Month: September 2019

Big Country Preps Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 4)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday night.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 4)”

FEATURE: Wylie Bulldogs seek to reverse slow-starting trend

Sitting at 0-3 and sporting a 15-game losing streak dating back 2017, the Wylie Bulldogs are off to another rocky start. 

Fighting through a brutal nondistrict schedule — Wylie’s first five opponents have combined to go 13-2 so far — the ‘Dogs have yet to hold a lead at any point this season, having been outscored by an 85-13 margin in the first halves of three lopsided losses.

Stumbling out of the blocks in each of those ballgames, coach Hugh Sandifer’s squad has effectively spent its entire season playing catch-up. That’s a trend the veteran coach wants to see end this week against crosstown rival Cooper, and it must, he said, if the Bulldogs hope to get their season back on track in time for district.

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FEATURE: AHS’ Wright making most of senior season

Playing behind a pair of all-district picks a year ago, Abilene High defensive end Dylan Wright saw his action limited to one game as a junior, playing only in the Eagles’ season finale at Euless Trinity.

So if you weren’t familiar with that name when this season began, you weren’t alone.

But through his first three games as a full-time starter, the rangy senior has forced people to take note of him this year — particularly opposing coaches and quarterbacks.

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Explosive Brady visits Dublin (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 41-8, .837

OVERALL: 130-27, .828

On a Friday where any one of four or five games is arguably a candidate for our Big Country Preps Game of the Week, our final decision — Brady at Dublin — was based on sharing the love. 

Jim Ned and Mason is on the board, as is Wichita Falls Rider at Brownwood, Hawley at Albany, Christoval at Cross Plains and, of course, the annual war between Brock and Breckenridge. 

But with Jim Ned a likely candidate for Game of the Week when it faces Wall and Eastland later this year, and Brownwood receiving live coverage for Snyder two weeks ago and Wylie next week, the field narrowed a bit. 

Hawley got our Game of the Week last Friday, and Albany will likely see the GOW when it faces Hamlin, so we’re heading to Dublin where Brady will be a part of its first-ever BCP spotlight game.

It shouldn’t disappoint. 

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FEATURE: Chemistry, maturity fuel Cooper’s defensive rise

Last year, a young Cooper defense showed flashes of brilliance, but bouts of inconsistency led to wild fluctuations in performance from week to week and, ultimately, a 6-6 campaign.

With most of the talent back from that unit this year, the Cougar defense is starting to find some of the consistency it lacked in 2018. And the results have been quite impressive thus far.

The Coogs have yet to allow more than two offensive touchdowns in a game during their 3-0 start, while forcing eight total turnovers (three fumbles, five interceptions) and limiting opponents to 4.8 yards per play.

But talking to some of the players most responsible for that unit’s growth, you might not realize the Cooper defense has been as successful as it has. For those guys, it’s not about what the Coogs have done to this point, but what they need to do to get better in the future.

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BCP Podcast No. 62: Stephenville’s Sterling Doty visits with Evan, Daniel

After a successful five-year run at Magnolia High School, following a stint as an assistant and offensive coordinator at Cooper, Sterling Doty has returned home to lead the Stephenville program he helped to two state titles in the late 1990s.

This week, Doty took a few minutes to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about his team, the pressure he faces as Stephenville’s coach and some of his influences for this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast. 

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss some of their takeaways from the third week of the Big Country football season and take a look at the top matchups in Week 4.

Continue to check back at BigCountryPreps.com each Wednesday night at 7 p.m. when Evan and Dan discuss the current happenings in Big Country High School sports — often with an interesting sports figure from around the area.

You can also peruse our BCP Podcast archive, which features dozens of our previous shows with prominent coaches and Big Country media fixtures. 

Inquiries regarding these podcasts may be directed to Evan Ren at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com. 

If you have a suggested topic of conversation or a recommended guest, don’t hesitate to contact us! 

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FEATURE: Snyder’s Jonathan Barrow still the Tigers’ top fan

SNYDER — Some people can make a difference in the lives of others by simply being themselves — serving as an inspiration without even trying. 

Count 37-year-old Jonathan Barrow of Snyder among them.

Barrow, who has been restricted to a wheel chair due to cerebral palsy since childhood, developed a love for the Snyder Tiger football team while attending SHS during the early 2000s. 

Over time, he has became a invaluable part of the program in ways that no coach can fully replace.

“Jonathan lives and breathes football,” his mother, Suzanne, said. “It started with (former coach Chad) Rogers including him on the coaches show every Friday morning and it has just blossomed since then.” 

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FEATURE: From leather helmets to Jerry World, Munday WWII Vet Thompson has seen it all

World War II veteran Gene Thompson and his grandson, Trey enter the field during a veteran’s recognition ceremony prior to a 2017 Munday football game.

MUNDAY — It has become an October tradition in Munday for attendees at a Mogul football game to sing happy birthday to one of MHS’ top fans: Gene Thompson.

This year, however, the brief ceremony carries a special significance — one that Thompson has literally waited 100 years for.

Yes, Thompson, a 99-year-old veteran of World War II, will officially become a centenarian on Oct. 23. He will be honored two nights later at Munday’s home game against Quanah, where everyone in attendance will recognize the longest-tenured Mogul fan in the program’s history. 

To put Thompson’s connection to Munday athletics into perspective, it began when he played football as a Mogul in 1936. That’s three years before the retirement of baseball great Lou Gehrig, before Gone with the Wind was in the box office and before the horrific war in which he took part had seen its first shot fired.

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BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: Blackwell’s Toasaksiri getting his gridiron kicks

Every year, a family in Blackwell brings in a foreign exchange student, and this year it is Thailand’s Mickey Toasaksiri who has made his way to the Big Country from nearly 9,000 miles away.

Taking in the full West Texas experience at the rural high school located about 30 miles south of Sweetwater, Toasaksiri has not only joined the Hornet football team, he’s found a role on coach Clint Lowry’s squad as a placekicker.

Lowry, who has grown accustomed to having the foreign exchange students around campus, appreciates what Toasaksiri has brought to the Blackwell community and his team — even if learning to pronounce his name has been a challenge.

This has earned his kicker the affectionate nickname “Mickey T.” And Toasaksiri’s proficiency in his new role has quickly earned him the trust of his coaches and teammates. 

Continue reading “BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: Blackwell’s Toasaksiri getting his gridiron kicks”

BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Hawley’s bulldozer nabs award with huge effort vs. Hamlin

 In a week that saw at least four performances that under normal circumstances, would have won Player of the Week, it was a difficult call as to who would take the top spot. 

 We eventually chose Hawley’s bruising running back Colton Marshall, who helped the Bearcats to a 46-44 win over top-ranked Class 2A Division II Hamlin in our Big Country Preps Game of the week. 

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District 3-6A: Week 3 Report

Cooper 23, Abilene High 14 — Down 16-0 midway through the second quarter, the Eagles mounted a comeback that had them in position to take the lead early in the fourth. But a failed fourth-down conversion try at the Cooper 23 swung momentum back the Cougars’ way and left AHS with its third straight loss to open the season.

Junior quarterback Matthew Ezzell sparked the Eagle offense, replacing senior Eric Abbe and leading both of AHS’ scoring drives. Ezzell, who finished the game 13 of 22 for 172 yards and a touchdown, helped the Warbirds to two other scoring chances while leading the offense — the first ending in a blocked field goal and the second with the Coogs’ fourth-down stop.

AHS will try again for its first win under first-year head coach Mike Fullen on Friday, when it travels west for a matchup with former district rival Midland High.

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District 2-5A Division I: Week 3 Report

Cooper 23, Abilene High 14 — The Cougars rushed out to a 16-0 lead and held off an Abilene High rally, using a fourth-down stop on the first play of the fourth quarter to regain momentum after the Eagles had pulled within two points with a pair of touchdown drives.

Cooper, which improved to 3-0 with the victory, outgained AHS 296-278, passing for 147 yards and rushing for 149 in a balanced effort. Quarterback Aidan Thompson had an efficient night passing, hitting 10 of 16 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown, while Noah Garcia paced the running game with 154 yards and the game-sealing touchdown with 4:47 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Cougars will go from one crosstown rivalry to another this week when they take on Wylie at Shotwell Stadium. A win in that one would give the Coogs’ their third 4-0 start since 2010, with the others coming in 2010 and 2017. 

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District 3-5A Division II: Week 3 Report

Stephenville 34, Wylie 0 — A disastrous start put Wylie down 21-0 by the end of the first quarter Friday, and the Bulldogs never recovered in a shutout loss at Tarleton Memorial Stadium.

A bad snap on the game’s first play from scrimmage led to a three and out on Wylie’s first possession, and the next two ended on fumbles deep in Bulldog territory. Stephenville capitalized on all three mistakes, scoring on its first three possessions to take a three-touchdown lead it would add to after halftime.

For the game, the Yellow Jackets outgained Wylie  390-93, getting 199 yards and two touchdowns passing from Kade Renfro and 128 yards and two scores rushing from Kason Philips.

The Bulldogs (0-3), who rushed for just six yards in the loss, will have another tough game this week, when they take on Cooper on Friday at Shotwell Stadium.

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FEATURE: De Leon wading through injuries, schedule and transition

DE LEON — The De Leon Bearcats would have enough challenges this football season just switching from the pass-oriented spread offense to the run-oriented Wing-T. But the Class 2A Bearcats also lost six starters to injuries in their first two games, which doesn’t mix well with a challenging nondistrict schedule that opens with four 3A opponents in Clyde, Tolar, Dublin and Comanche.

The Bearcats edged Clyde 7-6 in the opener, but have since lost to Tolar 23-17 and Dublin 31-7. Next up is county rival Comanche followed by Stamford, a perennially solid 2A program.

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District 5-2A Division II: Week 3 Report

Munday 39, Roscoe JV 0 — The Moguls are at present, playing against a string of JV teams, due to low numbers. 

They will again take the field with a varsity squad on Sept. 20 against Clarendon and will remain on a varsity schedule for the remainder of the football season. 

The Moguls are currently 1-0 vs. varsity clubs and 2-1 overall. 

Continue reading “District 5-2A Division II: Week 3 Report”

District 2-3A Division II: Week 3 Report

Schneider

Coahoma 55, Wink 22 — Zach Schneider threw for 178 yards and two scores and rushe for 65 and two more TDs to lead Coahoma in a blowout win. 

Sean Streigler caught two passes for 77 yards and two scores and Braxton Chandler hauled in three catches for 71 yards and another TD as the Bulldogs improved to 3-0. 

Collectively, Coahoma rushed for 166 yards and threw for 196.

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District 13-3A Division II: Week 3 Report

Llano 49, Brady 24 — The Bulldogs hung with Class 4A Llano for three quarters Friday, but the undefeated Yellowjackets scored 28 fourth-quarter points to turn a nine-point game after three quarters into a 25-point win. 

Llano outgained Brady 498-222, but the Yellowjackets had three turnovers, keeping the game close early. LHS led 14-0 at halftime, but the Bulldogs outscored the Yellowjackets 12-7 in the third to pull within 21-12 heading into the fourth quarter.

Brady, which was led in the loss by Walker Bauer (12-31-1—122 passing; 16-64, 1 TD rushing), will return to the field Friday with a nondistrict game at Dublin.

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District 6-3A Division II: Week 3 Report

Dublin 31, De Leon 7 — Cy Wing passed for 149 yards and rushed for 80 while accounting for three scores to lift Dublin to 2-1).

De Leon’s offensive struggles continued Friday in a lopsided loss to the Class 3A Lions. De Leon, which is switching to the wing-T this year, was held to seven points for the second time this season and has scored just 31 points through its first three games.

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District 4-3A Division I: Week 3 Report

Lightfoot

Brock 28, Argyle Liberty Christian 21 — The Eagles outscored the Warriors 21-7 over the middle two quarters and made a goal line stand in the waning seconds Friday to edge Liberty Christian and improve to 2-1 on the season.

Brock, which was outgained 406-386, trailed 14-7 after a quarter and 21-14 at the nine-minute mark of the second period. But coach Chad Worrell’s team scored the final 14 points of the game, getting touchdown runs Nos. 3 and 4 from Cash Jones to take a 28-21 lead that it would protect the rest of the way.

Jones had 202 rushing yards on 28 carries to lead Brock, while quarterback Logan Lightfoot hit five of seven throws for 90 yards. The Eagles will close out nondistrict play next week at Breckenridge.

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District 2-4A Division I: Week 3 Report

Baeza

Big Spring 21, Monahans 13 — Trailing 13-7 at the half, Big Spring earned its first victory of the year with a pair of second half touchdowns. 

A 1-yard run by Gabriel Baeza gave the Steers the lead in the third quarter. A pick-6 by Brandon Zarraga in the final period pushed the lead to eight. 

Orlando Sanchez was the top yardage producer for the Steers (1-2) with 115 yards on 28 carries.  

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District 5-4A Division I: Week 3 Report

Brownwood 28, Graham 14 Drew Huff threw for 281 yards and two scores to keep Brownwood (3-0) unbeaten. 

The Lions rallied from a 14-7 halftime deficit with 21 unanswered points in the second half. 

AJ McCarty was Huff’s favorite target, hitting him five times for 152 yards and a score. Isyah Campos Hauled in three catches for an additional 118 yards another score.

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District 7-2A Division I: Week 3 Report

Salinas

San Saba 63, Junction 0 — The Armadillos followed a 28-point first quarter with a 35-point second, reaching a season-high scoring total by halftime of their third blowout win to open the season.

San Saba, which has outscored its opponents 177-3 so far, put up 509 yards in the victory — 339 rushing and 170 passing. Quarterback Sean O’Keefe led that effort, completing seven of nine passes for 96 yards and three touchdowns while adding 159 yards and two more scores rushing.

The Amardillos, who also got a 100-yard rushing effort from Eli Salinas (10-110, 2 TDs), will look to continue their dominant start to the season next week, when they travel to Georgetown for a neutral site game against Snook.

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District 3-2A Dvision I: Week 3 Report

Stallings

Forsan 22, Stanton 19 Forsan overcame an early 13-7 deficit with 230 rushing yards as a team.

Major Stockton led Forsan (1-2) with 113 yards and a score on only eight carries. Sawyer Stallings threw for 105 and another score. 

FHS snapped a six-game losing streak dating back to Oct. 19 of last season with the win.

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District 1-4A Division II: Week 3 Report

Carr

Wichita Falls Hirschi 70, Sweetwater 41 — The Mustangs rallied from 20-point deficit to pull within five on two occasions in the third quarter Friday, but the Huskies simply had too much firepower, using a 30-point fourth fourth quarter to pull away late.

Leo Holsey threw five touchdown passes — three to Darian Carr and two to Kei-Arriyen Griffin — to lead a solid offensive showing for Sweetwater. But the Mustang defense struggled to contain and explosive Hirschi attack, despite recovering six fumbles. The Huskies, who led 20-6 at halftime, scored 50 second-half points.

Now 1-2 on the year, the Mustangs will try to get back on track next week when they travel to Iowa Park for their final nondistrict tune-up. They open league play the following week with a home game against district favorite Midland Greenwood.

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District 4-3A Division II: Week 3 Report

Wedeman

Bangs 42, Winters 27 — Ethan Sanchez rushed for 146 yards on 19 carries and Brayton Wedeman had 100 yards on 10 touches to lead the Dragons (2-1), who are off to their best start in years. 

Winters (2-1) was led by Alex Salas, who rushed for 67 yards and two scores and threw for 47 yards and two more TDs.

The Dragons will host Anson (1-2) which is coming off an impressive win over Stamford, this Friday. 

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District 7-2A Division II: Week 3 Report

Burson

Haskell 14, Peaster 13 — The Indians only managed 192 yards of total offense Friday, but a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Cutter Medford to Logan Burson were enough to lift coach Brian Hodnett’s squad to a one-point win over the Class 3A Greyhounds.

Peaster struck first in the second quarter with a 63-yard touchdown run by Shawn Glover, and the score remained 7-0 into the fourth. Scoring passes of 26 and 34 yards put the Indians up 14-7, and a failed two-point conversion on a late Greyhound touchdown allowed Haskell to escape with the narrow victory.

Medford passed for 136 yards and Burson received for 110 for the Indians (2-1), who limited Peaster to 259 yards and forced five turnovers. Haskell will host Stamford next week.

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District 3-3A Division I: Week 3 Report

Early 19, Tolar 18 — Brent Grooms threw for 205 yards for a score and rushed for 57 yards and two more scores to help the Longhorns improve to 2-1 on the year. 

Early trailed 18-13 heading into the fourth quarter before earning a road win with a late score. 

Timmy Smithson was a favorite target of Grooms, hauling in six catches for 144 yards and a touchdown.

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GAME STORY: Stephenville stings Wylie on homecoming night 34-0

STEPHENVILLE — When asked about his team’s dominant performance on homecoming night, Stephenville coach Sterling Doty had plenty of credit to pass around.

The Yellow Jackets routed Wylie 34-0 at Tarleton Memorial Stadium, shutting down a Bulldog offense that came in averaging more than 280 passing yards per game.

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GAME STORY: Clyde’s defense shuts out Comanche

CLYDE — The Clyde defense turned in its second-best effort of the young season as the Bulldogs posted a 34-0 win over Comanche on Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.

The Indians, who were coming off a momentum building 31-28 win over Breckenridge last week, couldn’t get on track in the loss as they gained just 66 yards — only nine of which came after the game’s opening drive.

Continue reading “GAME STORY: Clyde’s defense shuts out Comanche”

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Hawley tops Hamlin 46-44 in Big Country thriller

HAWLEY — It took nearly three hours and close to 900 yards of combined total offense to settle the issue. 

But once the dust cleared at Hawley High School on Friday, the 10th-ranked 2A DI Bearcats had earned a 46-44 win over top-ranked 2A DII Hamlin in a classic Big Country Preps Game of the Week.

Colton Marshall rushed for 230 yards, three touchdowns and four two-point conversions  to lead Hawley (3-0), which forced four Hamlin turnovers to key the win. 

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GAME STORY: Cooper comes through in clutch, holds off AHS in Crosstown Showdown

The Cooper Cougars weren’t perfect Friday night, but when it came down to it, they made the plays necessary to win in a 23-14 victory over Abilene High in the 59th annual Crosstown Showdown.

Two key special teams plays — a safety on a bad punt snap and a blocked field goal — helped the Coogs build a 16-0 second-quarter lead. And a big fourth-down stop in the third quarter with AHS threatening to steal the lead proved to be the play of the game, swinging the momentum back in Cooper’s favor and allowing coach Aaron Roan’s team to seal the win with a clutch touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter.

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FEATURE: Abilene High RB Dotson growing into go-to role for Eagles

Abilene High running back Phonzo Dotson flashed huge potential as a sophomore in 2018, but a pair of injuries limited the impact he could make for the 5-5 Eagles.

Now fully healthy as a junior, Dotson has assumed the featured role it was always believed he was destined for, and the early returns have been just what coach Mike Fullen expected.

Through the first two games of the season, home losses to Amarillo Tascosa (19-14) and Midland Lee (35-21), the AHS standout has rushed for 248 yards and a touchdown on just 33 carries. And if Dotson can avoid the injury bug that bit him so hard a year ago, Fullen feels he has even bigger things ahead of him.

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Big Country Preps Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 3)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday night.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 3)”

FEATURE: Close-knit Cooper offensive line getting the job done

Ranked third among area rushers with 366 yards through the season’s first two weeks, running back Noah Garcia is widely considered the centerpiece of the Cooper offense. And coming off a sophomore season in which he rushed for 1,479 yards and 11 touchdowns, it’s not hard to see why.

But without the the six players in front of him with less recognizable names, Garcia’s production would not be possible.

Paving the way for more than 4,500 yards last season, including 2,607 on the ground, it’s the the offensive line that really makes the Cooper spread attack go. But as long as the chains are moving and the team is winning games, those guys at the front and center are content to fade into the background.

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Hawley, Hamlin collide in matchup of 2A powerhouses (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

 

LAST WEEK: 46-6, .884

SEASON TOTAL: 89-19, .824

I don’t know what has me more jazzed — the interesting slate of Big Country games we’ve got on tap this week, or the fact that I hit 88 percent of my picks in Week 2 and am at 82 percent for the season. 

I don’t mind saying, it’s way too early in to be picking at a rate that high. Normally the 80-percent plateau is crossed in the second half of the season, after you get dialed in on who’s who. But why should I complain? It will give me a leg up on Youngblood. 

Our Big Country Preps Game of the Week — Hamlin (2-0) at Hawley (2-0) — was actually circled on the calendar well in advance of the season. 

Yes, last year’s matchup resulted in a 32-6 Hamlin win. 

But the venue switches to Hawley this time around and unless I’ve missed my guess, the Bearcats are more than motivated after being escorted to the woodshed by the Pipers a year ago. 

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FEATURE: Wylie views quarterback rotation as strength, not weakness

There’s a football axiom trumpeted by fans and some coaches that if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one.

The idea there, essentially, is that if you’re playing two quarterbacks, it’s because one hasn’t risen above the other and earned the job outright with his performance. 

Wylie’s Hugh Sandifer is not among those who subscribe to this widely held theory. The longtime Bulldog coach is more than happy to utilize two signal callers if he thinks it will help his team.

And in the case of the 2019 Bulldogs, who have seen juniors Jaxon Hansen and Balin Valentine combine to pass for 287 yards per game through the first two weeks of the season, it’s hard to argue with his logic.

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BCP Podcast No. 61: Chris Joslin talks Coahoma football with Evan, Daniel

After a late arrival at Coahoma, Chris Joslin led the Bulldogs to a 4-7 record in his first season as a head football coach. This year, with most of that squad back, he has his team off to a 2-0 start, through which it has outscored its first two opponents by a combined 78-9 margin.

This week, Joslin took some time to talk to Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about this year’s team and his transition to the head coaching role on the Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss the most interesting developments of Week 2 of the Big Country football season and take a look at the top matchups of Week 3.

Continue to check back at BigCountryPreps.com each Wednesday night at 7 p.m. when Evan and Dan discuss the current happenings in Big Country High School sports — often with an interesting sports figure from around the area.

You can also peruse our BCP Podcast archive, which features dozens of our previous shows with prominent coaches and Big Country media fixtures. 

Inquiries regarding these podcasts may be directed to Evan Ren at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com. 

If you have a suggested topic of conversation or a recommended guest, don’t hesitate to contact us! 

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