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Rams set to fight hard on Military Appreciation Day

Final home game of season looms large

By Stephen Cogan
On November 2, 2012

  • Andy Atterbury. Tim Lester

     The Rams have had an up-and-down season with a 4-5 overall record and a 3-3 conference record, but look to earn a win in their last home game of the regular season.

     The Rams face the University of Incarnate Word on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 2 p.m., but the game is not just about playing in their home stadium for possibly the last time this season.

     The game against Incarnate Word doubles as a "Military Appreciation" game for the men and women in this country's armed forces.

     Several players have family ties to branches in the military, so the game means more to them than throwing pigskin around.

     Senior wide receiver C.J. Akins' father is a sergeant major in the army and Akins said he will be thinking about him and other military personnel as he plays.

     "First and foremost, just thinking of all the men and women who serve in the military," Akins said. "Thinking about the great appreciation to my dad, who has been in the military for 28-plus years and is still serving, so [having a game] will be a good thing to do."

     Akins leads the team in receiving yards and touchdowns with 766 and six respectively.

     His 47 catches are second on the team and his 85.11 yards per game have made him a constant threat in the Lone Star Conference.

     Senior defensive back Terrence Holland is another Rams player who said he has significant ties to the military with two family members in the army.

     "My dad is retired and my brother-in-law is in active duty right now," Holland said. "My dad retired, he did 20-plus years and my brother-in-law has done three tours overseas."

     Holland said he is hoping his father can get off of work to watch him play.

     "My dad laid his life on the line for me and that helped me get to where I am," Holland said. "My brother-in-law, he's doing the same thing my dad did. We're bringing him back home; that's the most important thing."

     Austin Benson, the senior defensive end and owner of three sacks and eight tackles for losses this season, said his family has served in multiple military branches from the air force to the marines.
"You got to go out there and you got to put on [a game]," Benson said. "We live in the greatest country because of those guys, and without those guys I wouldn't be here at Angelo State, I wouldn't be able to go to school, and I wouldn't be able to do something I love. You definitely go out there with a heavy heart and get the job done."

     Benson said he's had a great career at ASU and has mixed emotions about the fact that Saturday could be his last home game as a Ram.

     "I treated it throughout my career that every game could be my last game because nothing is ever promised," Benson said. "You can go out there and you can be done in just one play, so I treat every game like it is my last game."

     With that in mind, Benson said he still is excited to get on the field.

     "It is bittersweet, but I'm excited because we're about to give it to Incarnate Word."
Benson said.

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