Cardinals hit the road … literally

Published 5:05 pm Friday, October 7, 2016

Lamar’s late change in travel plans did have an effect on its pregame plans the day before playing Abilene Christian.
“We were planning on meeting and watching some film and walking through today at Lamar prior to flying,” coach Ray Woodard said Friday while riding on a bus. “We won’t get to walk through, but we’ll meet tonight.”
The next time the Cardinals (1-3, 1-1 Southland) step on a field, it will be for warm-ups right before the game.
The Cards had chartered a plane from Florida to fly to Abilene for Saturday night’s game, but the plane was grounded thanks to the effects of Hurricane Matthew, which was Category 4 Thursday before downgrading to Category 3 as it blasted the Florida Atlantic coast. Lamar had to take a bus to the game, leaving campus Friday morning.
The destination is a place where the Cards historically have been successful, although they’ve been once since reinstating football in 2010. Shotwell Stadium, the Abilene ISD-owned facility, will no longer be home to Abilene Christian football after this season, but Lamar has won 6 of 8 games there, including a 24-21 feat there two years ago.
“We had to rally late to pick up a three-point win,” Woodard said. “I expect something very similar Saturday. Our challenge this week is to win one on the road. ACU is going to get that win soon; I only hope that we can put that off for one more week.”
Lamar’s win came during an 8-4 campaign.
Abilene Christian (0-5, 0-3) has not won in six games, dating back to a 21-17 triumph over Southeastern Louisiana last Nov. 14. They could be without starting quarterback Dallas Sealey, a sophomore who suffered a concussion against Central Arkansas last week. The backup, senior Parker McKenzie, completed 24 of 36 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns at Lamar last season, but he has played second fiddle this year, totaling only 155 passing yards so far.
McKenzie’s outing at Lamar was overshadowed by Kade Harrington’s Southland record-setting 347 rushing yards, the most in an FCS game that season (later matched by Fordham’s Chase Edmonds). Harrington is leading the Southland again in rushing at 112 yards per game, coming off 143 yards and a score against SELA.
“Any time you have a Kade Harrington on your team, you always have a chance to be explosive,” ACU coach Ken Collums said. “He is always going to find a crease. He is running the ball well, and he fits [Lamar’s] scheme really well. We’re going to have to do a solid job against their run, but also against their tight ends. “
Woodard is expecting sophomore safety Davon Jernigan and sophomore cornerback Rodney Randle back in the lineup after injuries last week.
Junior safety Cardell Lue will miss Saturday’s game after collapsing before practice Thursday. Woodard did not have a diagnosis for Lue, but the coach didn’t think it was heat-related.

Langley: A real Lamar HERO
In addition to being named the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, Lamar senior cornerback Brendan Langley was voted as the FCS Football Defensive HERO of the Week, awarded by The award is presented to the athlete who received the most fan votes on the website.
Langley intercepted three passes against SELA, tying a school record. He has four picks this season.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

• When: 6 tonight
• Where: Shotwell Stadium, Abilene
• Radio: KLVI-AM 560
• Southland records: Lamar 1-1, ACU 0-3
• Series record: Lamar leads 11-7; last meeting, Lamar won 44-28 in Beaumont in 2015

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About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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