Monday, June 18, 2012

LSC Roundup 6-18


KANSAS CITY - Former Midwestern State standout Zack Eskridge passed for three touchdowns and rushed for two more in his first Arena Football League start to lead the Kansas City Command to a 57-41 win over the San Jose SaberCats Sunday afternoon at the Sprint Center.

Eskridge connected on 12-of-23 passes for 183 yards including a pair of scoring strikes to Bret Smith and another to Jackie Chambers - all in the second half - and rushed for 17 yards on six carries including a pair of 1-yard TD plunges before halftime.

The win snapped a two-game skid for the Command who improved to 3-10 on the season while San Jose fell to 9-5.

Eskridge, who was starting for the injured Matt Gutierrez, had appeared in three prior games accounting for two receptions for 16 yards, but the former Harlon Hill Finalist had yet to attempt a pass coming into Sunday's start.

Eskridge enjoyed three stellar seasons at MSU after transferring in from TCU prior to the 2008 campaign.

He earned D2Football.com honorable mention All-America status and was the Daktronics Super Region 4 Offensive Player of the Year after leading the Mustangs to an NCAA II postseason appearance and to their first Lone Star Conference championship in 2009 when he set school single season records for passing yards (3,295), passing touchdowns (29), completion percentage (71.3), pass efficiency rating (180.2), completions (236) and passing yards per game (274.6).

Eskridge completed his career as MSU's leader with 6,953 passing yards, 64 TD passes, 570 completions, a 65.7 completion percentage and a 152.9 pass efficiency rating.


SALT LAKE CITY – The Arena Football League's Utah Blaze have been assigned former ACU Wildcat offensive lineman Neal Tivis, the team announced Thursday. Before landing with the Blaze, Tivis was invited to the Dallas Cowboys' rookie minicamp and participated in a tryout with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

Neal Tivis is a big, strong offensive lineman,” said Blaze president and head coach Ron James. “He is a tough player with a great work ethic. We are excited to see what he can accomplish on the field this season.”

The 6-foot-5, 310 pound Tivis started every game over the past two seasons at offensive tackle for ACU, twice earning All-Lone Star Conference accolades. As a senior in 2011, he blocked for Division II's third-ranked passing attack (348.91 ypg) while ACU allowed the seventh-lowest average of sacks per game in the nation. He was recognized for these efforts with spots on the all-region second team and all-conference first team.

As a junior in 2010, Tivis started all 12 games for a nationally-ranked Wildcats squad, helping the team turn in a perfect 11-0 regular season record. With Tivis up front, Abilene Christian produced the country's second-ranked scoring offense (43.33 ppg) as well as the ninth-best passing offense (317.50 ypg).


Garza recognized after induction to LSC Hall ‎- Brownsville Herald

HARLINGEN — Chicago Bears offensive lineman Roberto Garza owes a debt a gratitude to former Texas A&M-Kingsville equipment manager Martin Cavazos.  Cavazos, also a Rio Hondo native, graduated a Bobcats player a few years prior to Garza.  So as Garza was about to prepare for life after high school, Cavazos urged the coaches at TAMUK to allow Garza to try out and walk on the Javelinas football team.

“He’d seen me play and knew of me,” Garza said of his relationship to Cavazos. He asked the coaching staff to look at me, and luckily they listened. No one was recruiting me out of high school so that was my only opportunity.”

Garza earned a backup role on the Javelinas’ offensive line and eventually earned the starting center spot.
Since then, Garza got drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001 and later signed with the Chicago Bears in 2005.  He met his wife, Ashley Garza, at TAMUK and the Garzas now have two children. Ashley was a volleyball and track & field star.

On Friday, Garza was recognized by the Javelina Alumni Association for his induction into the Lone Star Conference Hall of Fame at a banquet at The Reese in downtown Harlingen.

“TAMUK gave me my life,” Garza said in front of a packed room. “I met my wife there and we have two kids. I played college football and that’s where my dream began.  I’ve been in the NFL 11 years now. It’s been a dream come true for me and I’m proud to represent Kingsville, the Valley and Rio Hondo.”

Garza reflected on the time that’s passed between his walk-on tryout and today.

“I remember walking to my first practice (at TAMUK) and thinking, “How am I going to compete with these guys?’ So I just worked hard.  Looking back on all those years, I got drafted by the Falcons, I’m playing with the Bears. I’m married with two kids. And it all happened because of the opportunity I got to play college football. Whenever you’re faced with an opportunity, you’ve got to step up and take advantage.”

Garza thanked coaches and different personnel from the TAMUK athletic department that influenced his life and career in the NFL.  He thanked Cavazos for helping get his foot in the door at TAMUK.

“My career started there,” Garza said. “Playing for Kingsville, I grew as a person and a football player. From how I worked out to how I prepare for games, I learned it at Kingsville.”

Finally Garza thanked his family. He addressed them in Spanish and choked up as he expressed his appreciation for their support.

“Muchas gracias por el apollo que me han dado,” Garza said, thanking his family for their support.


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