Lumberjacks reach halfway in SLC season to play Wildcats

Offensive coordinator Matt Storm talks to a player during the 94th Battle of the Piney Woods. The SFA football team holds the ninth seed in the SLC with a 1-2 conference record.

   The Jacks had a bye week last week and continue their Southland Conference season against Abilene Christian University at 3 p.m. Saturday in Wildcat Stadium in Abilene.

   The Jacks had an extra week of preparation after their 31-20 loss against the Sam Houston State Bearkats at the 94thBattle of the Piney Woods. They now hold a 1-5 overall record, 1-2 conference record, a .333 winning percentage and are ninth in the conference.

   “We’ve got to get better this week,” Head Coach Colby Carthel said. “It’ll give us a little time to reset and recharge. This is a half-way point in the season—six-game stretch, we’ve got six remaining, and I think they’re all six games we have a chance.”

    In the BOTPW, senior wide receiver Tamrick Pace, who was named 2019 Preseason All-SLC Second Team Offense, saw his first minutes this season with 63 receiving yards. Freshman wide receiving led with 97 receiving yards and junior running back Da’Leon Ward led with 99 rushing yards. The Lumberjacks had a total of 139 rushing yards compared to 135 from the Bearkats.

    Senior kicker Storm Ruiz was able to make a career-long 51-yard field goal against SHSU making it his 14 made field goal this season out of 16 attempted.

    The Abilene Christian Wildcats come off a 45-20 win against Houston Baptist University. They have a 3-4 overall record, a 2-3 conference record,  a .400 winning percentage and are eighth in the conference. The Jacks will be their Homecoming opponent this season.

    “I think every game is winnable,” Carthel said. “And, as coaches, that’s what we’re going to work for. This will be a tough coaching job for us, but you’ve got to earn your paycheck. So, we’re going to find out who wants to play this game for the right reasons, get out there, practice and continue to put our best foot forward [to] get better each and every day.”

    In their win against HBU, ACU had 280 passing yards and 303 rushing yards, 31 first downs and one out of two fourth down conversions. Junior quarterback Luke Anthony had 30 complete passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns.

     The Wildcats average 33.9 points per game, 197.4 rushing yards per game and 262.7 passing yards per game. They have completed 171 passes out of 273 attempted with three interceptions this season.

     Senior running back Tracy James leads the Wildcats with 586 rushing yards, averaging 81.6 yards per game. Right behind him is sophomore quarterback Sema’J Davis who averages 50.4 yards per game. Davis has played seven games and started one game having 22 completed passes out of 35 for 182 yards and two touchdowns. 

     Anthony has been ACU’s main quarterback with 148 completed passes out of 234 attempted with three interceptions for 1,645 yards. Anthony also has made 12 touchdowns, leading the team in touchdowns.

     Senior wide receiver Josh Fink leads the team on the receiving end with a total of 540 receiving yards— the longest catch being 64 yards—averaging 14.6 yards per game and a total four touchdowns this season. Sophomore Blair Zepeda is the team’s placekicker, making nine out of 14 attempts with a season high of 51 yards against the University of Central Arkansas.

     “They do a tremendous job on offense,” said Carthel. “They through the ball really well and run it. They just hired a new defensive coordinator and he does a really nice job and has got them playing at a really high level.”

     The Lumberjacks will then play McNeese State at 3 p.m. on Oct. 26 in Homer Bryce Stadium for the Homecoming game.

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