Month: November 2019

GAME STORY: San Saba routs Rivercrest, advances to regional final

MANSFIELD – Maybe it’s not so bad to have a slow start — as long as you play as well as the San Saba Armadillos did in the second quarter Friday night.

San Saba scored 30 second-quarter points despite the wet weather conditions at Vernon Newsom Stadium and rallied for a dominating 57-14 win over the Bogata Rivercrest Rebels in a Class 2A Division I regional-round playoff game.

The No. 3-ranked Armadillos (13-0) advanced to play Valley View in next week’s state quarterfinals. San Saba beat Valley View in last year’s football playoffs, when the Armadillos advanced to the state semifinals.

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GAME STORY: Denton Ryan ends Cooper’s season with 58-20 win

DENTON — The Cooper Cougars got off to about as strong a start as they could have hoped for Friday in their Region I-5A Division I semifinal matchup against Denton Ryan. But once the Raiders got going, they never let up in a 58-20 win on a mist-soaked field at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.

After intercepting Ryan quarterback Seth Henigan on the second play of the game and scoring on a 24-yard run by Noah Garcia to go up 7-0, Cooper surrendered 44 unanswered points — 30 of those before halftime — to close their season at 11-2.

The game was tied at 7-all at the end of the first quarter, but a 23-0 Raider run through the second quarter put the Coogs in a hole they couldn’t dig out of.

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GAME STORY: Second half rally not enough for Cisco

VERNON — The Cisco Loboes season — and possible Class 3A Division II era — came to an end on Friday in a sloppy 55-28 loss to top-ranked Canadian in a Region I semifinal at Lion Stadium.

The No. 6-ranked Loboes, who saw their season end at 11-2, had three first-half turnovers — and four overall — en route to falling into a 41-0 halftime hole.

Cisco, which is projected to drop to Class 2A Division I during the UIL’s biennial realignment in February, was outgained 514-413 by the Wildcats. The Loboes put up 319 yards in the second half on 33 plays after being shut down offensively in the first half.

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GAME STORY: Brock tops Bushland in OT, advances to regional title game

IOWA PARK — It may not have been the prettiest performance in Brock history. But when Cash Jones crossed the goal line of Friday’s 20-17 regional semifinal win over Bushland, nobody wearing blue seemed to mind. 

Trailing 17-14 following a 41-yard field goal by Baylor Gillispie in Bushland’s half of the overtime, the Eagles closed deal by pushing 25 yards in four plays, capped by Jones’ run to the right corner of the end zone.

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BCP PLAYOFF FORECAST: 12 Big Country teams still have a shot at December football

LAST WEEK: 12-3, .800

SEASON TOTAL: 475-90, .841

Entering Thanksgiving weekend with 12 football teams that are still alive, the Big Country has a solid opportunity to push multiple clubs into December. 

As one would expect, everything at this point will be a difficult hurdle and it will only get tougher from this point forward. 

Before I dive into this week’s playoff forecast, we at BigCountryPreps.com would like to extend our wishes to you for the happiest of Thanksgivings.

That said, let’s have a look at this week’s games. 

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BCP Podcast No. 72: Hawley’s Mitch Ables talks Bearcats football with Evan, Daniel

During his time at Hawley, Mitch Ables has steadily built the long-suffering Bearcat football program into an area contender. This year, he has the ‘Cats on their deepest run ever after the first area-round playoff victory in program history over defending state runner-up New Deal last Friday.

Earlier this week, Ables took some time to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about this year’s team, which is unbeaten heading into Friday’s Region I-2A Division I semifinal matchup against Sundown (8-4), for the Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode Evan and Daniel discuss their takeaways from the second round of the high school football playoffs and preview this week’s third round.

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: Hawley’s ‘Beefmaster’ formation turns PAT weakness into a strength

HAWLEY — After devising an extra-large version of the wildcat formation for two-point conversions and short-yardage situations, Hawley football coach Mitch Ables did what most people in his profession would do: He gave the set the generic name of “Jumbo.” 

For the Hawley players, however, “Jumbo” was just too boring. And besides, it seemed to undersell the actual size of the formation.

They may have had a point, considering Ables’ creation features seven true offensive linemen (no tight ends) in a double-tight set up front and three additional offensive linemen in the backfield, usually with 200-pound running back Colton Marshall running behind them.

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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Cougars rally but fall short, Eagles can’t sustain fast start

Trailing Lubbock Cooper 41-29 after three quarters, the Abilene Cooper boys basketball team rallied in the fourth to make a game of it. But a barrage of late 3-pointers wasn’t quite enough in a 56-54 loss Tuesday at Cougar Gym. 

Kaden Davis banked in a 3 with just a couple of seconds left to trim the deficit to two. But with no timeouts remaining, the Cougars were helpless to stop the clock, allowing the Pirates to win without inbounding the ball.

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GAME STORY: Roberts late bucket lifts Wylie girls over Jim Ned 42-41

Leading 31-21 entering the fourth quarter and 40-33 with 2½ minutes left to play, the Wylie Lady Bulldogs seemed to have firm control of their nondistrict game against area rival Jim Ned on Tuesday at Bulldog Gym. But a furious rally by the Lady Indians left them needing a bucket in the final seconds to avoid a heartbreaking loss.

Enter senior post Bailey Roberts.

With her trailing 41-40 after an 11-0 Jim Ned run, Roberts took the ball in the post, calmly split a double team and finished strong at the rim for her 13th and 14th points of the game. That bucket, which left the Lady Indians just four seconds to answer, proved to be the game-winning shot in a thrilling 42-41 victory as Brooke Galvin’s desperation heave at the buzzer bounced off the back rim and out.

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BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: And then there were four

Throughout the season, the Six-Man Spotlight has focused on different teams across the area.

We have taken a look at Gordon coach Mike Reed, Blackwell kicker Mickey Toasaksiri, two-time defending state champion Strawn taking everyone’s best shot and the bond between Jayton coach Josh Stanaland and standout Tye Scogin.

Now, those are the last four teams standing and chasing a state championship. Continue reading “BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: And then there were four”

LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Wylie girls take care of Weatherford, AHS boys rally for win

The Wylie girls basketball team followed a third-place finish at the Polk-Key City Classic over the weekend with a solid win over Class 6A Weatherford on Monday, using a big second quarter to build a lead and a strong fourth period to pull away for a 48-37 victory.

Leading 8-7 after eight minutes, the Lady Bulldogs outpaced the Lady Kangaroos 15-9 over the second quarter to take a 23-16 lead into the halftime break. Weatherford (4-3) trimmed the deficit to six heading into the final quarter, but coach Amy Powell’s squad closed the game on a 17-12 run to improve to 7-5 on the year.

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GAME STORY: Cooper blows out Abilene High to snap crosstown losing streak

Heading into Monday night’s crosstown matchup, no Cooper player had ever won a varsity girls basketball game against Abilene High. But all it takes is one victory to reverse a trend like that, and the Lady Cougars picked up a dominating one in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Cougar Gym.

Leading 16-8 after a quarter, CHS added 18 more points to its advantage over the middle two periods before cruising to an impressive 62-37 win over the Lady Eagles. 

The victory, which snapped a four-game losing streak in the crosstown series, was the Lady Coogs’ first over AHS since December 2015. It avenged a pair of losses to the Lady Eagles last season, the first by a near identical score (61-38) at the same site just a little more than a year ago.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Garcia’s gutty effort earns him award

With 257 yards rushing and five touchdowns that averaged 48.4 yards in duration, Noah Garcia’s performance in Cooper’s 35-28 area-round win over Azle likely would have earned him our Big Country Preps Player of the Week award without any special circumstances.

Add in the fact that the junior running back missed a half of the second quarter and all of the third after suffering an asthma attack, and it only bolsters his case.

Behind Garcia, Cooper built a 28-7 halftime lead that might have been larger had he not had to leave the game at the midway point of the second quarter. And then, after the Hornets had cut the Cougars’ lead to seven with a dominating third-quarter performance, the Cougar standout came back to bust a 49-yard scoring run early in the fourth for what proved to be the game-winning score.

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FEATURE: Polk-Key City Classic offers reunion for former Wylie coach Danley, star Little

If not for his shaved head, Tri Danley might have a few gray hairs he could attribute to Peyton Little.

But whatever grief the former Wylie star gave him during his four-year stretch as the Lady Bulldogs girls basketball coach is outweighed in spades by the positives she brought both to her team and Danley personally during her storied four-year career. In fact, he credits Little and the two state championships she helped him win for his subsequent opportunities as a coach.

Danley, in his first season at Seminole after a seven-year stint at Mont Belvieu Barbers Hill, got to catch up with Little and former teammate Megan Rausch, who both serve as assistants to Amy Powell at Wylie, over the weekend at the Polk-Key City Classic girls basketball tournament in Abilene. And though it’s been many years now since Danley and Little teamed up to lead the Lady Bulldogs to their most successful run in program history, he and his former players had plenty of shared memories to reminisce about. 

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned rallies past Bishop Lynch for PKC title, Wylie finishes third

Trailing Dallas Bishop Lynch 24-17 at the end of three quarters Saturday at Hardin-Simmons University’s Mabee Complex, the Jim Ned Lady Indians needed a spark to keep the Friars from claiming their second Polk-Key City Classic title in as many years.

And as so many Jim Ned teams have done in the past, they found it on the defensive end of the floor.

Stifling Bishop Lynch’s halfcourt sets with their effort and aggression, the Lady Indians turned several steals into a game-tying  7-0 run and they outlasted the Friars from there for a hard-fought 28-26 win.

The victory capped a strong day for local and area teams as Wylie topped Seminole 49-35 in the third-place game, Cooper claimed fifth place with a 45-35 win over Burleson and Abilene High narrowly missed a win in the consolation championship, falling 48-45 to Lubbock Coronado.

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GAME STORY: Garcia, Cooper gut out 35-28 win over Azle to advance to third round

STEPHENVILLE — The Cooper football team had its fortitude checked on one occasion after another in its area-round clash with Azle on Friday at Tarleton Memorial Stadium. Each time, the Cougars proved up to the challenge.

After seeing the Hornets rally from a 28-7 halftime deficit to pull within a touchdown in the third quarter, coach Aaron Roan’s squad stood tall in the fourth to secure a hard-fought 35-28 victory and advance to the Region I-5A Division I semifinals, where they’ll take on the winner of Saturday’s game between Denton Ryan and Lubbock Coronado.

Fueled on offense by Noah Garcia, who overcame an asthma attack to deliver a legendary performance, the Coogs still needed eight turnovers on defense to hold off an inspired Azle comeback. But coach Aaron Roan’s squad forced every one of those, bringing a physicality to the table that the Hornets struggled to match early in the contest.

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GAME STORY: Brownwood kicks game-winning field goal to survive Alvarado

DENTON — The Brownwood Lions have experienced a roller coaster this week. On Monday, head coach Sammy Burnett underwent emergency surgery after experiencing abdominal pain.  

Then, during Friday night’s area-round playoff game against Alvarado, the Lions jumped out to a 27-7 halftime lead before surrendering 28 unanswered points in the second half to fall behind 35-34 with just over a minute to play.

But on Brownwood’s last drive, Andrew Huff eluded pressure for several big runs to set up a 34-yard field goal attempt for Zach Strong. And with 28 seconds remaining, Strong booted a kick through the uprights to give Brownwood a 37-35 victory over Alvarado at Apogee Stadium — the Lions first area championship since 2015.  

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GAME STORY: Windthorst upsets Albany in area round

GRAHAM — The Albany Lions saw their season come to a surprisingly early end with a 24-20 loss on Friday night at Newton Field to Windthorst in a Region II-2A Division II area round game.

Ben West threw for 254 yards and two scores while Blaine Kayga had nine catches for 165 yards, but an inability to contain Trojan running back Awtry Blagg turned out to be the difference.

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GAME STORY: Cisco overcomes miscues, dismantles Crane 54-21

SAN ANGELO — It wasn’t the prettiest effort from a normally disciplined Cisco team.  It did, however, feature the one element CHS is known best for: physicality. 

The Loboes used that specialty to overcome 11 penalties and three turnovers to overpower Crane 54-21 in a Region I-3A DII area round matchup at San Angelo Stadium on Friday. 

Stanley Callahan rushed for 201 yards and two scores to lead Cisco, which scored 35 unanswered points after an early Crane field goal to take control for good. 

The Loboes (11-1) will now advance to face Canadian (12-0) at 2 p.m. on Friday in Vernon. 

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GAME STORY: Brock runs away from Denver City, advances to third round

Coming off a shutout of Clyde in their playoff opener last week, the Brock Eagles put together another dominant performance Thursday at Shotwell Stadium, scoring the first 42 points in a 55-14 area-round win over Denver City.

Brock, which outgained the Mustangs 386-208, led 22-0 by the end of the first quarter and was never challenged after that in improving to 10-2 on the year.

“I don’t know how to explain it, but these kids, they do feel the playoffs,” Brock coach Chad Worrell said. “They’ve practiced different the last two weeks. Our defense has been playing well all year, but our offense is really starting to click.

“Playing good special teams and taking care of the football and doing things like that, those are things you’ve got to do to win in the playoffs. Our kids understand that and they’re coming out and playing hard.”

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GAME STORY: San Saba moves on with rout of Collinsville

MINERAL WELLS — Having allowed 55 points in the past three weeks after only surrendering nine points total through the first eight weeks of the season, the San Saba defense wanted to make a statement in Thursday’s Region II-2A Division I area-round game against Collinsville.

Statement made.

The No. 3-ranked Armadillos, who had six shutouts in the regular season, just missed their seventh, limiting the Pirates to one second-quarter score in a 54-6 win at Ram Stadium.

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GAME STORY: Hawley crushes New Deal, advances to regional semifinals

SNYDER — It may not have been the best night to make history — dreary cold, windy with a misty rain falling at Tiger Stadium. 

But for the Hawley Bearcats, who advanced to the third round of the playoffs for the first time ever with a 44-13 win over New Deal, Thursday’s victory was like a day at the beach. 

Having failed six straight times in the area round, the Bearcats finally pushed through the obstacle in dominating fashion. 

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BCP Boys Basketball Position Rankings: Posts

After spotlighting the Big Country’s top guards and forwards the past two nights, it’s time to take a look at the area’s best big men.

For the final installment in our three-part boys basketball position rankings series, we rank the Big Country’s top-10 posts with others to watch for the 2019-20 season.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading through our rankings, and make sure to check back for all our boys and girls basketball coverage this season.

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BCP PLAYOFF FORECAST: Hawley faces New Deal with history on the line (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country picks)

LAST WEEK: 32-4, .889

OVERALL: 463-87, .842 

Heading into the second round of postseason play, we’re down to a dozen Big Country 11-man and nine six-man football teams still showing a pulse. The good news is, at least 12-14 clubs between both categories should advance to play over the Thanksgiving weekend. 

At least, that’s what my projections say. We shall see. 

Here’s a quick look at this week’s playoff games involving Big Country teams. 

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BCP Podcast No. 71: Evan, Daniel discuss first week of football playoffs

After a rough first week of the high school football playoffs, the Big Country has just 12 teams remaining.

Forgoing a guest this week to dive into the bi-district results and area-round matchups, Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and and Daniel say goodbye to the teams that fell in their playoff opener and discuss the postseason future of those still playing.

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 

BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: Throckmorton picks up first playoff win since 2014

The Throckmorton football team is coming off its first playoff win in five years, even if nobody predicted it early in September.

After an 0-2 start to the season with narrow losses to Vernon Northside (33-30) and Bryson (20-18), the Greyhounds fell 60-14 to Division I’s Saint Jo as they experienced a rash of injuries early on.

“We started the season 0-3 and we were hurt,” Throckmorton coach C.J. Hantz said. “We lost Will Harris to a broken leg and torn ligaments and have been banged up all year. We just have not been healthy, but going into district we finally got everybody back.”

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GAME STORY: Stamford rebounds from Jim Ned loss with dominating win

STAMFORD — Coming off a disappointing 54-21 loss to Class 3A powerhouse Jim Ned on Saturday, the Stamford Lady Bulldogs entered Tuesday night’s game against Class 1A Jayton wanting to recapture some momentum and more importantly, some confidence. 

Mission accomplished. 

Laylonna Applin scored 15 points and Tylee Bevel added 14 more to lift Stamford to a 64-21 win over the Lady Jaybirds, lifting Stamford to 2-1 on the year. 

Jayton (1-3) was led by Kloe Thomas with 8 points and Katherine McGee with five. 

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FEATURE: Basketball takes center stage at ‘Meet the Cougars’ event

With the 10-1 Cooper football team preparing for Friday’s area-round playoff game against Azle, many around the south Abilene campus have yet to flip their sports calendars from the gridiron to the hardwood.  

But that didn’t keep a nice contingent of fans and students from showing up to support the Cooper basketball programs Monday night at CHS’ annual “Meet the Cougars” event at Cougar Gym.

With both the girls and boys seasons now underway, Cooper used the event to drum up some enthusiasm for local basketball, a sport that can be lost in the shuffle at times in a football-crazed town like Abilene and area like the Big Country.

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BCP Boys Basketball Position Rankings: Guards

With boys basketball season underway, it’s time to learn the names we’ll be reading about throughout the 2019-20 campaign.

For the first installment in a three-part series that will cover all position groups on the area boys basketball scene, we’ll be taking a look at the area’s top guards, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch this fall.

We hope you enjoy reading through our list.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Marshall takes the award again

For the third time in a two-year span, Hawley’s Colton Marshall has captured the Big Country Preps Player of the Week award. And there is little doubt that he earned it. 

Helping Hawley to a 58-15 bi-district win over Chico, Marshall rushed for 271 yards on just 23 carries to help the Bearcats improve to 11-0.

By night’s end, the Big Country’s rushing leader had scored seven touchdowns and added three two-point conversions to lock up the accolade.

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FEATURE: Surprising De Leon rewarded for staying the course

Dickson

DE LEON — First-year De Leon head football coach Andrew Dickson kept insisting his Bearcats were a good team — even through seven regular-season losses.

Despite the mounting losses and offensive struggles caused in part by a 180-degree change in philosophy, the Bearcats finally proved their coach right at an opportune time. Jorge Gonzalez rushed for 197 yards and three touchdowns as the Bearcats, who entered the playoffs as a No. 4 seed with a 3-7 record, stunned the Bruceville-Eddy Eagles 48-41 in overtime in their Class 2A Division I bidistrict game Friday at Whitney.

Bruceville-Eddy, the No. 1 seed from District 8-2A, entered the playoffs with a 9-1 record, its first outright district championship in 39 years and a bye week to recuperate for the playoffs.

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GAME STORY: Dublin’s season ends with loss to Holliday

PONDER — At larger schools, it’s easy to find a good kicker, but the further you go down in classifications, the harder it gets.

Holliday found one in Logan Whitling and used his right leg to claim a 33-14 win over Dublin in a Region II-3A Division II bi-district game at Ponder Field on Friday night.

Whitling had a field goal in each quarter — connecting from 31, 28, 28 and 41 yards — as he was able to constantly put pressure on coach Bob Cervetto’s team.