Texas College christens their new home stadium at Mewbourne Field today hoping to resemble a newborn team.
The Steers, winless but optimistic, continue their slate of challenging games against Central States Football League powerhouse Northwestern Oklahoma State in the conference opener.
The contest on the western outskirts of the city, slated for a 2 p.m. on the All Saints campus, marks a change for a Steers squad who split their time playing at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium and Chapel Hill’s Bulldog Stadium in recent seasons.
Just when it seemed time for the schedule to cut Texas College some slack, the Steers get another tough assignment against a Northwestern Oklahoma State team with an .846 winning percentage and only eight losses on the field in 11 years of conference play.
But Northwestern Oklahoma State (0-3) enters the contest winless and vulnerable for a change. NWOSU outscored TC 150-44 in the previous two meetings, although the Steers see little reason for fear after getting battle-tested against the likes of NCAA Division I Lamar and Texas Southern already.
“They’re normally strong, but they can be beat,” TC head coach Georg Cumby said. “The level that we’ve been playing on the last four weeks, we’ve been playing way over our head. But it’s given us a chance to see how good we can be. The guys feel they can compete at a high level.”
TC scored its first touchdown of the season in last week’s 49-6 loss at Texas Southern. Devin Lee, a converted running back, reached the end zone on a 43-yard keeper.
With projected starter Vincent McNeil one of several key players declared ineligible for the season, and his backup Andrew Vargas going down to injury, the Steers seem content with Lee, a physical runner, being the replacement under center.
TC plans to display an offense suited to Lee’s strength, running out of the Pistol, where the running back lines up directly behind the quarterback in the shotgun. The Steers also implemented the “Diamond formation” being used by top-ranked Oklahoma, an intriguing alignment which places the quarterback in between two backs out of the shotgun, with another back directly behind him.
To be in the game, let alone win, the Steers know offensive production needs to improve. The Steers scored a scant nine points in the first four games.
“We were trying to figure out who we would put at quarterback. Devin’s the one that’s stepped up and stood out,” Cumby said. “We’re excited now. We believe our offense will do better and keep our defense off the field.”