WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The 2018 season ended faster than expected for the Midwestern State football team.
The Mustangs were left out of the NCAA division two playoffs with a loss margin of two points.
But 2019 is a new season and MSU Texas will turn to some new faces to lead them this season.
“We are a talented team but we’ve got guys who haven’t played a lot," head coach Bill Maskill, who enters his 18th season, said. "Quinton Childs for example has taken one snap as a running back in a game and he’s a 5th year senior and he’s our starting running back as we begin practice.”
The running back position took one of the biggest hits for the Mustangs.
Last season, MSU averaged 180 yards per game on the ground but graduated four of their top five rushers.
So this year they turn to former wide receiver Quinton Childs and Holliday eagle alumnus Justin Jones to lead the ground game.
But that's just the start of the offensive changes.
Zach Purcell has taken full control of the quarterback position and he has some big shoes to fill, but the Mustangs have a lot of trust in him.
“Purcell is not Rabb," coach Maskill said. Zach Purcell is Zach Purcell, so we are going to do what Zach can do. We are going to probably be more diversified than we were last year.”
“He’s going to be a great quarterback for us this year," senior O-lineman Austan Davis said. "I’m excited about him. He brings a lot of energy, very athletic guy. Be able to move up and down the field very well, make good decisions. Natural born leader as well.
"I’m excited for him.”
While the offense went through a lot of change in the off season, the defense was the opposite.
The Mustangs lost three of their top four tacklers but return six of their eight top sack-producers from a year ago.
But the most experience returning comes from the secondary.
“Well I think our corners, both three year starters in Cunigan and Wilson and both of those guys had good springs and good summers and they are more mature and those guys are on point and ready to go.”
“We’ve all got in game experience," senior CB DaMarcus Wilson said. "I want to say our starting whip but everybody else is experienced, had plenty of game time and ready to play.”
“Our receivers get us right for every game," senior CB Jaydon Cunigan said. "We tell them turn it up and that’s exactly what they do. Iron sharpens iron and without that we are nothing really on both sides of the ball.”
Last season, the defense finished 112th in yards per game and will need to be a little better against some of the strong offenses in the Lone Star Conference.
But if Midwestern State wants to avoid last years abrupt ending they will lean on their captains to lead the way.
“Really all the credit goes to our previous captains and previous leaders,' Davis said. "Two of my best friends, captains last year, AJ and Kevin Fisher (were) big impacts on the way I lead and the way I want to carry this team into the future.”
MIDWESTERN STATE SCHEDULE
Sept. 7 @ Northwestern State (LA.) 6pm
Sept. 14 @ Lindenwood (MO.) 6pm
Sept. 21 vs UT Permian Basin 7pm
Sept. 28 @ Angelo State 6pm
Oct. 5 vs Eastern New Mexico 7pm
Oct. 12 @ Texas A&M-Commerce 6pm
Oct. 19 vs Texas A&M-Kingsville 7pm
Oct. 26 @ Western Oregon 3pm
Nov. 2 @ Tarleton State 2pm
Nov. 9 vs Western New Mexico 1pm
Nov. 16 @ West Texas A&M