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Archive for Saturday, October 22, 2005

Haskell ‘pride’ on line

SAGU visits for homecoming

October 22, 2005

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Some football coaches worry about the potential distractions of homecoming.

Not Haskell Indian Nations University coach Eric Brock.

"I like the stuff that goes on," Brock said. "I like the bonfires, the barbecues, the people on campus. It's good for our guys to have a little Haskell pride."

A little pride certainly couldn't hurt a team trying to halt a five-game losing streak. And it can't hurt, either, that the Fightin' Indians will be meeting a team also in a five-game skid.

Southwestern Assemblies of God U. (1-5) hasn't won since its opener. Haskell (2-5) hasn't won since the second week of the season.

Kickoff will be 2 p.m. at Haskell Stadium.

Homecoming looms as a positive for the Indians, and so does the return of quarterback Kaleb Harris. Brock held Harris, his primary offensive weapon, out of last week's 57-2 loss to Northwestern Oklahoma State for recuperative purposes.

Harris, a 6-foot, 175-pound sophomore from Claremore, Okla., had missed parts of two games because of knee and ankle woes.

"He's finally 100 percent," Brock said. "His ankle is fine, and his knee he fine. He's been able to practice all week."

Harris ranks second in the Central States Football League in total offense (185.5 yards per game) and in passing yardage (162.5).

Haskell's strength, however, has been its defense. Despite losing five in a row, the Indians continue to lead the CSFL in total defense. Foes are averaging only 251.2 yards per game.

HINU lost middle linebacker and leading tackler Antonio Hayes because of a knee injury in the third game, but sophomore John Sullivan moved from the outside to the middle, and freshman Mario Torres took over on the outside.

Now, Brock is making another change at linebacker, promoting Billy Gilbert, a 5-11, 210-pound junior, to the outside spot where senior Andrew Cole has been a fixture.

Meanwhile, the five-man secondary of Cory Murphy, Jordan Ross, Randy Jackson, Micah Swimmer and Terrill Denny has allowed opponents to complete only 45.2 percent of their passes, a CSFL best.

Haskell's three-man front of Blaine Wise, Mike Harris and Catcuce Tiger has been solid. Wise, a 6-3, 245-pound junior end, suffered a broken wrist bone in last week's game, but will play today with a protective cast.

Last year in Waxahachie, Texas, Haskell thumped SAGU, 44-17. Two years ago in Lawrence, however, the Lions recorded a 28-21 victory.

"They're a lot more athletic this year than I've ever seen them," Brock said of the Lions.

SAGU's last three defeats have been to Kansas schools - 33-28 to McPherson, 42-14 to Bethel and 33-14 to Kansas Wesleyan. The Lions dropped out of the CSFL two years ago and now play as an independent.

Haskell will travel Saturday to Tyler, Texas, to meet Texas College.

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