BELTON — Mary Hardin-Baylor’s ability to score in a variety of ways was evident again during Saturday’s first-round playoff win in which defensive back Eric Allen returned a pooch punt 90 yards for a touchdown.
Allen’s third-quarter return against Redlands (Calif.) was the ninth TD scored by a member of the Crusaders’ defense or special teams, which at least one coach believes is a sign of something special.
“When you play a team that’s coached so well in all of the peripheral areas — so many teams are just coached in the main areas — that’s the sign of a great team,” Redlands coach Mike Maynard said after the game. “They’re a good example of a complete and thoroughly coached team.”
Add in its kickers, and second-ranked UMHB (11-0) has tallied 155 points with its defense and special teams.
That’s an average of 14.1 points per game — just 7.2 less than second-round opponent Rowan (N.J.) averages as a team.
The No. 24-ranked Profs (9-2), who make their first visit to Crusader Stadium at noon Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs, rank last in scoring offense among the 16 teams remaining in the postseason, with an average of 21.3 points per game.
However, that doesn’t mean the Crusaders’ offense has plans to take the day off.
“When you face someone you haven’t played before, you have to really focus in and find the things that you want to attack,” UMHB offensive coordinator Jeff Shinn said.
“The biggest thing is making sure you have a good understanding of what they do scheme-wise so you can attack it.”
Sophomore receiver and Wildcat formation quarterback Marcus Wimby did not play in the first-round game because of a shoulder sprain suffered in the regular-season finale.
It was initially feared that he would miss at least two weeks, but he could return earlier than expected after lifting weights on Sunday.
“It’s kind of whatever he can tolerate,” Crusaders coach Pete Fredenburg said. “I hope he can come back.”
After last weekend’s playoff opener was played in cold, windy conditions that featured a wind-chill factor below freezing, the forecast calls for much more pleasant conditions in the second round.
The outlook for Saturday is for mostly cloudy skies, with a high of 64 degrees and a low of 55.
Season ticket holders can purchase tickets from 7:30 a.m. to noon today, before they go on sale to the general public 12:30-6 p.m. today and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday at the ticket windows located at Gate One of Crusader Stadium.
Tickets can also be purchased online starting at 1 p.m. today.
The link for online sales can be found on the school’s athletic website.