Previewing UMHB Football’s road opener at Southwestern

Above photo by Luke C. Zayas/True To The Cru

BELTON, Texas- UMHB hits the road for the first time this season, taking a short trip south to Georgetown for a Saturday night showdown against Southwestern.

The Cru, coming off a 34-14 victory over East Texas Baptist, are aiming to move to 2-0 in ASC play. The Pirates have the same goal in mind, having won their conference opener last week at Belhaven, 34-27.

It will also likely mark UMHB’s last trip to Georgetown during league play, as Southwestern has announced a move to the Southern Athletic Association beginning in 2023. If the pattern of the ASC schedule remains the same, Southwestern will face UMHB in Belton in 2022.

We break down the matchup, touch on the storylines and bring you UMHB’s two-deep depth chart in this week’s game preview.

No. 1 UMHB @ Southwestern
Date: Sept. 18

Place: Birkelbach Field, Georgetown, Texas

Time: 7:00 p.m. 

Streaming:https://portal.stretchinternet.com/umhb/

About the opponent: Southwestern Pirates

Head Coach: Joe Austin (Ninth Season)

Conference: American Southwest

Season Record (overall/conf): 1-1, 1-0

Names to know: Jr. QB Landry Gilpin (21/39 passing, 154 yds, 2 TD, 30 rush attempts, 152 yds, 1 TD), Sr. WR/KR Austin Castilleja (5 rec., 25 yds, 2 TD, 8 returns, 161 yds), So. DE Jason Lund (10 solo tackles, 13,0 total tackles, 1 sack), Sr. DB Jackson Reece (5 solo tackles, 8 total tackles, 4 pass breakups), Sr. LB Bernard Sencherey (7 solo tackles, 12.0 total tackles)

Southwestern head coach Joe Austin on how Southwestern’s defense is preparing for UMHB’s offense: “You have to make [UMHB] work. Stay in front of them as much as you can, see if they’ll stub their toe every now and then; throw an incompletion or not block a run play really well and try to get some help from them, so to speak. I think we’re going to try to fit the run really well. We don’t want them to only focus run on us. And then we want to stay in front of them. If they’re going to complete passes and slowly go down the field, so be it, you can’t stop everything. But we’re going to try to stop the run, take away long completions down the field. I think that’s the best formula defensively that we can have.”

Three UMHB storylines to watch

Stifling defense against Pirates: If past history repeats itself, the Crusader defense is in for a solid showing. In each of the four meetings between the two programs, UMHB has never allowed more than 10 points. In the last contest, played on Feb. 27 in Belton, the Cru earned a 52-7 victory. 

Mueller into the backfield: Pacing UMHB’s defense early in the season has been linebacker Jacob Mueller, who currently leads the ASC in tackles for loss (4.0). Last week’s ASC Defensive Player of the Week, and also True To The Cru’s Defensive Player of the Week, the Fort Worth native is key in the Cru’s run-stopping attack, with a great ability to get into the backfield.

Stellar returns unit: KJ Miller is available for the first time this season, and Aaron Sims and Jefferson Fritz have already posted several solid returns. Fritz, also a starting safety, tallied UMHB’s first touchdown of the day against ETBU, returning a punt 44 yards. Sims’ top return came against Simpson College, a 54-yard sprint down the sideline. Miller was voted the ASC’s Special Teams Player of the Year last season. 

Two Deep Depth Chart 

*-Team Captain, L-Varsity Letter, SQ- Previously on varsity roster in past season(s) but has seen no playing time, TR- Transfer

Offense

Quarterback: *Kyle King (Sr.-1L), Tommy Bowden (Jr.-2L)

Running Back: Aphonso Thomas (Jr.-1L), Kenneth Cormier Jr. (So.-1L)

Wide Receiver: Brenton Martin (Sr.-2L), Aaron Sharp (Sr.-JV)

Wide Receiver: Aaron Sims (Sr.-1L), DJ Weaver (Sr-2L)

Wide Receiver: Jamaal Hamilton (Jr.-TR), Romello Cook (Sr.-1L)

Tiger End: *Gary Ruckman (Sr.-2L), Connor Mullins (So.-1L)

Left Tackle: Jesse Hoke (So.-1L), Hayes Chizer (So.-SQ)

Left Guard: John Kazmierski (Sr.-2L), Adam Dobbins (Sr.-SQ)

Center: Jeffrey Sims Jr. (Sr.-3L), Jacob Dailey (So.-1L)

Right Guard: Matt Sanders (Jr.-2L), Cam Williams (Sr.-3L)

Right Tackle: Ethan Ruckman (So.-1L), Wyatt Crawford (So.-1L)

Defense

Defensive End: Caleb Johnson (Sr.-3L), Sante Parker Jr. (Sr.-2L)

Defensive Tackle: Tristan Green (So.-1L), Kobe Giles (So.-1L)

Defensive Tackle: Josh Patteson (So.-1L), Pete Smith (Sr.-3L),

Defensive End: Khevon Shepard (Sr.-4L), E’Monte Smith (Sr.-4L)

Weakside Linebacker: *Mikkah Hackett (Sr.-4L), Chaise Ellis (Fr.-TR) 

Middle Linebacker: Akeem Jackson (Sr.-4L), Marc Gutierrez (Jr.-1L) 

Strongside Linebacker: Jacob Mueller (Sr.-3L), Omari Frazier (So.-1L)

Cru (Flex Safety): Jayden Smith (Sr.-3L),  Jordan See (So.-1L)

Free Safety: *Jefferson Fritz (Sr.-4L), Khyren Deal (Fr.-HS)

Cornerback: Titus Dunk (Jr.-2L), Tavion Page (Jr.-2L)

Cornerback: Keith Gipson (Sr.-3L), Chaka Watson (So.-1L)

Special Teams

Kicker: Anthony Avila (Sr.-3L), Brandon Cunningham (Jr.-2L)

Punter: *Jefferson Fritz (Sr.-4L), Brandon Cunningham (Jr.-2L)

Punt Returner: Jefferson Fritz (Sr.-4L), Aaron Sims (Sr.-1L)

Kick Returner: Aaron Sims (Sr.-1L), Tommy Bowden (Jr.-2L)

Long Snapper: Jacob Mueller (Sr.-3L), Clay Barnett (Jr.-2L) 

Holder: Tommy Bowden (Jr.-2L), Ryan Redding (Sr.-3L)

Two-Deep Notes: 

DB Jackson Sennie out with an elbow injury, expected to miss at least three weeks…Chaise Ellis will make his debut on the varsity roster. He was listed as a RB on Midwestern State’s roster in 2018…Chaka Watson was on the varsity roster against ETBU, but as a WR. He is now listed as a backup at CB…The reason for OL Reuel Tandoh and WR Brandon Jordan not being listed on the two-deep is currently unknown. This article will be updated if that information becomes available.

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