Football Men's Sports Sports

No. 4 UMHB hosts Sul Ross State: Week 8 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

Visit The Best of Belton today, your home for all things in and around Belton! Visit and follow on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Sul Ross State at No. 4 UMHB

Date: Oct. 22

Place: Crusader Stadium, Belton, TX

Time: 1:00 p.m. CST


Radio: 93.9 FM/1330 AM

Special Event

Saturday’s game marks the annual TOUCHDOWNS event, held in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month. 

Pregame reading

The Series

UMHB has never lost to Sul Ross State in the 21 meetings between the two programs. The closest win for the Crusaders came in 1999, when UMHB barely defeated the Lobos in Alpine, 16-15. UMHB has averaged 53.48 points per game against SRSU, and scored 70 or more in the last two contests. The Cru won 72-14 last year in Alpine

Photo by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru

Notable Facts

This marks the first time since 2017 that SRSU has traveled to Belton, with the three most recent meetings having been contested in Alpine. UMHB won that last home matchup against SRSU by a score of 23-7 in a game played on Sept. 9. 

Additionally, SRSU does have a connection on its roster to UMHB, with junior linebacker Hunter Bunch having opened his collegiate career with the Cru as a free safety in 2019. Bunch is No. 3 in total tackles for the Lobos, with 33. 

UMHB enters the matchup leading the ASC in five stat categories: scoring defense, rushing defense, offensive efficiency, fewest sacks against, and third-down conversion percentage. Aphonso Thomas is first in rushing yards per game (76.4 yds/game), while K.J. Miller holds the league lead in kick returns (31.4 yds/return), punt returns (16.0 yds/return), and is tied for most receptions (41). Johnny Smith-Rider still has the most tackles for loss in the conference (13.0) and his three forced fumbles are also tied for the league-best. 

About the opponent: Sul Ross State Lobos

Head Coach:Barry Derickson (1st year)

Conference: American Southwest (ASC)

Season Record (overall/conf): 2-4, 2-2 (Notable results: L @ No. 5 Trinity (TX), 7-55, W @ TLU, 28-14, L @ No. 10 Hardin-Simmons, 35-70)

2021 Record (overall/conf): 2-7, 2-7 ASC

Week 7: Bye

You’ll know they’re playing well if: the passing attack clicks early. Gaining yardage through the air has been the main reason the Lobos rank fourth in the ASC in scoring offense, as they have attempted a league-high 156 passes this season, throwing for 1,976 yards. Trent Graves is No. 1 on the depth chart at quarterback, and played well against HSU two weeks ago, throwing for 251 yards and a touchdown. Whether SRSU finds success through the air or not will significantly affect the outcome of Saturday’s game. 

Names to know: 

OFFENSE: So. QB Trent Graves (#17) (53.4% passing, 619 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT), So. WR Austin Ogunmakin (#18) (29 receptions, 520 yds, 4 TD), Jr. RB Travell Lumpkin (#30) (56 carries, 253 yds, 4.5 yds/carry, 2 TD )

DEFENSE: Sr. DL Ronin Williams (#31) (50 solo tackles, 73 total tackles, 8.5 TFL, 2 forced fumbles), So. LB Jade Rios (#22) (23 solo tackles, 43 total tackles, 3.0 TFL), Jr. CB Xavier Minjarez (#14) (16 solo tackles, 21 total tackles, 2 INT)

Photo by Rusell Marwitz/True To The Cru

About the No. 4 UMHB Crusaders

Head Coach: Larry Harmon (1st year) 

Conference: American Southwest (ASC)

Season Record (overall/conf): 6-1, 5-0 (Notable results: L @ No. 3 UW-Whitewater, 24-28, W @ No. 10 Hardin-Simmons, 50-20, W @ ETBU, 24-7)

2021 Record: 15-0, 9-0 ASC

Week 7: Win at Texas Lutheran, 45-16 

You’ll know they’re playing well if: the defensive front is putting consistent pressure on the quarterback. That was one key Harmon mentioned when talking about this matchup, as SRSU’s passing-heavy offense requires an ample amount of time to sit in the pocket and wait for a receiver to come open. If UMHB is limiting some of that time, and forcing Graves to throw in a hurry, you know the Crusaders are having a good day defensively. 

Names to know: 

OFFENSE: Sr. QB Kyle King (#17) (68% completion percentage, 1,861 pass yds, 23 TD, 0 INT), Sr. RB Aphonso Thomas (#0) (95 carries, 535 rush yds, 5.6 yds/carry, 5 TD), Sr. WR KJ Miller (#7) (41 receptions,  582 receiving yds, 7 TD), 

DEFENSE: So. LB Durand Hill (#25) (30 solo tackles, 57.0 tackles, 4.5 TFL), So. LB Johnny Smith-Rider (#28) (30 solo tackles, 42.0 total tackles, 13.0 TFL, 1.0 sack), Sr. DB Tommy Bowden (#4) (17 solo tackles, 29.0 total tackles, 2.0 TFL, 2 pass breakups, 1 INT),  Jr. DB Omari Frazier (#13) (13 solo tackles, 32.0 total tackles, 1 INT, 2.5 TFL)

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), Jawon Richards (Jr.-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), Dorian Pittman (Fr.-HS)

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

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

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

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

Middle Linebacker: Durand Hill (So.-1L), La’Damian Bailey (So,-JV) 

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)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *