MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

September 21, 2013

Bacone hopes errors keep shrinking vs. Cardinals

By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer

— Today, the Bacone Warriors will get to experience what it’s like to step up in class just like their opponent did last week, but hopefully with a different outcome.

That’s because the Warriors (2-1) are taking on the Lamar Cardinals, an NCAA FCS team that traveled to Stillwater and lost to Oklahoma State, at 7 p.m. in Beaumont, Texas.

“It seems that Oklahoma State had too much for them,” said Bacone coach Trevor Rubly. “They seem to have no problems with Panhandle State. So we definitely have our hands full.”

Bacone is coming off a 32-14 win over Southwestern (Texas) and ironed out some deficiencies in the process. However, there are still some areas that Rubly said still are where he would like them to be.

One area on offense that Rubly is happy with right now is the passing game. The Warriors are third in the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics in passing yards (1,111) and that has helped them to a No. 10 ranking in scoring offense averaging 35.3 points per game.

When the Warriors throw the ball, the top target is David Chapman who earned his second Central States Football League’s Offensive Player of the Week award after he had four receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns against Southwestern.

“The Southwestern game, we actual put some series’ together,” Rubly said. “That something I’ve been hitting on them all week. We were doing it a play here and a play there.”

Lamar (1-2) is coming off a 59-3 loss to the Cowboys. The Cardinals’ lone victory this season came in Week 1 when they beat Panhandle State, whom Bacone plays on Oct. 19, in Beaumont 75-0 in week one and lost to Louisiana Tech 27-14 on the road.

The Cardinals like to run a balanced attack on offense and the numbers tend to prove that out. Lamar has run the ball 125 times versus 109 passing attempts.

As a team, the Cardinals are averaging 4.1 yards per attempt on the ground and 6.6 yards per throw.

“Lamar’s a pretty talented team,” Rubly said. “They played Louisiana Tech real tough, I think they were tied up at halftime.”

Lamar’s main threat when it runs the ball is Kade Harrington, a 5-9 freshman from Kingwood, Texas. Harrington has carried the ball 43 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns.

The Cardinals have two receivers that are averaging over 20 yards per catch. Mark Roberts, a 6-3 junior transfer from Orange, Texas via the University of Houston, is averaging 29.2 yards per catch while Jordan Edwards, a 5-11 senior from Houston, Texas, is gaining an average of 22.2 yards per reception.

“We’ve had a real good week of practice,” Rubly said. “After the Northwestern game, we talked as a team and figured it needs to be about us. It’s not to be about our opponents or whom we are playing in any given week for the next couple of weeks until we start conference.

“I think last week the guys bought into that and we fixed some things we were working on. Hopefully this week, we fixed some more.”

On defense, the Cardinals are hold their opponents to 28.7 points per game and 5.1 yards per play. The strength is the pass defense as the Cardinals are holding the opposition to 9.4 yards per catch.

“As long as we keep improving and getting better, we’re going to see what happens (tonight),” Rubly said. “We’re going in to win. We’re going to be ready for whatever they give us.”

“I think we cut down a little on the mistakes last week. Hopefully, moving forward, we can keep the mistakes to a minimum and the rest we’ll see what happens. As long as we keep improving, I’m going to be happy.”