After a long awaited summer and grueling hours of pre-season camp, the Sam Houston football team is gearing up for their season opener against East Central Oklahoma.
Despite the Tigers of East Central being picked to finish last in the north division of the Lone Star Conference, SHSU head coach Todd Whitten has proclaimed that he is not going to take them lightly.
Whitten’s tactic is understandable considering the Bearkats survived a nailbiter in their season opener last year against fellow LSC competitor Angelo State. By the end of the first half, the Bearkats had a 17-0 lead and seemed to be in total control of the game. However, Angelo State would roar back, scoring an unanswered 13 points to keep Sam Houston on their toes.
Thanks to the defense however, the Bearkats were able to stop the Tigers on their final possesion.
Despite last year’s scare, Sam Houston has a well defined team returning. Quarterback Rhett Bomar returns to lead the Bearkats after passing for 2,209 yards in nine games last season. Bomar’s season was cut short last year due to a torn ligament in his left knee. It was not until his operation did Bomar discover that he had a tear in his patella tendon as well.
Though the offense has lost three All-Southland Conference offensive lineman and one All-American tight end to graduation, they do have three starting wide receivers returning.
As for the defensive team, Nolan Bucek amd Luke McCall return, with Bucek leading the Southland Conference last year in tackles with 88.
Kicker Taylor Wilkins is also returning for the special teams after posting a perfect 33-for-33 record in extra points and going 14-for-18 in field goals.
As for their opponents, the East Central Oklahoma tigers obtained a 2-9 record for the 2007 football season. East Oklahoma is also in a rebuilding process this season. The tigers have been placed with new members on their staff as well as new transfer students on their team who have never played for East Central Okalhoma before.
The Bearkats look to start their season on a good note as they take on the Tigers this Thursday at Bowers Stadium at 6 p.m.