Freedom of religion should extend to the field
Nov19

Freedom of religion should extend to the field

A young man crosses the goaline and points to the heavens. A coach kneels in prayer after a game. These are common scenes across the nation on Friday nights in the fall. Football and faith have gone hand-in-hand for decades, but many are starting to question religion’s place on the gridiron. On Oct. 17, New York high school quarterback Dante Turo scored a touchdown before pointing to the sky, in an attempt to take the attention from himself and give it to God. The referees saw it a different way. Turo’s act drew a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. Washington assistant high school football coach Joe Kennedy had a postgame ritual that involved him kneeling in prayer at the 50-yard line. When players started joining him, however, district officials felt this action violated the separation of church and state. Kennedy was ordered to stop, but continued praying after each game. On Oct. 28, the school district placed Kennedy on administrative leave. Separation of church and state is a good thing. In a free, democratic society, no one should be forced into religion. In the same way, however, nobody should be kept from practicing their faith. The First Amendment prohibits government-sponsored religious activity. But it also protects the rights of individuals who act privately. Turo didn’t hand out Bibles to his opponents after he scored a touchdown. He simply pointed to the sky. Kennedy didn’t lead devotionals with his players. He merely knelt in private prayer. These individuals exercised their constitutional rights for religious expression and were reprimanded for it. Critics will say that religion has no place on the football field. What they don’t understand is that faith isn’t something you can turn off and on like a light switch. Your religion is an extension of who you are and it permeates all aspects of your life. So to ask a teenager not to give credit to God when he scores a touchdown or to ask a coach not to pray for his players is not only unconstitutional, but it’s also...

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Soccer has strong showing in ASC tournament
Nov19

Soccer has strong showing in ASC tournament

Both the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s and women’s soccer teams qualified for post-season play and finished their seasons in the semifinals round at the ASC Conference Tournament. The men finished with an overall record of 8-5-3 (4-2-2) and defeated Hardin-Simmons University 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the playoffs before falling to the University of Texas-Tyler 1-0. The women finished with an overall record of 12-4-1 (8-1-0) and won their quarterfinal match-up against the University of the Ozarks 1-0. They then fell to eventual ASC Champion Hardin-Simmons University 4-0. Combined, both programs had four seniors including: Ben Hammonds, Colby Case, Jorge Marquez and Ashley Stenack, all of whom played important roles for their teams. Stenack, a nursing major, will cherish the memories she made with her teammates forever. “Honestly, I am going to miss everything about soccer. I’m going to miss having practice every day, that adrenaline you get before the start of each game, making tackles, the excitement after we score a goal, and most importantly my teammates,” she said. Stenack enjoyed each season as she enters the next chapter in her life. “I absolutely loved playing soccer here these past 4 years. I have learned a lot about myself from playing soccer and studying to be a nurse. It takes a lot of time management and dedication, and I feel like I can accomplish anything now, because doing both soccer and nursing is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done regardless of the difficulty, I’m going to miss every second of my collegiate soccer career here at UMHB,” she said. For the returners, both squads are already preparing for next season to get another chance at earning a conference championship ring. Sophomore pre-physical therapy major Case Carnes believes the Cru has what it takes to win it all next season. “We had a great team full of guys that worked hard every day and we all worked for each other. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys. Next year, our goal is definitely winning conference and I believe we have a strong chance, especially with most of the players returning,” he said. Junior nursing major Kathryn Parker also believes in her team and reflected about the season. “The season was good, it was our second best for all the returners. We have a lot of room for improvement so that’s something to work for. As for going into next year, it’s always exciting going into your senior year and we have a lot of high goals and a lot of returners all looking for the same goals,” she said. The Cru...

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Statement win propells Cru into playoffs
Nov19

Statement win propells Cru into playoffs

The UMHB football team knew they needed to make a statement in order to lock up an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs. They did just that Saturday afternoon as they thumped East Texas Baptist University 67-20 and grabbed a share of the American Southwest Conference Championship in the process. Senior quarterback Zach Anderson threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns as the Crusaders picked apart the Tiger defense. “We just tried to take what they were giving us, and a lot of times, that was the pass,” Anderson said. The UMHB defense forced a three-and-out on ETBU’s first drive of the game. A short punt gave the Crusaders the ball at the ETBU 38-yard line. On the Crusaders’ first play, Anderson completed a screen pass to freshman DeNerian Thomas, who slipped past a defender and took it to the endzone to give the Cru an early 7-0 lead. The Tigers responded by driving down to the UMHB 37 before they were forced to punt. However, UMHB returner Jaedon Johnson fumbled during the return and the Tigers pounced on it and had new life at the Cru 13. Three plays later, senior running back Kendall Roberson took it nine yards for a touchdown. A missed extra point left the Cru up 7-6 with 11:33 remaining in the first quarter. The Cru then managed a 10-play, 75 yard drive that set them up for a fourth-and-goal from the one yard line before senior running back Malcolm Miller fought his way in to the endzone to put the Cru up 14-6. After ETBU failed a 4th-and-8 attempt at the UMHB 20, the Cru took over and quickly drove down the field as junior wide receiver Wykeyhe Walker hauled in back-to-back receptions of 20 and 30 yards before Anderson found freshman tight end Jaron Dykstra in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown. A blocked extra point attempt made it 20-6 with 5:43 left in the first quarter. With 5:51 remaining in the first half, junior quarterback Blake Jackson entered the game and connected with wide receiver DeNerian Thomas over the middle for a yard score which made it 27-6. On ETBU’s next drive, defensive back Bryce Wilkerson picked off ETBU quarterback Josh Warbington to give the Cru the ball at the ETBU 31. Two plays later, on 3rd-and-13, Jackson kept it on a quarterback draw and took it 33-yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 34-6 before at halftime. Two minutes into the third quarter, Anderson lofted a fade to the endzone that Walker hauled in over a defender for a 23-yard score to make it 41-6....

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Cru bounces back with win against Howard Payne
Nov07

Cru bounces back with win against Howard Payne

The UMHB football team responded to its first regular season loss in six years by beating Howard Payne University 67-14 on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Crusader Stadium. On the Cru’s opening drive, Senior quarterback Zach Anderson hit Wykeyhe Walker for a 38- yard gain before he was pushed out of bounds at the 14-yard line. On the next play, Anderson found Walker again over the middle for a 14-yard touchdown to put the Cru up 6-0 after a blocked extra point attempt. With 5:03 left in the first quarter, Anderson launched a 50-yard bomb that Walker hauled in in the endzone for his second score of the afternoon to extend the lead to 13-0. Senior kicker Jacob O’Neill hit a 33-yard field goal to push the lead to 16-0 with 1:21 remaining in the first quarter. Junior quarterback Blake Jackson entered the game for the Cru and connected with receiver Robbie Seybold for a 39-yard reception to put the Cru at the HPU three yard line. Two plays later, DeNarian Thomas took the handoff on an end-around for a 2- yard touchdown that made it 23-0 at the start of the second quarter. With 8:39 left in the half, the Yellow Jackets got on the board with a 1-yard run by Ja’Von Dickson which made it 23-7. The UMHB punt team downed a Baylor Mullins punt at the 3 yard line. HPU running back Justin Acosta fumbled on the first play of the drive and Bryce Wilkerson pounced on it in the endzone for a touchdown to give the Crusaders a 30-7 advantage. The Yellow Jackets answered by driving 74 yards on 9 plays and eventually scoring on a 1-yard touchdown from Patrick Hernand to cut the lead to 30-14 at the half. UMHB Head Coach Pete Fredenberg wasn’t pleased with his team’s play in the first half. “I don’t think we were focused. We jumped offside a number of times. They were struggling to make first downs, but we were helping them,” he said. “We did some things defensively that we didn’t in practice. We talked at halftime and they came out and really responded it in the second half.” UMHB opened the second half with a touchdown when Jackson rolled out and found Jordan Millar for a 9-yard touchdown. A 14-yard run from Malcolm Miller and a 40-yard score by Duane Thompson left extended the UMHB lead to 57-7 at the end of the third quarter. Thompson had his best game of the season as he rushed for 114 yards on 9 carries. “I wanted to respond for our leaders and our seniors, because we feel...

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Playing in the rain
Oct29

Playing in the rain

Conditions weren’t ideal Saturday when No. 2 UMHB squared off against Texas Lutheran University, but the Crusaders were able to overcome the weather as well as a hungry Bulldogs team and extend their regular season winning streak to 61 games in front of a soggy crowd at Crusader Stadium. Heavy rain early in the contest made things difficult for both offenses as the only score of the first quarter came in the form of an 11-yard touchdown run from senior running back Malcolm Miller to put the Cru up 7-0. The touchdown was set up by a 37-yard completion from senior quarterback Zach Anderson to senior wide receiver Marcus Wimby. Wimby said the team offense wasn’t discouraged by its early struggles. “On the sideline, I just reminded the guys to stay patient and everything would open up for us,” he said. Miller found the endzone again on a 1-yard score to make it 14-0. After the teams traded punts, UMHB linebacker Matt Cody picked off TLU quarterback Trenton White and returned it 28 yards to the TLU one yardline. Two plays later, junior quarterback Blake Jackson added a 1-yard touchdown of his own to give the Cru a 20-0 advantage after a blocked extra point attempt. TLU got on the board when senior quarterback Trenton White scrambled around the left side and broke free for a 24-yard score to make it 20-7 at the half. On the opening kickoff of the second half, sophomore Jordan Millar fielded the ball at the 31 yardline and took it 69 yards for a touchdown. A successful two-point conversion pushed the lead to 28-7. The Bulldogs responded when White found freshman Jekovan Holmes for a 48-yard touchdown. TLU added a 31-yard field goal from kicker Chadd Brown to pull within 28-17. The UMHB defense wasn’t getting much help from its offense in the second half, but senior linebacker Trey Thedford said his squad was still confident in their ability to make a play, even after giving up consecutive scores. “I don’t think we were scared. It’s not like we shut down. I think if anything, it allowed us to rise up a little bit,” Thedford said. The Crusader offense relieved some of the pressure when Anderson found Wimby again for a 56-yard touchdown to give UMHB some breathing room at 35-17. TLU scored its final points with a 28-yard field goal from Brown to make it 35-20. It didn’t take long for the Cru to answer, however, as sophomore Bryce Wilkerson took the ensuing kickoff 89-yards for a touchdown. A blocked extra point attempt left the score at 41-20 with 10:52 left to...

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Column: Texas baseball has new life after 2015

Texas is and will always be a football state. However, the state’s two Major League Baseball franchises made sports fans across the Lone Star State beam with pride this fall as both found themselves as unlikely participants in the MLB postseason. While both teams can consider their seasons successful, they took very different paths to get there. From 2011-14, the Houston Astros averaged 104 losses per season. The team was clearly in a rebuilding mode, but the strategies General Manager Jeff Luhnow used during the rebuild rubbed many baseball purists the wrong way. The Astros traded away veteran players for minor league prospects and dumped payroll in an effort to build for the future. Because of this, many accused the Astros of “tanking,” or intentionally putting a bad product on the field in an effort to earn better draft picks. What those critics don’t understand is that rebuilding in baseball isn’t like other sports. A couple of draft picks and a free agent signing isn’t going to be enough to turn around a team that has lost over 100 games. It starts at the bottom, and the foundation of every successful MLB franchise is its farm system. What the Astros did was build a minor league system full of young, talented players with great potential. Last season, the team began to reap the rewards of their patience when athletic outfielder George Springer made his debut and instantly made an impact for the club. This year, the Astros took things a step further as highly-touted prospects Lance McCullers, Preston Tucker and former No.1 overall pick Carlos Correa not only made their MLB debuts, but served pivotal roles for the Astros in 2015. Houston was often called out for its reluctance to spend money. In 2013, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez made more than the Astros’ entire big league roster. With that being said, no amount of money the Astros could have invested in the team would have made them a competitive club. Sure, ownership could have thrown millions of dollars at a frontline starter or a middle-of-the-order bat and hoped for the best, but even the best players available via free agency would have had a minimal impact for a club that was completey void of big league talent. Instead, Luhnow decided to endure the criticism and stick to the process. Now that the Astros have several young, talented players ready to contribute at the big league level, the team can be more aggressive in free agency and wisely assess where to increase spending instead of just aggressively throwing money in a bottomless pit. On the other end...

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