Notebook: Liberty Looming Large
Oct. 27, 2009
By Amy Farnum
SHIP-SHAPE: Shippensburg University jumped to No. 2 in the latest NCAA Division II Super Region One rankings after shocking then-No. 3 and previously unbeaten Bloomsburg, 28-27, last Saturday. The top six schools from each region advance to the NCAA playoffs, while the first two seeds receive first-round byes.
The last-minute 79-yard drive was engineered by senior quarterback Chad DiFebbo, who capped off the string of 15 plays with an 11-yard TD pass to his brother Chase DiFebbo with 46 seconds remaining in the game. It was the second time in the last three weeks that SU has won after scoring a touchdown in the final minute.
Shippensburg has won three straight games, and is tied for first place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division standings with Bloomsburg. The Red Raiders need a victory at Cheyney on Oct. 31 to clinch a berth in the annual State Game. Shippensburg has tallied 23-plus points in nine straight games to open the season, the first time the feat has been accomplished in 105-year history of the program.
LONELY AT THE TOP: West Liberty State outlasted Charleston, 48-42, in double overtime to remain the only unbeaten squad in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings thanks to some outstanding individual performances. The Hilltoppers also moved up to No. 1 in the NCAA Division II Super Region One poll.
Junior quarterback Zach Amedro tossed four touchdowns without an interception as he stretched his streak of 300-yard games to nine with 333 yards passing in the contest, and was named WVIAC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Junior linebacker Clay Beeler posted 16 tackles, including three for a loss and a sack to earn the league’s weekly defensive award, while defensive back Derrick Evans garnered Special Teams Player of the Week for blocking a punt that led to an eventual touchdown. Evans also totaled 10 tackles and grabbed an interception in the game.
The Hilltoppers can clinch their first outright WVIAC title since 1971 with wins over Seton Hill and Concord in the final two games of the regular season. West Liberty and Fairmont State shared WVIAC championships in 1979 and 2000. Seton Hill visits West Liberty State on Oct. 31.
WIN-NING WAYS: Texas A&M-Kingsville junior running back Fred Winborn may need to follow up his record-setting performance against Eastern New Mexico with more outstanding play if the Javelinas want to hold on to first place in the Lone Star Conference South Division standings.
The native of North Hollywood, Calif., ran for a school-record 263 yards on 37 carries and scored three touchdowns in the 38-31 win over EMU, eclipsing the previous single-game mark of 254 held by three-time Harlon Hill trophy winner Johnny Bailey. Winborn was named LSC South Offensive Player of the Week for his contributions.
The No. 9 Javelinas are tied with Tarleton State at 3-1 in the South Division and will travel to No. 15 Abilene Christian on Oct. 31 in the only match-up between nationally-ranked opponents this week. ACU was ranked No. 1 two weeks ago, but has lost two straight contests, including a 13-6 setback to Tarleton State last weekend.
CHARGING AHEAD: Hillsdale College moved up to third in the NCAA Division II Super Region Two rankings following a resounding 45-14 win over Wayne State (Mich.) as the Chargers stretched their winning streak to three straight. Ranked No. 25 entering the contest, it was the program’s first-ever victory as a ranked team.
Junior wide receiver Andre Holmes caught five passes for 119 yards and a career-high three touchdowns with all scores coming in the first 18 minutes of play to earn Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors.
The No. 21 Chargers are in a three-way tie for second-place in the GLIAC standings at 6-2 with Findlay and Saginaw Valley State. They have Ferris State (Oct. 31) and Tiffin (Nov. 7) remaining on their schedule – both squads are looking for their first GLIAC victory this season.