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No. 4 UMHB visits ETBU: Week 6 Football Preview presented by The Best of Belton

Above photo by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru/

Previewing this week’s matchup presented by The Best of Belton

The Best of Belton is a proud gold level sponsor of True To The Cru, and a massive supporter of UMHB and Crusader athletics. Be sure to make it your home for all things Belton. Visit, and follow on social media at @TheBestOfBelton (Twitter/Facebook), thebestofbelton (Instagram).

No. 4 UMHB at ETBU

Date: Oct. 8

Place: Ornelas Stadium, Marshall, TX

Time: 1:00 p.m. CST


Radio: 93.9 FM/1330 AM

Pregame reading

3 takeaways from Larry Harmon’s Oct. 3 Press Conference

The series

UMHB is looking for its 20th win in the series, entering Saturday’s contest with a 19-1 mark against the Tigers. The Crusaders have won all 10 games played in Marshall, including the March 6, 2021, contest that saw UMHB’s Anthony Avila come through with a late field goal to give the Cru a 30-28 victory. UMHB has won the last 16 meetings. 

Record Watch

In our articles on Sunday and Tuesday, we noted that UMHB’s K.J. Miller broke the NCAA D-III record for career punt return yardage, with 1,585 yards during his UMHB career. That number was only his UMHB yardage, though it should be noted that Miller also has 265 return yards from his one season at ETBU. With that factored in, Miller is now the record holder at all three divisions of the NCAA for punt return yardage in a career. To break the record at one school, as previous record holder Wes Walker did at Texas Tech, Miller needs just 176 more yards. 

Notable Facts

Both UMHB and ETBU have new offensive coordinators this season, with former Cru quarterback Andy Padron joining the UMHB coaching staff in the spring, and Josh Moore now at ETBU. Each previously coached at the high school level; Padron at DeSoto High School, and Moore at Jacksonville High School. 

Also, this is the earliest in the season that UMHB and ETBU have played in Marshall. For the first 16 years, the game was played on the last weekend of October or in the month of November. 

About the opponent: East Texas Baptist Tigers

Head Coach:Brian Mayper (5th year)

Conference: American Southwest (ASC)

Season Record (overall/conf): 2-2, 2-1 (L @ UW-Oshkosh, 13-52, W @ McMurry, 28-7, L @ Howard Payne, 21-33, W vs Southwestern, 31-10)

2021 Record (overall/conf): 5-5, 4-5 ASC

Week 5: Win vs Southwestern, 31-10

You’ll know they’re playing well if: the defense is stopping the run. One of ETBU’s strengths is its defensive front, allowing just 84 rushing yards per game. With an aggressive front seven, the Tiger defense has been a challenge for opposing offensive lines all season, especially on run plays. This is a major key for ETBU, especially against an offense as strong as UMHB’s. 

Names to know: 

OFFENSE: Sr. RB Melek Hamilton (#1) (70 carries, 224 yds, 3.2 yds/carry, 2 TD), Fr. QB Cornelius Banks (#13) (61% completion percentage, 700 passing yds, 5 TD, 3 INT, 126 rush yds), Sr. WR Kaleb O’Bryant (#6) (18 receptions, 288 yds, 1 TD), Jr. TE Cade Fant (#40) (8 receptions, 74 yds, 2 TD)

DEFENSE: So. LB Joey Johnson (#8) (15 solo tackles, 30 total tackles, 6.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks), Sr. FS KJ Kelley (#26) (13 solo tackles, 19 total tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1.0 TFL), So. LB Joey Verrett (#42) (12 solo tackles, 16 total tackles, 2.0 TFL, 1 INT)

About the No. 4 UMHB Crusaders

Head Coach: Larry Harmon (1st year) 

Conference: American Southwest (ASC)

Season Record (overall/conf): 4-1, 3-0 (W vs Muhlenberg 62-13, L @ UW-Whitewater, 24-28, W vs Southwestern, 68-14, W @ Hardin-Simmons, 50-20, W vs Austin College, 38-7)

2021 Record: 15-0, 9-0 ASC

Week 5: Win vs Austin College, 38-7

You’ll know they’re playing well if: the offense is converting third downs with ease. With a strong group of running backs, and a high-octane passing attack, opposing defenses have struggled to contain the UMHB offense on any down, but especially in third-down situations. The balanced attack is key in their success, and on third downs specifically, the Cru has converted on 54 percent of those plays. 

Defensively, Harmon spoke of keeping ETBU “one-dimensional” at Monday’s news conference, not allowing the Tigers the ability to throw it or run it with success at will. 

Names to know: 

OFFENSE: Sr. QB Kyle King (#17) (68% completion percentage, 1313 pass yds, 17 TD, 0 INT), Sr. RB Aphonso Thomas (#0) (69 carries, 424 rush yds, 6.1 yds/carry, 5 TD), Sr. WR KJ Miller (#7) (29 receptions, 428 receiving yds, 4 TD), Sr. WR Brandon Jordan (#21) (18 receptions, 300 receiving yards, 5 TD)

DEFENSE: So. LB Durand Hill (#25) (16 solo tackles, 37.0 tackles, 4.5 TFL), So. LB Johnny Smith-Rider (#28) (22 solo tackles, 30.0 total tackles, 9.0 TFL, 1.0 sack), Sr. DB Tommy Bowden (#4) (15 solo tackles, 21.0 total tackles, 2.0 TFL, 2 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble),  Jr. DB Omari Frazier (#13) (8 solo tackles, 16.0 total tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 INT)

UMHB Two Deep Depth Chart (Per the UMHB Athletics Department)

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


Quarterback: Kyle King (Sr.-2L), Jackson Tingler (Jr.-1L),

Running Back: Aphonso Thomas (Sr. 1L), Kenneth Cormier Jr. (Jr.-2L)

Wide Receiver: Jerry Day Jr. (So.-1L), Jamaal Hamilton (Sr.-1L)

Wide Receiver: KJ Miller (Sr.-4L), Jerry Cephus (So,-JV)

Wide Receiver: Brandon Jordan (Sr.-2L), Marvin Young Jr. (Sr.-TR)

Tight End: Connor Mullins (Jr.-2L), Will McClintock (So.-TR)

Left Tackle: Reuel Tandoh (Jr.-2L), Kyle Wente (So.-1L)

Left Guard: Jesse Hoke (Jr.-2L), Wyatt Crawford (Jr.-2L)

Center: Jeffery Sims Jr. (Sr.-4L), Jacob Dailey (So.-2L)

Right Guard: Matt Sanders (Sr.-3L), John Schnautz (So.-JV)

Right Tackle: Ethan Ruckman (Jr.-2L), John Kazmierski (Sr.-3L)


Left Defensive End: Trey Belyeu-Witcher (So.-1L), Jose Fuentes (So.-JV)

Left Defensive Tackle: Pete Smith (Sr.-3L), Preston Johnson (So.-JV)

Right Defensive Tackle: Tristan Green (So.-1L), Mason Cavness (So.-JV)

Right Defensive End: Sante Parker Jr. (Sr.-3L), Dorian Pittman (Fr.-HS)

Weakside Linebacker:  Johnny Smith-Rider (So.-1L), Jaqai Neal (Fr.-HS)

Middle Linebacker: Durand Hill (So.-1L), Chaise Ellis (So.-SQ)

Strongside Linebacker: Omari Frazier (Jr.-2L), Caden Steubing (Jr.-JV)

Cru (Flex Safety): Tommy Bowden (Sr.-3L), Diarva Brown (Sr.-TR)

Free Safety: Dorian Williams (Jr.-TR), Cameron Mitton (Fr.-HS)

Cornerback: Titus Dunk (Sr.-3L), Trashawn Adams (So.-1L)

Cornerback: Chaka Watson (Jr.-2L), Tavion Page (Sr.-3L)

Special Teams

Kicker: Anthony Avila (Sr.-3L),  Jack Bruner (Fr.-HS)

Punter: Kyle King (Sr.-2L), Jack Bruner (Fr.-HS)

Punt Returner: KJ Miller (Sr.-4L), Jamaal Hamilton (Sr.-1L)

Kick Returner: KJ Miller (Sr.-4L), Jamaal Hamilton (Sr.-1L)

Long/Short Snapper: Adam Strawn (Jr.-1L), Will McClintock (So.-TR)

Holder: Tommy Bowden (Sr.-3L)

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