Saturday, February 17, 2018

Deer Park Cougars 8U Softball Team kicks off 2018 spring season

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

DEER PARK, TEXAS (February 17, 2018) 
The Deer Park Cougars kicked off the Deer Park Sweetheart Girls 8U Softball Tournament at the Deer Park Adult Softball Complex with two pool games on Saturday, February 17, 2018. Despite some spirited and inspired play, the Cougars dropped the two games by the score of 8-4 and 9-5. The pool games were lead-in games to tournament play which began at 3 p.m. on Saturday. In the 3 p.m. game, the Cougars will play the Diamond Rippers.

On offense, the Cougars were led by the bats of Cali Telles, Kirstin Kelly, Genesis Rodriguez, Riley Wilson, Quinn Romero, Aubrey Rogers, with Melina Delgado, Emilee Mendoza, Mia Ceniceros, Paige Taylor and Jocelynn Wall exhibiting excellent glove play in the field.

The Cougars are led by head coach Larry King and assisted by Josh Telles, Able Mendoza, and Dale Yurt.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

HBU Huskies pull out hard-fought win against Northwestern State Lady Demons

Photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (February 14, 2018): With the score tied at 12 after 10 minutes of play, the HBU Huskies jumped out to a 27-25 lead at halftime in route to a 57-51 win over the Northwestern State Lady Demons at Sharp Gymnasium in Houston. The game, which saw head coach Donna Finnie play her entire bench, saw nine of her 11 active players put the ball into the hoop. Shannon Jones (Crosby HS, Crosby, Texas) came off the bench to score 19 points, a season high for the sophomore, in 24 minutes of play. She was 7-of-12 from the field, including 1-2 from three-point range, and 4-5 from the line. Starting forward Lauren Calver (Heathcote HS, Helensburgh, Australia), who played the entire game, tallied 10 points and 11 rebounds for her second consecutive double-double of the season. Amanda Johnson added 10 points to HBU's total. Libba Gilliam also received a double-double for the Lady Demons, scoring 18 points and pulling down 10 boards.

The win pushes the Huskies to 3-10 in conference play and boosts their season record to 7-16. The Lady Demons fell tp 2-12 on Southland play and 7-18 for the season. The Huskies remain at home to host Sam Houston State Saturday, February 17 at 2 p.m. They will then embark on their final round trip of the regular season, taking on Lamar Wednesday, February 21 at 7 p.m. and McNeese Saturday, Februay 24 at 1 p.m.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

McNeese State Cowgirls take 69-47 win over Southeastern Lady Lions

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved 
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA (February 10, 2018) The McNeese State Cowgirls trailed Southeastern Louisiana by one point at halftime, but came roaring back in the second half, outscoring the Lady Lions 40-17 in route to a 69-47 win at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. They The win pushed the Cowgirls' Southland record to 7-5 as  they remain in the hunt for a conference tournament berth. The Lions held a slim 16-13 lead after 10 minutes of play, with the Cowgirls pouring it on late in the game for the much-needed win.

Starting guard Dede Sheppard (Vivian, LA) (shown above, No. 4) led the way for McNeese, tallying 16 point in 16 minutes of play, while shooting 6-for-16 from the floor, including a 2-for-5 effort from the arc. Also hitting double-figures was Caitlin Davis (Breaux Bridge, LA) with 13 points, Regan Bolton (Hammond, LA) with 11, and Mercedes Rogers (Crowley, LA) with 10. This was the seventh game this season with four Cowgirls scoring in double figures, with sall even games being wins. For the Lions, Charliee Dugas (Rayne, LA) chipped in 13 with Taylin Underwood (Livingston, LA) adding 11.

Next up for the Cowgirls is a Wednesday, February 14 home game against Central Arkansas

Friday, February 09, 2018

HBU Softball falls to Virginia in first game of McNeese Cowgirl Classic

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly 
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA (February 9, 2018) The Houston Baptist University softball team kicked of their 2018 season at the Cowgirl Classic, hosted by McNeese State University, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Huskies took to the field at Cowgirl Diamond on Friday afternoon to face the Virginia Cavaliers; dropping a 3-1 decision.

First baseman Megan Hiers (shown right) was 1-for-4 with a double and one RBI to lead the Huskies. The sophomore, who played high school ball for Pearland (TX) High School, batted .231 in 40 games for the Huskies in 2017; scoring 14 run and tallying 12 RBI. The starting pitcher for HBU was Stephanie Buenrostro (Navarro JC, Houston, Texas), who pitched four inning, gave up three earned runs on two hits while striking out one, received the loss. Junior designated player Brooke Bushman (Ridge Point HS, Missouri City, Texas) and center fielder Kay Schroeder (Sealy HS, Sealy, Texas) also connected for single hits. The Huskies loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning with one out, hoping to put out the win, but all three runners were stranded to close out the game.

Virginia kicked of the tournament on Thursday, February 8 with a doubleheader against McNeese,dropping  both games 7-0 and 4-3. They are now 1-2 for the season.

Next up for the Huskies is a 12:30 p.m. match-up against Tulsa on Saturday, February 10.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera looks to 2018 for Houston Dynamo

Photo by Lou Roesch
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
By Lou Roesch
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved


HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 23, 2018) Seven weeks and two days ago, the 2017 season ended on a disappointing note in a Western Conference final loss to Seattle Sounders. Fast forward to January 23rd as the Houston Dynamo opened the 2018 pre-season under blue skies, sunshine and a balmy 64 degrees, a far cry from last week’s near ice-age temperatures. In shorts and t-shirts, Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera put his men through their paces for the first time in a season that is not short on excitement or expectations. To a man from the coach himself to the most proclaimed veteran to the newest rookie in camp, this year’s confluence of players professed that this year will continue the unfinished business of the upstart 2017 squad that surprised the world of Major League Soccer.



In 2018, the Dynamo return a solid core of players seeking to build on the continuity and success of 2017 that saw them not only return to the playoffs but also become the most prolific scoring side in club history. Unlike last season, the expectations to hoist “The Cup” on December 8th are there from day one. With 34 players in camp and 24 under contract there is plenty of competition to be had especially at right back. No one will be sitting on their laurels from last season. Not Cubo or Manotas or Wenger. Not Beasley or De La Garza nor Leonardo or any other member of the Orange and White will be taking anything for granted.

Last season, Cabrera was entering his first year as the Dynamo head man and had a lot of question marks to be answered. How would 11 new players fit in and how quickly would it take for them to gain some chemistry. Cabrera was impressed by the players commitment to prepare, to execute and to win.

“The player’s commitment,” said Cabrera as he took a quick look back at the 2017 campaign. “It was fantastic, beautiful. They were committed. They were trying to do the best during practices and in the games. That is something that was rewarding because they were rewarded by their effort, by their sacrifice.”

This season, it will take that same commitment and then some added Cabrera.

“We are going to prepare ourselves for more. Everyone is excited like all the 23 teams. Little by little we need to translate that excitement into work, into results and how we integrate and prepare the team to perform at the level this team needs to compete and be successful against the other 22 teams.”

Andrew Wenger and Arturo Alvarez were among the many who stepped in front of the microphones talking about how special last season was and how exciting this season may be both for the players and the fans.

Alvarez, a native Houstonian was playing for FC Dallas when Houston got its franchise in 2006. Now 11 seasons later, the midfielder gets to put on the uniform of his hometown team.

“Playing at home doesn’t come around that often. It’s even better,” said the Salvadoran team player when asked about getting to play not just for his hometown club but a team coming off a sensational 2017. “They were only a game away from the MLS Cup and you want to go to a team that has a good group, a good coaching staff and hopefully we can build on top of that. The goal (this year) will be getting to the MLS Cup.”

Alvarez joins a crowded midfield that includes Tomas, Martinez, Juan David Cabezas and young newcomer Daniel Ceren just to name a few.

Wenger, now in his third season since arriving for the 2016 season, was as excited as any player on the pitch. Last season, Houston used Wenger as a facilitator taking advantage of his ability to stretch the defense and deliver pinpoint precision services into the box. This season looks to be as exciting for the former Mac Hermann trophy winner.

“I think the sentiment is that everyone is excited to be back,” said Wenger when asked about the short pre-season. “It’s great that we were successful last year and that the front office was able to keep a lot of our prominent players so there’s a lot of familiarity there and that let’s us look to future and continue to move forward and not rebuild our base. We want more.”

Rookie goalkeeper Michael Nelson fresh from SMU and the 2018 MLS Draft is a lifelong Dynamo fan growing up when Houston played at Robertson Stadium on the campus of the University of Houston. The Seven Lakes high school alum is excited about his opportunity to play for the team he grew up watching and make his mark between the pipes.

“It’s the realization of a dream,” said Nelson when asked what it was like to step on the pitch for the team he grew up watching. “I was super excited to get this opportunity and I’m just ready to get to work and prove that I’ve got what it takes. Being around high expectations, there’s pressure, there’s THE pressure to succeed quickly. I appreciate that. I feel fortunate to have that pressure. Coming into an environment that is used to winning and expects winning and has a culture of success can be super valuable for your mindset. Coach (Wilmer Cabrera) has told me I have potential and I have everything to prove. The work starts now.”

It’s just one day in the books of a long, long season. In fact, it’s 299 long days till MLS Cup 2018 but before you know it March 3rd Opening Day will be here and that’s when the real excitement will begin.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Late game surge pushes McNeese State past HBU 86-81

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 20, 2018) In a run and gun game that saw 10 lead changes, the HBU Huskies fell to the McNeese State Cowboys by the score of 86-81 in a packed Sharp Gymnasium in Houston. David Caraher pumped in 30 points in the effort while Jalon Gates added 26. The 30-point performance for Caraher was the second of the season while Gates effort was a career-best. Caraher also tallied 12 rebounds to give him his third double-double of the season. Braxton Bonds added 13 points to the HBU total, along with seven assists. McNeese's Quatarrius Wilson had a career-high 17 rebounds to go with  his 11 points  while Kalob Ledoux added 20 for the Cowboys.

The Huskies will host Incarnate Word  in Sharp Gym on Wednesday, January. 24, at 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

HBU Huskies fall to McNeese State in SLC women's basketball action

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 20, 2018) The HBU Huskies jumped out at a 35-33 at halftime, but could not overcome the second half surge of the McNeese State Cowgirls and dropped an 86-74 decision at Sharp Gymnasium in Houston. With the loss, the Huskies post a 1-6 Southland Conference record with a 5-12 record for the season.

Their halftime lead was paced by the shooting for Sydney Carr and Sophie Taylor; each with seven points. Britta Daub and Amanda Johnson each chipped in five to account for 24 of HBU's first half points. However, McNeese's 53 second-half points sealed the deal; outscoring the Huskies by 14.

HBU outscored McNeese 20-12 in the first period for their early lead, but the Cowgirls came back in the second period with a 21-15 advantage to cut the Huskies lead to two after 20 minutes. The Cowgirls  made some adjustments at halftime, as they came back in the third period to outscore HBU 24-16  to take a 57-51 lead with 10 minutes to play.

Johnson and Carr both tallies 16 points for the Huskies, with Lauren Calver adding 13. Taylor and Daub finished the game with nine points each, while Veronika Kirienko came off the bench to pull down seven rebounds in 19 minutes of play.

For the Cowgirls, Dede Sheppard led all scores with 19 points, followed by Caitlin Davis and Bre'Ashlee Jones with 15 each. Mercedes Rogers also came off the bench to record seven rebounds, all on defense.

Next up for the Huskies will be a Wednesday, January 24 match-up against Incarnate Word in San Antonio. 





Bazu Worku comes from behind to win 2018 Houston Marathon

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved 

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 14, 2018) Coming from 23 seconds behind the leader at the 40-kilometer mark, Bazu Worku won the 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon in the time of 2:08.31. It was the third Houston win for the 27-year-old from Ethiopia, having taken top honors in 2013 (2:07:32) and 2014 (2:10:17).  He stayed in the lead pack from the start through the halfway point and faded to 14 seconds behind second place finisher Yitayal Atnafu. That deficit increased to 39 seconds at the 35-kilometer mark. At 40-kilometers, he increased his pace, cutting the gap to 23 seconds. With a bit over two kilometers to go, he made up his 23-second deficit and sprinted ahead to win by 37 seconds.

In 2009, he finished in second place and set a world record in the event with the time of 2:06.15 in the 2009 Paris Marathon. His 2017 victory in Houston stands as the third fastest in race history. In 2010 in Berlin, he achieved his personal best with the time of 2:05:25. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

New Zealand's Jake Robertson wins Houston Half Marathon

Photo by Kristine Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 14, 2018) Jake Robertson (shown left) moved into the lead at the 20-kilometer mark and went on to win the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. The New Zealander's winning time of 1:00:01 was the third fastest in history and the faster performance since 2012 when Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa established the record with a 59:22 performance. 



He competed in the 5000 meters at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, where he finished fourteenth in the second heat in a time of 14:09.55 and did not qualify for the final. At the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow he finished ninth in the 5000 meters and seventh in the 10,000 metersOn September 10, 2017, Robertson was runner up in the 2017 Great North Run in 1:00:12, six seconds behind of Mo Farah.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Texas Southern gets 3rd conference with win over PVAMU

Photo by Houston Sports Images
Kristina McKay and Tommy Boatman
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved 
Used with permission.
By Kristina McKay
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 6, 2018) The TSU Men’s Basketball team faced off against the Men from Prairie View A&M on Saturday night at TSU where Texas Southern picked up its third conference win. Holding on in the face of a late rally, the Tigers secured a 100-94 victory over the Panthers.



The Tiger men dominated the game with wide spread scoring efforts from Derrick Bruce who added 22 points and Demontrae Jefferson who scored 23 points. Additionally, Marquis Salmon had 15 points and 12 rebounds, Donte Clark had 14 points and seven rebounds and Lamont Walker chipped in 12 points for the Tigers.

Texas Southern led by as many as nine points, 32-23, with 4:08 to play in the half and had a 41-37 edge at the break. The Tigers led throughout the second half and a jumper by Walker gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the game, 86-57, with 6:33 to play. A rally by Prairie View during the final two minutes cut the lead to five points, 99-94, with three seconds left. With only one point scored by TSU from a free throw, the defense held on to give the Tigers the win. 

PVAMU downs Texas Southern 63-58

Photo by Houston Sports Images
Kristina McKay and Tommy Boatman
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved 
Used with permission.
By Kristina McKay
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 6, 2018) The ladies from Prairie View upset the Texas Southern women’s basketball team 63-58 on Saturday afternoon in route to a possible SWAC title and an NCAA tournament berth.



Prairie View took a 31-29 lead into halftime. Johnson rallied TSU with 10 straight points for a 43-39 lead. Prairie View's Washington then led a 9-0 run, but TSU's Parker hit a 3-pointer to cap five quick points for a 48-48 tie before the Lady Panthers pulled away.

Down 59-55 with just over a minute to go, Parker had a 
chance to bring her team within one but missed a 3-point attempt and TSU's Miracle Davis turned the ball over under her own basket with 40 seconds left.

While Alexus Johnson had 16, TSU was led by conference player of the year Jazzmin Parker who scored 20 points. The redshirt freshman scored inside and out, single-handedly taking the Lady Tigers on a 10-2 run.

Praairie View’s LaReahn Washington had 20 points while Jeanette Jackson lead the team with 22 points, including four free throws in the final 30 seconds, to clinch the team's fourth straight conference title and sixth NCAA appearance in school history. The title game appearance was TSU's first in school history.

Friday, January 05, 2018

James Madison & North Dakota State face off in FCS National Championship

Photo by Darla Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

FRISCO, TEXAS (January 5, 2018) In less than 24 hours, Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas will become the center of the college football world as No. 1 James Madison Dukes (14-0, 8-0 CAA) will  face off against No. 2 North Dakota State Bisons (13-1, 7-1 MUFC) in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. CT and will be nationally televised on ESPN2. It will also be streamed on ESPN3 and the ESPN app.  The game marks the third meeting between JMU and NDSU, will all three games coming in the FCS playoffs. North Dakota State won the initial meeting in the 2011 FCS Second Round, by the score of 26-14. James Madison took the second game in the 2016 FCS Semifinals; 27-17. Both of the games were played in Fargo, North Dakota. 

Photo by Darla Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Photo by Darla Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
The Dukes are making their 14th FCS appearances and are looking to repeat as the NCAA Division I national champion. They won in 2016 in Frisco in addition to taking the title in 2004 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Bison won their 13th football national championship in 2015. They claimed three College Division national championships via polls in 1965, 1968, and 1969. The Bison also took five Division II titles, through the playoff format, in 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, and 1990. In addition, they were the first team in college football history to win five straight national championships with FCS titles in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.


Wednesday, January 03, 2018

TSU Lady Tigers move to 1-1 in SWAC action with 91-57 win over Alcorn State

Joyce Kennerson (3) surpassed 1,200 points
in her TSU career in the game against Alcorn State.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved 
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved 

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 3, 2018) The TSU Lady Tigers jumped out to a 23-11 lead after the first period and went on to down the Alcorn State Lady Braves by the score of 91-57 in SWAC Conference action at H&PE Arena in Houston. Starting guard Joyce Kennerson accounted for 32 of the TSU po, with nine assists. Kaitlyn Palmer added 19 points while Breasia McElrath tallied 10 rebounds.

The Lady Tigers were never challenged by Alcorn State, posting a 23-11 lead after the first period and leading 44-28 at the half. They outscored the Lady Braves 23-17 in the third period and 24-12 in the final period. Kennerson surpassed 1,200 points for her TSU career and her nine assists moved her from 15th to 12th on the schools's all-
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved 
time list. Her nine assists were a season-high. Palmer tied her assist high for the season with four. TSU shot a season-high 57.9% from the field and 50% from three-point range; also a season-high.  Alcorn State was led by Tia Sanders with 15 points, followed by Alexus Freeman with ten. Miracle Rushing pulled down 10 rebounds; five each on both ends of the court.


The victory moves the Lady Tigers to 1-1 in SWAC action and 6-7 for the season. Next up for TSU is a 5:30 p.m. CT match-up against long time rival Prairie View A&M on Saturday, January 6.

Monday, January 01, 2018

TSU downs Southern 78-66 in men's hoops action

Photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 1, 2018) The Texas Southern Tigers downed the Southern Tigers by the score of 78-66 at H&PE Arena on New Year's Day. Derrick Bruce tallied 28 points for TSU while Demontrae Jefferson added 25. Trayvon Reed pulled down 11 rebounds in the effort. The Tigers moved to 1-13 for the season and 1-0 SWAC. The win game TSU head coach his 100th victory Fans can view the official game stats here.

Next up for the Tigers is a January 3 game against Alcorn State. 





Texas Southern Lady Tigers fall to Southern 67-57

Joyce Kennerson (3) led the
scoring for TSU.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 1, 2018) The Texas Southern Lady Tigers jumped out to a 35-29 lead at halftime, but it was not enough to overcome the second half surge of the Southern Jaguars, as they dropped a 67-57 decision at H&PE Arena in Houston. The loss drops the Lady Tigers to 5-7 for the season and 0-1 in conference play.

The Lady Tigers shot 44% (11-of-25) in the first half, but made only 8-of-31 shots from the field in the second half.

Junior starting guard Joyce Kennerson led all scorers with 21 points while Isis Lane came off the bench to chip in 10. Kennerson, who played her prep ball for Memorial High School in Port Arthur, Texas, was also 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Starting guard Camille Mills pulled down eight rebounds while Kaitlyn Palmer recorded three assists.

Texas Southern took the lead at the 5:39 mark in the first quarter and held it until late in the third quarter. With 1:56 left in the quarter Southern's Tiamya Butler stole the ball and score two points on a layup. That game the Jaguars a 44-43 lead of which they never relinquished. The Lady Tigers were held to 14 points the remainder of the game, while Southern when on a 23-point scoring drive. Briana Green scored 20 points for Southern along with seven rebounds.

Next up for the Lady Tigers is a Wednesday, January 3 match up against Alcorn State with a 5:30 p.m. CT tip off at H&PE Arena.



North Korea may compete in Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics


By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
Video courtesy YouTube.com

PASADENA-DEER PARK, TEXAS (January 1, 2018) News reports out of Pyongyang indicate that North Korea leader Kim Jong-un is open to the idea of his country's athletes competing in the upcoming Winter Olympics. Pairs skaters Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik are the only North Korean athletes that have qualified for Pyeongchang 2018. The pair is the bronze medalists from the 2017 Asian Winter Games.


Kim stated during his 30-minute New Year's Day address, as quoted by the Associated Press:

"The Winter Olympic Games that will be held soon in the South will be a good opportunity to display the status of the Korean nation and we sincerely wish that the event will be held with good results,"

North Korea missed last month's deadline to accept their spot, however they could still be allowed to participate. It also remains possible that other North Korea winter sports competitors could be given wildcards entries to the Games. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

HBU Huskies drop hard-fought contest to New Orleans

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 30, 2017) The HBU Huskies dropped a hard-fought 64-57 Southland Conference game to the New Orleans Privateers at Sharp Gymnasium in Houston on Saturday, December 31, 2017. The loss dropped the Huskies record to 4-11 for the season and 0-2 in conference play. Two Huskies scored in double-figures; Jalon Gates (20 points, shown right) and Ian Dubose (17 points). 

The Huskies were 21-of-58 from the field (36.2%) and 7-of-19 (36.8%) from three-point range. This was comparable to the Privateers' shooting (43.4% and 40.0%). The statistic that made the difference was free throw shooting. The Huskies were 8-of-18 (44.4%) while New Orleans was 14-of-18 (77.8%).  New Orleans. top scorers were forward Travin Thibodeaux scored 18 points with Scott Plaisance coming off the bench to score 10.

Next up for the Huskies is a 7 p.m. home match-up against the Nicholls Colonels on Saturday, January 6, 2018.






Thursday, December 28, 2017

Punter Michael Dickson named MVP of 2017 Texas Bowl

Photo by Lou Roesch
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Lou Roesch
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 28, 2017) Since the inception of the Texas Bowl eleven years ago, all ten previous MVP awards went to offensive players including nine quarterbacks. Not until 2017 did someone other than an offensive player make an argument for MVP. Enter University of Texas Longhorns punter Michael Dickson (shown above right and below left)) . Yes, a punter earned the 2017 Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl MVP award, but rest assured Michael Dickson is not just any ordinary punter.  His right foot has been terrorizing opposing special teams coaches for the better part of two seasons. This is a punter who had 48 of 73 punts sail for more than 50 yards. A punter who led the nation in yards per kick and net yards per kick in 2017 and threatened to rewrite the FBS record for punters. This is Michael Dickson.  The kicker who singlehandedly put Missouri on their heels all night long beginning with his first kick at 10:23 of the first quarter that was downed at the Tigers three yard line.

Photo by Lou Roesch
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
Not many would realize that they were in for a treat from a very special kicker as they watched one punt after another continue to pin Missouri down. Ten of the junior punter’s kicks were downed inside the 20 and the one to the three in the opening quarter was the first of five first half punts inside the 10 yard line. Thanks to Dickson’s foot, the Tigers started six of their 10 first half possessions inside the ten yard line.

Before the Longhorns kicker’s record setting performance, undrafted free agent Florida State punter now NFL placekicker Graham Gano was all alone in the record books. The unanimous All-American kicker (first Longhorns punter to do so) by way of Sydney, Australia had more yards punting (452) then the Tigers had on  offense (390). With eight Missouri’s 17 drives starting on or inside their own 10 yard line, it is a wonder they didn’t lose by more than the count of 33-16. The Longhorns kicker, averaging 41.1 yards per boot, left his final punt of the game at the Missouri four yard line.

Coming into the game, the 2017 Ray Guy Award winner (first for UT) as the nation’s best punter had landed nearly thirty percent of his kick’s inside the opponents 10 yard line. On this record setting night, he would nestle a staggering 47 percent inside the Missouri 10 yard line. It should have come as no surprise that the two-time Big 12 Conference Special Teams Player of the Year (2016 & 2017) would have no touchbacks and no return yards in this contest considering that in 2017 only 12 of his 73 punts coming into the game had positive yardage returns and nine of those were for three yards or less. The numbers are even more staggering when you consider that 32 of his 73 regular season punts landed inside the 20 yard line and then add in 10 of 11 bowl game punts meaning that 50 percent of his punt total for 2017 were downed on or inside the opponents 20 yard line in 2017. The 6-3, 205-pound kicker made sure that the last tape scouts might see of him was memorable as he declared for the 2018 NFL draft six days earlier.


“I’ve never seen one affect the game the way he did tonight, and I’m glad he’s on our team.,” said Longhorns head coach Tom Herman stated following the game.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Florida State downs Southern Mississippi 42-13 in Walk-On's Independence Bowl

FSU TB Cam Akers (3) averaged 7.2 yards
a carry against Southern Miss.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA (December 27, 2017) The Florida State Seminoles jumped out to a 23-6 lead at halftime in route to a 42-13 win over the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles in the Walk-On's Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. The 33,601 fans in attendance braved temperatures that dipped into the high 30s, to see the Seminoles raise their season record to 7-6, while the Golden Eagles fell to 8-5.

The Golden Eagles scored first on a five-yard run by Kwadra Griggs at the 11:05 mark in the first quarter. Florida State responded with 23 unanswered first half points; paced by James Blackman's three first-half touchdown passes. The throws to Auden Tate (20 yards and 10 yards) and Cam Akers (14 yards). Ricky Aguayo added three points with a 29-yard field goal and two extra points. The 20-yard pass to Tate came in the first quarter with the other two TDs and field goal coming in the second quarter. They continued their scoring assault in the second half, adding 10 additional points before Southern Mississippi could score again. The Seminoles added nine more points in the fourth quarter on another Blackman to Tate pass and a Aguayo field goal.

Blackman (shown below) completed 18-of-26 passes for 233 yards and four touchdowns. With the four passing TDs, the freshman, who played his prep ball at Glades Central High School in Belle Glade, Florida, broke the bowl record. In addition, junior running back Auden Tate set a new reception touchdown record with three. For his performance, Blackman was selected the Offensive Player of the Game by a vote of the credentialed media. 
When ask about improving over the last month, Blackman responded:

“It’s been a great month to be honest. Even though we’ve been through a lot, we still were able to come together and play as a team. We reacted as a team, and we were with each other and stuck together. We did what we had to do to become bowl eligible, and now we won this bowl game. I just want to thank everyone that was put around me from the coaches to the players, and everyone had great energy around me. They helped me lift up this team and helped me be in this position.” 

Red shirt senior Nate Andrews was selected the Defensive Player of the Game in his final game of his college career. The free safety for the Seminoles recorded six tackles; five of which were solo. 


“It meant a lot. All year, I really haven’t played a lot. But being back out there with those guys meant a lot. Like a lot of guys, I could have just laid down and gotten mad at all the coaches that I wasn’t playing. But I kept praying and asked God to give me an opportunity. And when the opportunity came, I was ready for it. I want to thank all the coaches, especially (interim head coach) Odell Haggins. He stuck with us, and I’m just thankful for the opportunity to play today.” 

Team-wise, Florida State posted 452 yards of total offense (238 yards passing and 214 yards rushing), while Southern Mississippi had 260 yards of total offense (129 yards passing and 131 rushing). The Golden Eagles were led by senior running back Ito Smith (16 carries for 92 yards) and quarterback Kwadra Griggs (13-of-25 for 86 yards and one touchdown).

Florida State pushed their bowl record to 29-16-2, along with the longest consecutive bowl appearance streak at 36. The 2017 Independence Bowl was their first appearance in Shreveport. The Golden Eagles have made three appearances in the bowl game. Their lost in 2017 was their first loss in Shreveport. In 1980, they defeated McNeese State by the score of 16-14. In 1988, the downed Texas-El Paso 38-18.



Florida State's Blackman named Offensive MVP of Walk-On's Independence Bowl

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA (December 27, 2017) Florida State quarterback James Blackman (shown right) was named the the Offensive Player of the Game at the 42nd Walk-On's Independence Bowl. The 6-5, 169-pound freshman, who played his prep ball at Glades Central High School in Belle Glade, Florida, broke an I-Bowl record with four passing touchdowns. Seven other quarterback have three passing touchdowns. Three of his passing touchdowns came in the first half. He is the third quarterback to throw three scores in one half in I-Bowl history 

He finished the game with 18-of-26 passes for 233 yards; with his longest pass being 27 yards. He also carried the ball six times for 29 yards. He finishes his freshman season, playing is 13 games and completing 173-of 283 passes for 2,230 yards. He tallied 19 touchdowns along with 11 interceptions.

In the post-game press conference, he was asked about the excitement of playing in the Independence Bowl  and being prepared to play after a coaching change: 

“Being able to take the adversity and make it a positive. We had positive energy in the locker room, and we wanted to send our seniors out the right way. We came out to play, and we came out focused.”

 
He added about how much he improved this season and possibly compete for the starting job: 

“It’s a great season to learn from. What happens in the future, happens in the future. I don’t want to speak on the starting job. I want to learn from my mistakes and get better.” 

Blackman was named the starting quarterback for 2017 after a season-injury to sophomore Deondre Francois.