Hayes, Oden earn second-team All-Conference honors

GO CARDINALS J.J. Hayes set three school records this season.
J.J. Hayes set three school records this season.

Nov. 22, 2011

BEAUMONT, Texas - Senior J.J. Hayes and sophomore Anthony Oden were the only Lamar University players voted to second-team berths on the 2011 All-Southland Conference Football squad released by the conference office Tuesday afternoon.

In addition to Hayes, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound split end from Diboll, and the 6-8, 305-pound Oden from Indianapolis, wide receiver Marcus Jackson, offensive lineman Cameron Epple, defensive lineman Marcus Malbrough, linebackers Asim Hicks and Darby Jackson and punter Kollin Kahler made the honorable mention list.

Hayes set two school records in the Cardinals' season-ending 45-17 loss to McNeese State Saturday night, and he led the SLC in receiving yards with 951. Those 951 yards are a one-season school record, breaking the former mark of 918 set by Chris Ford of the 1989 Cardinals, and Hayes' 14 catches against McNeese were one more than the previous school record set by Herbert Harris in a 1981 game against Louisiana Tech.

Earlier in the season, Hayes, who also played for Lamar coach Ray Woodard at Navarro College, set Lamar's single-game receiving yardage record with 212 against Northwestern State.

Playing at left tackle, Oden was a mainstay in the offensive line that helped the Cardinals average 331.5 yards per game during their 4-7 season. The transfer from the University of Arkansas was particularly effective at pass blocking.

Marcus Jackson, a senior from Tyler Lee, was second to Hayes on the team in receiving with 24 catches for 432 yards and six touchdowns. Epple, a senior from Granbury, Texas, manned the right tackle position in the Cardinals' offensive line, while Hicks, a senior from Newark, N.J., and Darby Jackson, a senior from Humble, ranked first and seventh, respectively on the team in tackles with 103 and 34.



Kahler, a 6-1, 160-pound sophomore from West Mesquite High School, was second in the conference in punting with a 42.3-yard average.

After going a perfect 11-0 during the regular season, Sam Houston State claimed four of the six individual football awards on the team, headlined by running back Tim Flanders, who was named the conference Player of the Year.

Bearkat wide receiver Richard Sincere was named the Offensive Player of the Year; safety Darnell Taylor was named the Defensive Player of the Year; and Willie Fritz was named the Coach of the Year.

Additionally, Southeastern Louisiana running back Jordan Wells was named the Freshman of the Year, while Stephen F. Austin defensive end Willie Jefferson was named Newcomer of the Year.

Flanders set conference records with 22 touchdowns and 132 points this season. His 20 rushing touchdowns tied former Bearkat Luther Turner, who ran for 20 scores in 1987. The sophomore from Midwest City, Okla., is averaging 103.0 rushing yards per game after running for 100 yards or more six times this season.

Flanders' 1,094 rushing yards this season are the fourth-best single-season total in school history. He became the ninth Bearkat to total more than 2,000 career rushing yards, entering the NCAA Division I playoffs with 2,043 yards in two seasons.

Flanders also leads the Bearkats in receiving with 404 yards and two touchdowns on 27 catches. He is averaging 139.7 all-purpose yards per game and is the fourth Bearkat to be named the SLC Player of the Year, joining Chris Chaloupka (1999), Josh McCown (2001) and Dustin Long (2004).

Sincere, a wide receiver who also lines up behind center in the "Wild Bearkat" formation, finished second on the team in rushing with an average of 66.5 yards per game. That is the third best average in the conference this season.

Sincere has scored nine touchdowns and totaled 732 yards on 93 carries. He ran for 100 yards or more four times. During conference play, the sophomore from Galveston averaged 82.4 yards per game and 9.6 yards per carry.

Sincere added two receiving touchdowns and caught 21 passes for 394 yards, averaging 102.4 all-purpose yards per game. He is the third Bearkat to be named the Offensive Player of the Year, joining Chaloupka (1999) and D.D. Terry (2006).

The Flanders-Sincere tandem has helped Sam Houston average 250.1 rushing yards per game, which is the seventh best total in the Football Championship Subdivision. The Bearkats rank second in the FCS in scoring offense, putting up an average 39.5 points per game.

Taylor captains a Sam Houston defense that paces the nation against the run, limiting opponents to an average of only 59.0 rushing yards per game. It also has the nation's top scoring defense, allowing an average of only 12.6 points per game.

Taylor, a junior from Mesquite, leads the Bearkats with 89 tackles and has six tackles for loss and three sacks. He also has forced three fumbles and has one interception. He is just the second player in school history to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors, joining Keith Davis (2000).

In just his second year in Huntsville, Fritz has led the Bearkats to a No. 1 ranking in the polls and the top national seed in the NCAA Division I championship, which begins Saturday. Sam Houston, which was 7-0 in conference games, has a first-round bye and will host its first playoff game in the second round against either Stony Brook or Albany.


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