Month: October 2019

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Brownwood braces for La Vega (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 38-8, .826

OVERALL: 357-73, .830

If the sixth-ranked Brownwood Lions (8-0, 2-0 District 5-4A DI) are to reach Arlington this year, the road will pass directly through No. 1 Argyle or No. 3 Waco La Vega. 

It’s unavoidable. 

The Lions, therefore, may as well get an early preview to coming attractions. And in Friday’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week, they will get precisely that when La Vega (7-1, 2-0) comes to Gordon Wood Stadium for one of the top area games of 2019. 

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FEATURE: Wylie CB Ward making most senior season

In a Wylie program that places great value on senior leadership and experiences significant roster turnover each and every year, one-year starters are a common occurrence.

Unless roster holes open up early opportunities, most players are asked to wait their turn and to be ready to lead the program when it comes.

Senior cornerback Braxton Ward may be one of the best examples on the Bulldogs’ 2019 roster of this concept.

After getting the bulk of his playing time on special teams and as a backup to two seniors last season, Ward has emerged as one of Wylie’s top defensive players this year. And though his time as a Bulldog starter was a long time coming and will be relatively short in duration, he’s done his best to maximize his impact on the WHS program.

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BCP Podcast No. 68: Brady’s Shay Easterwood talks Bulldog turnaround with Evan, Daniel

It’s taken Brady native Shay Easterwood three years to lay the foundation for the BHS football program, but with his team sitting at 4-4 overall and 3-0 in District 13-3A play, he has the Bulldogs in position to compete a district championship this season.

Earlier this week, Easterwood took some time to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about the pressure of coaching at his alma mater, the Bulldogs’ turnaround this fall and his goals for the rest of the season for this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also on this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss the Big Country football landscape, highlighting last week’s top results and this week’s most intriguing matchups. 

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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BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: Tough schedule, new game challenge Roby

This year has been all about learning for the Roby football team.

The Lions made the move from 11-man to six-man for this season and have been playing an outlaw schedule this fall against some of the toughest teams in the state.

Roby has faced Division I’s No. 3 Borden County and No. 12 Aspermont, as well as Division II’s No. 1 Jayton and the top outlaw team in Irion County this season.

For coach Angel Pantoja, that murderer’s row of scheduling hasn’t been exactly fun.

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EVAN REN: A few odds and ends to talk about as the regular season winds down

Every year, my wife and I face the same predicament: How to schedule our annual trip to Fredericksburg for our anniversary while taking the state football championships into account. 

The trick, is to accurately project how many teams from the Big Country will get to Arlington and then make our reservations in Fredericksburg accordingly. Ideally, the Mrs. and I would like to be in our secret getaway on our anniversary or as close to it as possible.

The problem is, our anniversary often falls right in the middle of championship week and our “getaway spot” is often booked more than a month in advance.

During two-a-days it’s all fun speculation.

But by late October, this is a serious endeavor, and if I miscalculate it, I’ll be driving from Arlington to Fredericksburg in the middle of the night after covering a game. Or even worse, I’ll be driving from Fredericksburg to Arlington at the crack of dawn to reach a game on time.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cooper’s Garcia, Davis share award

As two of the most consistent performers in the Big Country this season, Cooper’s Noah Garcia and Dylon Davis could have earned Big Country Preps Player of the Week honors any number of times this season.

Garcia, a junior running back, has rushed for more than 190 yards per games this fall, while Davis, a senior cornerback, leads the state of Texas in interceptions with 12.

Well, after nine weeks and nine Cougar wins, it’s time to give this duo their due.

As has been the case in virtually every game in 2019, the pair was at the forefront of the Coogs’ 49-14 whipping of Lubbock High on Friday. And for their part in that game, Garcia and Davis will share a weekly award that could just as easily serve to recognize a season worth of outstanding play.

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District 3-6A: Week 9 Report

Weatherford 43, Abilene High 14 — Dezmond Forrest rushed for 215 yards and four touchdowns and Ken Seals threw for 242 yards and two scores Friday to lead the Kangaroos to a lopsided win over the Eagles.

AHS, which fell to 3-6 overall 2-3 in District 3-6A play with the loss, was limited to just 135 total yards and one offensive touchdown, allowing Weatherford to take a 43-6 lead midway through the third quarter.

The loss puts the Eagles’ playoff hopes on life support. With North Richland Hills Richland and San Angelo Central winning on Friday, AHS now must beat district co-leader Euless Trinity (7-1, 3-1) this week and hope that either Richland tops Trinity in Week 11 or that Weatherford (6-2, 2-2) drops its last two games to Richland and Hurst Bell.

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District 2-5A Division I: Week 9 Report

Cooper 49, Lubbock High 14 — Noah Garcia rushed for 189 yards and five touchdowns on just six carries, and Dylon Davis added two more interceptions to his school-record totals (12 for the season, 16 for his career) as the No. 9 Cougars cruised past the Westerners to improve to 9-0 on the year.

Cooper led 49-0 after a dominant first half and coasted in the second half to a 5-0 start to district play. In addition to Garcia’s big night, quarterback Aidan Thompson passed for 207 yards and two scores, with Daelin Campos catching six passes for 102 yards.

The Coogs will be idle this week before closing out the regular season with a road game at Amarillo High for the district championship. Lubbock High (1-7, 0-4), meanwhile, will host Amarillo High on Friday.

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District 3-5A Division II: Week 9 Report

Canyon Randall 20, Wylie 7 — Offensive struggles undermined a solid effort on defense and special teams Friday as the Bulldogs dropped an important home game to the Raiders.

Wylie managed just 92 total yards and seven first downs, five of which came on their final possession of the game. Despite this, the Bulldogs trailed just 14-7 at halftime and were never down more than two scores thanks to some clutch plays by the defense, which intercepted Randall quarterback JaKobe Norman three times.

Wylie, which got 64 total yards from utility back Jaxon Hansen, will play its final home game this week against district leader Lubbock Cooper. Randall (3-5, 2-1), meanwhile, will host Wichita Falls Rider.

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FEATURE: Receiving foursome provides bright spot for still-young Sweetwater

A balanced receiving corps has been a bright spot in an otherwise tough season for the youthful Sweetwater Mustangs.

Junior Darian Carr, along with seniors Kei’Arriyen Griffin, Elijah Kent and Tyler Warner have combined for 97 receptions for 1,831 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. Carr leads the group with 28 receptions, but Kent is close behind with 26 receptions, Griffin has 25 and Warren 18.

“They’ve learned how to get open based on what the coverage and the defense are doing,” Sweetwater third-year head coach Ben McGehee said. “They all consistently run good routes, and they all have good hands. They have very few drops.

“Our quarterback, Leo Holsey, trusts those guys and that allows him to spread the ball around. Leo knows his receivers are going to come to practice and work hard every day.”

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District 5-2A Division II: Week 9 Report

Quanah 58, Munday 34 — Quanah rolled up 545 yards in total offense, of which 402 were on the ground to earn a win over Munday.

Landin Leija led Quanah with 195 yards rushing and four scores on 18 carries. He was also 8 of 11 through the air for 129 yards and another TD. 

Munday will close its regular against Shamrock at home and Memphis on the road over the next two Fridays. 

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District 13-3A Division II: Week 9 Report

Galindo

Brady 28, Blanco 21 — The Bulldogs passed their first big test of the District 13-3A Division II season Friday, pounding out 481 yards in an impressive win over the defending league champion Panthers.

Coach Shay Easterwood’s squad led 21-14 at half and increased its advantage to two scores with the only touchdown of the third quarter, before holding on in the fourth for the win. Quarterback Walker Bauer led the way for Brady with 98 yards passing, 159 yards rushing and three total touchdowns, while receiver Caleb Galindo had a big day catching the ball, hauling in six passes for 128 yards and a score.

Now 4-4 overall and 3-0 in league play, the Bulldogs will try to keep their momentum going next week against district co-leader Comfort (6-2, 3-0). Blanco (3-5, 1-2), meanwhile, will try to get on track at home against Ingram Moore. 

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District 4-3A Division I: Week 9 Report

Semas

Brock 68, Ponder 6 — The Eagles rushed out to a 47-0 halftime lead and cruised in the second half to their third consecutive victory and sixth in the last seven games.

Brock (6-2, 3-1) rushed for 407 yards in the win, led by Kutter Wilson with 123 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries. Myles Semas (10-91, 2 TDs) and Cash Jones (5-84, 2 TDs) also had strong games for the Eagles.

Up next for Brock is a big game against Boyd next week that will decide the No. 2 playoff seed in District 4-3A DI, while Ponder (3-6, 1-4) will close out its season with a home game against Whitesboro.

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District 6-3A Division II: Week 9 Report

Wilkerson

Comanche 46, Rio Vista 14 The Indians managed just 260 yards in total offense, but found compensation by forcing three Rio Vista fumbles. 

Braxton Patterson and Logan Wilkerson rushed for 55 and 49 yards respectively to lead Comanche, which tallied seven rushing touchdowns from six different players.

By halftime, Comanche had opened a 27-7 lead and was never seriously threatened.  

CHS, which improved to 4-4 and 1-1 with the win is still in contention for a high playoff seed. 

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District 7-2A Division I: Week 9 Report

O’Keefe

San Saba 43, Valley Mills 0 — The No. 3 Armadillos continued their dominant run through District 7-2A DI, earning their third consecutive shutout to open league play.

San Saba (8-0, 3-0), which has now outscored its opponents 454-9 on the season and 152-0 in district, led the Eagles 29-0 by halftime and tacked on two more touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game away. Running back Eli Salinas paced the Armadillo offense, finishing with 201 yards rushing, 65 yards receiving and four total touchdowns, while quarterback Sean O’Keefe passed for 114 yards and two TDs and rushed for 109 yards and one score.

San Saba will face its biggest test to date when it hosts Crawford (6-2, 3-0) next week, before closing out the regular season Nov. 8 at De Leon.

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District 4-3A Division II: Week 9 Report

Sanchez

Bangs 44, Coleman 21 The Dragons went to the ground game to win this crucial district matchup, with Brayton Wedemen, Ethan Sanchez and Guy Powell tallying 186, 135 and 123 yards respectively. 

This was a must win for both clubs, which were looking to secure the No. 4 playoff seed in district play. 

Coleman dropped to 3-5 and 2-3 with the loss.

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District 7-2A Division II: Week 9 Report

Newton

Albany 41, Cross Plains 13 — The Lions turned in a dominant performance Friday, keeping the Buffaloes off the board until the fourth quarter and building a 41-0 lead by that point to stay undefeated in District 7-2A DII play.

Ben West passed for 226 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for Albany, while rushing for 70 yards and an additional score. Jaheim Newton also had a nice game, rushing for 75 yards and two TDs on 13 carries.

The Lions, now 6-2 overall and 2-0 in league play, will host Haskell next week before their high-profile matchup at Hamlin on Nov. 8. Cross Plains, which fell to 6-2 and 1-1, will try to regroup next week at home against the Pied Pipers.

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DISTRICT 2-4A Division I: Week 9 Report

Andrews 48, Big Spring 14 — The Mustangs (7-1, 1-0) rolled up 550 yards in total offense, including 301 yards through the air to grab a piece of the league lead. 

Big Spring was led by C.J. Harris and Orlando Sanchez, who both added 2-yard touchdown runs. 

The Steers fell to 1-7 and 0-1 with the loss. 

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District 5-4A Division I: Week 9 Report

Rodgers

Brownwood 38, Stephenville 22 Drew Huff threw for 130 yards and two scores and rushed for 155 yards and another TD to keep Brownwood (8-0, 2-0) unbeaten. 

Reece Rodgers was another key contributor for the Lions, rushing for 172 yards and three touchdowns. 

The win sets up a huge district showdown with Waco La Vega next Friday at Gordon Wood Stadium in Brownwood with the district title on the line. 

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District 1-4A Division II: Week 9 Report

Snyder 35, Sweetwater 34 — Jayden Samaniego rushed for two touchdowns Friday, including the game-winner in overtime to lift the Tigers to a thrilling one-point win over their archrivals.

Holsey

Neither team led by more than eight points in the game, which was sent to overtime on Leo Holsey’s 16-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion pass to Darian Carr with about four minutes remaining. That erased an eight-point Snyder advantage and forced the extra period, where Sweetwater matched the Tigers’ score but lost on a failed two-point conversion try.

In addition to Samaniego’s TDs, Snyder (2-6 overall, 2-2 in district) got scoring runs from Maverick Hernandez (59 yards) and Greg Williams (6 yards) and a 49-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Leeroy Tavarez. Sweetwater (2-6, 1-3), meanwhile, got 250 yards and three touchdowns passing and 130 yards and one score rushing from Holsey and a team-leading 94 receiving yards from Carr.

Up next for the Tigers is a road trip to Lamesa, while the Mustangs will host Fort Stockton next week.

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District 3-2A Division I: Week 9 Report

Salas 

Winters 20, Forsan 13 Ethan Sanchez rushed for 194 yards and a score to help Winters to a crucial road win at Forsan. 

Alex Salas threw for 23 yards and one TD and rushed for 34 yards and another score as the Blizzards improved to 5-4 overall and 1-2 in league play. 

The victory now gives WHS (5-4, 1-2) an opportunity to snag one of four playoff seeds, given that it holds a tiebreaker with Forsan (3-5, 0-2).

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District 3-3A Division I: Week 9 Report

Woodward

Breckenridge 40, Early 7 Breckenridge pounded out 395 yards rushing as a team to notch its first victory of the season.

Owen Woodward rushed for 188 yards and three scores and Jonas Arellano added 100 yards and two TDS on just nine carries to lead the Buckaroos (1-7, 1-2).

Early fell to 3-5 and 0-3 with the loss. 

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GAME RECAP: Forrest, Seals too much for Eagles in loss to Weatherford

WEATHERFORD — Abilene High struggled to contain Weatherford’s 1-2 punch of quarterback Ken Seals and running back Dezmond Forrest and couldn’t find a rhythm offensively in a 43-14 loss to the Kangaroos on Friday.

Forrest rushed for 215 yards and four touchdowns, while Seals completed 17 of 24 passes for 257 yards and two scores to fuel the Kangaroos, who bolstered their own playoff chances and took a bite out of the Eagles’ with the lopsided win.

The loss dropped AHS to 3-6 overall and 2-3 in District 3-6A play, pinning the Eagles’ postseason hopes on a win over district leader Euless Trinity in their final game of the regular season next week at Shotwell Stadium.

Continue reading “GAME RECAP: Forrest, Seals too much for Eagles in loss to Weatherford”

GAME STORY: Canyon Randall stymies Wylie for key district win

Wylie made enough plays on defense and special teams to win Friday, but the Bulldogs could never find their stride offensively in a 20-7 home loss to Canyon Randall.

Coach Hugh Sandifer’s team, which was coming off a 21-14 win at Wichita Falls High, managed just 92 yards of total offense and seven first downs — three of which came on Randall personal fouls on the final possession of the game.

This made a deficit that never grew larger than two scores feel insurmountable in the second half, particularly during the fourth quarter, when the Bulldogs were forced to play into a stiff headwind.

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Wall defense shuts down powerful Eastland 28-14

WALL — A workmanlike offensive effort, backed by yet another dominating defensive performance, pushed the second-ranked Wall Hawks to a 28-14 win over No. 7 Eastland in the Big Country Preps Game of the Week on Friday.

Mason Fuchs threw for 81 yards, rushed for 62 and accounted for two touchdowns to lift Wall (8-0, 3-0 District 3-3A Division I), which now has sole possession of first place in the league standings. 

Eastland, which was limited to 218 yards in total offense, was led by Behren Morton, who threw for 166 yards and one score and Anthony Bonilla, who caught one TD pass and rushed for another. 

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GAME STORY: No. 9 Cooper stays perfect with Lubbock High rout

Noah Garcia ran for 189 yards and five touchdowns, Aidan Thompson threw for 207 yards with two touchdowns and Cooper moved to 9-0 on the season and 5-0 in District 2-5A Division I with a 49-14 win over Lubbock High on Friday at Shotwell Stadium.

Dylon Davis added two interceptions — increasing his state-leading season total to 12 — as the ninth-ranked Cougars did their part to set a showdown in two weeks with Amarillo High for the district championship.

Davis, who broke Brandon Berg’s career interception record with the 15th and 16th picks of his career, had a third interception that was called back due to a penalty on Cooper.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 9)

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 morning.

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 9)”

FEATURE: Ball-hawking Cooper defense forcing turnovers at breakneck pace

With a school-record 10 interceptions on the season, senior cornerback Dylon Davis has emerged as the face of a stingy Cooper defense.

But Davis’ penchant for taking the ball away — he has also recovered three fumbles — isn’t a trait unique to him.

The Cougar defense as a whole has developed an identity as one that looks for and capitalizes on opportunities to force turnovers. And with 22 takeaways through eight games, coach Aaron Roan’s defensive unit is making quite a name for itself in that department.

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Mavs, Hawks clash in match of top offense, defense (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 33-6, .846

OVERALL: 319-65, .831

If I were to apply a cliché to our Big Country Preps Game of the Week, I suppose the old “irresistible force meets the immovable object” would work nicely here. 

I generally avoid clichés at every opportunity. But when the Wall Hawks (7-0, 2-0) square off with Eastland (7-0, 2-0) this Friday at Hawk Stadium, it’s temping to use every one of them. 

How much more intriguing can a matchup between the Big Country’s best 3A defense and its most explosive 3A offense be?

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FEATURE: Unselfish Abbe embracing role as Abilene High’s Swiss Army Knife

Ask Eric Abbe to describe what his senior season’s been like so far, and he may have trouble coming up with the words.

There are just too many fitting adjectives — some with seemingly contradictory connotations — to decide which ones best sum up the experience.

But after losing his junior season at Abilene High to a knee injury just a quarter into the Eagles’ 2018 opener and having all expectations he’d set for his senior campaign shattered just a little deeper into this season, the quarterback-turned-utility man has found new and unexpected ways to make an impact for coach Mike Fullen’s squad.

And while most of those have come on the field, where he’s been an asset in all three phases of the game, Abbe’s biggest contribution may have come off it, where the senior Fullen describes as “a natural football player” has served as a living example of the value and power of a team-first attitude.

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BCP Podcast No. 67: Hugh Sandifer jumps on to talk Wylie football, career

In his 41 years at Wylie High School, more than 30 of those as the Bulldogs’ head football coach, Hugh Sandifer has had one of the most successful tenures the Big Country has ever seen. But in the past two years, WHS has struggled while transitioning to the Class 5A level, experiencing an 18-game losing streak before defeating Wichita Falls High 21-14 last week.

Earlier this week, Sandifer took some time to visit with Big Country Preps’ Daniel Youngblood about that victory, his tenure at Wylie and what drives him to continue coaching for this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also on this episode, Daniel and partner Evan Ren discuss the Big Country football landscape, highlighting last week’s top results and this week’s most intriguing matchups. 

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! 

BCP PODCAST ARCHIVE 

BIG COUNTRY PREPS FACEBOOK PAGE 

BIG COUNTRY PREPS TWITTER PAGE 

FEATURE: Fielding a forgotten key in powerful Eastland offense

EASTLAND — They’re off to a 7-0 start heading into this week’s crucial district game at Wall (7-0). 

They’re averaging 52 points per game, their quarterback (Behren Morton) has just committed to Texas Tech and they have so many people catching passes, it’s difficult to keep track of it all. 

The media has heaped praise on the Eastland Mavericks’ aerial attack, which by season’s end, could finish as one of the top producers the Big Country has ever seen in Class 3A.

Opposing defenses, however, are prioritizing something entirely different.

Lurking in the Eastland backfield outside of the media’s highlight reel, has been a 5-foot-10, 220-pound wrecking ball better known as Brandon Fielding — a vital element who has provided the Mavs with a tough short-yardage presence, red zone reliability and the avoidance of second-and-long situations. 

Without him, the Eastland spread offense would look radically different, and be far less physical. 

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EVAN REN: Dublin pays fitting tribute to Cervetto, wife

It’s always been my contention that Bob Cervetto is the best thing to ever happen to Dublin High School athletics. 

Apparently there are those in Dublin who are thinking along the same lines. And in Monday night’s DISD school board meeting, one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a football coach was awarded to him. 

As an emotional Cervetto looked on, the school board voted unanimously to name its new 3,700-seat on-campus football field after he and his wife. The Lions, who have never played a game of football on campus, will do so next fall at Bob and Norma Cervetto Stadium.

This signifies something that the Dublin community should be quite proud of — the ability to patiently let a coach do the primary job he was assigned to do — love and set an example for our kids. 

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BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: Baird Bears embracing, adjusting to new challenge

BAIRD — Baird High School spent 97 years playing 11-man football before the decision was made in late June to play an outlaw six-man schedule this year due to being in between UIL realignments.

That change has paid immediate dividends for the 5-2 Bears.

“It brought us some energy because you have to do your homework,” Baird coach Joel Baker said. “We did our homework this summer and we visited a lot of people to find out how to do (the transition) right.”

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Brady’s Bauer snags award again

In a week filled with explosive performances it wasn’t easy choosing our weekly award winner among those nominated by our coaches.

We eventually settled on Brady’s Walker Bauer, whose dual-threat performance in a win over Johnson City was just good enough to eclipse the others. 

Throwing for 132 yards and four touchdowns in a 53-3 win over Johnson City, Bauer was perhaps even more impressive running the ball, with 239 yards and and two additional scores. 

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