It doesn’t get much simpler for the Hornets from this point forward.
Take care of business in the next three weeks and Huntsville will be headed back to the playoffs for a fourth straight fall.
Deadlocked in a five-way tie for first place in District 18-4A, the Hornets know that a couple of more wins will clinch another trip to the postseason.
While Kingwood Park and Willis, both are also tied for first, may stand out on Huntsville’s remaining schedule, the Hornets knows that before they can even think about those matchups, they have to take care of New Caney in their homecoming game tonight at Bowers Stadium.
“We just have to play New Caney right now and worry about the other ones when they come,” senior quarterback Kent Albert said following Thursday’s walkthrough.
“New Caney’s a big game. We don’t want to look bad on homecoming,” junior Ricky Bennett said.
The Hornets, who stand at 3-1 in district and 3-4 overall, are coming off their biggest win of the season after knocking off Humble, the defending district champs, last week in Huntsville.
After getting that signature win against the Wildcats, not only did the Hornets get a big jolt of momentum, but it put Huntsville back in the race for a postseason berth and a possible district title.
“Beating Humble — they had the number four defense in the Houston area — that just gave us a boost of confidence,” senior Cameron Shirley said. “We were able to hold their offense to seven points.”
“I think it just sparked us as a team,” senior Kriston Minor said. “I honestly think the chemistry is there now.”
Though the Hornets are still riding high over their big win over Humble, they know they are still at least two wins away from returning to the playoffs. While showdowns against Kingwood Park and Willis loom ahead, Huntsville knows that it can’t look past tonight’s contest against the Eagles.
“We didn’t talk a whole lot about the playoffs. That’s in the future. I told them that if their goal was to be in the playoffs, they had to go in and beat New Caney on Friday night,” Hornets head coach Shane Martin said. “That’s what we as a coaching staff and the players have to stay focused on.
“We can’t overlook New Caney. I think Humble overlooked us a little bit and then they realized pretty quick that it was going to be a dogfight. I don’t want that to happen to us on Friday night. I want us to go out and execute and take control of the game and do what we have to do to get a win.”
For much of the Hornets’ game last week, senior running back Henry Ford, who has compiled more than 800 rushing yards this season, filled in on defense for linebacker Markey Thomas, who left the game with a bone bruise.
Thomas’ status is still in doubt, but thanks to junior James Burns’ contribution at tailback (78 rushing yards and a touchdown), the Hornets have a variety of options in the backfield that they can utilize.
“One thing about those two guys being in the backfield is what that’s going to do is open up your passing attack,” Martin said. “When they start loading up the box to stop the run, it’ll open up our passing game where we can get the ball into the hands of guys like Kriston Minor and Ricky Bennett.”
In order for Huntsville to extend it’s winning streak to four games and remain in first place, the formula’s pretty simple, according to Martin.
“I think we’ve got to do the same things we did against Humble. ... We have to create turnovers, we have to tackle well,” the coach said.
“On offense, we have to execute. We have to put the ball in our running back’s hands, we have to put the ball in our receivers’ hands and allow them to make plays. I think our quarterback Kent Albert is doing a better job making decisions on the field. We just have to execute.”
Huntsville looks to stay atop District 18-4A, faces New Caney in homecoming game
It doesn’t get much simpler for the Hornets from this point forward.
BEARKATS FOOTBALL: The one that got away
It was there for the taking.
Sam Houston State was less than a minute away from surviving a slugfest with fourth-seeded Southeastern Louisiana and possibly hosting a quarterfinal matchup against New Hampshire this week.
All the Bearkats needed to do was keep the Lions from getting into the end zone and they’d notch another playoff victory.
Lions make ‘big plays’ down stretch, Kats don’t
Same scene, same result.
The Bearkats played a much closer game in their second matchup in three weeks against Southeastern Louisiana, but they still watched a two-score first-half lead turn into a deficit. At one point, the Kats led 21-10, just as they had before losing to the Lions on Nov. 16.
BEARKATS FOOTBALL — Bigger prize at stake this time
The Bearkats have a second chance to make a lasting impression.
After blasting Southern Utah 51-20 in the opening round of the FCS playoffs last week, Sam Houston State will face fourth-seeded Southeastern Louisiana for the second time this season in Hammond, La., in tonight’s second-round showdown.
Huntsville headed to Class 5A next year
Don’t freak out, sports fans. The Huntsville Hornets are moving up to Class 5A again, but it’s the new 5A, not the old one.
The University Interscholastic League is adding a conference 6A to its athletics alignment starting next fall, so the new 5A will look much like the current Class 4A. The enrollment numbers for both are nearly identical, which means Huntsville still will be competing with schools like Brenham, Willis and Magnolia, not The Woodlands, Conroe, Klein Forest and Oak Ridge.
BEARKAT FOOTBALL — Eager for another shot
Among the final 16 teams left in contention for an FCS national championship, it doesn’t take much to get a team fired up at this point in the season.
Saturday’s contest isn’t just any ordinary second-round playoff game for the Bearkats. The matchup against No. 4 seed Southeastern Louisiana will be a rematch from their Southland Conference clash three weeks ago in which the Lions prevailed 34-21.
The Kats can hardly wait to get it going.
SCHALLENBERG: Just getting warmed up
Heading into the second round of the playoffs, the Bearkats are getting healthier, especially running back Timothy Flanders, and remain focused on task at hand of returning to Frisco for another shot at an FCS national championship.
FCS PLAYOFFS: Bearkats keep chugging, win 51-20
Get ready for Sam Houston State-Southeastern Louisiana II.
Like they’ve done during the playoffs over the previous two seasons, the Bearkats made short work of a squad from the Big Sky Conference on Saturday afternoon in the first-round Football Championship Subdivision playoff game.
Bearkats get more physical in first round of playoffs
Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz challenged the Bearkats last week to be more physical.
In the two games leading up to Saturday’s first-round Football Championship Subdivision playoff win over Southern Utah, Fritz said the Bearkats had not been combative enough.
BEARKAT GAMEDAY — Feeding Frenzy
Throughout the season, the Bearkats made a habit of taking advantage of opposing teams’ mistakes. Sam Houston State’s defense often was rewarded by those miscues, which meant it was time for some fun. Whether it was after a big hit, defensive stop, interception, fumble recovery as well as a defensive score, the defense began gesturing a shark fin on their helmets and the Kats have fed off the newfound energy.
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