26, 2010

Game Previews and Predictions - NCAA Playoffs Round 2

Central Missouri proved to be rude hosts to their guests last week, jumping all over West Texas A&M, and grabbing their first ever playoff win. The Mules scored touchdowns on six of their first seven possessions, building up a 42-7 lead early in the third quarter. At that point, the game was essentially over, with UCM holding a 407-229 advantage in yardage as well as the 35 point lead. Harlon Hill finalist Eric Czerniewski completed 33-42 passes for 368 with 4 TDs and no interceptions. Running back Anthony Stewart was a dual threat, leading UCM with 10 receptions for 131 yards and a TD and rushing for 112 yards and another 2 TDs.

Meanwhile, over in Maryville, the defending national champions found themselves trailing Missouri Western (whom the trounced 42-0 back in October) at the half, 17-0. But the Bearcats used a 46 yard TD run on a fake punt to get back in the game. They used that momentum swing to outscore the Griffons 28-7 in the second half, and escape with a 28-24 opening round win. Blake Bolles threw for 242 yards and a TD, with Josh Baker his favorite receiver (8-74 TD). NW also had 170 yards rushing and 3 TDs. The defense clamped down in the second half, allowing just one sustained drive, picking off a pass, and forcing 3 three and out possessions.

This Week's Games
#3 Northwest Missouri at #4 Texas A&M-Kingsville

A rematch of the season opener for both teams, which the Javelins won 16-7. The Javelinas opened a lot of eyes with the victory, but much has changed since then.

NWMSU Game Notes
TAMK Game Notes
Watch the game Here
Listen Online Here
Live Stats

Since everyone is familiar with the Javelinas, we'll just take a close up look at NWMSU. The Bearcat offense rebounded from that game, reeling off 7 straight games of 40+ points and the defense assumed its customary spot at the top of the MIAA defensive charts. Overall, NW averages 36 points a game, with 156 yards rushing and 285 passing. Blake Bolles has throwin for 3,099 yards with 23 TDs and just 8 Ints. Jake Soy remains his favorite target, with 61 receptions for 1,015 yards and 10 TDs. Josh Baker has emerged as a big target as well, with 54 catches for 710 yards and 7 TDs, and was huge last week as mentioned above. Jordan Simmons is the leading rusher, with 613 yards and 8 TDs on the ground. Kelvin Austin added 499 yards and 8 TDs. Up front, 2 first team and 1 second team All-MIAA selection provide protection and clear the running lanes.

The defense is allowing 20 points and 354 yards per game, with opponents picking up 125 rushing and 229 passing. Five Bearcats were selected the All-MIAA first team, as well as one second team selection, and three honorable mentions. Up front, Josh Lorenson, Roberto Davis and Shayne Shade lead the way - they combined for 138 tackles, with 17 for losses and 11 sacks. Linebackers Chad Kilgore, Willie Horn, and Billy Baudler were the team's top three tacklers combining for 230 tackles, 19 for losses, 9 sacks, 2 interceptions and 8 passes broken up. Ryan Jones, Justin Welch and Aldwin Foster-Rettig headline the secondary - the trio had 149 tackles, 7 interceptions, and 24 passes broken up.

When NW has to punt the ball, Michael Stadler averages 41.4 per punt, but has had 2 blocked. Todd Adolf is 5-9 on field goals with a long of 45 yards, and 52-53 on PATs. Jordan Simmons is the leading returner, averaging 22.2 yards on 19 kick returns and 15.9 yards on 16 punt returns.

Despite the changes that each team has seen since game one, we think the rematch should play out similar to the season opener - hard hitting defensive game, with the winner taking advantage of the few opportunities that arise. We were surprised as anyone when the Javelinas won on the road in the opener, but they have shown that they are a very solid team, despite the losses of key starters on both sides of the ball. Of course NW is no slouch - no team with their playoff success the past several seasons can be overlooked - and they will be ready to play Saturday night. We look for the Javelinas defense to slow down the NW running game, but give up a couple of big pass plays. Offensively, they will try to run the ball and keep the NW defense on the field. It could pay off in the fourth quarter, where the Javelinas have a 55-7 scoring advantage (taking out the SWO and SOSU games when the Javelinas went deep into their bench). TAMK in a close one 24-17.

#8 Central Missouri at #2 Abilene Christian
For a more in-depth look at Central Missouri, see last weeks preview.

UCM Game Notes
ACU Game Notes

Watch the game online here
Listen Live
Live Stats.

Tale of the tape - Both teams can score, as evidenced by ACU's 43.5 average per game and UCM's 40.6.  Both teams can move the ball through the air well (ACU 313.8, UCM 385.2).  ACU does have the advantage running the ball (162.5 for ACU, 104.9 for UCM).  Defensively, UCM gives up 26 points per game, while ACU allows just 18.5.  UCM also gives up more yardage, 401 per game, 148 rushing, 253 passing.  ACU meanwhile allows 303 yards, 223 passing and just 80 rushing.

Don't expect the Mules to jump out to a big lead this weekend, like they did against the Buffaloes. The Wildcats are outscoring opponents 142-30 in the first quarter and 269-72 over the first half of this year's games. In fact, the Mules have been outscored 83-77 in the opening quarter this year, 83-56 if you take out last week's impressive start. Look for ACU to take the lead in a tentative first half, and then the offenses to open it up in the second. ACU holds on for a 31-24 win.

LSC Roundup 11-26

A&M-Kingsville offensive line finds success - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller Times
Much like a hungry pursuer chasing the proverbial carrot dangling on a string just out of reach, Texas A&M-Kingsville’s offense has struggled and fought to find the proper mix to become a cohesive unit.

It started up front, and it wasn’t an immediate success. Finally, however, the front five may have finally achieved unified status.

“More than anything I think it’s just understanding each other, knowing each other’s tendencies and knowing what we’re comfortable with, seeing the field the same as a whole,” said center Tim Byerly, the senior from Victoria who has started three-plus seasons. “If one guy’s looking at something different from the rest of the group, that gives problems for the whole offense. So it’s just in terms of getting on the same page with everybody else and getting physical.”

Numbers can be manipulated in many ways. Yet the offensive numbers produced by the fourth-ranked Javelinas during the latter stages of the regular season illustrate the improvement of the offense, with a large kudo to the offensive front.

During the latter six regular-season ballgames, the 10-1 Javelinas are averaging 81 yards of offense more than in the previous five, and almost a yard more per play. For the year, A&M-Kingsville is averaging 392.6 yards of offense per game.

“The last five games are when it pretty much started clicking, and those five have probably been the best four or five games of my entire college career,” said senior tackle Trent Perkins, the Alice native who transferred two years ago from Oklahoma State. “I owe a lot to the rest of the team, the rest of the line. The last four of five games it just started clicking more and more and more.

Bearcats keeping it close in playoffs - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller Times
Playing in close games is becoming as common for Northwest Missouri State as its NCAA Division II football postseason appearances.

Last week was just the latest installment.

The defending national champion Bearcats earned a return shot at Texas A&M-Kingsville in a Super Region Four semifinal ballgame, which takes place Saturday afternoon at Javelina Stadium. The Bearcats beat fellow Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association foe Missouri Western 28-24 last Saturday in Maryville to do so, but had to extricate themselves from a 17-point halftime hole to sustain their hopes for a sixth consecutive appearance in the national title game.

“We’ve had some close ballgames, but that’s not uncommon. Sometimes our memory’s pretty short,” Bearcats coach Mel Tjeerdsma said. “Last year we only had one close game in the conference. But any other year we’ve had three or four games of a touchdown or less.

“Our conference is a tough league. We’re kind of the target so we feel like we’re going to get everybody’s best shot and we usually do,” Tjeerdsma said. “We just have to find a way to win.”

GIVING THANKS FOR A SECOND CHANCE: ACU receiver Edmund Gates - Joey Richards, Abilene Reporter News
It’s funny where life takes you.

Edmund Gates grew up dreaming of playing in the NBA. But when that dream died after getting booted off the Tyler Junior College basketball team in 2006, Gates scrambled to find a new dream. Had Abilene Christian University not entered the picture in 2007, he admits he might have turned to a life of crime, just like his father, who served 18 years in prison for murder.

Now, Gates is one of the most exciting receivers in Division II college football — and his dream is of playing in the NFL.


It’s a bit ironic when you consider Gates walked away from football after his freshman year at Vernon High School. Gates, who was just a scrawny, 5-foot-7 teenager at the time, thought he was too small for the game.

“I just felt like I had no future in football,” he said. “I thought I would never grow. My dad is 5-7, so I thought I would be that small all my life. I thought I’d never go to the NFL being that small.”

Wildcats senior WR among career leaders - Abilene Reporter News

Oklahoma state college notes: Southern Nazarene president says decision to move to NCAA was not a quick one - Scott Munn, The Oklahoman

SNU’s decision didn’t come easily

The landscape of small college sports in Oklahoma continued to change this week with the announcement that Southern Nazarene will apply for NCAA membership. The Bethany school has been an NAIA member for 40 years.

Southern Nazarene will submit its application June 1, 2011, and a response from the NCAA is expected within a month. If accepted, SNU’s athletic teams will continue to compete at the NAIA level for the 2011-12 school year. The second phase of approval bans Southern Nazarene from postseason play in the NAIA and NCAA for the 2012-2013 school year.

SNU president Loren Gresham said school administration considered NCAA membership for more than a year.

“The process of arriving at this point has been slow, deliberative and with considerable discussion among campus, governing board and alumni constituents,” he said.

Southern Nazarene has other decisions to make if accepted, including a conference membership. The Lone Star and Mid-America Intercollegiate conferences include Oklahoma schools such as Cameron, Central Oklahoma and Northeastern Oklahoma State. A new Division II league, the Great American Conference, will include Southwestern Oklahoma State, Southeastern Oklahoma State and East Central.

“There are many details to work out as far as conference affiliation and other matters,” said Gresham, a former SNU men’s basketball coach. “While we are somewhat conflicted on the thought of leaving friends and associates in the NAIA and Sooner Athletic Conference, we are excited about this new direction should our application be accepted next summer.”

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

LSC Roundup 11-24

ACU's Turner named finalist for Upshaw Award - Abilene Reporter News
Abilene Christian offensive lineman Trevis Turner is one of two finalists from Super Region Four for the Gene Upshaw Award.

It’s the fourth consecutive year an ACU lineman as been named a national finalist for the award, which is presented by the Manheim (Penn.) Touchdown Club.


NSU women move up to No. 14 - Ben Johnson, Tahlequah Daily Press
The NCAA Division II national spotlight may have gotten a little brighter on Northeastern State’s women’s basketball team in the last 24 hours. But don’t think for a second that it’s going to affect how Randy Gipson and the RiverHawks prepare on a daily basis.

“We’re certainly not going to do anything different,” said Gipson, NSU’s coach who picked up his 500th career victory earlier this season.

The RiverHawks (3-0), coming off a 67-50 victory at Missouri Southern on Monday, moved up eight spots to No. 14 in the USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25 Coaches’ poll, which was released on Tuesday. NSU, who received 322 points, is tied with Michigan Technological University just inside the top 15.

Late free throws lift Rattlers over winless ACU women - Abilene Reporter News
Nicole James hit two free throws with 1:03 remaining in the game to help St. Mary’s edge Abilene Christian 50-49 in a non-conference women’s basketball game Tuesday at Bill Greehey Arena.

Cecilee Perez had tied the game at 48 on a jumper with 2:25 left in the game, and teammate Kelsey Smith hit one of two free throws to give ACU a 49-48 lead with 1:28 remaining. However, a turnover and foul put James on the free-throw line, and James hit both for a 50-49 lead. Mack Lankford’s last-second shot fell short for the Wildcats.

Lankford scored a game-high 21 points and five steals, and Perez had 10 points for ACU (0-4). Mareta Bailey and Kristen Williams each had 14 points for the Rattlers (3-2). Bailey also had 11 rebounds. ACU begins Lone Star Conference play against Texas Woman’s University on Dec. 2 at Moody Coliseum.

Hagan leads MSU to 107-48 win - Times Record News
Chris Hagan poured in a season-high 28 points to lead Midwestern State to a 107-48 win over Northern New Mexico Tuesday night at Hutchison Center.

The Mustangs used an 18-0 run late in the first half to turn a 21-point lead into a commanding 55-16 bulge when Melvin Clark hit the second of two 3-pointers with 3:37 left before halftime.

Midwestern would lead by as many as 62 points when Deuce Nichols hit a fast-break layup with 5:17 to play.

The Mustangs (2-1) dominated every facet of the game against the NAIA Division II independent by a 76-18 margin in points in the paint, 45-6 in points of turnovers, 19-2 in second-chance points and 40-9 in points in transition.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Breaking News

Southwestern Oklahoma joining new league called Great American Conference

Justin Tinder, SWOSU Sports Information Director
Russellville, Ark - Southwestern Oklahoma State University, along with eight other institutions in Arkansas and Oklahoma, have been working together on a new athletic league, and the league now has a name—the Great American Conference.

SWOSU will join the GAC in 2011, a league that includes six NCAA Division II universities from Arkansas and three from Oklahoma.

The formal announcement of the new conference name was made today by the chief executive officers of the nine member institutions –Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, East Central University in Ada, Okla., Harding University in Searcy, Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, and the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

According to a joint statement from the member institutions’ presidents and chancellors, the name was chosen to “reflect the diversity of the league’s geographic regions, from the Mississippi Delta of southeast Arkansas to the plains of western Oklahoma.”

The six Arkansas schools are currently members of the Gulf South Conference while the Oklahoma schools hold membership in the Lone Star Conference.

Much of the impetus for the new league, according to the CEO’s, was to bring together institutions with similar athletic and academic profiles as well as those in geographic proximity to lessen travel costs and missed class time for student-athletes. The new conference also recalls part of the athletic history of both states when the three Oklahoma schools were part of the now-defunct Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference and the six Arkansas schools were part of the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference. Teams from the OIC and AIC were frequent opponents in all sports.

SWOSU president Randy Beutler, who is also vice president of the new conference, called the new league a better fit for the institutions.

“The Great American Conference brings together like-minded universities with similar resources and places an emphasis on the student-athlete which will enhance intercollegiate athletics at our member institutions,” Beutler said.

Will Prewitt, former associate commissioner of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, was recently named commissioner of the new conference.

“This is an incredible opportunity to build a conference from the ground up,” said Prewitt.

“When I look at the member institutions and their respective athletic histories, I think we have a chance to build something special.”

The new league plans to begin competition in the fall of 2011 after approval from the NCAA.
SWOSU Athletic Director Todd Thurman indicated that coming up with the conference’s actual name is an important milestone in the continuing development.

“The name ‘Great American Conference’ best reflects the makeup of our new league and our vision for the future. The brand also affords us the opportunity to make a bold statement about who we are and where we are going with our newly-formed athletic conference. We are excited about all the possibilities this new endeavor provides for us, our students and our colleagues.”

LSC Roundup 11-23

The Short List - Dave Henry, Amarillo Globe News
Continued rumblings about a new WT football stadium bring this to mind: Borrow a page from Central Missouri, which knocked the Buffs out of the playoffs Saturday. The home side of UCM's Audrey J. Walton Stadium resembles a D-I facility. There is a multi-level facility on the home side, with an expansive press box, elevators, suites, bathrooms and offices. The visitor's side? Not so much. There are bleachers on the visiting side that look like they were stolen from a local middle school and four porta-potties. It looks like Cowboys Stadium merged with Bonham Middle School. Save money and build half a stadium ... It was nice to see Taylor Harris finish his WT career as the all-time leader in passing yards and total offense. Harris battled through injuries and was a class act, win or lose

All-LSC picks don't add up - Bob Forrest, Ada Evening News
Old habits apparently die hard where the coaches in the Lone Star Conference’s North Division are concerned.

The same coaches who picked East Central in August to finish last in this year’s North football race came back three months later to snub some of the players who led the Tigers to the school’s first-ever division title.

Although ECU’s nine first or second-team selections on the All-North Division offense and defense released last week were seven more than the Tigers received following last year’s 0-11 campaign, the list wasn’t nearly as long as it should have been.

And the first question that comes to mind is “WHY?”
Bob Forrest raises a very interesting point. Here is a breakdown of the All-LSC selections by team, in order of division finish.

School (Division Record) 1st-2nd-HM selections
ECU (5-1) 2 - 7 - 14
NSU (5-1) 8 - 3 - 4
ENMU (3-3) 11 - 4 - 5
SWO (3-3) 1 - 6 - 5
SOSU (2-4) 7 - 1 - 4
TAMC (2-4) 2 - 1 - 1
UCO (1-5) 2 - 10 - 4

ACU (6-0) 12 - 7 - 10
TAMK (5-1) 4 - 10 - 6
WTAM (4-2) 10 - 5 - 6
MSU (3-3) 3 - 3 - 5
TSU (2-4) 1 - 1 - 8
ASU (1-5) 2 - 5 - 8
UIW (0-6) 0 - 0 - 5

At first glance of first team selections, it would seem that ECU, SWO and TAMK are under-represented, while ENMU, SOSU and WTAM are over-represented. It does strike us as odd that teams that finish lower in the standings can have 6 (WT compared to TAMK, SOSU to SWO), or even 9 (ENMU to ECU) more players selected to the first team than the teams finishing above them. Even more puzzling, is a team (SOSU) that finishes 3 games behind another (ECU) and has five more first team selections. Another puzzler - how does the LSC North Lineman of the Year only garner honorable mention?


From the LSC
Second Team

Karlton Graves - Offensive Lineman - Eastern New Mexico


FLORENCE, Ala. -- A field of 24 candidates has been trimmed to nine national finalists in regional voting for the Harlon Hill Trophy as the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year. The finalists were selected by the NCAA Division II sports information directors in regional voting and will now be placed on the national ballot where all 148 of the division's SIDs will select the award's 25th winner. The top two players from each of Division II's Super Regionals advance to the national ballot, but three players advanced from Region 4 due to a tie in the voting.

The list of 2010 finalists is comprised of seven quarterbacks and two running backs. Five of the finalists helped lead their teams into the NCAA Division II playoffs this season and one of this weekend's second round playoff matchups will have Hill finalists facing each other.

Advancing from Super Regional 1 are senior quarterback Zach Amedro of West Liberty (W.V.) University and freshman running back Franklyn Quiteh of Bloomsburg (Pa.) University.

Super Regional 2 is represented by sophomore quarterbacks Bo Cordell of the Tusculum (Tenn.) University and senior quarterback Nick Hardesty of Henderson State (Ark.) University.

The top vote getters in Super Regional 3 were Colorado School of Mines junior quarterback Clay Garcia and Michigan Technological University senior running back Phil Milbrath.

Advancing from Super Regional 4 are Northwest Missouri State senior quarterback Blake Bolles, University of Central Missouri senior quarterback Eric Czerniewski and Abilene Christian University sophomore quarterback Mitchell Gale. All three of these quarterback's teams are still alive in the playoffs and Czerniewski and Gale will face each other in the second round of the playoffs this Saturday.

Gale, a sophomore from Alva, Okla, is third in the nation in passing efficiency (167.3) and 17th in total offense per game (300.6 yards per game). He also leads the nation in touchdown-to-interception ratio with 33 touchdown passes against just two interceptions. He led the Wildcats – ranked No. 2 in the country and No. 1 in Super Region Four – to the first 11-0 regular season in program history and the team's second Lone Star Conference championship in the last three seasons. He will also lead Abilene Christian into the second round of the playoffs this weekend.

Notebook: Second Round Preview -
Eight second round matchups are set for this Saturday

No. 4 Central Missouri (10-2) at No. 1 Abilene Christian (11-0), 12 p.m. CT
The Mules won their first-ever playoff game with a 55-35 defeat of West Texas A&M, earning the right to play top-seeded and unbeaten Abilene Christian on Saturday. Senior quarterback Eric Czerniewski collected 368 yards passing and four TDs in the game as the Mules advanced to the second round of the NCAA playoffs for the first time in program history.

ACU received a first-round bye for the second time in the last three years after the Wildcats posted their first 11-0 regular season mark in school history. The Wildcats are one of five Division II teams that have earned playoff berths in each of the last five years. Northwest Missouri State, Grand Valley State, Albany State and North Alabama join the Wildcats on that list.

The Mules entered the playoffs averaging 488 total yards and 386 passing yards per game, good for fifth and fourth in the nation, respectively. ACU ranks in the top 10 in passing offense (313.82 ypg), total offense (476.74 ypg), scoring offense (43.55 ppg) and rushing defense (80.64 ypg). This will be the first meeting between the two programs.

No. 3 Northwest Missouri State (10-1) at No. 2 Texas A&M-Kingsville (10-1), 12 p.m. CT
The Bearcats survived a first-round scare against rival Missouri Western, rallying from a 17-0 deficit for a 28-24 victory to advance to a rematch contest at second-seeded Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday. It was the largest deficit Northwest has overcome to win in 41 playoff games as the Bearcats continued on their quest for a sixth straight appearance in the national championship game.

TAMUK defeated then-No. 1 Northwest, 16-7, to open the season and went on to post its first 10-win season since 2003. The Javelinas boast the nation’s top rushing defense, which is allowing just 54 yards on the ground per game. TAMUK is giving up just 14.27 points per game, which ranks seventh in the nation.

Northwest leads the series 2-1, including two meetings in the NCAA playoffs. The Bearcats defeated TAMUK, 49-34, in the 1998 semifinals, and topped the Javelinas, 34-14, in the second round in 2004.

LSC Weekly Basketball Release
Lone Star Conference basketball teams are off to a good start, with 11 squads still undefeated. Action continues over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with non-conference games.

The LSC men have a 37-13 overall record so far this season, including a 17-8 mark in the South Division and 20-5 in the North. In the NCAA South Central Region, the men’s teams are currently 11-5 combined versus Heartland Conference teams and 4-2 against the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA).

The LSC women are 21-21 overall, with a 7-11 mark in the South and 14-10 in the North this season. In the NCAA South Central Region, the women’s teams are currently 13-14 combined versus Heartland Conference squads and 3-2 against the MIAA.

Dauntae Williams, University of Central Oklahoma, SR, Guard, Missouri City, Texas, Missouri City HS
Williams led UCO to a perfect (3-0) week as the No. 18-ranked Bronchos improved to 5-0 on the year, averaging 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.3 steals a game. The senior guard scored 19 of his game-high 24 points in the second half and added four rebounds, three assists and two steals in an 86-78 home win over NAIA’s No. 2-ranked Southern Nazarene. Williams scored a game-high 19 points with four 3-pointers, four assists and three steals in a 95-75 rout of Mid-America Christian on the first day of SWOSU Classic and then had eight points, four boards, two assists and two steals while playing just 15 minutes of a 92-50 drubbing of Arlington Baptist the next day.

Brent Friday, University of Central Oklahoma, JR, Guard, Oklahoma City, Okla., Putnam City North HS
Friday led UCO’s defensive efforts as the Bronchos won their home opener and swept two games at the SWOSU Classic to remain unbeaten at 5-0. The junior guard averaged 9.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 1.7 blocked shots a game in wins over NAIA’s No. 2-ranked Southern Nazarene, Mid-America Christian and Arlington Baptist. Friday had nine points, four rebounds (three defensive), two blocks and a steal in an 86-78 win over SNU, eight points, five boards (two defensive), three steals and a block in a 95-75 rout of MACU and finished with 11 points, three rebounds (two defensive), four steals and two blocks in just 15 minutes of a 92-50 trouncing of ABC.

Corin Henry, Tarleton State University, SR, Guard, Randallstown, Md., New Town HS
Henry averaged 21.5 points and 6.5 assists per game in the 2010 Texan Tip-Off Classic as he was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after leading the Texans to two victories. He averaged .565 from the floor and .429 from the three-point arc while also pulling down five rebounds in the two games. In Friday’s win over Texas-Permian Basin, Henry tied a career-high with 29 points while recording four assists and three steals. He shot .571 from the field and .667 from the arc (2-3) while also going 11-15 in free throws (.733). On Saturday in the win over Newman, Henry was one assist away from a double-double with 14 points and nine assists. He had two steals as well. He shot .556 from the floor and was perfect (three-of-three) from the charity stripe. He had a 1.9 assist to turnover ratio and averaged his 21.5 points per game in just 30.5 minutes played per game.

Marcus Ford, Texas A&M University - Kingsville, JR, Forward, Colorado Springs, Colo., Mesa Ridge HS
Ford generally has to guard the opponent’s top scoring threat. He held his opponents to 30.8 percent shooting from the floor and plays an important role in the team defense with his shot blocking abilities. He had 10 blocks on the week, including a career high five in a win against Texas Lutheran. He had 12 defensive rebounds and three blocks in a 56-53 loss to St. Edward’s. He led the Hoggie defensive effort that allowed just 56.0 points per game and a 36.7 field goal percentage.

Sumiya Darden, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, JR, Center, Fresno, Calif., Sunnyside HS
Darden averaged 21 points and 9.5 rebounds to lead Southwestern Oklahoma State University to a 3-0 start including two wins last week. The junior college transfer from Fresno City Community College had 30 points and 14 rebounds in SWOSU’s 93-82 victory over previously unbeaten Texas-Permian Basin.

Kayla Weaver, Texas Woman’s University, SR, Forward, Aquilla, Texas, Aquilla HS
Weaver was the team leader on defense and helped the Pioneers capture the 2010 Marriott Champions Circle Pioneer Premiere. She led the team in rebounds with 13 and defensive rebounds with 11. With Weaver’s leadership, TWU held the two opponents to 50.5 points per game and .352 shooting percentage including .056 from the three-point range. She was perfect 14-14 from the free-throw line in the two games and helped the Pioneers set a new school record with 17-for-17 free-throws as a team against UC-Colorado Springs. Weaver also led the team in scoring against UCCS with 20.

Shelby Adamson, Tarleton State University, JR, Guard, Rockwall, Texas, Rockwall HS
Adamson had an outstanding performance in the TexAnns’ 74-64 victory over 20th ranked Lubbock Christian Saturday, Nov. 18th in Wisdom Gym. Adamson scored a career-high 26 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 11-of-12 shooting from the charity stripe. She also grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists.

Lindsey Mahone, Angelo State University, SO, Forward, Corpus Christi, Texas, Mary Carroll HS
Mahone was excellent in her Rambelle debut as she totaled 12 points, six rebounds and three steals in the ‘Belles’ 92-63 victory over Texas A&M International. Mahone, a sophomore transfer from Eastern Michigan, came back two days later and tallied nine points and nine boards to help ASU improve to 2-0 on the season.

Monday, November 22, 2010

LSC Roundup 11-22

WT victimized by explosive start this time - Dave Henry, Amarillo Globe News
If the West Texas A&M Buffs are looking for a reason their football season ended in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs Saturday afternoon, they need only look in the mirror.

The Central Missouri Mules stole a page from the WT playbook, jumping out to a fast start and blowing out their opponent in the first half on their way to a 55-35 win.

Fast starts and manageable second-half performances, at least in the fourth quarter, had been WT's trademark this season, but the Mules, who run a similar but more intricate spread offense than do the Buffs, took that style to a different level.

How fast were the Mules?

• UCM had a 14-0 lead in the first quarter before WT had a first down.

• UCM had a 21-0 lead in the first quarter while the Buffs had managed one first down.

• UCM scored on five of its first six possessions and had a 35-7 lead at halftime.

• UCM had 224 yards of offense in the first quarter.

• UCM's 21 first-quarter points were the most points the Mules have scored in the first quarter this season and marked the first time this season the Buffs trailed in the first quarter.

UCM's early explosion seemed to surprise even the Mules.

"I think that's the first time we've ever led (in the first quarter)," UCM quarterback Eric Czerniewski said with a laugh before the postgame news conference.

The comment drew chuckles from UCM running back Anthony Stewart, who had 77 of the Mules' 79 yards on their first possession, and cornerback Paul Stephens, who had two interceptions.

Before Saturday's game, the Mules had been outscored in the first quarter 83-56.

"That was huge coming out like that and taking the momentum from the get-go," said Stewart, who had 112 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns along with 10 catches for 131 yards and a score. "It was definitely a blessing."

Mules off to races - Dave Henry, Amarillo Globe News
Officially, the mascot for the University of Central Missouri is the Mule.

However, on Saturday afternoon, the mascot might as well have been a thoroughbred.

The Mules came charging out of the gate at Audrey J. Walton Stadium, scoring on four of their first five possessions, cruising past West Texas A&M, 55-35, before 4,397 fans in an NCAA Division II first round playoff game.

The Mules had a 21-0 lead with 2:32 left in the first quarter, and while the final score was more indicative of a high scoring offensive shootout - not to mention the final team stats - the game was not that close.

"We weren't expecting anything like that at all," said WT cornerback Tae Evans, who had a team-high 12 tackles in his final game as a Buff. "They came out fast and physical and out-schemed us. What can you say?"

"Early on it was a little difficult to get going. They had the ball for a long time and getting into a rhythm was tough," said WT quarterback Taylor Harris, who went 35-of-66 for 495 yards and four scores with three picks and finishes his career as WT's all-time leader in passing yards and total offense. "Don't take anything away from the UCM defense. They played pretty well."

Central Missouri routs WT for second-round playoff date with ACU - Abilene Reporter News
Eric Czerniewski threw for 368 yards and four touchdowns to lead No. 8 Central Missouri past No. 14 West Texas A&M 55-35 Saturday in the first round of the Division II football playoffs.

The Mules (10-2) scored the game’s first four touchdowns and led 42-7 early in the third quarter en route to a second-round meeting with No. 2 Abilene Christian (11-0) at noon Saturday at Shotwell Stadium.

West Texas A&M (8-4), the third-place team from the Lone Star Conference, outscored the Mules 28-20 in the second half but couldn’t overcome the 35-7 halftime deficit.

The other Super Regional Four semifinal game will pit No. 3 Northwest Missouri State (10-1) against No. 4 Texas A&M-Kingsville (10-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Kingsville. The defending national champion Bearcats beat MIAA rival Missouri Western, 28-24.

Kelvin Austin’s nine-yard touchdown run with 8:10 left in the game capped a 28-7 run and lifted the Bearcats over the Griffons. Missouri Western (8-4) led 17-0 at the half, but the Bearcats roared back for their biggest comeback win in 41 playoff games in school history.

The Bearcats’ lone loss this season was to Kingsville (16-7) in the season opener at Maryville. The Javelinas’ lone loss this season is to ACU, the No. 1 team in the region. Kingsville is No. 2 team in the region.

NW Missouri St. wins, will play at A&M-Kingsville next - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller Times
The rematch is set.

Texas A&M-Kingsville will face defending NCAA Division II champion Northwest Missouri State in the second round of the playoffs, this time at Javelina Stadium next Saturday.

The 10-1 Bearcats rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit to defeat fellow Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association member Missouri Western 28-24 in a first-round Super Regional Four ballgame in Maryville. Northwest advances to face the second-seeded Javelinas, who defeated the Bearcats 16-7 in the season opener on Sept. 2 in Maryville. The game time will be announced today.


ACU's Sang, Belledant win region cross country titles - Abilene Reporter News
Abilene Christian’s Amos Sang and Anais Belledant each won individual titles at the NCAA Division II South Central Region cross country meet Saturday, while the ACU men finished second overall to also earn a trip to the national championships.

Sang, the defending region champion and a senior from Eldoret, Kenya, won the men’s 10-kilometer race in 30 minutes, 42.96 seconds — 30 seconds faster than Central Missouri’s Laban Sialo. ACU’s Cleophas Tanui, a senior from Rift Valley, Kenya, was third (21:21.60), and teammate Romain Rybicki, a senior from Chateauneuf Rhone, France, was seventh (31:53.62). Jake Schofield, a junior from Wayne, Mich., was 43rd (33:55.08), and Will Mack, a freshman from Boerne, was 65th (34:31.15) to round out the Wildcats’ top five.

Central Missouri won the men’s team title with 105 points. ACU was second with 119, and Lone Star Conference rival East Central was third (127).

The top two men’s teams and top three women’s teams advance to the national championships in Louisville, Ky. on Dec. 4. The top two runners not on one of those teams also advance to nationals or any runner in the top five.

Belledant, the Lone Star Conference champion and a senior from Lyon, France, covered the women’s 6K course in 22:14.43. Nebraska-Omaha’s Anja Puc was second (22:23.16). ACU’s Chloe Susset, a sophomore Clery Vexin, France, was 10th (22:50.34), and Alyse Goldsmith, a sophomore from Katy, was 15th (23:01.17) to help the ACU women finish ninth overall (245). Pittsburg State won the women’s title (66), followed by LSC championship Midwestern State (108) and defending regional champion Missouri Southern (130).

MSU second in regional, advances to nationals - Times Record News
Consider it another mission accomplished for No. 17 Midwestern State.

The strong-finishing Mustangs gained 20 points on Missouri Southern over the last three kilometers to finish runner-up at the 2010 NCAA Division II South Central Regional.

“One of our goals was to make national, and we’ve accomplished everything so far,” MSU coach Koby Styles said. “Now, we just need to represent Midwestern in Louisville.”

The Mustangs finished 42 points behind ninth-ranked Pittsburg State as the Gorillas amassed 66 points to MSU’s 108.

Still, Midwestern State will compete in its second national meet set for Dec. 4 at E.P. Sawyer State Park as part of the NCAA Divison II Fall Sports Festival in Louisville, Ky.

That race will begin at noon.


Washburn ends ACU volleyball season in region semifinals - Abilene Reporter News
Abilene Christian’s posteason run ended Friday with a 3-1 loss to second-seeded Washburn at the South Central Region volleyball tournament.

ACU dropped the first two games 25-20 and 25-15 before extending the match with a 25-20 win. Washburn recovered to easily win Game 4, 25-15.

The Wildcats finished 27-6 and played one more match than Lone Star Conference rival and champion West Texas A&M, which lost in Thursday’s first round of matches.


MSU advances to Div. II Final Four - Times Record News
Second-ranked Midwestern State’s only NCAA Div. II Final Four apperance had been earned at home.

In fact, two previous quarterfinal trips to California had ended in heartbreak for MSU coach Doug Elder’s squad.

But those trends would end Saturday at the University Soccer Stadium.

Junior striker David Freeland scored the first of his three goals just 40 seconds into the match as MSU quickly deflated any Chico State hopes with a convincing 5-0 whipping of the Wildcats in the NCAA Division II national quarterfinals.

“If we score quickly in a game, we just seem to keep it going,” Freeland said. “We just build momentum and gain confidence. We’ve been looking forward to the Final Four all year.”

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NCAA Playoff First Round Recaps

West Texas A&M loses to Central Missouri 55-35. more to come

Bearcats dash Griffons' upset bid - St. Joseph News-Press
MARYVILLE, Mo. — In the biggest rivalry matchup ever between Missouri Western and Northwest Missouri State, the champions found another way to win.

Northwest running back Kelvin Austin scored from 9 yards out with 8 minutes, 10 seconds left Saturday at Bearcat Stadium. It proved the decisive score in Northwest's 28-24 victory in the first round of the Division II playoffs.

It was the first-ever playoff meeting between the two schools separated by only 45 miles. The Bearcats (10-1) converted three third downs on the drive, which was set up by Drew Newhart's lone interception.

Western's quarterback threw for 294 yards and three scores to three different receivers, and the Griffons (8-4) led 17-0 at halftime and 24-14 late in the third quarter.

Josh Baker's 46-yard fake punt run for a touchdown put Northwest on the board in the second half, as the Bearcats closed within three.

Following Terrell Downing's 39-yard touchdown reception, Northwest scored on back-to-back drives to take the lead for good.

Northwest advances to play at Texas A&M-Kingsville next Saturday in the second round.

Northwest rallies to beat Western 28-24 - NWMSU Sports Information
By David Boyce

Box Score

Northwest Missouri State went into halftime trailing by 17 points against rival Missouri Western. The situation looked bleak.

The Bearcats went into halftime knowing it had to cut out their on-field chatter with Missouri Western players or their run in the NCAA Division II playoffs would end in the first round.

For a program that has made five consecutive trips to the national championship game, that's unacceptable.

"We talked at halftime about worrying about ourselves," said Northwest senior quarterback Blake Bolles.

"We just tuned it in and did it together."


From weekly play-makers like senior tight end Josh Baker to little known players such as junior wide receiver Taylor Pierce and senior safety Marciele Surrell, the Bearcats rose up as one.

The total team effort resulted in another remarkable triumph. Northwest moves on to the second round after beating Western 28-24 Saturday afternoon at Bearcat Stadium.

It was the largest deficit Northwest has ever overcome to win in 41 playoff games.

"This is the best way ever to win a game," said senior safety Marciele Surrell. "If you don't work for it, it is not worth anything. You have to work for it."

Western coach Jerry Partridge saw that his team had chances to win. In fact, the Griffons started their final drive at their 21 with 2:56 left and moved to Northwest's 42 with 1:19 left.

A sack for an 11-yard loss sealed Western's fate.

"We had our chances to knock them through the ropes in the first half and we didn't," Partridge said.

"Who doesn't come up short to Northwest? Everybody comes up short right now. I think (coach) Mel (Tjeerdsma) needs to go out to pasture."

Well, that's not happening anytime soon.

Next up for Northwest, 10-1, is another rematch game. The Bearcats will play at Texas A&M-Kingsville, 10-1, next Saturday. In the season-opener, Northwest lost 16-7 at home to Kingsville.

In order to avenge that loss, Northwest will have to quickly forget about an unforgettable victory.

The comeback featured a 49-yard touchdown run by Baker off a fake punt to give Northwest its first points of the game early in the third quarter.

"It was a huge momentum change on the fake punt," Tjeerdsma said. "We've been working that for a while."

Later in the third, Pierce made his first catch of the season. It went for 32 yards and put the ball on Western's 2.

Bolles had complete confidence that Pierce would make the clutch catch. He said he sees Pierce make those kinds of catches all the time in practice. Pierce just needed the opportunity.

"He has faith in all of us to catch the ball," Pierce said. "We knew we weren't out of it at halftime."

Simmons scored on the next play to close the gap to 17-14.

And early in the fourth quarter, with Northwest trailing 24-21, Surrell made his first career interception that gave the Bearcats the ball at the Western 49. Senior free safety Aldwin Foster-Rettig helped Surrell by first tipping the pass in the air.

"I had to make a big play," said Surrell, who got the perfect present on his 23rd birthday. "We were kind of getting burned over the top. We had to come together as a team. I knew a play needed to be made so when it was in the air I knew I had to go up and get it."

The Bearcats went on a 9-play drive and scored on a 9-yard run by Kelvin Austin that gave Northwest its first lead of the game at 28-24 with 8:10 left.

"I felt I didn't have a real great game," Austin said. "But when the team needed me, I made the play and it felt real good."

None of those performances surprised Tjeerdsma. He expected his 20 seniors to rise up to the challenge they faced in the second half.

"We didn't play Bearcat football in the first half," Tjeerdsma said. "There was way too much individual stuff and worrying about everything except what we should be worried about.

"I think our guys really came together."

Northwest played its worst first-half of the season and it came at a bad time: the playoffs.

"We blew a few opportunities in the first half and they really got us on our heels," Tjeerdsma said.

The Bearcats went into halftime down 17-0 and never got the ball inside Missouri Western's 20.

"We just couldn't get it done on that last drive," Western senior quarterback Drew Newhart said. "We felt like we were invincible when we came into the game. "We had nothing to lose and they had everything to lose."

The Griffons found out in a painful way that the Bearcats know how to play in those circumstances.

Newhart threw for 294 yards and three scores. Bolles passed for 242 yards and a score. But Baker was the difference. He finished with eight catches for 74 yards and totaled two touchdowns on the day including the 46-yard, fake punt run.

LSC Game Day Roundup 11-20

College buzz: Division II, NAIA football playoffs start today - Kansas City Star
Northwest Missouri, 9-1 and ranked third in the nation, begins its NCAA Division II football title defense today at noon in Kirksville, Mo., with a first-round playoff game against Missouri Western, 8-3. The winner will travel to face fourth-ranked Texas A&M-Kingsville, 10-1, on Nov. 27.

Bearcats coach Mel Tjeerdsma is 11-1 in opening-round games and 17-3 at home in the playoffs.

•Central Missouri, 9-2 and ranked eighth, will play host to its first Division II playoff game at 1:05 p.m. today in Warrensburg against No. 14 West Texas A&M, 8-3. The winner travels to face second-ranked Abilene Christian, 11-0, next week.

The Mules are led by quarterback Eric Czerniewski, the MIAA offensive player of the year who has thrown for 4,150 yards and 34 touchdowns against 12 interceptions.

Read more:

Mules Will Host First Ever Football Playoff Game Today -
The University of Central Missouri Mules will play host this afternoon to the West Texas A&M Buffaloes this Saturday in an NCAA-II playoff game at Walton Stadium/Kennedy Field. For the Mules, this will be only their second playoff appearance in school history.

The Mules finished the regular season with a mark of 9-2, and a record in the MIAA of 8-1. West Texas A&M would finish their season at 8-3, and would finish 8-2 in the Lone Start conference.

This will be the second NCAA Playoff appearance in school history for Central Missouri. Their other playoff game was in 2002. The Mules will also be making more history today as this will be their first ever home playoff game.

The Super Region Four bracket features three MIAA teams and three Lone Star Conference teams, with the top two seeds receiving first round byes.

Abilene Christian is the number one seed, awaiting the winner of the Mules-Buffaloes contest today.

Texas A&M-Kingsville is the second seed. The Javelinas will play the winner of an All-MIAA game as sixth-seeded Missouri Western will play at No. 3 seed Northwest Missouri State this Saturday.

NW Missouri St. rolling into Division II playoffs - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller Times

Mel Tjeerdsma has experienced his share of success in 16 seasons as Northwest Missouri State’s football coach.

Eleven Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association championships and three NCAA Division II national gold balls are ensconced in Tjeerdsma’s trophy case. He credits most of that the success to the players and the strength of the MIAA.

If this year’s results are any indication, the defending national champion Bearcats have passed their tests sufficiently to become postseason-ready.

Seeded third in the Super Regional Four rankings, 9-1 Northwest Missouri hosts fellow MIAA foe Missouri Western (8-3) in the opening round of the playoffs Saturday afternoon at Bearcat Stadium in Maryville. The winner faces second-seeded Texas A&M-Kingsville in next week’s regional semifinal at Javelina Stadium.

Three of the Bearcats’ final four victories have come by a combined eight points. That fact tells Tjeerdsma that the Bearcats are rounding into form.

“I do think that’s a factor, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” said Tjeerdsma, who, with 29 wins in his previous 12 playoff appearances is the winningest Division II postseason coach in history. “Our kids are used to playing in tough football games. And I think the Lone Star is, too. There’s three or four teams that they know they’re going to have battles against each other.”

EMPTY FEELING: Carr pays high price as ASU hopes crash - Nathan Wright, San Angelo Standard Times
Unfortunately for Angelo State University players and fans, the 2010 football season will be remembered more for what happened after it was over than what was accomplished during it.

Shortly after the Rams defeated Central Oklahoma 49-35 in their season finale a week ago, head coach Dale Carr and four of his assistants were informed that they contracts would not be renewed.

The search for just the third coach in the last 28 years at ASU is under way.

Athletic Director Kathleen Brasfield announced the non-renewals Monday, saying, “It is time to move in a different direction with our football program.”

The firings came on the heels of a 5-5 season, which fell below the expectations of the coaching staff and the administration.

But it did have its moments.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

LSC Roundup 11-19

A&M-K's defensive end Romig battling form of cancer - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller Times
There are many who believe the true quest for Texas A&M-Kingsville’s fourth-ranked football team begins next weekend in the second round of the NCAA Division II Super Regional Four playoffs.

A very real fight already has begun for Javelinas sophomore defensive end Matt Romig.

While the 10-1 Javelinas enjoy a bye week in preparation for an encounter with either Northwest Missouri State or Missouri Western in the second round, the 21-year-old Romig is beginning his battle against a form of leukemia.

“They’re trying to figure out what it is. Their thinking is that he has cancer of some sort,” Javelinas coach Bo Atterberry said. “They’re just trying to figure out what it is.”

Doctors at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston now have a better handle on Romig’s condition. The talented 6-foot-4, 235-pounder underwent his first round of chemotherapy Thursday.

The Romig family has established a blog — — where family, friends and fans can log on and keep abreast of the player’s condition. According to the initial posting, Romig is suffering from a form of leukemia called Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm (BPDCN). Doctors tell the family it is a rare form of the disease, which affects the body’s production of white blood cells. Physicians told the family that fewer than 50 patients have been treated for it at M.D. Anderson, and that fewer than 200 cases have been reported worldwide.

“Matt is in a fight of his life. He has a positive outlook,” the Romig family blog reads. “He feels strongly that he is going to win. And we do, too.”

Romig came to Kingsville from his hometown of Bells, a town of some 1,300 people located 70 miles northeast of Dallas and a strong stone’s throw from the Red River. That seven-plus hour trek to South Texas will be nothing like the journey he is about to embark. And Romig is ready for it.

Baptiste thrives on field after chucking big city for Kingsville - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller Times
As senior Tressor Baptiste says, football is football regardless of where it is played. You run, you block, you tackle.

So when Hofstra University put the kibosh on its football program last December, the New York native was interested in three things in his search for the place he would transfer: playing for a winning program, getting out of the cold and being exposed to a new experience.

Texas A&M-Kingsville fit Baptiste’s three-fold criteria. To this point, the marriage between the two has worked out nicely.

The fourth-ranked and 10-1 Javelinas are in the midst of their third consecutive winning season and back-to-back NCAA Division II playoff appearances, awaiting either Northwest Missouri State or Missouri Western in the second round of the playoffs. South Texas’ searing summers and mild falls and winters certainly melt the bone-chilling potential on Long Island this time of year. And Kingsville’s small-town demeanor is diametrically opposite of life in the Big Apple.

So how well has Baptiste’s contributions been working with the coupling?

“It’s been pretty obvious, hasn’t it?” fourth-year A&M-Kingsville coach Bo Atterberry asked with a wry smile.

It has. Baptiste has provided an extra charge for the Javelinas defense, which enters the postseason with the nation’s fourth-best defense, top-ranked rushing defense and seventh-best scoring defense. For his efforts in that vein, the Trinidad-born Baptiste was elected as the Lone Star Conference South Division’s Linebacker of the Year on Wednesday.

“I thank God every day because I look at it as a second chance and an opportunity to play,” the 6-foot, 240-pound Baptiste said. “I knew that I had one year left and I knew it was going to be hard for me to get a scholarship for one year. The opportunity presented itself in Kingsville. I just thank God. It’s an opportunity.”

ACU survives five-set thriller - ACU Sports Information
WARRENSBURG, Mo. – It wasn't easy, but the ACU Wildcats survived a five-set thriller Thursday afternoon, eliminating Truman State (Mo.) 3-2 in the opening round of the NCAA Division II South Central Region Volleyball Tournament at the Multipurpose Building on the Central Missouri campus.

ACU advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament to play MIAA Champion, Washburn Friday evening. Tipoff for tomorrow's second round match-up is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Lady Buffs Fall in First Round to Emporia State, 3-1 - WT Sports Information
WARRENSBURG, Mo. – The #5-seeded West Texas A&M Lady Buffs volleyball season came to an end on Thursday, falling to #4-seeded Emporia State 3-1 (25-22, 20-25, 21-25, 24-26) in the first round of the 2010 NCAA South Central Regional Tournament at Central Missouri’s Multipurpose Building.

Winning translates well for ACU XC runner Belledant - Joey Richards, Abilene Reporter News
The idea of a conference or regional meet gets lost in translation somewhere to Anais Belledant, who a year ago was running in her homeland of France.

The Abilene Christian senior from Lyon, France, really didn’t get the idea of running at the Lone Star Conference cross country meet. After all, it didn’t have any bearing on who went to the regional meet. So what was the point? All Belledant knew was to run — and run her best. Hey, she’s the LSC champion in the women’s event, and now she’s aiming for a berth at nationals at the Division II South Central Region Cross Country Championships in Warrensburg, Mo., Saturday.

Still, these titles — conference and regionals — really don’t mean much to the former member of the French national team.

“It’s strange, because everybody is speaking about conference and regionals,” Belledant said. “But for me, it doesn’t mean anything. I don’t understand what is conference. People say conference is important, regionals is important. So I integrate that. If an American won, she would feel better than me.”

And that’s because an American would understand the meaning of an LSC or regional title. But not Belledant. She just runs because her coach, Chris Woods, tells her to run.

“That’s what I love about her,” said Woods, ACU’s first-year cross country coach. “I think our sport gets suffocated when people get caught up in, ‘Oh, we’ve got to run exactly 6K or 8K.’ The reason I like Anais as an athlete is because I can say, ‘Anais, I want you to race these girls around the campus one time.’ She won’t ask, ‘Well, how far is it?’ She’ll race them, no matter how far the distance is.”

ASU BASKETBALL: Rambelles roll past Dustdevils in debut - Nathan Wright, San Angelo Standard Times
If Thursday night’s season opener for the Angelo State University women’s basketball team against Texas A&M-International was a test, the Rambelles passed with flying colors.

ASU outshot, outrebounded and outplayed the Dustdevils to open the season with a 92-63 victory at the Junell Center.

All 10 Rambelles scored, with the team’s lone senior, Camille Perkins, and one of the team’s freshmen, Giselle Aguirre, leading the way with 14 and 15 points each respectively.

“I didn’t think it would look like our first game of the year and I expected all 10 people to contribute,” ASU head coach Sally Brooks said. “My biggest challenge so far this year was (Wednesday) when I finally had to decide on five starters. I would have been perfectly happy putting any of those 10 in the starting lineup.

“The great thing about basketball is that they all get to play anyway.”

ASU BASKETBALL: Rams not content to simply reach postseason - Nathan Wright, San Angelo Standard Times
The Angelo State University men’s basketball team is ready to take the next step.

The Rams have qualified for the Lone Star Conference postseason tournament each of the past three seasons and played in the regional tournament two years ago.

A postseason victory, however, has eluded the team.

ASU lost in the first round of the LSC tournament in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and bowed out of the NCAA tournament in 2009 with a loss in the opening round of the South Central Regional tournament.

The Rams, who open the 2010-11 season tonight against Newman at the Tarleton State tournament, are looking to turn the regular-season success they have had over the past three seasons into postseason success at the conference, regional and national levels.

“It has really been frustrating losing in the first round the last few years,” senior guard Trey Mays said. “If you go back and look at the games we lost, it comes down to a few technicals or mental errors.

“I think this year’s team can avoid that and progress to the next round and even beyond that.”

Game Preview and Prediction - West Texas A&M at Central Missouri

NCAA Playoff First Round Game
West Texas A&M at Central Missouri 
Saturday, November 20   1:00

The Mules of Central Missouri are making their second foray into the NCAA playoffs. Their only other appearance came in 2002, resulting in a 49-28 loss to Northern Colorado. Head Coach Jim Svoboda is in his first year at UCM, coaching the team to a 9-2 record with losses to Northwest Missouri (17-16, on a last second FG, after missing two fourth quarter FGs themselves) and 55-54 to FCS Illinois State.

The offense led the MIAA in scoring (39.3 points, 8th nationally) and total offense (488.1 yards per game, 5th nationally). They like to throw the ball, and do it well. MIAA Offensive Player of the Year, Eric Czerniewski has thrown for 4,150 yards, with 34 TDs and 12 Ints. For his career, he has thrown for 11,790 yards, with 95 TD passes. His favorite targets are WR Jamorris Warren (90-1,205 16 TD), TE DeMarco Cosby (55-727 9 TDs) and RB Anthony Stewart (59-650 3 TDs). All three were first team All-MIAA selections. Stewart is also the leading rusher, gaining 874 yards and scoring another 11 TDs. Up front, the Mules are pretty young, starting three sophomores, a junior and a senior. Soph. Logan Freeman was a second team all conference selection, while senior Darius Henderson was an honorable mention. For the season, UCM quarterbacks were sacked just 13 times.

Comparison - West Texas A&M
The Buffaloes are 2nd in the nation in total offense (529 yds per game), 4th in scoring (42.6 pts), 2nd in passing (416 yds per game) and 118th in rushing (113 yds per game). Taylor Harris now has 4,311 yards and 34 TDs this season. For his career, he has 9,304 yards passing and is 464 yards behind Keith Null on the WT career passing charts. Kelvin Thompson has 727 yards rushing on the season with 7 TDs and another 275 yards on 36 receptions. Tyson Williams (91-1,242 8 TDs), Stephen Burton (62-926 10 TDs) and Brittan Golden (45-699 9 TDs) are likely the most productive trio of receivers in the nation. The offensive line did not receive much love when the All-LSC teams were announced, with center Hector Rodriguez receiving second team honors, and Isaiah Lewis and Dan Sherwood getting honorable mention.

The Mule defense doesn't garner the same accolades as the offense, allowing 25.2 points and 389 yards per game. Opponents have rushed for an average of 158 yards and passed for 231 yards per contest. DB Marlon Douglas was the lone 1st team All-MIAA selection. He led UCM with 3 interceptions (two which were returned for TDs) and had 6 passes broken up. He is joined in the secondary by Deonte Bell, an honorable mention selection, Joseph Bangali and Patrick Lewis. Up front, P. J. South was a second team selection as a defensive tackle, Deonte McDonald an honorable mention at defensive end, and they are joined by DE David Bax and NG Peni Fiuangaihetau. The linebackers are Cody Scribner (HM All-MIAA), Evan Knight, and Joe Carter.

Comparison - West Texas A&M
Again, on paper, the Buffs look a little better. For the season, teams scored 23.6 points and 346 yards per game, rushing for 127 yards and passing for 219. Cornerback Tae Evans was named the LSC-South Defensive Back of the year, while fellow cornergack Caleb Randolph and safety Curtis Jefferson also garnered first team honors and Jordan Smith was named to the second team. The four combined for 197 tackles, 11 interceptions (4 returned for TDs) and 36 passes broken up. Jefferson was injured and his condition is unknown at this time.  Linebackers Shad Baichtol (1st LSC South), Kyle Voss (2nd LSC South) and Kevin McCluskey (HM LSC South) were also productinve, combining for 156 tackles, 33.5 for losses, and 12.5 sacks. Up front Kyle Thomas (1st LSC South), Dishon Robertson (2nd LSC South), Rashad Sanders (HM LSC South), and Simi Kuli combined for another 111 tackles, 21 for losses and 8 sacks.

Special Teams
Aaron Jamieson is 15-19 on FGs this year, but missed two critical ones late against NWMSU to could have won the game. He also has 7 misses in 54 PAT attempts. Zach Gebhardt handles kickoff duties, and averages 62.8 yards per kickoff with 17 touchbacks and none out of bounds. Matt Jordan is the punter - he averaged 38 yards per punt, with 9 downed inside the 20 and 4 touchbacks. The Mules average 20.8 per kickoff return with Seth Mason (18.3) and Anthony Stewart (20.9) handling the bulk of the duties. Adam Parks is the leading punt returner with a 9 yard average.

For WT, Sergio Castillo was a 1st team LSC South selection after converting 51-52 PATs and 9-13 field goals on the season (all misses were from 40+ yards out). Kevin VonVoris handles most of the kickoffs, with a 66.1 yard average, 10 touchbacks and 2 kicks out of bounds. Tim Cowdrey (33.7 avg) and VonVoris (38.4 avg)split punting duties. Tommy Hampton (29.2 avg), Aarhon Flores (10.2 avg) and Stephen Burton (23.1 avg) returned the majority of kickoffs, while Brittan Golden (6.0 avg) and Burton (9.8 avg) were the top punt returners.

You couldn't ask for a much closer matchup on paper. Very little separates these two teams statistically speaking. Both bring prolific offenses and defenses that have given up points and yards at times during the season. One thing West Texas A&M brings to the game is postseason experience. Since 2005, the Buffs have been in the NCAA playoffs 5 times (counting this year) and played Nebraska-Omaha in the initial Kanza Bowl last year. For Central Missouri, this is just their second NCAA playoff game and first in 8 years. We'll go with the Buffs to get that rematch with ACU next week, WT in a shootout 45-42.

LSC Roundup 11-18

Carthel, opponent have long history - Dave Henry, Amarillo Globe News
How far back do West Texas A&M head coach Don Carthel and Central Missouri head coach Jim Svoboda go?

You'd have to dust off a few yellow and brittle playbooks to find the I-formation offense Carthel and Svoboda were running way back in 1985 at Eastern New Mexico.

Imagine - two running backs in the backfield at the same time, and neither was wearing a leather helmet. Back in those old school days, Carthel was in his first season as head coach at ENMU. Svoboda was his grad assistant and coached running backs.

The two old friends will renew acquaintances with everything on the line Saturday when the Buffs and Mules hook up in a DII first round playoff game in Warrensburg, Mo.

Quite a season for ASU's fall teams - Nathan Wright, San Angelo Standard Times
One of the most successful fall athletic seasons at Angelo State came to an end last weekend.

The ASU women’s soccer, volleyball and football seasons all concluded within a day of each other and for the second year in a row, all three teams finished .500 or better.

The soccer team’s season ended in the first round of the national tournament. The volleyball team’s campaign concluded in the championship match of the conference tournament and the football team ended its year in its final regular season game. All three contests took place either Friday or Saturday.

2010 A&M-Commerce football season recap - Grayson Graves, The East Texan
All football seasons have their ups and downs. As one A&M-Commerce football player I talked to recently said, this year had a lot more downs than ups.

The Lions began this year as favorites to win the Lone Star Conference North Division, and for good reason. While A&M-Commerce lost several key defensive leaders, such as Alex Contreras and Willie Green, the Lions were returning key players at offensive lineman, quarterback and running back, along with all of their receiving leaders.

They also had one of their easiest schedules in recent memory. A&M-Commerce played most of their games against weaker North Division opponents. Earlier in the year, I predicted a winning season, even going as far to say that, with a little luck, the Lions could even get close to double-digit victories.

15 Buffs earn All-LSC honors - Amarillo Globe News
SOSU football players honored - Sherman Denison Herald Democrat

ACU volleyball excited about first region berth since 2006 - Joey Richards, Abilene Reporter News
It took four years, but Shawna Hines, Jordan Schilling and Ijeoma Moronu finally will get a chance to play in the NCAA Division II volleyball playoffs. It’s a dream come true for the three Abilene Christian seniors.

“It is amazing,” said Moronu, the team’s starting setter. “We’ve worked so hard. Me, Shawna and Jordan have worked three years together to get this. We’re just excited that we get the opportunity to keep playing.”

Schilling, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter who’s third on the team in kills (232) and digs (308), agreed.

“It’s awesome. It’s so exciting,” she said. “It’s our senior year, and we finally get to go. That makes it a little bit sweeter.”

Javelinas volleyball coach Alvarado resigns - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller Times
After seven seasons with Texas A&M-Kingsville’s volleyball program, coach Shannon Alvarado resigned from the university on Wednesday.

Alvarado, who was in her fourth season as head coach, submitted her resignation to athletics director Ken Oliver.

Alvarado said her decision to resign was based on the desire to spend more time with her husband Jon, a coach and teacher at Grant Middle School in Corpus Christi, and her son Jayden, who turns 2 in February.

“That’s been a personal struggle really the whole year. It hasn’t been anything that was a surprise,” Alvarado said Wednesday night. “Having a husband that coaches at the same time that you do, not having any family down here to help with our son, having a son that only sees his mom only a couple hours out of the day and only a couple of days a week, it’s just hard. It’s just really hard for any parent to do.”

West Oso's Robinson makes it official: He's a Javelina - George Vondracek, Corpus Christi Caller Times
Pete Peterson saw West Oso’s Raymond Robinson play as a sophomore two years ago, and he knew one thing.

“(Former Texas A&M-Kingsville player) Quincy Sims was an assistant at West Oso at that time, and I ran over to him after the game, and told him, ‘I love that guy. I want that guy,’” Javelinas men’s basketball coach Pete Peterson said.

On Wednesday, Peterson got his wish as Robinson signed his letter of intent to play for A&M-Kingsville.

Robinson committed to the Javelinas last week, but waited to sign his scholarship Wednesday to make it official.

“When I saw him play a couple years ago, I knew what kind of player he was going to be, but I didn’t know what kind of person he was,” Peterson said. “But then I got to know him as a person and met his dad and his grandmother and just knew that this was a quality young man with a great family.

MSU wins 30th straight at home - Nick Gholson, Times Record News
Midwestern State won its home opener 78-67 over Southwestern Christian on Wednesday night.

It was the Mustangs’ 30th straight win at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.

That’s about all MSU coach Grant McCasland liked about this one.

“We’re not going to play like that,” he said. “I was disappointed in our effort tonight.”

McCasland scheduled a 6 a.m. practice today to try to get things corrected. It’s the first time he has done that in his two seasons as head coach.

“We seemed to play passive defensively and allowed them to be comfortable,” he said. “When you do that against a team that can shoot it, they are going to make you pay.”

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