SWJCFC Preview: NE Oklahoma A&M

ATHENS, Tx. -- All football programs have their rebuilding challenges when new seasons begin. But those are very, very small issues in whole scheme of things as Northeastern Oklahoma A&M head coach Rob Green described during his SWJCFC Media Day presentation. The coaches picked them to finish 3rd in the conference.

The third-year head coach distributed copies of aerial photos of the NEO campus overwhelmed by July 4 holiday floodwaters from what has been described by the Miami News Record as the second worst flood in Miami's history.

The picture told only part of a story. The alleged equal value of "a thousand words" in it did it no justice.

Record rainfall sent the Neosho River and nearby Tar Creek ravaging through the city of Miami and the NEO campus to unthinkable levels. The football practice field, Robertson Field, Homa Thomas baseball field and softball fields were submerged and suffered Type 3 contaminated water damage, as did many classrooms and apartments. On campus, water was rafter-high at the NEO Fieldhouse and dressing room facilities. According to figures supplied by Miami’s public works department to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the area's most recent flood of record has public property damage assessments climbing past $5.8 million as of July 23.

"We had to condemn the entire field house and we're going to have to get approval before we can even practice on our fields because of the potential contamination," Green said. "Miami is not near the ocean, but it sure looked like a lake out there….Lake Tar Creek. "

Even with the best preparations for prolonged rain, all equipment has been lost.

"We are going to be fine," Green said. "We are in the process of evaluating the things that we need to get practice underway. It's unimaginable, the magnitude of the damage. Our biggest concerns are with the people of Miami who are homeless and stranded. Our administration has a plan and a course to take. There is no quick fix, though.

"Everyone’s got their battles," Green said. “We had ours this summer, and we’re ready to get the season going. "

The Golden Norsemen hope to improve on a 3-6 finish behind the efforts of sophomore quarterback Bo Bowling, a nearly intact offensive line, and five returning defensive starters. About 55 players participated in spring drills and 14 of that group either started or saw considerable playing time on the offensive side of the football.

Bowling, from tiny Tonkawa, literally reversed the recruiting process and recruited NEO. The versatile 5-10, 205-pounder quickly went from freshman athlete to defensive back to punt-team gunner and kickoff return specialist before getting a chance to direct NEO's final four games. The team's second-leading rusher (96-316-7) completed 50 percent of his passes (31-of-62) for 268 yards.

"He has really made strides in his passing game," Green said. "They never threw the football (at Tonkawa). He works constantly on throwing and he's really starting to see the whole picture. He has a strong arm and his accuracy is really coming around. "

Experience is another key up front with sophomores in left tackle Jesse Downum (6-1, 302, Muskogee), academic All-American guard Mark Chesnut (6-3, 284, Miami), center Daniel Cook (6-0, 268, Commerce), and right guard Brandon Love (6-2, 284, Midwest City).

Replacing NEO's third-leading rusher in school history, DejI Karim, remains a major focus.

Redshirt freshman Kiwon Cook (6-0, 248) and former wide receivers Michael Barnett and Curtis Tucker were alternating at running back slots. Freshman recruits with opportunities include Manny Abington (6-0, 195, Pawnee) Shaun Baker-Hughes (6-0, 190, Tulsa Edison), Housen Maxwell (6-1, 200, Arlington Lamar), and Bubba Philpot (5-9, 235, Sallisaw).

Abington rushed for almost 3,000 yards and 50 TD during his final two varsity seasons of Class A high school ball. Baker-Hughes, a 5A All-Stater, was Edison's all-time all-purpose yardage leader. Philpott averaged 10-plus yards per carry as Class 4A's top ground gainer with 278-2,820-31.

Barnett and Tucker (38-744-6 in 2005) head the receiving corps, with Jake Borgesmiller (9-128), but there's more quality with incoming freshmen receivers Zach Simpson (6-1, 190, Miami), David Ballenseifen (6-2, 185, Mustang) and Walter Coleman (6-2, 195, Denton, Tx. ).

Class 4A all-stater Simpson ranked second in yardage and third in receptions among pass catchers with 44-692-4 after a 2005 season of 44-1109-14. Ballenseifen, a 6A all-stater, had two-year varsity totals of 125-1720-22 after a 64-1033-13 senior season.

On defense, key contributors include sophomore end Tim Patton (6-2, 225, Tulsa East Central), who ranked fourth on the team in tackles (87), recorded nine quarterback sacks, five tackles for losses, three pass deflections and a fumble recovery.

Veteran Delani Stephens (6-0, 269, Plano, Tx) is the lone returning experienced tackle. Jason Bates (6-1, 237, Alva) and Emanuel Jones (6-0, 205, Broken Bow) provide line backing experience. Bates made four sacks last year, and Jones, a converted corner, made 48 solos and 10 sacks last season.

The secondary and kicking game, with four returning lettermen, could be a cornerstone, relying on corners Adrian Adams (6-1, 190, Oklahoma City Millwood) and Leotis Gordon (5-9, 183, Putnam City), and strong safety Kylee Hill (5-10, 191, Bristow).

SWJCFC punting champion Jeremy Knott (6-4, 185, Tulsa East Central) returns for double duty. The 40.6 yard punter also ranked third on the squad in individual scoring (40 points) which included seven field goals and perfection on 19 conversion attempts.


HEAD COACH: Rob Green (3rd Year)
ASSISTANT COACHES: Donnie Bigby (OL), Kyle Woods (RB), J.Dee Marinko (WR), Travis Rhatigan (DC-LB); Jared Green (DL), Gregory Whitehead (DB)
POSITION IN STANDINGS: Three-way tie for 2nd place

KEY SOPHOMORES: TE Tommy Fitzgerald, C Devin Frazier, QB Bo Bowling, QB Kaelin Woods, TE Blake Byford, TE Damyon Dooley, WR Jake Borgesmiller, LT Jesse Downum, LG Mark Chesnut, C Daniel Cook, RG Brandon Love, OT Jonathan Brown, OT Darren Waiga, OT Carson Working, OL John Victor, OL Devin Frazier, DE Tim Patton, DE Colby Lasseley, DE Colton Johnson, DT Delani Stephens, LB Jason Bates, LB Emanuel Jones, DB Adrian Adams, DB Leotis Gordon, SS Kylee Hill, PK Jeremy Knott, DS Ben Hampton

KEY REDSHIRT FRESHMEN: RB Kiwon Cook, RB-WR Michael Barnett, RB-WR Curtis Tucker, RB Caleb Childers, TE Bishop Stewart, TE Darren Templeton, WR Albert Coleman, WR Ryan Gonzales, WR Chase Hart,  OL Jadon Turner, OL Darren Rodgers, DL Terrill Jimoh, DL Lamont McDonald, LB Logan Zabel, LB Marcus Gamble, LB John Ingram, LB Isreal Jones, LB Quinton Thomas, SS Justus Tombs, FS Chad Munson, FS Jeffrey Johnson.

FRESHMAN RECRUITS: Austin Emerson (6-2, 270, OL, Sperry, Ok. ); Cleo Harris (6-1, 180, DB, McLain, Ok. ); Randall Hackler (6-4, 305, OL, McAlester); Don Hawkins (6-4, 185, WR, Tulsa Lincoln); Christopher Kemp (6-0, 260, DL, Oklahoma City Millwood); Rowdy McCauley (6-2, 225, DL, Marlow, Ok. ); Darrel Saltus (6-6, 270, DL, Putnam City North); Randy Tonchi (6-4, 220, LB, Sallisaw); Lane Wheeler (6-3, 280, OL, Putnam North);  Sam Woodfork (5-11, 255, LB, Norman); Shaun Baker-Hughes (6-0, 210, RB, Tulsa Edison); Keenan McLennan (6-1, 205, LB, Tulsa BT Washington); Zach Kellogg (6-5, 290, OL, Miami, Ok); Jordan Karriman (6-5, 260, OL, Grove, Ok. ); Zach Simpson (6-1, 185, WR, Miami, Ok); Adam Pryor (PK, Miami, Ok. ); Shea Henry (5-11, 185, RB, Afton); Matt Handy (6-3, 225, TE, Afton); Jared Dopp (6-0, 210, LB, Commerce, Ok. ); Bubba Philpot (5-10, 245, RB, Sallisaw, Ok. ); Jeremy Bean (6-4, 285, OL, Broken Bow, Ok. ); Manny Abington (6-0, 190, RB, Pawnee, Ok. ); Levi Adcock (6-5, 245, OL, Claremore Sequoyah); Johnny Row (6-1, 215, LB, Claremore Sequoyah); Jordan Gray (6-3, 180, WR-QB, Ardmore); Justin Fields (5-11, 180, DB, Ardmore); Jarrod Fields (5-8, 166, DB, Ardmore); David Ballenseifen (6-4, 200, WR, Mustang, Ok. ); Dontae Newton (6-4, 205, TE, Oklahoma City Millwood); Kelby Price (PK, Ardmore); Allen Benson (DE, Ardmore); Walter Coleman (5-8, 170, WR, Denton, Tx); Gary Frazier (6-3, 215, DB, Shawnee, Ok. ); Justin Gibson (6-1, 250, DL, Tulsa East Central); Charlie Joseph (6-1, 205, LB, Tulsa East Central); Housen Maxwell (5-8, 170, RB, Fort Worth, Tx. ); Jesse Myers (6-4, 225, DE, Claremore Sequoyah); Jordan Nix, (6-3, 230, DL, Lawton MacArthur); John Scheffey (6-2, 290, OL-DL, Edmond Santa Fe); Eric Williams (5-10, 170, DB, Tulsa Union).

Date………….Opponent, Time
Aug 25 - Dodge City, Ks. , 7 p.m.
Sept 6 - at Arkansas Baptist College, 7 p.m. (War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock)
Sept 15 - at Trinity Valley *, 7 p.m.
Sept 22 - Arkansas Baptist College, 7 p.m.
Sept 29 - Cisco *, 7 p.m.
Oct 6 - at Navarro *, 3 p.m.
Oct 13 - Blinn*, 3 p.m.
Oct 21 - at Kilgore,* 2 p.m.
Oct 27 - Tyler*, 2 p.m.


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