RICHARDSON, Texas – Mary Hardin-Baylor and Hardin-Simmons have been picked to win the 2020-21 American Southwest Conference Football East and West Divisions, respectively, after a vote of the league’s head coaches and directors of sports information, the ASC office announced on Friday (February 5).
HSU junior wide receiver Kevi Evans was voted as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while UMHB senior defensive back Jefferson Fritz was selected as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and Cru junior kicker/punter Anthony Avila earned Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
Mary Hardin-Baylor (12-1 / 9-0 ASC) received 99 points in the preseason poll and recorded 19 out of a possible 20 first place votes. The Cru are the defending ASC champions, reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Championship in 2019.
Hardin-Simmons (8-2 / 7-2 ASC) received 93 points, including 17 first-place votes, to come in HSU has finished no lower than fourth in the league standings in each of the last 24 seasons, and were third in the league in 2019.
East Texas Baptist was picked second in the East Division with 79 points and one first place votes. They were followed by Southwestern (53), Belhaven (36) and Louisiana College (32).
Texas Lutheran was picked second in the West with 80 points and three first place votes after being the ASC’s runner-up in 2019. Rounding out the West were Howard Payne (52), Sul Ross State (40) and McMurry (31).
Evans (Mount Vernon, Texas) was second in the conference last season with 889 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns. He averaged 21.7 yards per catch and was a First Team All-ASC selection.
Fritz (Kaufman, Texas) holds the ASC record for career interceptions and was the 2018 Defensive Player of the Year. In 2019, Fritz was an All-Conference First Team pick at both defensive back and punter. He recorded 44 tackles, three for a loss and had three interceptions for 52 yard and a touchdown last season.
Avila (Troy, Texas) was the 2019 ASC Special Teams Player of the Year, an AP All-America First Team and D3football.com All-America Third Team selection. He broke the ASC single-season record with 23 field goals and was 64-of-69 on extra points for 133 total points.
Due to the shortened spring season, the ASC will be divided into football divisions for the first time in league history. Teams will play a four-game divisional scheduled, followed by a championship day of the first place teams playing each other, the second place teams, third, fourth and fifths as well.
The 2020-21 season gets underway Saturday, February 6. The ASC Football Championship Series will be played on Saturday, March 13.
Wilson is the official football of American Southwest Conference.
2020-21 ASC Preseason Football Poll
Team (First) 2019 Record
- Mary Hardin-Baylor 12-1 (9-0)
- East Texas Baptist 6-4 (6-3)
- Southwestern 4-6 (3-6)
- Belhaven 2-8 (2-7)
- Louisiana College 3-7 (3-6)
Team Votes 2019 Record
- Hardin-Simmons (17) 93 8-2 (7-2)
- Texas Lutheran (3) 80 8-3 (8-1)
- Howard Payne 52 5-5 (4-5)
- Sul Ross State 40 3-7 (3-6)
- McMurry 31 0-10 (0-9)
2020-21 ASC Preseason Players of the Year
Offense: Kevi Evans, WR, Jr., Hardin-Simmons
Defense: Jefferson Fritz, DB, Sr., Mary Hardin-Baylor
Special Teams: Anthony Avila, K/P, Jr., Mary Hardin-Baylor
2020-21 Players to Watch
Name Pos. Cl. Team Hometown
Anthony Avila * S K/P Jr. Mary Hardin-Baylor Troy, Texas
James Bell * S Sr. Texas Lutheran Houston, Texas
Ben Brockman LB Sr. Southwestern Midland, Texas
Kevi Evans * WR Jr. Hardin-Simmons Mount Vernon, Texas
Jefferson Fritz * DB Sr. Mary Hardin-Baylor Kaufman, Texas
Alberto Garcia K So. East Texas Baptist Huntsville, Texas
Kyle Jones QB Sr. Hardin-Simmons Giddings, Texas
Malik Mason S Gr. East Texas Baptist Anna, Texas
K.J. Miller WR Jr. Mary Hardin-Baylor Orange, Texas
Rae Millsap RS Jr. Hardin-Simmons Abilene, Texas
Juan Ocampo * K Jr. Texas Lutheran Lockhart, Texas
Jamie Pogue * K Sr. Hardin-Simmons Abilene, Texas
E’Monte Smith * DE Sr. Mary Hardin-Baylor Austin, Texas
Cory Stang * C Jr. East Texas Baptist Magnolia, Texas
S – 2019 Special Teams Player of the Year
- – 2019 All-Conference