- First, I want to say congratulations to the GVSU Lakers. They are a heck of a football team. They are the second best team in the country for a reason. They executed their offense to near perfection, they made big time plays during critical parts of the game, and had enough firepower to pull away and give a convincing win against a good Lion team. Their defense was equally as good as they have excellent tacklers, good coverage schemes, and they were ready the Lions, no doubt. I also want to give props to their fans and alums who helped me prepare for my game analysis. They are a truly classy group of people and they represented their school very well. I am pulling for a Laker National Championship the rest of the way.
- This season and this team has nothing to hang their heads over. We were one point and one drive away from being a 12-0 team headed into the day. We were ranked as high as 4th in the country, something that had not happened in years. This was a terrific season. As much as the seniors hated to go out this way, I am sure of this, none of them probably every thought that they would end their season in the second round of the NCAA D2 playoffs. Next year, expect a better team as every year this program climbs higher and higher, and the goal of this program every year is to win conference and make a run at a National Championship, and it has happened before.
- Colby Carthel has done an amazing job in Commerce. He took a program that had been run down into the ground about as far as you can go and resurrected it back to it’s glory. Every coach in Lion history has done one big thing that. Bob Berry created a winning culture, Milburn Smith made the Lions dominant, J.V. Sikes took the Lions to national prominence, Ernest Hawkins gave the Lions long term stability and a National Championship, and Eddie Vowell morphed the program into the national conversation every year. Carthel has done 3 of the 5 things and I have a feeling he will be doing the other two. If he decides to stay long term, we will have another National Championship in Commerce and will be dominant again. Carthel has brought the right stuff and has surpassed all reasonable expectations. We need to hang on to this guy.
- The pride of the program is back and with the current students embracing it as well as the former players broadcasting it, the identity will come full circle once again. The gap between 1998-2013 was only 14 years, but it was enough to make the school and the Northeast Texas region forget about the great tradition of Lion football. The Athletic department has made enormous strides to keep the programs strong in all sports, but with everything that has happened in the past 4 years, the success of all sports is going to continue to draw people around it and you will continue to see enrollments increase, endowments increase, and the winning culture increase.
- As far as the program itself goes, this is a team that will be a force next year. When you have a Harlon Hill nominee returning along with the Special teams player of the year, one of your best receivers, and many younger guys that have played and contributed, this is a sign of good things to come. As stated earlier, every team has gone one step further than the previous. The future teams will no longer have any excuse of not having had experience in playoffs or bowls. Every team has had this experience and the expectations will continue to increase. For this year, an 11-2 season with a conference title and a second round appearance is without a doubt, a successful season. Until next year.
I also wanted to thank a few Lions for their help in promoting this blog and encouraging it. Blake Cooper, Fred Woods, Cary Noiel, Curtis Buckley, Bob Bounds, Gary Compton, Billy Minor, Harrison Stewart and his family, Billy Watkins, Ray Hawkins, Noel Taylor, Russell McLean, Van Hargis, John Mark Dempsey, Brock Calloway, Mark Copeland, Allen Roulette, Don Madden, Bill Powers, Jim White, Bobby Wolfe, and various others.
A special thanks to a dear friend to me in Vic Henry. Vic is good friend of mine who was my Sunday School teacher when I attended Firewheel Church from 2009-2011. Vic is not a Lion but is a huge sports fan and has been following this blog and has been providing me with encouragement. He is a great guy and his positive words mean the world to me.