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'Sunshine' takes over at quarterback

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RIO RANCHO – For the third time this season, the New Mexico Stars will be introducing a new quarterback to the starting lineup when they play host to the San Angelo Bandits tonight in a Lone Star Football League game at the Santa Ana Star Center.

The guy taking the snaps won’t be the only fresh face for the Stars (1-3), who are looking to halt a three-game losing streak in the five-team pro indoor league. The entire defensive line also was reworked during last week’s bye. That’s what happens when a team goes three straight games without a sack.

Plus, seven interceptions thrown by New Mexico QBs in that three-game slide also has contributed mightily to the team’s early-season woes.

Today
Lone Star Football League: San Angelo Bandits at New Mexico Stars, 7:05 p.m., Santa Ana Star Center

“That’s it in a nutshell,” coach Chris Williams said during Wednesday night’s practice at the Star Center. “We realize this is like the most crucial point of the season, because if you can defend yourself at home here and get back to 3-3, you’re back to a pretty good place. And I think athletically we have the bullets in the gun to go about that right now.”

After facing San Angelo (1-3), the Stars will have another bye before playing at home against the Abilene Bombers (3-1) on May 11.

Kasey Peters, who passed for more than 10,000 yards at Rocky Mountain (Mont.) College of the NAIA, is scheduled to be the starting QB tonight after being cut earlier this month by the Indoor Football League’s Tri-Cities (Wash.) Fever.

“I was the starter there for the first five weeks, but things didn’t go so well and I got released,” he said of the team’s 1-4 record. “And I was looking for somewhere else to play and coach Williams gave me a call. So, I decided to come out here.

“I got in (Tuesday) night. I flew down from Spokane. I brought some clothes down, just some basic stuff I’ll need.”

But not a car.

“You’re guess is as good as mine,” he said with regard to how he’ll be getting around in New Mexico. “I’ve been bumming rides off teammates and coaches, so in the next couple of days I’m going to buy a bike so I can at least get food and things like that.”

Peters will be taking the place of Brendan Crawford, who was acquired from Amarillo three weeks earlier after opening-day starter KJ Black suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Said Williams: “Brendan understands that he has to play within the system and be conscious of where he’s putting the football. It’s just one of those deals where we felt like we wanted to see what Kasey can bring. … When you see a guy like Kasey on the waiver wire and you can get that guy, you want to give it a shot.”

Peters, who grew up in Southern California and has shoulder-length hair, didn’t take long to acquire a nickname.

“I think Sunshine has kind of stuck to him,” Williams said.

But when it comes to monikers, defensive newcomer Markus Cortez is the champ.

“Some people call me ‘The Terminator,’ certain people call me ‘The Wood,’ some people call me ‘Bonecrusher,” he said after Wednesday’s drills.

Cortez, who played at Troy (Ala.) University, is expected to supply energy at “jack” linebacker.

“I enjoy hitting people,” said Cortez, who recently was waived by the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League. “That’s the best part about football. But I also cover pretty well. But I’m here to basically try to bring an edge to the defense.”

Up front defensively, Williams has added:

♦ Keith McCaskill, 6-foot, 295 pounds from South Florida, who played three games for the Stars last year and recently had a tryout with the Tampa Bay Storm of the AFL, the indoor game’s highest classification;

♦ veteran nose guard Andy Endemann, 6-3, 310 pounds, a New Mexico Highlands alum who played for Everett of the IFL last year;

♦ Michael Robinson, 6-4, 260, of Nassau (N.Y.) CC, who had 20 sacks in the Ultimate Indoor Football League last season, which earned him a tryout with the AFL’s Philadelphia Soul;

♦ and Mychal Hutcherson, 6-6, 280, from Grambling.

“Even though they all have size, they’ve really got good first steps, which creates pressure,” Williams said. “Even though they look big, there’s definitely nothing slow about them.”

REMATCH: The Stars opened the season with a 60-42 victory at San Angelo, getting five interceptions on defense and three sacks. Since then, Dixie Wooten has taken over from Chris Simpson as coach for the Bandits.

“(Wooten) has been around the game and played the quarterback position as a player,” Williams said, “so you’re going to see him light it up on offense.”
‘Sunshine’ takes over at quarterback

new mexico stars
— This article appeared on page D5 of the Albuquerque Journal

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