UMHB football begins 23rd season Saturday vs. Albright

BELTON, Texas (KWTX) The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders will try to win their 13th straight season-opener this Saturday when they welcome in the Albright Lions.

The school would not say how many players were suspended.(UMHB photo/file)

UMHB won the matchup with Albright in Pennsylvania last season 91-7. Jefferson Fritz had a couple interceptions that day -- two of his 12 picks last season. He's back this season at free safety, but head coach Pete Fredenburg reminded everyone that it wasn't just an individual effort back there.

"We had a great pass rush," said Fredenburg, who is entering his 23rd season as head coach of the Cru. "All of those guys are back up front, so that's exciting. ... We expect a lot from Jefferson Fritz. He's going to be a really outstanding player for us."

Joey Longoria, who earned ASC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors, will anchor an intimidating, and experienced, defensive line. He, Elijah Cross, Isaiah Johnson and Khevon Shepard all started for UMHB during its run to the NCAA D-III national championship.

Linebackers Akeem Jackson and Jacob Mueller move into full-time starting roles alongside senior Tevin Jones, who sat out the 2018 season (personal reasons).

Jones, a senior from Belton, is UMHB's active leader in tackles (206).

Fredenburg announced Monday that quarterback Jase Hammack will be out this Saturday due to injury. As a result, Ryan Redding will be starting under center throwing to receivers that haven't made much of an impact in previous years.

Senior wide receiver Jonel Reed is out Saturday due to injury, and sophomore Aaron Sims was suspended for the first five games of the season for violating team rules.

Kadarius Daniels, who made 16 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns in 2018, is listed on the Cru's 2019 roster and appeared to be the next man up at receiver, but he was not listed in UMHB's two-deep depth chart released Monday, suggesting he was one of the players suspended by the Cru during fall camp.

UMHB's all-time leading rusher Markeith Miller is no longer a part of the program after exhausting all of his eligibility. There's been no winner in the running back battle in fall camp, so a clear starter may not be established until after the season begins.

UMHB and Albright kick off Saturday at 6 p.m.