Cowboys on brink of milestone

Next win will be No. 500

by DAVID BERRY
dberry@americanpress.com

<p> Kerry Joseph, McNeese Hall of Famer</p>

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The McNeese State football team has the chance to make history with a lot of history-makers watching on Saturday night.

<p class="indent">The Cowboys will celebrate their All-75th Anniversary team on the same day that the current team hosts Abilene Christian (2-3, 1-2 SLC) in a key Southland Conference matchup.

<p class="indent">In addition to hosting legends of the past, the current team has a chance to etch itself into history: a win over ACU will give the Cowboys 500 as a program. McNeese’s record is 499-287-13.

<p class="indent">When you ask players and coaches, it is clear that their focus lies purely on winning the game and not on the history that could come with the win. But they still acknowledge how special it would be to get the win on such a special night for McNeese football.

<p class="indent">“For us, as a team right now, it’s about getting that next win,” said Kerry Joseph, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. “Getting to 5-1. When you think about the alumni, this program, this university, this city, when you think about the 75th anniversary, I think it’s great. Me being apart of it also, I think it just goes back and shows you the rich tradition of winning and success we’ve had in this program. To get number 500 for this program I think is huge. I think that’s something that everyone outside of this team can enjoy. Our focus is getting to 5-1.”

<p class="indent">Joseph, arguably the best quarterback in McNeese history, is one of many current coaches that were named to the All-75th Anniversary team. He won 41 games for the Cowboys and three SLC championships, as well as McNeese’s first playoff victory (1992) and national semifinal appearance (1995). He was inducted in the Mc-Neese Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

<p class="indent">But while the former players and coaches want to make their impact, the players on the field Saturday are the ones who can make sure that everyone in attendance can leave Cowboy Stadium in a celebratory mood.

<p class="indent">Senior running back David Hamm, who is second on the team in rushing with 169 yards, has been with the program for four years and has experienced his share of ups and downs. Hamm transferred from Texas-El Paso after his true freshman season and ran four 251 yards in his first season at McNeese. He missed the entire 2016 season for personal reasons before returning in 2017.

<p class="indent">With all that he has been through at McNeese, Hamm said he wants this win as bad as anyone on or around the team could want it.

<p class="indent">“It’s an honor,” Hamm said. “Being here for four years, it’s been a big foundation. McNeese has grown on me. I’ll always be a Cowboy, blue and (gold). I’ve been a team player since I’ve been here. Winning is in our blood. I love it.”

<p class="indent">Hamm also wants to honor the coaches and players who will be watching that helped make the program what it is today.

<p class="indent">“They’ve shown us how to win,” he said. “They set a foundation here at McNeese and they want us to win. We’re trying to get a national championship. We’re trying to complete that goal.”

<p class="indent">For players on the anniversary team who cannot attend the game, head coach Lance Guidry said there will be an event next year that coincides with the annual spring game that will hopefully get most available players to the celebration.

<p class="indent">When asked during his weekly news conference on Tuesday about the 500th victory, Guidry responded, “We’re bound to get it this year.”

<p class="indent">“I hope it’s this (Saturday),” he said. “If not, we’ll look for the next one. It’s just a win. If it’s 500 it’s 500. It’s just another conference game.”

6 p.m. Saturday

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