The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Sports

December 11, 2012

BEARKAT FOOTBALL — Is a clean sweep over the three Big Sky Conference champs in the cards for Sam Houston?

Kats face Big Sky Conference co-champion for third consecutive week with trip to FCS national championship game on the line

HUNTSVILLE — Over the last two seasons, the Bearkats have seen a lot of the Big Sky Conference.

Last fall, Sam Houston beat Montana State and then Montana to reach the Football Championship Subdivision national championship game. Just this month, the Kats outlasted Cal Poly in the second round of the FCS playoffs on Dec. 1 and then cruised past Montana State in the quarterfinals last Friday night.

Up next is another team from the Big Sky, the second-seeded Eagles of Eastern Washington, which is the only team left that can keep Sam Houston from returning to Frisco to play for a national championship.

“I know it’s going to be a good ballgame,” Bearkats senior safety Mike Littleton said. “The two teams we played (from the Big Sky in the playoffs) were good teams. We just had a few bigger plays than those guys. We know we’ve got to do the same this week.

“It’d be good to beat all three teams. They’re all good competitors. It’d be good to beat all three of them.”

Not only were the Kats (10-3 overall) able to beat a pair of teams from the Big Sky, but both Cal Poly and Montana State claimed a share of the league’s conference championship. Like the Mustangs and the Bobcats, Eastern Washington (11-2) also won a share of the Big Sky Conference title, which was split three ways.

“Everybody playing right now’s good,” Sam Houston coach Willie Fritz said following Monday evening’s short practice. “They all won a bunch of games, they’re well-coached, so you got the best of the best playing against each other. That’s the great thing about having a tournament.

“The Big Sky is a quality league and Eastern Washington is a very, very, very good team. It’s kind of interesting that we’ll be playing them (in the regular season) the next two years, too.”

The Kats come from what is perceived as a weak FCS conference, while the Big Sky has a claim as being one of the strongest, along with the Colonial Athletic Association, Southern Conference and the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Sam Houston, however, is 4-0 against those teams that hail from the northwestern part of the country.

With a spot in the FCS national championship game on the line, the Bearkats look forward to increasing that winning streak to five games.

“I know a lot of people say that their conference is a lot tougher than our conference,” Littleton said. “It’s a big challenge to go and beat all three top teams like that, knowing that they say their conference is one of the best conferences. That would be a big accomplishment.”

Of the four teams that are still alive in the playoffs (No. 1 seed North Dakota State, second-seeded Eastern Washington, No. 5 seed Georgia Southern and Sam Houston State), the Bearkats are the only one which wasn’t seeded and have needed a complete team effort to fight their way back to the semifinals and position themselves for a chance to play for the national title.

“We do a great job of preparation. Our coaches, I think, do a great job with game plans,” Fritz added. “When you have success, it’s a lot of people involved with it. Our trainers do a great job. Our strength and conditioning program, our managers, our coaches and players believe in what we’re doing and they really do a good job in their preparation.

“Last week, we went up there (to Bozeman, Mont.) and the guys were very business-like in their approach to the game and that’s what you got to have.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • 7-22 Noelle Sandmann runs.jpg Future Hornets take the field

    Never before has there been Stars of Huntsville Softball Camp, and it’s not every day that Huntsville’s youth softball players have an opportunity to learn the game’s fundamentals from the town’s most experienced players and coaches.
    On Monday, nearly 25 campers took the field at Kate Barr Ross Park and were instructed by Huntsville Hornets softball head coach Rick Burns and several members of his team.  The players, coaches and campers battled through the heat to have a successful day that saw many of the campers receive one-one-one instruction.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • SHSU’s Ridings honored by Southland Conference

    Longtime Sam Houston State sports information director Paul Ridings has been named the 2014 recipient of the Southland Conference’s Louis Bonnette Sports Media Award.
    The honor will be presented during the Southland’s Football Media Day luncheon July 23 at L’auberge Resort in Lake Charles, La.

    July 21, 2014

  • Huntsville Heat win tourney title

    The Huntsville Heat played in Alvin over the weekend in a benefit tournament that drew 52 teams. 
    The benefit tournament was hosted by the Alvin Girls Softball Association  for one of their own Alvin Bayou Babes players, Natalie Mota, who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma.

    July 21, 2014 1 Story

  • 7-20-Dallas-Gallant-1.jpg Still grinding

    Ever since he was drafted in the 23rd round in 2010 by the Minnesota Twins, former Trinity Tiger and Sam Houston State Bearkat pitcher Dallas Gallant has been on the road to the majors.
    Despite having to undergo two surgeries on his elbow, Gallant  continues to do what he needs to in the minor leagues to take the next step in his career.

    July 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • 7-20-Thomason.jpg Running down under

    The roads were closed and 3,834 runners were lined up preparing to try and catch Huntsville High School cross-country star Blake Thomason as she ran down the Gold Coast of Australia.
    The Huntsville High School sophomore cross-country and track and field star is used to competing against runners from different parts of the country. But this time, Thomason took her talents to the world stage.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • BEARKAT BASEBALL — Atwood returning for senior season with Kats

    Good news arrived last week for Bearkats baseball and new head coach Matt Deggs.
    Center fielder Colt Atwood will be back in uniform for Sam Houston State next spring.
    Atwood was selected in the 38th round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft by the Oakland Athletics on June 8.

    July 19, 2014

  • Huntsville Steppers shine in track meet

    Each weekday, the Huntsville Steppers head to practice at Huntsville High School and run through the hot summer heat.
    It’s the work they’ve done when the spotlight isn’t on them that helped the team excel July 11 and 12 at Baylor University in Waco in a regional meet to qualify for the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation’s Games of Texas. The Steppers earned 16 medals and qualified 12 runners for the TAAF’s Games of Texas, set for July 31- Aug. 4 at Texas A&M University.

    July 19, 2014

  • Elie Kat Camp 1.jpg Making dreams come true

    Chris Spikes was covered. The Jasper High School wide receiver had a cornerback draped all over him during one-on-one drills at Friday’s Elite Kat Football Camp at Bowers Stadium.
    But with one leap, Spikes snatched the ball out of the air and touched his feet in the end zone, causing a stir among the players standing along the sideline. Spikes had no idea that he had also grabbed himself a Division I scholarship offer from Sam Houston State.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • RODEO INSIDER: Calgary Stampede shows how it's done
    In the world of pro rodeo, the Calgary Stampede provides a great model for other events to follow.
    It’s the ultimate lucrative, all-star, outdoor summer rodeo. The 2014 edition, which began July 4, and concluded Sunday,  featured a field of 20 credentialed riders in each event, including 19-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion Trevor Brazile, 2004 Professional Bull Riders world champion Mike Lee and three-time world bareback riding champ Kaycee Feild.

    July 17, 2014

  • 7-15 wrestling 2.jpg Building for the future

    Jordan Kader didn’t do much wrestling toward the end of the first day of the Huntsville Hornets Wrestling Camp on Monday.
    As the campers practiced sit-outs and body rolls, Kader, who is a rising senior at Huntsville High School and has twice wrestled in the UIL state tournament, kept a watchful eye over youngsters Isabell Sournell and Taryn Cahill.  She patiently instructed the duo of future Hornets, using her three years of experience to guide them through a myriad of drills.

    July 14, 2014 2 Photos