The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX


September 27, 2012

SAM HOUSTON FOOTBALL — Kats even hungrier now as they're set to face Texas Southern

With pressure on, Bearkats confident they can finish the job against Texas Southern

HUNTSVILLE — On the heels of two disappointing losses in the past two weeks, especially the latest one in the Southland Conference opener, the last thing the Bearkats wanted or needed was lots of time between games.

With the grind of six straight conference contests on the horizon, Sam Houston is in desperate need of a performance that will get the Bearkats right back on track.

The Kats will have that opportunity today as they head down to Houston to take on Texas Southern in the brand-new BBVA Compass Stadium.

“We came off another very tough loss again,” Sam Houston running back Timothy Flanders said of last Saturday’s 24-20 loss to Central Arkansas. “I’m happy that we’ve got an early game this week, just so that we can get into a groove and hopefully come out with a W.”

For the first time since Kats coach Willie Fritz’s first season in 2010, Sam Houston is dealing with quite a bit of adversity.

Not only will the Bearkats have to win at least seven of the next eight games just to stay alive for a potential conference championship as well as a playoff spot, but they’re also trying to bounce back from their first losing streak since losing three straight games by a combined 11 points late in the 2010 season.

“We’ve gone two games in a row where we haven’t finished the way we need to, having some of our guys making some uncharacteristic mistakes and just focus,” the coach said. “It’s practicing hard. It’s practicing with tempo. It’s playing the game the way you’re supposed to play it.

“We’ve got to do a better job of coaching and playing. I told the guys to not worry about leading. We’re going to coach and I don’t need any of them coaching. I told the coaches that we don’t need any of our coaches playing. We just need to do our job.

“Some lessons are hard-learned and that was obviously a hard lesson for all of us, myself included. As the head coach, I’m the guy that steers the ship. I obviously did not do a good job of getting our guys focused on the game.”

Standing in the way is a Texas Southern team that has also had its share of struggles as of late. After a dramatic 44-41 victory over Prairie View A&M in their season opener, the Tigers have dropped three straight games to North Texas, Jackson State and Alabama A&M by an average of 22 points.

“I know they’re a good team and they’ve got some good players like most teams that we play,” Bearkats safety Darnell Taylor said. “At the same time, we’ve got to help ourselves and just keep fighting until the end. Coach said that it’s mostly on us and what we’ve got to do and not really what they do, for the most part. All we’ve got to do is keep doing what we’re doing and fight to the end.”

In the losses to Baylor and Central Arkansas in the last two weeks, the Bearkats offense had moments of appearing to click on all cylinders, while also stumbling later in the game, preventing Sam Houston from polishing off those games with victories.

With the remainder of the conference slate ahead, including next week’s rivalry game against Stephen F. Austin and a contest against 21st-ranked McNeese State on Oct. 20, the Bearkats know they have to get their offense to be consistent and productive at a high level.

“Everybody knows we’re still a dominant running team,” Flanders said. “In these past couple of games, we’ve been able to throw the ball just fine. I’m OK with it, but we just need to come out and execute in the second half.

“We have to come out here on Thursday and play a better second half and come out and finish the ballgame. We have to come out here and be very conditioned. We haven’t played a full game. We just have to come out and play hard the whole game.”

Knowing what’s at stake, the Bearkats say they’ve come out with a renewed focus and are ready to bounce back.

“It was a humbling experience,” Taylor said. “Coach said it was going to happen either at the beginning of the season or at the end and he was right. I think last game showed us that we have to come out and play each and every week. I think we’re going to get it going.

“We’ve got a big-time focus and you can tell this week. I think we’re going to come out and we’re going to be on top of our game this week. I feel confident and we’re going to be ready.”

Today: Sam Houston State vs.

Texas Southern, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, 7 p.m.

Records: Bearkats are 1-2; Tigers are 1-3

TV: Bounce TV Houston (Suddenlink Ch. 711)

Radio: KSAM (101.7 FM)

Text Only
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    At the end of the Sam Houston State football team’s first preseason practice Monday at Bowers Stadium, new head coach K.C. Keeler told his players that they “did O.K.” There were dropped passes, missed assignments and errant throws from starters and backups alike. But there were also incredible displays of athleticism, as well as a sense of urgency from players hoping to win a starting job.
    The fate of Sam Houston’s season could rest on the arm of whoever emerges as the team’s starting quarterback. On Monday,  sophomore Don King III played with the first team, but sophomore Jared Johnson and redshirt freshman John Roderique each saw a comparable number of reps.

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  • 7-28 Hill.jpg BEARKAT FOOTBALL— Road to redemption

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    Regardless, after losing by a point to Southeastern Louisiana in last season’s FCS playoffs, senior running back Keshawn Hill seized Sunday’s series of team meetings as an opportunity to begin taking the Bearkats back to national prominence.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-28 Small.jpg BEARKAT FOOTBALL— Small named SHSU football operations coordinator

    Jonathan Small has joined the Sam Houston State University athletic staff as football operations coordinator for Bearkat head coach K.C. Keeler’s program.
    Small comes to Huntsville after heading up football operations for the Elon University Phoenix since May 2013 and the previous three seasons at The College of William and Mary.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-28-gerald-thomas-TD-catch.jpg BEARKATS FOOTBALL — Pondering the possibilities For 2014 season

    It’s been 232 days since the Sam Houston State football team fell in gut-wrenching fashion to Southeastern Louisiana in last season’s FCS playoffs. Since then, change has been constant.
    Willie Fritz is gone and K.C. Keeler is now attempting to lead the Bearkats to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Sam Houston will need to replace 13 starters from last year’s squad, including record-setting running back Timothy Flanders and the program’s all-time winningest quarterback  Brian Bell.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • 12-08 hill long run.jpg Questions to be answered

    Uncertainty isn’t always a precursor to unmitigated disaster. The Sam Houston State football team will enter the 2014 season with a new coaching staff, new offensive and defensive schemes and a plethora of new faces competing for starting jobs that were vacated by players who helped lead the program to three consecutive playoff appearances.
    The schedule is daunting, but  it’s not out of the question for the Bearkats to go undefeated in conference play this fall. The roster is young and relatively inexperienced, but there are talented players on the depth chart who have not yet had an opportunity to showcase their skills. There are plenty of reasons to temper expectations for 2014, but also many reasons to hope the Bearkats can win the games they are supposed to win and find their way to the playoffs again.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rodeo: Brazile looking for another championship

    Trevor Brazile is attempting to earn a record 12th world all-around title on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit.
    In the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings, he currently is ranked No. 1 in the all-around race with regular-season earnings of $149,420, $46,345 ahead of his brother-in-law, Tuf Cooper.
    Brazile and Cooper are traveling partners. They hit the road together in late June while competing at the Reno Rodeo in Nevada, the PRCA’s first major summer event.

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-25-Gilbert-CP.jpg Justin Gilbert signs with Browns

    A few days before of the start of training camp, former Huntsville Hornet Justin Gilbert officially became a member of the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday when he signed his first NFL contract.

    Now that he’s got his contract with the Browns, he needs a starting job.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-25-Derrick-ross-1.jpg Another record for Derrick Ross

    In his short career in the Arena Football League, Huntsville’s Derrick Ross has left his mark.

    Playing in his fourth season in the league and his third with the Philadelphia Soul, Ross notched another record.
    Along with being the all-time leading rusher, a mark he sat last year, Ross now also owns the record for most career rushing touchdowns after scoring three TDs on June 7.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-24-Wade-int-return.jpg BEARKATS FOOTBALL — Kats have something to prove

    Bearkats running back Keshawn Hill has already won two Southland Conference championships, played in as many national championship games and made the playoffs in each of his three seasons at Sam Houston State.
    The team is still four days away from its first practice of 2014, but the Bearkats senior running back already has a chip on his shoulder. Despite the program’s recent success, Sam Houston State was picked to finish third in the Southland.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-24-SLU-Bryan-Bennett.jpg Southland coaches have different takes on accepting transfer players

    Show Southeastern Louisiana head coach Ron Roberts the past and he says he’ll show you the future.
    Before Roberts took the reins at Southeastern, the program had only managed one winning season since it was restarted in 2003 after a 17-year hiatus. In just his second season at the helm, Roberts brought the Lions into the national spotlight by leading his team to an undefeated Southland Conference record and a playoff victory over Sam Houston State, a national runner-up the previous two seasons. The Lions finished the season ranked sixth in both The Sports Network and FCS Coaches final polls.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo


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