• Kale Steed

Lone Star Conference power rankings: Texans are the early season favorite

Tarleton quarterback Ben Holmes races up field during a game last year. [Provided by Tarleton athletics]

Editors note: This is the first of a weekly power poll by Press Pass Sports.

1. Tarleton (0-0): The defending Lone Star Conference champions received 19 first-place votes in the preason poll and came at The Texans return stacked with 13 starters for head coach Todd Whitten that include receiver Zimari Manning.

2. MSU-Texas (0-0): Head coach Bill Maskill, the Dean of LSC coaches, begins his 18th season on the sideline for the Mustangs. The biggest question for the ol’ ball coach is who will replace star quarterback Layton Rabb. Junior Zach Purcell will take the reigns to start the year.

3. E. New Mexico (0-0): The Greyhounds bring back their dominant run presence behind a stacked offensive line. Senior dual-threat QB Wyatt Strand has the option offense down to a science while Randall grad Paul Terry is back to power the ground game.

4. A&M-Commerce (0-0): For the first time since 2013, they’ll be no Colby Carthel roaming the sideline for the Lions. Former Rice head coach, David Bantliff takes over for Carthel. Bantliff inherits a savvy group that includes All-Conference defender L.A Dawson.

West Texas A&M opens its brand new on-campus stadium Saturday night at 6 p.m. against Azusa Pacific. [Provided by WT athletics]

5. W. Texas A&M (0-0): A new year welcomes a new era into the Buffs football program. WT will open its brand new on-campus stadium Saturday, and excitement is at an all-time high for coach Hunter Hughes. Could this be a breakthrough season for WT? Stay tuned.

6. A&M-Kingsville (0-0): Head coach Daren Wilkinson is hoping to see a bounce back year after back-to-back 4-7 seasons.. It wasn’t that long ago the Javelinas were 9-3 in 2016.

7. Angelo State (0-0): It’s the inaugural season for head coach Jeff Girsch, who took over for Will Wagner last winter. Girsch has spent the past four years as the defensive coordinator for the Rams, inheriting a team that went 6-6 last season.

8. UTPB (0-0): UTPB hopes year four can be the year it turns a corner. Through ths first three years in the league the Falcons are a woeful 2-25 in LSC play.

9. W. New Mexico (0-0): New coach Frank Tristan takes over the Mustangs program after spending four years as the head coach at Southwest Assembles of God. Tristan and his team open the year with heavy hearts following the loss of teammate, Eddie Cruz. Cruz lost his life in a drowning incident Monday.

Week 1 LSC schedule

Thursday’s game

Western Oregon at Angelo State, 6 p.m.

Saturday’s games

Azusa Pacific at W. Texas A&M, 6 p.m.

Tarleton at Stephen F. Austin, 6 p.m.

MSU-Texas at NW State (La.), 6 p.m.

Selecciòn Nuevo Leòn at A&M-Commerce, 6 p.m.

Wayland Baptist at UT Permian Basin, 6 p.m.

Missouri S&T at E. New Mexico, 7 p.m.

Saginaw Valley St. At A&M-Kingsville, 7 p.m.

W. New Mexico at Ottawa (Az.), 8 p.m.

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