ABILENE, Texas (BCH Sports) – The HSU Cowboys return to the playoffs, but this year they are the outright American Southwest Conference (ASC) champions for the first time since 2004.

A couple of running backs that went to high school in the Big Country led the way.

Cooper’s Noah Garcia and Hawley’s Colton Marshall were one and two in the conference in rushing this season and they topped the ASC with a total of 25 touchdowns.

If they are going to be successful, Garcia and Marshall need to be successful.

Noah Garcia said, “Man, a lot of hard work. The off season especially; working out with Colton Marshall. So yeah, you look at him, you look at him, you can say that we worked a lot. We just come out here knowing we’re going to have to run the ball hard every week. So knowing we got each other’s back no matter what. I feel like that’s the biggest thing.

“Oh, Noah? Noah just makes me happy everyday,” said Colton Marshall. “I mean, we just have fun. I mean, I make fun of him because he likes to juke around, and I go to power but we compete every day.”

The Cowboys run down to San Antonio for a first round meeting with Trinity at noon on Saturday.

They lost to the Tigers in the playoffs last year 14-7.