Goodwell, Okla.—It's about that time of year football fans...football season
is upon us. This Saturday night, the Oklahoma Panhandle State University
Aggies head to Rolla, Missouri for their first regular season game against
the Miners of Missouri University of Science and Technology.
After a strong showing in the Aggies scrimmage last week, the coaches and
players are ready for this game to be underway. The first games of the
season are always the most important for the team as they are a great sign
of what is to come for the rest of the year.
This game, like every other on the schedule, is no walk in the park. The
Missouri Miners had a strong season last year going 6-5 and running the ball
was where they shined as they averaged 141.2 yards per game. They look to
continue that success on the ground this year with their same cast of big
men up front. The weak spot to look at for the Miners is their secondary as
three of their four starters from last year completed their eligibility and
are looking for their young guys and transfers to step up this year. The key
player to watch out for on the Miners squad is by far senior wide receiver
Smook Thomas. Thomas was named to the USA Football News pre-season
All-America team for NCAA Division II and will be a threat as a receiver and
in the special teams department.
The Aggies, on the other hand, are basically starting fresh this year with a
new head coach and a lot of fresh faces on both the offensive and defensive
sides of the ball. Head coach Russell Gaskamp brings in his own style of
quick-paced, smash mouth football to the Aggies and looks forward to
starting his career here at OPSU. This is not the same team as in recent
years and that is always tough going into a season with players still
learning how to play with one another.
The Aggies go into this season without several starters from last year and
one of those is quarterback Kevin Lauchland. Now look for transfers Caleb
Holbrook and Justin Billiot to battle it out for the starting spot this
year. The one notable returner for the starting offense is running back
Justice Patterson. He came onto the scene late last year and will be a key
role player to start this year. On the defensive side of the ball, the
Aggies are without their top two tacklers from last year, but have several
returners hungry to get back on that field. Look for senior linebacker Chase
Boyer to lead the defense this year for the Aggies.
This game should be a good test for the Aggies and battle to the last
whistle. It is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1. Fans
can listen live on KPSU radio, 91.7 FM or tune into the broadcast
at www.minerathletics.com. Live stats will also be available on that