Sky's the limit for HSU
Long before practices started, I looked at what the Hardin-Simmons football team did last season, peeked at what the Cowboys had coming back and decided this may be the year the Cowboys topple Mary Hardin-Baylor and make a nice playoff run. And after watching the Cowboys dismantle Cisco College 46-7 in a camp-ending practice game Saturday, I'm convinced HSU may be the team to beat in the ASC. Obviously the Cowboys, who have dropped seven straight games to UMHB, will have to beat the Crusaders before they can entertain these types of thoughts. But it's clear from talking to the coaches and players and watching them work, that this year's team believes it has a big season ahead of it.
The Cowboys took care of business in their first intersquad action, with a strong performance against Cisco. Here are a few things that caught my eye from that scrimmage.
* In a half of work, senior quarterback Justin Feaster -- the preseason ASC offensive player of the year -- completed 15 of 22 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns while helping the Cowboys to a 26-7 halftime lead. The multi-talented Feaster showed once again his knack for ad-libbing and turning nothing into big plays.
* Hawaii transfer Daniel Lofton, the son of Hall of Famer James Lofton, is the real deal. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound receiver certainly looks the part, and judging from the four catches he made for 62 yards Saturday, including a nice touchdown grab on a 15-yard fade, he will join ZaVious Robbins and Justice Baker as nice weapons for Feaster.
* The team's defense looks improved. That unit showed massive improvement last year, and with eight starters back, it appears to ready to make the next step this season. HSU allowed just one first-quarter touchdown Saturday before settling in and bottling up the Wranglers.
* The Cowboys still need to find consistency at placekicker. Freshmen Scott Newberry and Alexander Wymore split time Saturday but combined to go just 4-of-7 on extra point attempts and didn't appear to have a whole lot leg behind their kickoffs.
* There was a nice crowd for a practice game. Fans nearly filled up the home side, which was kind of surprising considering it was just a scrimmage.
That's all I've got for now. But be sure to show up for the team's opener against Whitworth on Sept. 5. It should be a fun season.