Greetings, Lion fans, and it appears that things are perking up in Commerce. Gone, for the most part(this is Texas, after all), is the cold weather, and the days are getting warmer and longer. Spring practice begins this week, culminating in the annual Spring Game, March 30th at 4pm, at The Hawk. Also, the 2019 schedule has been released, and that’s what we’ll be taking a look at today.
First of all, I want to address a question that several of you have asked, and we here at The Wire have scratched our heads about as well. The past two seasons, why have the Lions traveled west to Wichita Falls to face Midwestern? In addition, the Lions have hosted Angelo State in Commerce the past two seasons. Well, we finally have an answer.
According to Director of Athletics Tim McMurray, it has to do with Lone Star Conference scheduling. The LSC sets football schedules in a two-year cycle, and when a new schedule is flipped, occasionally an opponent is double dipped, as has occurred with the two teams mentioned earlier. This season appears to have corrected itself.
With that said, let’s take a look…..
9/7 Team TBA-As it stands now, the Lions have an open date. McMurray has several “irons in the fire”, so to speak, and there’s still plenty of time.
9/14 @ Western Oregon The Wolves make their first appearance on the Lions schedule as part of a partnership with the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Lion fans will find some familiar names in the Great Northwest, such as Central Washington, who the Lions defeated in the 2017 playoffs, and Azusa Pacific, who made an appearance in the Division 2 playoffs this past season. Western Oregon finished 5-6 in 2018.
9/21 Eastern New Mexico-The Greyhounds return to Commerce after a 5-6 2018 season. Eastern is always a tough opponent with their triple option offense, as the Lions found out in a hard-fought 21-11 win in Portales last year.
9/28 @ Colorado State-Pueblo-The Thunderwolves, who finished 11-2 in 2018, came into Commerce and defeated the Lions, 23-13, in a torrential downpour. They look to be very talented this season as well.
10/5 @ Texas A&M-Kingsville-This time, the Lions travel to the Rio Grande Valley to face the Javaelinas, who they defeated in a 37-36 double overtime thriller in Commerce last season. Kingsville finished 4-7 in 2018, but they’re still the Javaelinas, and they’re certain to give the Lions a battle.
10/12 Midwestern State-One half of what has become the Lions biggest rivals in the LSC, this time, the Mustangs make the trek to Commerce. If past history is any indication, this game will be a real barn burner. These are two teams that don’t really seem to like each other, and that doesn’t look to change much with the change in coaching staff for the Lions.
10/19 @ Tarleton State-No rest for the weary. The other half of the Lion rivals, Tarleton comes off a 12-1 record in 2018, and a regional final loss to Minnesota State-Mankato. The Texans ended the Lions season, 34-28, in the regional semifinal this past season, and 47-21 in Commerce during the regular season, in which the officiating can only be described as questionable. Tarleton is big, fast, and talented. They’re a good football team, and they like to let their opponents know about it, too. This looks like it could be a real rough and tumble affair in Stephenville.
10/26 Western New Mexico-The Mustangs were winless in 10 games last season, and were whipped by the Lions, 55-7, in Silver City. Western is a struggling program that the Lions should handle.
11/2 @ West Texas A&M-The Buffs, who finished 6-5 this past season, host the Lions in Canyon this time. The Lions routed WT 41-16 in Commerce last season, and always look to give the Lions their best effort.
11/9 UT-Permian Basin-The Falcons finished 2-9 in 2018, but gave the Lions everything they could handle and then some in a 20-17 Lion victory.
11/16 @ Angelo State-The finale of the 2019 season, this time the Lions make the trip to San Angelo. The Rams finshed 6-6 in 2018, and fell to the Lions, 41-13, in Commerce. The Rams have always given the Lions a tough game.
Well, there it is, Lion fans. The toughest stretch is the four games from late September, through mid October, in which the Lions face teams with a combined 35-12 record, two teams that made a playoff appearance in 2018, and one team that was in the opinion of many, snubbed at playoff time.
See You March 30th at The Hawk.