A look back at the UMHB-HSU football rivalry through the memories of those who have watched it unfold

BELTON- It is less than 24 hours until the highly-anticipated top 10 matchup in Abilene kicks off. For the last 25 seasons, ever since these two opponents met for the first time on Nov. 7, 1998, this rivalry has been unfolding. 

And at UMHB, this rivalry is not one simply confined to those on the football roster. This rivalry has an impact on all who support and follow Crusader athletics, from those in the press box, to the current players on the field, to the alums in the stands thinking back to the great contests they have witnessed through the years between the Cru and the Cowboys. 

We compiled several of those memories from various vantage points and seasons, asking a panel of 15 what their favorite moments from this storied rivalry have been. Here is what they said: 

This article is presented by the Crusader Football Alumni Association, a proud gold sponsor of True To The Cru

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Jon Wallin, 1999-2021, UMHB Sports Information Director

“I feel like I can remember at least one big play or moment from each of the matchups, but two games stand out. The 2002 win for UMHB’s first victory over HSU. QB Cody Fredenburg was knocked out of the game early with an injury, but T.J. Theis came in and led the Cru to a big win that finally got UMHB over the hump against the Cowboys. Then there was the 2004 regular season loss to HSU. The way UMHB responded thanks to the leadership on that team not only changed the course of the season as the Cru went on to advance to the Stagg Bowl for the first time. But you could also make an argument that it really set the whole program on the course it is on currently.”

Luke Howard, 11 years, QB (07-09), Student Coach (09-11), Graduate Assistant (12-14), Full-time RB Coach (15-18)

“Anytime we beat HSU is a great feeling. But the one that sticks out to me the most is the 2015 season. We lost to them at their place 29-26. Their fans rushed the field like they had won the Super Bowl and our players were caught in the middle of it. I remember approaching Trey Thedford (LB) in the madness and telling him “We will be back in the playoffs to get these guys.” Sure enough, we went back in the first round and beat them 37-19.”

Baylor Mullins, 2013-2016, Safety

“Freshman year 2013 going back home to Abilene, beating Hardin Simmons 63-7 and jumping in the pool afterwards. The pool party in the HSU swimming pool with my teammates is something I’ll never forget.”

Eric Schoenert, 2004-2007, Wide Receiver

“2004 playoffs going into their stadium and beating them on the Stagg Bowl run! That locker room was so jacked up after beating them was incredible! 

The other was the Avila kick walk-off at home! Absolutely love beating HSU!”

Pete Medlock, 2004-2007, Tight End

“Second round playoff game in 2004 – we woke up at the hotel on the morning of the game to the hotel cooks having quit and not shown up. Coach Fred and the rest of the coaches were in the kitchen cooking, serving, etc. We went on to redeem ourselves for the regular season loss and absolutely dominate HSU to propel us into the 3rd round, and ultimately our first first Stagg Bowl appearance. We always found it strange that the cooks chose to quit that particular morning – but it just added fuel to our fire.”

Jordan Mullinnix, 2009-2013, Safety

“My Senior year (2013)  we traveled to HSU and beat them on their home field 63-7. Afterwards we kept the tradition alive, and several of our football players jumped into the pool they have beside the field to celebrate the win!”

Hunter Hamrick, 2003-2006, Punter

“First two victories in the series for me.  2003 was an important step into solidifying ourselves as the team to beat in the conference.  We had to go on the road and beat them at their place and got it done.  In my opinion that 2003 football team might have been one of the best of all time.  Unfortunately, the ETBU loss the following week overshadowed the 03 victory and its significance.  The following year changed the whole make up of the rivalry.  To take a beating at home like we did then return to Abilene in the playoffs, that changed the whole thing.  And we didn’t just beat them.  We overcame adversity after adversity and ran away with that ball game on to the first stagg bowl appearance.  Kubiak’s interception seemed to be the breaking point in that contest.  My final two years we played HSU three more times.  Didn’t seem like much of a rivalry after that 04 game.  Pretty sure we set a school record in sacks in 05.  Almost embarrassing. “

Corbin Campitelli, 2014-2017, Offensive Line

“In 2017 we played HSU in Abilene. We won the toss and deferred of course and their offense drove the ball to around our 35 yard line. They drop back to pass and under heavy pressure DB Kris Brown intercepts a crossing route and has a clear lane to the end zone for a pick six all the way up our sideline. During the return our enormous All American DE Ajay Fanene ran directly to HSU’s sideline and give’s their entire sideline and crowd a double middle finger. Coach Fred met him at mid field displeased to say the least😂

“Aside from that, seeing the completely defeated looks on their faces during warmups before the 2018 playoff game after we manhandled them in the regular season and proceeded to do it again.”

Ward Whites, UMHB play-by-play radio broadcaster, Covered UMHB since 2016

“It had to be last year down 21 at half and came out of the locker-room and dominated the second half to win the game.”

Jase Hammack, 2018-2021, Quarterback & Graduate assistant coach

“I could say the game winning field goal by Avila in 2019. But my favorite was the come from behind win last year because they thought they had the game won and you got to see a bunch of guys step up and lead which helped us win the National Championship later on.”

Layton Lively, 2000-2006, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle

“My favorite memory is beating HSU to win our first conference title my Jr. year. Got a ring for the first time! We had been very close the year prior and finally got over the hurdle of beating the best in our conference that year. The expectation of excellence was; we did not look back as the record since would indicate! We followed that up with our first win at HSU my senior year in what was a dominant win. We have no love for these guys, if we can embarrass ‘em by 100, we should!! Go Cru!!!!!!!”

Wykeyhe Walker, 2013-2016, Wide Receiver 

“I’d have to say after my playing career, watching the young guys win on that field goal at the end [in 2019] because it’s something we worked on everyday and seeing it work to perfection while standing on the sideline with my brothers was amazing. They got a lucky win on us in 2015 but we came back and had a better game when it mattered [in the playoffs]. Also, my freshman year we beat them 63-7 I believe then jumped in the pool on their campus that was definitely fun.”

Brodrick Crain, 2010-2013, Cornerback

“My first college career start was against them in 2011. I knew it was a big deal but didn’t want to make it a big deal because that would’ve affected my mental state.

“I just treated it like any other game. I was super excited though. But I made sure to keep calm and just have fun.”

Jack Phelps, Board of Trustees, 2009-Present

“In 2015 we lost a close one (29-26) to HSU in Abilene. We faced them in Abilene again in the playoffs and got our revenge, 37-19. Blake Jackson accounted for 3 TDS and Teidrick Smith terrorized the Cowboys with 3 sacks.”

Tevin Jones, 2015-2019, Linebacker

“The walk-off kick in 2019! Never seen so much pain on their faces in my life!”

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