Texas College rallied together over the past weeks, from the veterans to newcomers, and offensive and defensive players alike.
The Steers joined forces last week for their most impressive performance to date, a 31-20 win over Concordia-Selma (Ala.), a team that entered three games over .500.
The Steers scored a season high in the victory; with freshman quarterback Milton Harper (6-1, 165) leading the charge. The defense reached the end zone as well, thanks to a 35-yard interception return by Edward Washington (6-0, 190).
“Once we all gelled together, it was unlimited what we could do,” said Washington, an Oakland, Calif., native who played two years at Diablo Valley in Concord, Calif., before becoming a Steer.
“I take pride in scouting reports and film,” continued Washington, who has 22 tackles with one sack on the year. “I like to confuse defenses. It was a simple cover-two look. I knew they were trying to hit that out-route all day. I just broke on it and took it to the house.”
Harper hit on 12 of 27 passes for 237 yards and one TD. The Steers turned it up for 286 total yards, scoring 23 points by halftime, more than the three previous games combined.
“Everybody is getting on the same page,” said Harper, who hails from Tulsa, Okla. “Everybody’s buying into the system. That’s what got us points on the board.”
Harper handled the spotlight fairly well for a true freshman backing up the team leader in total offense, junior Vincent McNeil, who has missed the last three games with an injury. Harper nearly engineered TC to an upset of Langston in his home state.
“They kept encouraging me to stay poised and check my reads and be strong back there and not get rattled by the D-line,” said Harper, a business management major. “Playing back home, and against a team that recruited me, my coach kept telling me to show them for the next four years what they missed. That was in my head the whole game.”
The Steers’ roster features 29 underclassmen, including 19 freshmen. The Steers (2-7) also find solace in knowing only three touchdowns (20 points) separate them from being in first place in the Central States Football League.
“We’ve got a lot of potential, a lot of young receivers,” said Harper, who leads the team with 641 yards passing. “We should be ready by next year, with a lot of confidence and chemistry.”
The Steers defense allowed only four offensive TDs in close losses to Langston and Bacone. The Steers pitched a first-half shutout last week, sparked by Washington’s pick-six. TC also notched a shutout in another win over Wayland Baptist.
“We have to capitalize on everything,” said Washington, who is majoring in social work, with a concentration on child welfare. “Through senior leadership and everyone being accountable, we’ve been playing on one accord.”
Seniors like Washington get two more chances to leave an impression at TC. The Steers play at McMurry on Saturday, and finish with another road game at Southwestern Assemblies the following week.
“I feel like these last two games, once we win,” Washington said, “that’s going to give us the respect and build confidence going into the offseason.”
STEER SCOOP: The Texas College volleyball team dropped its home finale in three games (25-16, 25-11, 25-17) to Southern Arkansas on Thursday. The Lady Steers (10-18, 3-6 in Red River Athletic Conference) play at Texas Wesleyan (16-13, 5-3) tonight in Fort Worth, then finish the regular season on Saturday at Southwestern Assemblies of God. … Texas College completed its soccer seasons last week, with the Steers (2-16, 1-10 in RRAC) closing with a 3-2 win over Bacone. The Lady Steers (2-16, 1-10) earned a win over former coach Demetrio Hernandez and Wiley (8-0), before losing their final three matches.