It doesn’t get much simpler for the Hornets from this point forward.
Take care of business in the next three weeks and Huntsville will be headed back to the playoffs for a fourth straight fall.
Deadlocked in a five-way tie for first place in District 18-4A, the Hornets know that a couple of more wins will clinch another trip to the postseason.
While Kingwood Park and Willis, both are also tied for first, may stand out on Huntsville’s remaining schedule, the Hornets knows that before they can even think about those matchups, they have to take care of New Caney in their homecoming game tonight at Bowers Stadium.
“We just have to play New Caney right now and worry about the other ones when they come,” senior quarterback Kent Albert said following Thursday’s walkthrough.
“New Caney’s a big game. We don’t want to look bad on homecoming,” junior Ricky Bennett said.
The Hornets, who stand at 3-1 in district and 3-4 overall, are coming off their biggest win of the season after knocking off Humble, the defending district champs, last week in Huntsville.
After getting that signature win against the Wildcats, not only did the Hornets get a big jolt of momentum, but it put Huntsville back in the race for a postseason berth and a possible district title.
“Beating Humble — they had the number four defense in the Houston area — that just gave us a boost of confidence,” senior Cameron Shirley said. “We were able to hold their offense to seven points.”
“I think it just sparked us as a team,” senior Kriston Minor said. “I honestly think the chemistry is there now.”
Though the Hornets are still riding high over their big win over Humble, they know they are still at least two wins away from returning to the playoffs. While showdowns against Kingwood Park and Willis loom ahead, Huntsville knows that it can’t look past tonight’s contest against the Eagles.
“We didn’t talk a whole lot about the playoffs. That’s in the future. I told them that if their goal was to be in the playoffs, they had to go in and beat New Caney on Friday night,” Hornets head coach Shane Martin said. “That’s what we as a coaching staff and the players have to stay focused on.
“We can’t overlook New Caney. I think Humble overlooked us a little bit and then they realized pretty quick that it was going to be a dogfight. I don’t want that to happen to us on Friday night. I want us to go out and execute and take control of the game and do what we have to do to get a win.”
For much of the Hornets’ game last week, senior running back Henry Ford, who has compiled more than 800 rushing yards this season, filled in on defense for linebacker Markey Thomas, who left the game with a bone bruise.
Thomas’ status is still in doubt, but thanks to junior James Burns’ contribution at tailback (78 rushing yards and a touchdown), the Hornets have a variety of options in the backfield that they can utilize.
“One thing about those two guys being in the backfield is what that’s going to do is open up your passing attack,” Martin said. “When they start loading up the box to stop the run, it’ll open up our passing game where we can get the ball into the hands of guys like Kriston Minor and Ricky Bennett.”
In order for Huntsville to extend it’s winning streak to four games and remain in first place, the formula’s pretty simple, according to Martin.
“I think we’ve got to do the same things we did against Humble. ... We have to create turnovers, we have to tackle well,” the coach said.
“On offense, we have to execute. We have to put the ball in our running back’s hands, we have to put the ball in our receivers’ hands and allow them to make plays. I think our quarterback Kent Albert is doing a better job making decisions on the field. We just have to execute.”
Huntsville looks to stay atop District 18-4A, faces New Caney in homecoming game
It doesn’t get much simpler for the Hornets from this point forward.
SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE BASEBALL TOURNAMENT: Bearkats believe they can beat anybody
The long regular-season grind is over for the Sam Houston State Bearkats. The fun stuff — postseason tournament baseball — starts today in Sugar Land.
This afternoon at 4, the Bearkats (36-18), conference champs for the second consecutive season, clash with No. 8 seed McNeese State in the first round of the 2013 Southland Tournament.
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BEARKAT BASEBALL — Kats win again, head into conference tourney with plenty of momentum
Having already clinched the outright Southland Conference regular-season championship on Friday night and the No. 1 seed in this week’s conference tournament a night earlier, the Bearkats didn’t have much to gain from Saturday afternoon’s series finale against Central Arkansas. Still, the Kats certainly didn’t want to go into this week on the heels of a loss and rallied late to end the regular season with 6-5 victory as well as completing a series sweep against the Bears.
BEARKAT BASEBALL — Kats repeat as outright conference champs
Thanks in large part to one of starting pitcher Cody Dickson’s finest performances of the season, Sam Houston State beat Central Arkansas 4-0 and clinched the Southland Conference regular-season championship outright for a second straight season.
BEARKAT BASEBALL — Kats one step closer to repeating as outright conference champs
Sam Houston State took care of business with a 7-3 victory over the Bears on Thursday night and clinched at least a share of the Southland Conference title and secured the No. 1 seed in next week's conference tournament.
UIL STATE TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS: On the medal stand ...
Remember that saying, “Good things happen to those who wait?” Well, the Lady Hornets waited and waited, then waited some more.
When a long day, and four special seasons, concluded late Friday night at the UIL State Track and Field Championships, great things happened for a tight group of Huntsville girls.
Kats catcher stays strong on and off field
Catcher Ashley Isbell remembers the Bearkats’ softball doubleheader against Houston Baptist like it was played yesterday.
The Kats were trailing the Huskies 4-3 going into the bottom of the seventh of the first game. Isbell was coming to the plate. Isbell, who was named to the All-Southland Conference team earlier this week, fouled a ball off the plate. Crazily, the ball bounced up and hit Isbell in the mouth.
SOUTHLAND NOTEBOOK: Southland Conference regular-season title race looks to come down to the wire
Usually at this time of the year, there’s a team or two or three looking to make a push for the league’s top seeds as well as the regular-season championship. With just two more weekends — just six conference games — to go, the regular-season title is still very much up for grabs for most of the conference.
RUNNING SHORTS: Polish Pickle 5K has strong Huntsville following
One thing’s for sure, Huntsville will be well-represented at the 25th Annual Polish Pickle 5K (3.1 miles) in Bremond on June 22.
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