There’s been no one better than Midwestern State in the Lone
Star Conference over the past two seasons. The Mustangs are
in the regular season and have two LSC Championship
trophies in the case. And while detractors will try to diminish
the Mustangs accomplishments because of early round NCAA
playoff losses, the team has clearly become the standard bearer
of the conference.
I’m proud of this team and proud of our
coaches, they worked their tails off,” said MSU
Coach Bill Maskill. “I’m proud of what this group
has accomplished. We’ve come a long, long way
to make this program what it is today.”
The Mustangs have won three of the last four LSC titles and
have been in post-season play in each of the last four seasons.
The Mustangs finished the season 9-2 overall and at 7-1, won
a share of the LSC title with a 52-48 win at West Texas A&M.
Maskill picked up his second consecutive LSC Coach of the Year
honor with the outstanding performance this season.
The 31-14 loss to the University of Indianapolis (Ind.) in the
playoffs put MSU 16th in the final AFCA Division II Top 25,
after spending much of the season in the top 10. The Mustangs
were again one of the top offenses in Division II, ranking 21st
nationally with an average of 459 yards a game. MSU led the
LSC and was 16th nationally in scoring offense with 38.6 points
a game. Midwestern had the top rushing offense in the LSC,
averaging better than 323.9 yards a game.
The Pony Express featured junior Keidrick Jackson who led
the LSC after the regular season, but finished second in the
conference in rushing with 123.1 yards a game. He was joined by
sophomore running back Chauncey Harris (third in the league
with 79.9 yards a game) and senior quarterback Brandon Kelsey
fifth in the LSC at 74.8 yards a game). Jackson led the LSC and
was third nationally in scoring with 11.5 points a game.
Junior Neiko Conway was a big part of the MSU defensive
attack. The cornerback was second in the LSC with four
interceptions and left an indelible mark on the season with his
yard interception return for a touchdown on the first play
of the second half against Texas A&M-Commerce on national
television at Cowboys Stadium. Both Jackson and Conway will
return to try for three titles in a row.
Senior offensive tackle Ken Van Heule was the most highly
decorated Mustang this season. The Lone Star Conference
Offensive Lineman of the Year was named first-team Beyond
Sports All-America, second-team Daktronics, Inc. All-America,
and third-teamAssociated Press Little All-America.
Offensive guard Tino Tuilata was selected to the a second-team
on the Don Hansen All-America team. The Beyond Sports
All-America squad tabbed deep snapper Randall Arbuckle
second team, guard Joe Unga third team and Jackson as an
honorable mention.
The offensive line, that led NCAA Division II in fewest sacks
allowed with four in 11 games, placed all five starters on the
All-LSC team, with Van Heule and Unga joined by center Justen
Tyler, while Tuilata was picked second team and tackle Brian
Keith was an honorable mention.
Additionally, Jackson was joined on the All-LSC first team by
linebacker Donald Napoleon and safety Taiyon Jackson. Kelsey
joined Tuilata, Arbuckle, kicker Greg Saladino, and cornerback
Coryan Briggs on the second team. Keith and Harris, with tight
end Brad Dittmar, receiver Jared Freeman, linebacker Matt
Ellerbrock and safety Pat Garner, were named to the league’s
honorable mention list.
The future still looks bright for the Mustangs and that third
consecutive trophy would be a welcome sight.
Keidrick Jackson