November 7, 2012

Louisiana College looking for elusive eighth win

More news about: Louisiana College
Linebacker Peter "Phil" Ford is one of the lynchpins of the Louisiana College defense. "We are all just flying around and having fun; we're always running to the ball," he said.
Louisiana College athletics photo

Who doesn't like the number seven? It's the number of international super agent James Bond, 7-Up is a tasty lemon-lime beverage, the No. 7 has been worn by some of our greatest athletes like Mickey Mantle and John Elway, and it's just plain lucky. However, the Louisiana College football program may have a different view of the number as it has kept them from the playoffs for the past four seasons.

The Wildcats collected the infamous win No. 7 for the fifth straight season Saturday in a 72-14 massacre of Mississippi College, leaving one opportunity for the Wildcats to finally get over the hump against Hardin-Simmons on their home field Saturday.

A victory would mean not only the best record in the school's history at 8-2 but could propel the American Southwest Conference school into the NCAA national playoffs for the first time.

Standing in the way of those achievements and threatening the possibility of a fifth consecutive 7-3 season for the Wildcats is Hardin-Simmons. HSU boasts the No. 2 offense in the nation at 556.6 yards per contest, and the Cowboys are gunning for a 7-3 record.

However, Louisiana College is determined to climb beyond the plateau, and in the meantime get a little revenge. Last season, after a late loss to McMurry, Louisiana College still had a chance to go 8-2 and get an at-large bid, but HSU defeated the Wildcats in Abilene, 41-27.

This season, seventh-year coach Dennis Dunn has challenged the largest group of seniors he's had since taking over to make history.

"Certainly we feel like we're poised and put ourselves in the position to have the opportunity. Now it's before us and for a lot of people from the outside looking in, the jury is still out on whether our guys can respond in a big game," Dunn said. "I've challenged our seniors that this is their team and their opportunity. What legacy will they leave that's been different than the one left for you? And, the question can only be answered Saturday."

The past Wildcats teams had been defined by their offenses, especially when Ben McLaughlin was at the helm at quarterback. However, Dunn said that the defense has exceeded expectations this season, allowing the team to become more balanced and a better ground team offensively.

"Our defense has been lights out for most of the year," he said. "We've struggled in years past, but we've been extremely consistent this year, and [it] has been a real strength for our team, where in 2010 we were simply having to outscore people."

The Wildcat defense has forced 15 fumbles this season, recovered 14, picked off 14 passes, broke up 56 passes, and scored three defensive touchdowns while holding opponents to just 312.8 yards per contest.

Junior linebacker Peter "Phil" Ford leads LC with nine tackles for a loss, six sacks and three forced fumbles. Ford's take on the defensive improvement is the unit's collective mentality.

"We are all just flying around and having fun; we're always running to the ball," Ford said. "That's the one thing our coaches preach to us is to fly around and fly to get to the football; we need to have 11 hats to the ball running at full speed."

Ford said the defense's big-play ability goes back to a drill called "White Shirt Pride," but that the drill is more than just a practice routine, it's a mindset.

"We wear white shirts on defense in practice. The white shirt is the tie that binds us together," said Ford. "We look at each other, and we don't do it for ourselves. We do it for the brothers beside us, and we know that the other players are doing it for the brothers at their side. We will go 100 percent every time because we know our brother will do anything for us on the field."

Ford doesn't take for granted Saturday's implications of an eighth win. In fact, he said he takes Dunn's challenge to the seniors personally while paralleling the Wildcats' legacy to "White Shirt Pride."

"We know what our vision is, what we've wanted when we first started. We have to go out Saturday," Ford said. "We want to be the only team in history to do this, but it's not for us, it's for the people and the players before us that laid the foundation."

Louisiana College will get a chance to make the No. 8 lucky in Pineville, La., on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Huntingdon has one more hurdle

The Hawks debuted No. 5 in the South Region rankings, which allows them to control their own destiny to the playoffs. Huntingdon will have a formidable opponent in Adrian from the North Region. Adrian enters Saturday's contest with the Hawks No. 8 in its regional rankings with a 7-1 record. The game will be in Montgomery, Ala., at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Millsaps and Birmingham-Southern tangle for SAA title

Millsaps is guaranteed a share of the first SAA title with a 3-0 conference record, however the Panthers could keep the Majors from winning it outright Saturday. BSC has lost three of its past four. Millsaps will try to cap off a solid season after a disappointing loss to Trinity, which could have set up Saturday to be a game to see if the Majors could have been playoff eligible.

Sul Ross looks to end roller-coaster season at top

The Lobos have been nothing if not exciting. An upset of Trinity and mind-boggling shootouts with Mississippi College, Texas Lutheran and Hardin-Simmons leave Sul Ross with a chance at a .500 season for the first time since 2007. Seniors Dominique Carson and A.J. Springer will try to ensure a 5-5 mark and keep the Lobos at the top of the NCAA in yards per contest entering Saturday's ETBU game at an eye-popping 583.4 yards per contest.

Humorous Tweet of the Week

"Al long as video game prices don't go up .. I'm good" -- @Jamie Bunting -- Louisiana College quarterback after the presidential election results

comments powered by Disqus

Justin Goldberg

Justin Goldberg is a newspaper copy editor and freelance writer in southwest Virginia. Originally from New York, he played Division III basketball in that colder region of the country, but moved to Virginia in 2008 to earn his M.F.A. in creative writing. He has written for multiple publications, including C-VILLE Weekly and The Roanoke Times. He is happy to join D3football.com for his first season as the Around the South columnist..
2013 columnist: Andee Djuric
2012 columnist: Kyle Robarts
2008-11 columnist: Jason Bowen

Previous Columns

September 16, 2014
Urban trying to teach Trinity back to prominence
After nine seasons in the NFL, former D3football.com All-America wide receiver Jerheme Urban has...
September 12, 2014
Around the South is coming soon!
The new Around the South column will debut on or around Sept. 16.
November 20, 2013
First-year programs back on recruiting trail
After mixed results in their first season of Division III football, Berry, Hendrix and Southwestern...
November 13, 2013
Hardin-Simmons feels control slip away after player’s death
The Cowboys are shouldering heavy emotions now, first after learning that former head coach Jimmie...
November 7, 2013
Things get complicated vying for Pool B
Without an automatic qualifier, a conference title isn’t enough for teams like Texas Lutheran...
October 30, 2013
Rhodes protected by its Shield
Rhodes’ head coach says linebacker Michael Shield “epitomizes what we do on defense.&rdq...
October 23, 2013
Choctaws no longer being written off
Mississippi College started the season a dismal 0-3, but the team has done a complete 180 degree...
October 16, 2013
Millsaps kicker able to put the past behind him
A missed kick during his freshman year has always haunted Beau Brady. After nailing the game-winner...
October 9, 2013
TLU strengthened by bond of brothers
The quarterback and receiver pair -- twins Brent and Cameron Peavy -- have made sacrifices throughou...
October 2, 2013
Leahy is safety net for Centre’s defense
After spending the summer working in an oncology clinic and meeting the people there, med-school-hop...
September 24, 2013
ETBU sizzles through the sky with 3 quarterbacks
East Texas Baptist has rotated all three of its quarterbacks this season to put up some gaudy...
September 17, 2013
Caton an unexpected gift for fledgling Hendrix program
The wide receiver is one of just a handful of transfers on a team dominated by freshmen, including...
November 7, 2012
Louisiana College looking for elusive eighth win
The Wildcats have earned seven wins each of the past four seasons, and they stand at that number for...
October 24, 2012
Ex-NFL coach sees good in D-III
Aaron Pelch gave up a job in the NFL to return to Division III and take the reins at Millsaps after...
October 16, 2012
Cru alum Freeman makes a big leap
It took a few years and a few instances of heartbreak, but former UMHB linebacker Jerrell Freeman...
October 9, 2012
HSU freshman makes immediate impact
Jessie Ramos is the kind of player that Hardin-Simmons coaches will be glad to have on their roster...
October 3, 2012
Being a BSC backup isn't all bad
Tailback Joe Moultrie may play in the shadow of All-American Shawn Morris, but the backup doesn't...
September 26, 2012
Third-generation Hawk helps put team back on the map
Huntingdon quarterback Neal Posey comes from a solid pedigree -- the school's baseball field is...
September 18, 2012
Is this the start of Sul Ross rising?
After stumbling through losses in its first two games, Sul Ross has a lot to be happy about after...
September 11, 2012
Football, family and schoolwork lure transfer to Trinity
Quarterback Nyk McKissic felt something was missing playing at the Division I level. So he reached...
September 4, 2012
Backyard Brawl burdened by Mother Nature
Months of preparation by Millsaps and Mississippi College were delayed as Hurricane Isaac delayed...
August 28, 2012
10 games to watch for 2012
Kyle Robarts was born and bred in the heart of Texas -- surrounded by football at several levels....

Other Columnists