Saturday, November 12, 2011

Root for fifth-year seniors

This is the biggest game, so far, in Sam Houston football history. With a likely win today, this year's group of Bearkats are the first to ever grab the undisputed Southland Conference title.

Sam Houston shared it in '91, '01 and '04. There won't be any sharing in '11. While Northwestern State is sure to be a respectable opponent, the Bearkats just have too many weapons.

Timothy Flanders usually runs for 100 yards on the ground and scores a couple of touchdowns at will. It shows in his 856 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns this season. Flanders also just so happens to lead the team in receiving yards with a touchdown through the air as well.

Of course we know about the multi-threat Richard Sincere, Torrance Williams' speed and the pleasant surprise of guys like running back Keyshawn Hill and wide receiver Keith Blanton.

We fully expect to see all of them give Northwestern's defense a fit today.

Don't forget the fact that Sam Houston's defense is in fact an offense, because they've picked off 18 passes for 235 yards and recovered 12 of their opponents' fumbles for 31 yards.

Just play archived videos of the offensive players telling us how easy the defense is making their job, with takeaways and the field position they've been given. They'll tell you about it.

But I've said all this to really say one thing: Root for the fifth-year seniors.

See, it's not always easy to recognize Travis Watson and Chris Crockett on the offensive line, even though you might recognize Eddie Decambre, Kash David and Randy Stewart making plays on the other side of the ball.

But these, you should know, are the fifth year seniors. They were here when Todd Whitten was the coach, toiling in obscurity in '08 and '09.

These players experienced losing more Southland Conference games than winning during that period.

Today's outright Southland Conference championship is sweetest for the players who have been here the most, if they win it, which they should.

"Really, '09 was a season I'd really like to forget," Crockett said in an interview last month. "You know, that was the year we lost Whitten, we didn't do well in Conference. It was just a bad year."

This is a good year, and today is a good day. We'll see a lot of young guys scoring touchdowns. The Bearkat quarterback Brian Bell doesn't look a day over 18.

Still, that's what we'll probably pay attention to because let's face it, it's easier. But somewhere within you, root for the fifth-year seniors. Seek out numbers 73, 57, 90, 47 and 5.

Today is five years in the making and the author knows because he too stepped on the SHSU campus for the first time as a student in 2007.

Eat 'em up Old Kats.

- Brandon K. Scott