SFA makes first trip to San Antonio since 1947 facing Incarnate Word Saturday

SFA makes first trip to San Antonio since 1947 facing Incarnate Word Saturday

SFA Athletics

NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)

Coming off its bye week of the 2016 season, Stephen F. Austin returns to action with its first trip to the Alamo City in nearly 70 years. The Lumberjacks square off with Southland Conference newcomer Incarnate Word Saturday at 6 p.m. at Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium in San Antonio.

Stephen F. Austin's game at Incarnate Word this Saturday will not be televised but will stream online atUIWCardinals.com through Stretch Internet. Rob Meyers, the voice of the Lumberjacks, will call the game along with analyst Tyler DePascal on Q107.7 FM, available online at Q1077.com as well as through the Lumberjack Sports Network on the TuneIn app. Live stats will be available atUIWCardinals.com, complemented by Twitter updates @SFA_Football.

Saturday marks the first time Stephen F. Austin will play a game in San Antonio since 1947 as the Lumberjacks travel to Incarnate Word for the first time since the Cardinals joined the Southland Conference in 2014. The 'Jacks have played four games previously in the Alamo City, posting a 1-2-1 record, but have not made the trip to San Antonio since the Truman administration. SFA played at St. Mary's in 1927, falling to the Rattlers 19-0, and played at Trinity three times - 1933 (L, 13-0), 1941 (W, 6-0) and 1947 (T, 0-0).  To put that into perspective with other major stories in the sports world, SFA's last trip to San Antonio came two years after the last time the Chicago Cubs made the World Series (1945).

2016 Record: 1-6 overall, 1-4 Southland Conference
Last Three Games: L at Abilene Christian (52-27), L vs. Sam Houston State (63-48), L at Texas State (48-17)
Head Coach: Larry Kennan (LaVerne, 1966). Fifth season at Incarnate Word (17-34, .333), Ninth season overall (41-50-3, .452)
Key Offensive Players:
• #4 Trent Brittain (Jr., QB): 109-of-220 passing (49.6%) for 1,385 yds., 12 TDs, 4 INTs; 47 rushes for 49 yds. (1.0 avg.), 4 TDs
• #25 Broderick Reeves (Sr., RB): 98 rushes for 385 yds. (3.9 avg.), 5 TDs 
• #21 Desmond Hite (Fr., RB): 27 rushes for 261 yds. (9.7 avg.), 2 TDs
• #81 Kody Edwards (Jr., WR): 24 catches for 444 yds. (18.5 avg.), 6 TDs
• #2 Jordan Hicks (Sr., WR): 17 catches for 279 yds (16.4 avg.), 2 TDs 
Key Defensive Players:
• #17 Sean Hoeferkamp (Jr., S): 49 tackles (30 solo), 4 PBU
• #33 Joel Higgins (Sr., LB): 48 tackles (21 solo), 4.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 1 PBU
• #9 Josh Zellars (Sr., LB): 46 tackles (31 solo), 1 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FR
• #32 Jamarkese Williams (So., CB): 42 tackles (24 solo), 2.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 3 PBU
• #99 Alex Jenkins (Sr., DE): 18 tackles (6 solo), 5.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 1 PBU
Synopsis: Incarnate Word enters the week at 1-6 overall and 1-4 in Southland Conference play, losing five-straight games but dropping competitive contests to Nicholls, McNeese and Sam Houston State. The Cardinals are averaging 28.3 points and 356.9 yards of total offense per game, relying on a balanced offensive attack that has run 241 running plays and 252 passing plays. UIW is averaging 238.14 passing yards per game behind QB Trent Brittain with WRs Kody Edwards (444 yds.), Jordan Hicks (279 yds.) and Jamari Gilbert (272 yds.) emerging as the Cardinals' top targets. On the ground, RB Broderick Reeves (385 yds.) and Desmond Hite (261 yds.) spearhead the attack that averages 118.7 yards per game. Defensively, UIW is giving up 41.3 points and 475.3 yards per game, including 169.1 rushing yards and 306.14 passing yards per game. S Sean Hoeferkamp leads the Cardinals with 49 tackles on the year while LB Joel Higgins has added 48 with 4.5 tackles for loss and a team-best 3.0 sacks. LB Josh Zellars has registered 46 tackles with DE Alex Jenkins leading with UIW with 5.0 tackles for loss.

Stephen F. Austin and Incarnate Word resume their short all-time series Saturday, meeting for just the third time since the Cardinals joined the Southland Conference in 2014. The Lumberjacks won the previous two meetings, defeating Incarnate Word 38-3 in 2014 and 55-21 in 2015, both of which took place at Homer Bryce Stadium. Head coach Clint Conque is 3-0 all-time against the Cardinals in his head coaching career, defeating Incarnate Word 58-7 in 2013 at Central Arkansas before his pair of wins at the helm of the Lumberjacks.

Stephen F. Austin clawed its way back from an early 20-point deficit against Southeastern Louisiana on October 15th, putting itself in position to tie the game midway through the fourth quarter. But a blocked field goal return for a touchdown, followed by a Lion pick-six 70 seconds later sealed the Lumberjacks' fate in a 58-34 loss to Southeastern Louisiana. The Lions raced out to a 30-10 lead late in the first half, but SFA gained some momentum before the half off a George Stone interception return for a touchdown, trimming the deficit to 30-17. The 'Jacks then used a big game from Loren Easly, who rushed for 169 yards and three touchdowns, to get to within three at 37-34 and were lining up for the potential game-tying field goal when the bottom fell out. The loss is the third-straight for SFA, snapping a five-game home winning streak as well as a two-game streak against Southeastern Louisiana.

The highlight of SFA's game against Southeastern Louisiana on October 15 was the emergence of sophomore RB Loren Easly, who put together his best game of the season. Easly rushed 14 times for 169 yards and three touchdowns, marking the first 100-yard rushing game for SFA this season and the most for the Lumberjacks since Easly's 213-yard performance against Sam Houston State last year. The 169 yards was the second-most for the Houston native and the third time in his career he has eclipsed the 100-yard mark, rushing for 148 yards against Nicholls in 2015 as well. Easly put together touchdown runs of two, 61 and 74 yards against the Lions as he now owns three of the 10 longest rushes from scrimmage in program history (80 yds. vs. Sam Houston, 75 yds. at TCU).
Senior QB Zach Conque continues to move up the career charts at SFA, now ranking among the program's all-time top-10 in five statistical categories. Conque saw limited action against Southeastern Louisiana, throwing for 28 yards and rushing for 22, but he became the fifth player in program history to surpass 7,000 career yards of total offense, sitting fourth at 7,044. He is also fourth in both career completions (519) and rushing touchdowns (29), sixth in career passing yards (5,707) and eighth in career touchdown passes (38). The only player in SFA history to both pass for 5,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards, Conque also ranks 19th all-time in career rushing yards with 1,330 for his career.

Senior DE Kedrick Harrison has been a mainstay among the Lumberjack defensive line for the past four seasons and he has now put his name among the program's elite. Harrison had another impressive performance against Southeastern Louisiana on October 15th, finishing with 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, along with a pair of quarterback hurries. With the effort, Harrison moved into sole possession of fifth-place all-time in program history in tackles for loss (33.5) and moved into eighth all-time in career sacks (18.0). The Coldspring native has registered 7.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss on the year, ranking first and third, respectively, in the Southland Conference rankings.

RB Joshawa West continues to add to his reputation as a "do-it-all" player. Against Southeastern Louisiana on October 15th, he rushed four times for 12 yards while returning seven kickoffs for 113 yards on the afternoon. Through the first seven games of his senior campaign, West has proven to be one of the team's most versatile players, rushing for 1,406 yards, hauling in 528 receiving yards and posting 679 kick return yards, giving him 2,613 career all-purpose yards. West has found the endzone six times in his career, playing in 42 games with 21 starts and averaging 62.2 all-purpose yards per game.

With his 169-yard performance against Southeastern Louisiana on October 15th, RB Loren Easly became the 29th member of the Lumberjack 1,000-yard rushing club and currently sits 25th all-time with 1,094 yards. SFA now has three current members of the 1,000-yard club on the roster as Easly joins RB Joshawa West (1,406 - 18th) and QB Zach Conque (1,330 - 19th) with the trio accumulating a combined 3,830 yards during their Lumberjack careers.

Senior LB George Stone has made his presence felt in the Lumberjack defensive it, impacting games in a variety of ways. Stone registered an interception in his second-straight game against Southeastern Louisiana, registering a 50-yard pick-six near the end of the first half to cut the Lion lead to 30-17. It came one week after his first career interception at Nicholls, setting up an SFA touchdown. Stone ranks second on the team with 48 tackles and has registered a pair of double-digit tackle games. 

SFA's 10-tackle club added a new member following the last game as junior S Marlon Wallsregistered a career-best 10 tackles against Southeastern Louisiana on October 15th. Walls had three solo stops and 0.5 tackles for loss against the Lions and became the fifth member of the double-digit tackle club, joining LB Price Miller (15 vs. Abilene Christian), LB George Stone (13 at McNeese and 10 at Nicholls) and CB Aaron Foy (10 at Nicholls).

Junior DE John Franklin was named a preseason first team All-Southland Conference selection in 2016 and the Greenville native is living up to the hype. Through the first seven games, Franklin has registered 5.0 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, ranking tied for second and fifth, respectively, in the SLC standings. Franklin has registered at least one tackle for loss in six of SFA's seven games in 2016, led by his 3.0 sack performance in the win over West Alabama, and has been causing havoc for quarterbacks all season, tallying six QBHs and a pair of forced fumbles on the year.

Head coach Clint Conque has made the most of off weeks during his coaching career as the Lumberjacks' head man has posted an 8-2 record in games the week after a bye, including last year's 55-21 victory over Incarnate Word at Homer Bryce Stadium. Conque's UCA teams did not have bye weeks during its time as a Division II program until its Division I transition in 2006 as Conque is 4-0 in road games after a bye.

Entering the second half of the 2016 season, Stephen F. Austin finds itself among the national FCS leaders in a number of categories. As a team, the Lumberjacks rank sixth nationally in fumbles recovered (9), 10th in sacks per game (3.00), 14th in passing offense (291.9 ypg), 15th in punt return average (14.5 ypr) and 20th in tackles for loss per game (7.0). Individually, DEKedrick Harrison is fourth nationally in sacks per game (1.07) and 26th in tackles for loss per game (1.5), WR Trae Hart is ninth in punt return average (15.0) with K Storm Ruiz checking in at 15th in field goals per game (1.29) and 21st in field goal percentage (75.0%).

Following Saturday's game at Incarnate Word, Stephen F. Austin shifts its focus to the final month of the season, preparing for two of its final three games at Homer Bryce Stadium. The first of those contests marks the Lumberjacks' 2016 Homecoming game, facing Central Arkansas on Saturday, November 5th. The game against the Bears will be broadcast on the American Sports Network and will kick at 2:30 p.m., 30 minutes earlier than the originally scheduled 3:00 p.m. kickoff time.