Sunday, September 4, 2016

Southland Conference: Long Night, Bright Future for HBU

Houston Baptist's Tony Dawson (Photo / HBU Athletics)

The HBU Huskies football team certainly had a long night on Thursday to open the 2016 season when they fell to Southland foe Central Arkansas (1-0), 56-13.

The score aptly tells the story of the complete victory by the Bears. Hidden beneath it is some good news for the Huskies. They're in just their fourth year of competition at any level, and NCAA Division I is not an easy place to start a sport from scratch, particularly football. This offseason they added quarterback coach Charlie Reeve, who arrives from UTSA, another Texas start-up program that is getting increasingly competitive within Conference-USA.

They currently have two quarterbacks vying for the regular starting spot, senior Tony Dawson and junior Max Staver. Late in the opening loss, Staver showed good touch on a 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver David Racine.

Dawson in game action against UCA (Photo / Russ Reneau, HBU) 
Neither QB is an underclassman, but a silver lining to shorter collegiate careers in front of them is that their younger backups can advance at a more studied pace than is typically afforded a new program at any level. Recall another Houston team, the Texans, who had rookie David Carr under center in their first year of 2002. Carr was sacked an NFL record 76 times, and the team didn't make its first playoff appearance until nine years later in 2011. By all indicators, the Huskies are making a more rapid ascent.

I had the opportunity to speak with Coach Reeve, Dawson, and Staver before their opener on the American Sports Network. - TF

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