Category Archives: NAIA

FULL PLATE: Fort Scott wins Region VI/Mac, Ottawa in NAIA playoffs

THE LAW FIRM OF HITEM, STICKEM & BEATEM AKA FORT SCOTT COACHING STAFF

THE LAW FIRM OF HITEM, STICKEM & BEATEM AKA THE FORT SCOTT COACHING STAFF

My plate is full this evening, with Fort Scott pulling out the 13-12 Region VI win over Butler and the KCAC getting two bids to the NAIA playoffs with undefeated, No. 5 Ottawa hosting Hastings (Neb.) andNo. 12 McPherson traveling to MidAmerica Nazarene for the first playoff appearance in school history. That’s 87 years, if you’re counting. Here’s the full NAIA playoff schedule, if you’re interested.

I covered the Ottawa-Friends game yesterday and I’ll tell you what … Ottawa looked really, really good. Like they got up 42-0 in the first 16 minutes good. And as far as finally getting to see Ethan Haller play? Dude could start for most of the teams in the MIAA, no doubt. He’s that good. Their defense? Not so much. And as far as Friends — if they would have finished that comeback, as one of our page designers told me — that’s the kind of thing you could go 40 years as a sportswriter and never see. Just nuts.

So … Fort Scott. Brooks Seeley covered that game today and yes, it was cold, and yes, he whined the whole time (LOL) but he got to see a great one. And because No. 3 Blinn beat No. 1 Navarro on Sunday in the SW Region title game, that means, no matter what, the Greyhounds are gonna be No. 1 in the next poll and get to play for the national title at the Citizens Bank Bowl in Pittsburg on Dec. 6 — let’s just hope they can get the No. 2 team to come play them, whoever that may be (Likely Blinn). Couldn’t have set itself up any better for Fort Scott.

I’m out. TA.

PS. I’VE BEEN SAYING ALL YEAR … HE’S NICE!!!

VinZant, Leeker, KCAC snubbed

Feel free to weigh in on this … but the NAIA All-American teams came out today without a single KCAC player. That means that Friends, with a national ranking, with a win at the NAIA Tournament, and with KCAC player of the year Megan VinZant and pitcher of the year Brandi Leeker, didn’t get a spot. One or the other would have been great, but nothing. How did this happen? I’ve got a theory — the KCAC, as a league, gets zero┬árespect on the national level in almost all sports they compete in. The exception is probably women’s basketball. Is this fair? Not really, but it usually derives from performance at national tournaments. In that aspect, the KCAC comes up short. The amount of teams waters down the competition level and doesn’t prepare them adequately for the national tournaments in most sports — although there are some exceptions, like I said. Not many.

But as far as VinZant and Leeker … they got robbed. I had one of them pegged as a first team picked and the other as an honorable mention. I’m not saying which. Here’s a link to their stats. Feel free to peruse and let me know what you think.

OUT. TA.

NAIA All-Americans

ASHLEY KRAFT

ASHLEY KRAFT

The NAIA Division II All-American teams are in and the KCAC got its due … kind of.

The women head the field this year, with two second-team picks in Southwestern’s Kaylaen Dittmer and Sterling’s Ashley Kraft, who is a repeat second-team selections. Haskell’s Kortney Smith was also a second-team pick. All three are seniors, BTW.

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National tourneys and a Daniel Howard sighting

ANDREA LEIKER

ANDREA LEIKER

Here’s a heartbreaker out of Canyon, Texas: the Emporia State women fell to West Texas A&M 86-83 at the NCAA Division II South Central Regional, and that was after coming from 10 points down with 1:47 left and without MIAA player of the year Ida Edwards for the last 14:21 after Edwards went down with a knee injury. Hope she’s ok. Andrea Leiker led the Hornets with 22 points in her final game for ESU. Also in the South Central Region, Washburn fell 72-63 to Central Oklahoma after the Bronchos rallied from a halftime deficit and sustained a game-opening 11-2 run by the Lady Blues. Tough exit for the MIAA, who I’m sure wanted to get one of their two teams out of the region. Here’s a link to the tourney bracket.

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MIAA FB attendance, NAIA rankings and Joaquin Phoenix

SALUTATIONS!!

No Joaquin Phoenix-like meltdowns from Sunflower State … just all the news that’s fit for print cyberspace! Come on, though, why isn’t he acting anymore? He can really do it all, which you know if you saw Walk the Line. Anyways, back to the grind.

So I stumbled across the rankings for NCAA Division II football attendance. Impressive stuff — Pittsburg State (11), Central Mo. (13) and NW Mo. (15) were all up there as far as MIAA schools. I’m putting the rankings below, the first number after the school’s name is the number of home games, followed by total attendance and then average attendance per game. I put all the rest of the MIAA in there, just for fun. And some of those numbers are kind of sad. Check it out:

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NAIA FB ALL-AMERICANS/BRUSTER DOES IT

JACOB BRUSTER, LEFT

JACOB BRUSTER (56)

The long-awaited NAIA FB All-American team is out and in this blogger’s humble opinion, the KCAC really cleaned up, led by Friends offensive lineman Jacob Bruster’s first-team selection. That’s a nice bookend to his AFCA first-team All-American pick. I’m not saying there weren’t any snubs — mainly Friends defensive end Jordan Highley being left off both the first and second teams — but dude still made honorable mention, and that ain’t bad.

On a separate note, and before I get into the details of who made what, let me just say that when I ran into Bruster and his fiance two weeks ago at the downtown YMCA, I told him this was on the way. I’m just saying. Bruster is trying to pursue a pro career as a tight end, and I think he’s down from his playing weight of 295 to I’d guess about the 260 range. At 6-foot-5, that’s about the right size for the next level although he told me he needs to work on his speed.

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Friends and the NAIA’s credibility issue

This should be the last mention of Northwestern Oklahoma State on this blog, pending any further developments. But I did think that this situation, with the Rangers being forced to forfeit a first-round win over Friends, merits some discussion and exposes some serious weaknesses in the NAIA.

And in the last week of dealing with this, I’ve actually learned a few things.

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NWOSU will forfeit win over Friends

This just in off the AP wire. Just got back from a press conference at Friends, so check tomorrow’s edition of the Eagle to get reaction from the Falcons. Friends will finish season 11-0 and Carroll College gets a bye into the quarterfinals. If this had happened 24 hours earlier, Friends probably would have made the trek to Helena, Mont., to take on the five-time national champs … but the NAIA decided it was too much packed into too little of a timespan;

Here’s the AP story, followed by the full statement from the NAIA:

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What happened to Friends?

FRIENDS DB LEVI READY ON SATURDAY

FRIENDS DB LEVI READY ON SATURDAY

What happened to Friends was that the Falcons ran into a better team. That wasn’t altogether surprising. This is the NAIA playoffs and every team is good, every team should be worthy of being there. What was surprising to me was the way that Northwestern Oklahoma manhandled Friends physically. On paper, yes, the two teams were comparable, and if anything it would have appeared that Friends had a slim advantage on size. But from the first snap the Rangers were moving at an entirely different speed. Even at that … i don’t know that that was the main reason they lost. The Falcons played tight for the first time all year. Maybe, and this is just theory, they got overwhelmed by their surroundings and the pressure. And then they cracked.

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See you at Adair Austin …

I’m stepping out of my features/blog/previews mode tomorrow … I’ll actually be covering a game!

It’s winless Southwestern at undefeated, No. 6-ranked Friends. I’m psyched, although I don’t think it’s going to be close. The Moundbuilders have really struggled the last five years. It seems like you can trace their downturn and Friends’ rise directly to Monty Lewis’s career path.

MONTY LEWIS (FRIENDS PHOTO)

MONTY LEWIS (FRIENDS PHOTO)

Since I haven’t got to see a KCAC game this season, I want to see if Friends has what it takes to win an NAIA playoff game. Don’t kid yourself, this is a conference that needs to get into that national spotlight and that is ultimately what the Falcons season is going to be judged on. Regular seasons are great and all … but if you want to be like the Carrolls and the St. Francises and the Georgetowns of the world … you got to do it when it counts. Which the KCAC hasn’t been able to do.

If you’re at Friends tomorrow hit me up in the press box and I’ll share some of my popcorn with you. Seriously. I’m not a selfish person. You can have some. Game time is 1:30 p.m.

Out,

TA

PS,

Ben, if you’re reading this, you’re more than welcome to come to the game.