The 2020 Season, Week Ten- Lions vs. Angelo State Rams

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Greetings, Lion fans, and there is much to be excited about in Commerce, America. The recent announcement of a home and home series with defending Division II National Champion West Florida sent shock waves throughout the country and sent the message loud and clear that the Lions will not back down from a challenge. Kudos to AD Tim McMurray and his staff for pulling off the move of the year.

“To be The Man, ya gotta beat The Man” Pro Wrestler Ric Flair

The staff here at The Wire will have a breakdown on that match up in Pensacola very soon, but for now, let’s take a look at what could be one of the toughest Lone Star Conference games of the year for the Lions, the Angelo State Rams.

OVERVIEW


2019 Record: 8-3 (2nd in the LSC)

Biggest Win: vs. UTPB, 65-7

Biggest Loss: vs. Commerce, 17-3

Coach: Jeff Girsch, 8th Season (42-45)

Returning Starters: 9 Offense, 10 Defense

THE SKINNY- Only a hard fought 17-3 loss at home to the Lions kept Angelo State from the Division II playoffs in 2019. Jeff Girsch brings a Rams team to Commerce this November loaded with talent and experience. Only quarterback Payne Sullins and one offensive lineman left to graduation, and one defensive back is gone from a unit that led the Lone Star Conference in scoring defense. The Ram offense has big play talent at the wide receiver position, and a punishing running back. Make no mistake, this Rams team is locked and loaded for battle.

OFFENSE


Points: 33.8 ppg

Rush: 146.5 ypg

Pass: 239.0 ypg

Total: 385.5 ypg

Turnovers: 14

Returning Leaders:

Rushing: RB Daven Manning (5’10” 230 lbs., Jr.) 114-469 yds. 6 TD Long 19

RB Kaleb King (5’6″ 181 lbs., RS-Soph.) 51-308 yds., 3 TD Long 33

Passing: Colt Garrett (6’1″ 198 lbs., Sr.) No statistics

Receiving: WR Keke Chism (6’4″ 210 lbs., Sr.) 60-878 yds. 6 TD Long 79

WR Austin Landry (5’11” 184 lbs., RS-Soph.) 24-328 yds. 4 TD Long 67

WR Alize Thomas (5’9″ 170 lbs., Sr.) 24-299 yds. 3 TD Long 47

THE SKINNY: Colt Garrett, despite not having thrown a pass in 2019, is not without loads of talent to work with in the Rams offense. Chism was first team All LSC in 2019, and is a big target. Red shirt sophomore Austin Landry and senior Alize Thomas are proven receivers that are a threat. Manning is big, powerful back. If the Rams can get some effective quarterback play, they will give conference foes everything they can handle.

DEFENSE


Points: 14.8 ppg

Rush: 134.8 ppg

Passing: 199.9 ypg

Total: 334.7 ypg

Turnovers: 25

Returning Leaders:

LB Kyle Hunter (6’3″ 230 lbs., Sr.) 101 tackles (51 solo) 4.5 sacks

DB Leddy French II (5’11” 200 lbs., Sr.) 58 tackles (28 solo)

LB Andy Becker (6’0″ 219 lbs., Jr.) 54 tackles (24 solo)

DB Devin Washington (6’1″ 182 lbs., Sr.) 7 interceptions

THE SKINNY: Hunter, a second team all LSC selection along with defensive back Devin Washington, return to lead one of the most solid defensive units in the conference. Washington led the conference in 2019 with 7 picks, and Hunter had 4 1/2 sacks. French and Becker are stout defenders, and the Rams are looking to improve even more in 2020.

SPECIAL TEAMS:


Punting: Jared Defelice (5’10” 184 lbs., Jr.) 65-38.6 yds. Long 67

Kicking: Jared Defelice , 2-2 FG, Long 30

Punt Return: Alize Thomas 1-23.0 yds

Kick Return: DB Deldric Shields (5’9″ 190 lbs., Jr.) 6-36.0 yds. Long 83

WR Austin Landry- 6-24.0 yds. Long 41

WR Alize Thomas- 5-23.2 yds. Long 43

THE SKINNY: Defelice takes over the kicking duties from the veteran Connor Flanagan. Defelice proved to be a solid punter in 2019, averaging almost 39 yards per punt. Shields is a big play kick returner, and Thomas shows signs of becoming a real star in the return game.

THE LOW DOWN:  There is a long history between these two schools,  One of tough, physical defensive battles that always seem to be close. The Lions are fortunate to get this one at the friendly confines of The Hawk. The Rams have one of the best defenses in the Lone Star Conference, and if they are able to develop consistent quarterback play, Coach David Bailiff and his staff will have their hands full. This game is the kind that makes champions. A game that the Lions are ready for.

It’s Time to Hunt.

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