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COAHOMA — The Coahoma football team clinched a playoff berth on Friday night but not in the way the team wanted to.
Three turnovers cost the Bulldogs in a 26-20 District 4-3A Division II loss to Lubbock Roosevelt on Senior Night at Bulldog Stadium.
However, Coahoma was still able to clinch a playoff berth as Stanton lost to Abernathy to ensure that the Buffaloes would not be able to catch up to the Bulldogs in the district standings.
BALLINGER — It had been a while since the Bangs Dragons had played for a district championship. So long ago, in fact, that most of their current players were in elementary school at the time.
It showed on Friday when the Dragons were outexecuted down the stretch in a 25-13 loss to Ballinger before an electric crowd at Bearcat Stadium.
Garrett Dixon rushed for 130 yards and two scores to lift Ballinger (9-1, 4-0), which can lock up a district title with a win at Sonora next week.
Bangs (7-1, 3-1) was led by Ethan Sanchez, who charted 160 yards rushing, including a 96-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7 in the second quarter.
WICHITA FALLS — Playing its first game since Oct. 2, the Wylie football team was noticeably rusty in its District 3-5A Division II opener against Wichita Falls Rider on Friday at Memorial Stadium.
But ultimately, the eighth-ranked Raiders just had too much firepower for the Bulldogs to handle in a 35-14 win that was more dominant than the final score might indicate.
Rider (5-1, 2-0) outgained Wylie 352-35 over the first two quarters on its way to a 35-0 halftime lead and turned to its reserves to take things home after the break.
MIDLAND — The Abilene High football team had little answer for the Midland Lee offense Friday, surrendering 511 total yards in a 51-19 loss to Midland Lee.
The Rebels scored the game’s first 22 points and built a 30-6 lead by halftime, bouncing back from a district-opening loss to Odessa Permian to improve to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in District 2-6A play.
AHS, which fell to 1-4 and 1-1, finished with 357 yards of total offense, but never got closer than 18 points in the second half.
Sweetwater 48, Monahans 32 — The Mustangs wrapped up a perfect run through district play Friday, answering an early score from Monahans and leading the rest of the way in a 16-point win over Loboes.
Sweetwater, which wrapped up its regular season at 7-1 overall and 4-0 in league play, led 28-20 at halftime and outscored Monahans (4-6, 2-2) by a 20-6 margin over the game’s final 17 minutes to pull away.
Quarterback Leo Holsey had three touchdown runs to lead the Mustangs, who also got three touchdown receptions from receiver Darian Carr.
Midlothian Heritage 42, Stephenville 27 — Playing Heritage with a chance to force their way back into the district title picture, the Yellow Jackets couldn’t capitalize in two-touchdown loss to the league-leading Jaguars.
After falling behind 28-7 at halftime, the Yellow Jackets (5-5, 3-2) pulled back within eight (28-20) early in the fourth quarter, but Heritage (8-2, 4-0) answered with back-to-back touchdowns to put the game away.
Stephenville was led in the loss by running back Kason Philips, who rushed for two touchdowns, and quarterback Gavin Rountree, who had scoring throws to Coy Eakin and Trace Morrison. Heritage was paced by Latray Miller, who ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.
Abernathy 34, Stanton 18 — The Antelopes (6-3, 3-1) used a solid defensive effort and a big second half to stay in the running for a high playoff seed.
Leading 14-12 at the break, the Abernathy took control of the game with a pair of unanswered third-quarter TD pass by Jess Hoel — a 21-yarder to Anthony White and a 32-yarder to Luke Houston.
Albany 35, Cross Plains 0 — Leading 6-0 at halftime, the Lions outscored the Buffaloes 22-0 in the third quarter to turn a tight defensive ballgame into a rout and claim the outright district title in the regular season finale for Albany.
Albany (8-1, 5-0) rushed for 242 yards as a team, getting 132 yards from Jaheim Newton and 43 yards and two touchdowns from Coy Lefevre. Quarterback Barrett Beal, meanwhile, passed for 149 yards with a touchdown to Cole Chapman (4-87 receiving) and an interception.
Cross Plains, the No. 2 playoff seed out of this district, fell to 7-2 overall and 3-1 in league play heading into a scheduled game against Meridian next week.
Lockney 54, Roscoe 20 — The Longhorns pounded out 499 yards of offense, 440 of those on the ground, to bury the Plowboys quickly in a lopsided victory.
Lockney (2-0 in district) built a 40-7 lead by halftime and cruised in the second half to its seventh consecutive win to start the season.
Lockney was led by back Nathan Ceniceros, who rushed for 237 yards and a couple of scores on 20 carries. Roscoe (0-9, 0-3) will wrap up its season next week at Crosbyton.
Brady 53, Ingram Moore 34 — The Bulldogs (4-5, 2-2) locked up a playoff berth and eliminated Moore (5-4, 0-4) in the process.
A Brady loss would have created a fourth-place tie, with Moore owning the tie-breaker. But a 24-7 first-half effort that saw the Bulldogs chart 300 total yards before the break, gave BHS control throughout the night.
Brock 58, Peaster 0 — The No. 1 Eagles outgained the Greyhounds 573-159, racing out to a 42-0 hafltime lead on the way to their second shutout win of the season.
Quarterback Jaxon Gleaton completed five of eight passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns while running backs Kuter Wilson (9-141, 1 TD) and Myles Semas (12-100, 1 TD) had big games on the ground. Area rushing leader Cash Jones only had four carries for 27 yards, but two of those ended in the end zone, and he added two catches for 63 yards and two more scores.
Now 9-0 overall and 6-0 in league play after Friday’s win, Brock will host Pilot Point (7-2, 5-1) for the outright district title next week.
Forsan 42, Stamford 14 — The Buffaloes locked up the No. 3 seed with a dominating win over Stamford that saw them rush for 337 yards as a team.
Nate Hernandez rushed for 129 yards and three scores and Major Stockton had a combined rushing/passing total of 205 yards with a TD pass to lead Forsan (5-3, 3-1), which was never threatened after building a 28-0 halftime lead.
Early 52, San Angelo TLCA 6 — The Longhorns ended a 12-year playoff drought behind two rushing TDs each from Alex Jacobs and Tre Beam.
Early (5-4, 2-2) took control with a 28-6 first half, then blew the game wide open with 24 unanswered points after the break.
Big Spring 35, San Angelo Lake View 21 — The Steers wrapped up the No. 3 seed in this district, building a 35-14 second-half lead before settling for the two-score victory.
Big Spring (4-3, 1-2) piled up 448 yards of offense in the win, getting a big game from Gabriel Baeza who passed for 242 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 102 yards and two more scores to overcome three interceptions.
Orlando Sanchez also had a productive night running the ball, tallying 93 yards on 12 carries, while Jose Cantu (8-82, 3 TDs), Pablito Dehoyos (5-76) and Maverick Yanez (2-63) had strong games receiving.
Eastland 77, Merkel 41 — Behren Morton threw for 289 yards, rushed for 65 and accounted for five touchdowns as Eastland (6-3, 4-0) clinched the district title.
Brandon Fielding had a big night as well, rushing for 111 yards and three TDs for Eastland, which led 50-19 at the break.
The Mavericks have now won six straight games after an 0-3 start that saw them slowed by a combination of disciplinary suspensions and COVID.
San Saba 43, Coleman 10 — The Armadillos (7-1, 4-0) rolled up 464 yards in total offense including 360 yards on the ground to set up a winner-take-all district title game with Cisco next week.
Stone Sears led San Saba with 207 yards and one score on only 16 carries.
TUSCOLA — A year ago, the Jim Ned boys cross country team couldn’t have left the Region I-3A meet in Lubbock with more motivation.
With four teams qualifying for the state meet in Round Rock, the Indians narrowly missed the cut with a fifth-place finish. And among individual runners, Chris Saling, a freshman at the time, missed qualifying for state by a razor-thin 0.10 of a second.
Needless to say, the Indians returned to their offseason training with increased intensity — perhaps more than even coach Blake Allen or the team members had envisioned.
ABILENE HIGH (1-3, 1-1) AT MIDLAND LEE (3-1, 0-1)
7 p.m Friday at Grande Communications Stadium, Midland
WYLIE (2-0, 0-0) AT WICHITA FALLS RIDER (4-1, 1-0)
7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium, Wichita Falls
In a season full of challenges, the Wylie football team will be facing one of its toughest yet this week, when it hits road for its District 3-5A Division II opener against No. 8 Wichita Falls Rider.
But coming off a three-week layoff due to COVID-related schedule changes, the Bulldogs are just glad to be talking about on-field obstacles again.
Idle since Oct. 2 after having nondistrict games against Cooper and Amarillo Palo Duro canceled and a district matchup with Plainview postponed to the end of the season, Wylie will have no time to ease back into the swing of things against the 4-1 Raiders. But that’s of little concern to the Bulldogs players and coaches, who are just thrilled to be playing anyone at this point.
FORT WORTH — Cooper’s super back Noah Garcia ran for 163 yards, caught a pair of passes good for another 82 yards, and scored five touchdowns to lead the Cougars to a 48-0 rout of Fort Worth Arlington Heights on Thursday night at Farrington Field.
At that, the senior speedster was just one of several offensive heroes for Cooper. Senior quarterback Aidan Thompson went 11-for-14 passing for 245 yards and three touchdowns, while sophomore running back Jeremiah Riley ran for 107 yards as the Cougars won their fourth straight game.
In the process, they improved to 4-1 on the season and 3-0 in District 3-5A Division I play. The Yellow Jackets, who have had several games canceled because of coronavirus and were playing for the first time in three weeks, fell to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in district.
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.
If you’d asked Abilene High’s Noah Hatcher six weeks ago what position he played, he’d have told you he was a running back.
But after being moved to the defensive side of the ball following the Eagles’ scrimmage against Wylie on Sept. 17, the sophomore is making quite a name for himself as a safety.
One of the biggest heroes of AHS’ 27-25 win over Odessa Permian last week, it was Hatcher’s late interception in the end zone that thwarted a potential game-winning scoring drive for the Panthers. And it was the instincts shown on that play — and so many others — that has Eagles coach Mike Fullen convinced the young playmaker is exactly where he needs to be.
LAST WEEK: 35-8, .813
SEASON TOTAL: 317-72, .815
Week 10. I can scarcely believe it.
We’ve reached the point of the season when we’ve begun to see those winner-take-all, do-or-die scenarios we’ve been waiting for. And with the regular season ending for Classes 1A-4A next week, there plenty of tense, solid matchups to choose from for those of you who enjoy heading out to an area game on a Friday night.
So let’s not waste any time. Let’s dive in. I’ll see you on the road.
BANGS (7-0, 3-0) AT BALLINGER (8-1, 3-0)
Even in August, this stood out as a possible Big Country Preps Game of the Week. And here we are. Two area rivals, unbeaten in District 2-3A Division II, with the winner sitting alone atop the standings.
The aspect of this game which will garner most of the attention will be Bangs’ speedy offense paired off with a Ballinger defense allowing only 10 points per game. But in my opinion, that’s not where this game will be won or lost for either team.
When Bryan Spotwood was called up to varsity last year as a sophomore, it was with the expectation that he’d be filling an immediate need and returning to the junior varsity team at some point.
The dynamic Cooper receiver made sure through his play that that point never came.
Spotwood, instead, made himself a valuable part of an 11-2 Cougars team, flashing a big-play skill set that has him third among Big Country receivers in yards per catch just one year later.
COOPER (3-1, 2-0) AT FORT WORTH ARLINGTON HEIGHTS (2-0, 0-0)
7 p.m. Thursday at Farrington Field, Fort Worth
Facing Cooper at home for sole possession of second place in the District 4-5A standings, the Wylie volleyball team used a fast start and strong finish Wednesday to escape Bulldog Gym with a thrilling 25-13, 25-18, 18-25, 25-27, 15-11 victory.
In a match that was postponed a day by the Tuesday’s ice storm, the Lady Bulldogs (9-4 overall) held off a furious Lady Cougar rally to close out the first round of district play at 4-1 a stay within a match of district leader Lubbock Cooper (10-6, 5-0).
They pushed the Lady Coogs, meanwhile, into third place at 9-6 overall and 3-2 in a league play — a match ahead of fourth-place Lubbock Coronado.
The Abilene High and Odessa High volleyball teams have fought through adversity all season long and both returned to action on Wednesday night at Eagle Gym in search of a momentum-generating District 2-6A win to get in the playoff hunt.
AHS, which just ended a two-week quarantine, started off a brutal four-match stretch with a much needed 25-16, 25-18, 22-25, 25-19 win to move to fifth place in the district standings at 2-3.
Wednesday night’s win, coupled with San Angelo Central’s four-set win over Odessa Permian, leaves the Lady Eagles a game behind Central in the district standings.
VIDEO PODCAST NO. 9: Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood chat with Eastland coach James Morton about the rapid improvement of his team after an 0-3 start.
Top games of this week discussed: Abilene at Midland Lee, Cooper at FW Arlington Heights, Bangs at Ballinger, Lubbock Roosevelt at Coahoma, Hermleigh at Ira, Wylie at WF Rider, Comanche at Jacksboro.
Top games of last week discussed: Clyde/Early, Anson/Hawley, Westbrook/Sterling City, Abilene High/Odessa Permian, Cooper/Granbury and Eastland/Jacksboro.
Photos courtesy of Stephenville High School
Stephenville’s volleyball team took a major step forward by sweeping Brownwood on Friday night.
The 16th-ranked Honey Bees not only avenged their only district defeat, but also accomplished one of their goals in winning the 6-4A title.
Landri Withers has been an integral part of Stephenville’s success once again in 2020, but this time the junior has been making the biggest impact as an outside hitter.
Stephenville coach Shay Douglas said she changed her standout player’s role for multiple reasons that are beneficial both now and in the future.
San Saba quarterback Risien Shahan may have set an unconfirmed record on Friday — capturing the Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week Award with only 10 touches in a 47-0 win over De Leon.
Rushing five times for 185 yards and three touchdowns, the senior quarterback had a 3-of-5 night passing for 193 more yards and two additional scores. That’s 478 yards and five TDs in total offense in only 10 plays that saw him running or throwing.
There’s something dangerous brewing in Eastland County, and I’m not referring to COVID.
When a short-handed Eastland High team started the season off at 0-3, the Mavericks may have looked like a train wreck on paper to someone monitoring the scores from across the state.
But those of us who keep track of area football knew better. The combination of an early discipline issue and an outbreak of COVID had left the Mavericks with a skeleton crew and they took the beatings to prove it.
They are now making up for lost time.
EARLY — When Clyde football coach Scott Campbell arrived at Longhorn Stadium on Friday and saw the flags whipping in a fierce north wind, he knew immediately what he was going to do if his Bulldogs happened to win the coin toss.
They did. And his subsequent decision to defer and force Early to drive into that wind may very well have been the difference in a 33-20 Clyde win in the Big Country Preps Game of the Week.
Dylan Neuman threw for 224 yards, rushed for 41 and accounted for four scores to lift Clyde (4-4, 3-0 District 3-3A DI), which remains in contention for the league title with the win.
Early (4-4, 1-2) was led by Jaxyn Price, who threw for 111 yards, rushed for 25 and had a direct hand in all three EHS scores.
ANSON — When Mitch Ables arrived in Hawley, he was tasked with rebuilding a program that didn’t have a history of sustained success.
After benefitting from four years of quarterback Quay Stokes, followed by the stellar career of running back Colton Marshall, Ables may have found his new workhorse in another young stud.
Sophomore running back Austin Cumpton had 32 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown and took countless bruising hits in a physical game as the Bearcats took the lead in the District 3-2A Division I championship race with a thrilling 21-20 win over Jones County rival Anson at Tiger Stadium on Friday night.
Hawley’s defense also rose to the occasion with a second half shutout.
GRANBURY — Cooper quarterback Aidan Thompson had himself a night Friday in a 69-7 win over Granbury, completing 13 of 16 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns to push the Cougars to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in District 3-5A Division I.
The senior also added a 15-yard rushing touchdown as CHS built a 45-0 halftime lead it would increase to 62 points before the Pirates finally got on the board in the fourth quarter.
Coming into Friday’s game against Odessa Permian at 0-3 and needing a win to avoid an 0-2 start to District 2-6A play, the Abilene High football team had its mettle tested early and often by a favored Panthers squad.
But any questions about the Eagles’ mental state or resiliency were answered definitively in a gritty 27-25 win at Shotwell Stadium.
Trailing 25-21 at halftime, AHS (1-3 overall, 1-1 in District 2-6A) took the lead on a pair of Anthony Ramirez field goals, and the Eagle defense made it hold up, shutting out the Panthers over the final two quarters to secure the win. Sophomore safety Noah Hatcher made the play of the night, coming up with a late interception in the end zone to thwart a potential go-ahead drive by Permian and allow the Eagles to seal the upset victory with a single first down.
Bangs 48, Sonora 14 — Ethan Cortez had one of his best nights as a first-year move-in, throwing for 243 yards and three scores and rushing for 97 yards and two more TDs to keep the Dragons (7-0, 3-0) in district title contention.