A half-dozen East Texas products will be on the sideline for the Sam Houston State Bearkats when they face the Eastern Washington Eagles in the FCS national semifinals on Saturday at 3 p.m.
The game will be broadcast on both ESPNU and ESPN 3.
Robert E. Lee senior tight end T.J. Jones earned all-Southland Conference first-team honors this season and will start.
Other East Texas players on the roster include Jacksonville sophomore defensive back Cody Hamlett, Kilgore freshman offensive lineman Donald Jackson, Gilmer senior offensive lineman Dan Jenkins, Longview freshman tight end Braden King and Arp sophomore defensive back Michael Wade.
Jones has caught 7 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. Hamlett has played in four games and made nine tackles. Wade has played in 10 games and made 22 tackles. Jenkins has made one start at offensive tackle so far this season.
Jackson, a true freshman, has started the last nine games at guard.
If the Bearkats win they will play in the FCS National Championship game for the second straight year. That game will be played at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco on Jan. 5
Cru’s run ends at Mount Union
Mary Hardin-Baylor’s run to a potential berth in the NCAA Division III national championship game ended last weekend with a 48-35 loss to Mount Union (Ohio).
The Cru saw its season end with a 13-1 record.
John Tyler junior defensive back Javolis Heard had one tackle in the contest, allowing him to finish the season with 37 tackles, 1 interception, 5 pass break-ups and 6 passes defended.
Mineola junior offensive tackle Montana Duncan started in the contest, as he has for every Cru game this season. Both should return in 2013.
There were five other ET players on the roster, all of which were freshmen — Chapel Hill linebacker Kevin Garcia, Mineola linebacker Trey Boyd, John Tyler defensive back DeVonte Jones, Gilmer offensive lineman Kole Lawhorn and Gilmer offensive lineman Branson Parker.
Pine Tree’s Popelar leading Hardin-Simmons hoops team
Pine Tree senior guard Alexis Popelar is leading the Hardin-Simmons women’s basketball team in scoring after eight games, averaging 19.1 points per game. She is the only H-S player averaging double figures.
Popelar also leads the team in rebounding with 6.8 rebounds per game and plays 35.6 minutes per contest.
Popelar averaged 12.1 points per game last year and was named All-American Southwest Conference Honorable Mention.
ET products starting for ETBU
Former White Oak Roughneck basketball player J.D. Richardson has started seven of East Texas Baptist’s first eight basketball games this season and is averaging 5.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
Richardson, who is 6-foot-6, is the starting center for the Tigers and is coming off a freshman year in which he scored a career-high 19 points.
On the women’s side, Grand Saline sophomore guard Amanda Rucker has started five of ETBU’s first seven games and has averaged 3.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for a squad that won five of its first seven games.
Winona senior Holly Phelps, a center, is coming off the bench and averaging 5.6 rebounds per game, which leads the team.
Wright TexAnn’s second-leading scorer
Tarleton State center Kiara Wright is the Tarleton State TexAnn’s second leading scorer through their first seven games of the season.
Wright, a junior who went to Pittsburgh High School, is averaging 16.3 points per game. In fact, she leads the team in rebounding, averaging 13.6 points per game. Wright was named the Lone Star Conference’s Defensive Player of the week last week. It was the sixth conference player of the week award of her career.
The TexAnns are coming off two straight NCAA regional playoff appearances and are 4-3, 2-0 in LSC action through Dec. 8.
Former Panthers starting for ACU
Shannon Sanders, who played her high school basketball at Spring Hill High School, is a starting guard for the Abilene Christian University Wildcats.
Sanders started the first six games of the season, averaging 17.2 minutes and 3.2 points per game.
Sanders, a sophomore, transferred from Charleston Southern in the offseason, where she averaged 2.4 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.
East Texas Pipeline appears weekly in the Tyler Morning Telegraph and is dedicated to updating readers on East Texas athletes who have gone on to college sports. If you know of a former ET high school athlete who is now completing on the college level and is worthy of recognition, email Matthew Postins at TMTpipeline@hotmail.com with the information.