July 17, 2013
2013 Preseason All-Southland Conference Football Teams
BEAUMONT - Representing a sign of continuing growth for its fourth-year football program, five Lamar Cardinals were named to the preseason All-Southland Conference Team which was announced by the league office today.
For the first time in three years of league play since the reinstatement of the football program, Lamar was represented on the preseason all-conference team.
"I think the further along we go, the more we should be represented on these teams," said LU head coach Ray Woodard. "I think it's a reflection of where we are as a program. We should be represented and we are."
Punter Kollin Kahler is the Cardinals' lone representative on the first team. A 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior out of Waco, Kahler holds the school record for career punting average at 40.8 yards per punt. Kahler, who has been Lamar's starting punter for the last three seasons, boomed a 72-yarder against Southeastern Louisiana in 2011 for the third longest punt in school history.
"Kollin does a great job on and off the field," said Woodard. "He's a very dependable person and a very dependable punter. I'm going to regret when he leaves because he has been a mainstay for us from the time we started."
A 2011 honorable mention all-conference performer, Kahler was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 7 First-Team last year. Kahler finished his junior season with a 41.5 yards per punt average including 10 punts over 50 yards and 18 that were downed inside the 20-yard line.
Four Cardinals were named to the preseason second-team with Barry Ford representing the offensive side of the ball and Chad Allen, Jesse Dickson and Jermaine Longino earning recognition for their defensive prowess.
Dickson, a 6-foot-3, 265-pound defensive lineman out of Houston, was a second-team all-conference selection following the 2012 campaign. In addition to posting 43 tackles last season, Dickson led the Cardinals with nine tackles for loss and four sacks to rank among the top 15 in the conference in both categories.
"I would like to see Jesse finish on some of the first teams by the end of the year and have the type of year that he's looking to have," said Woodard. "We expect big things out of him, but he also expects a lot from himself. I think as he plays, our defense plays. We need a big year out of him and I think he's going to give it to us."
A fellow Houston native, Longino had a big first year for the Cardinals after transferring in from Trinity Valley Community College. The 5-foot-10, 220-pound linebacker earned honorable mention honors in 2012 after tying for the conference lead with 107 total tackles.
"I'd like to think if he put up those numbers again, he couldn't be ignored," noted Woodard. "This league has a lot of really good linebackers so it's tough to crack the first-team, but I think he's as good as anybody in the league at his position."
Longino finished with 10 or more tackles five times last season with a season-high 16 stops at Stephen F. Austin. He added 6.5 tackles for loss and forced three fumbles in his debut season at Lamar.
Allen, who was also named honorable mention all conference last year, recorded 79 tackles from the defensive backfield. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound free safety out of Coldspring posted a career-high 17 tackles at SFA for the second-best single-game total by any Southland player last year.
"Chad is one of those guys that came in (in 2010) that we couldn't really afford to redshirt so he had to play as a freshman," said Woodard. "He's played a lot in three years and has a lot of experience under his belt. We're looking for him to have a big senior year, as well."
A 6-foot-1, 175-pound wide receiver from Houston, Ford is coming off a career-best 49-catch season which led the Cardinals. Ford also paced Lamar with 470 receiving yards and ranked 10th in the Southland with 4.1 receptions per game.
"Barry is our most experienced receiver," said Woodard. "He's played in a lot of games and brings some older experience with it. He's been here all along and he deserves to be on the all-conference team."
Ford's best game came in LU's 34-24 win over Nicholls last year when he finished with nine catches for 111 yards. In addition to the career-high nine grabs, Ford added a 20-yard touchdown catch against the Colonels.
"This is the first full senior class that has come all the way through the program and we have three good classes behind them," said Woodard. "This is the first season, in my mind, that we've been at full strength and I'm looking forward to it."
Lamar's 12-game regular season begins on Aug. 31 when Oklahoma Panhandle State pays a visit to Provost Umphrey Stadium. The Cards' first Southland Conference home game will be Oct. 19 when Central Arkansas comes in for homecoming. For ticket information, call (409) 880-1715 or visit www.LamarCardinals.com.