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.
HOOPS DREAM DUNKED
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.”