Month: September 2021

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Jim Ned rallies to foil Snyder upset bid

SNYDER — By night’s end Jim Ned’s 22-15 win at Snyder had become the game that both teams needed.

Defending Class 3A DI state champion Jim Ned needed another team besides Cisco to match them physically and push them into the fourth quarter. Upstart Snyder, after four straight routs over decidedly weaker teams, needed to solidify the fact that it is indeed, a good football team.  

Both got their wish at Tiger Stadium on Friday when the Indians rallied from a 15-7 second half deficit to hand Snyder its first loss of the year.  Xavier Wishert rushed for 155 yards and touchdown and Sergio Hernandez added a back-breaking pick-six in the fourth quarter to lead Jim Ned (5-0), which now heads into its bye week to prep for district play. 

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GAME STORY: Cooper has best start of the year, hammers Granbury

The Cooper football team has consistently been slow starting this year, entering Friday’s homecoming game against Granbury having scored just seven points in the first quarter all year.

The Cougars found their quick-strike offense Friday night at Shotwell Stadium, though, scoring on the first play of the game and three times in the opening five minutes as they rolled to a 56-34 win in District 3-5A Division I play.

Cooper’s defense also came up with four turnovers — three of which gave the offense the ball in the red zone — as the quick start by the offense let the defense attack the Pirates offense relentlessly.

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GAME STORY: Wylie runs away for 49-21 homecoming win over Brownwood

The Wylie football team treated a homecoming crowd to a dominating win Friday, scoring the first 35 points in a 49-21 victory over Brownwood.

The Bulldogs, who came in on a two-game losing streak, got their running game going early and controlled the line of scrimmage throughout, piling up 328 yards rushing while bottling up BHS standout Konlyn Anderson in the win.

Anderson came in as the Big Country’s leading rusher with more than 800 yards through the first four weeks, but it was the Wylie run game that stole the show as four Bulldog players tallied at least 70 yards on the ground.

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FEATURE: Roan, Cooper ready to put slow starts in rearview mirror

During his team’s 2-2 start, Cooper coach Aaron Roan has seen enough from the Cougars to conclude they have the tools to compete at a high level.

What he hasn’t seen from this group quite yet is four full quarters of football.

The Coogs, who are 0-1 in District 3-5A Division I play heading into Friday’s homecoming game against Granbury, have been plagued in the early going season by a slow starts that have consistently had them playing from behind. And that’s a trend Roan is ready to put an end to this week.

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FEATURE: Abilene High QB Ramirez showing off dual-threat chops for 2-2 Eagles

Last year as a junior, Abilene High quarterback Abel Ramirez established himself as one of the area’s most efficient passers, topping 2,200 yards with a 20-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

After losing his three leading receivers to graduation and watching senior running back Da’King Thomas miss two of the Eagles’ first three games this season due to injury, Ramirez is showing he can run a little bit, too.

With an abundance of skill talent around him in 2020, Ramirez didn’t necessarily need to be a dual-threat guy in his first full season as a starter. Circumstances have changed that this year, and through four games, the senior playmaker has risen to meet that challenge.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 5)

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.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Jim Ned, Snyder clash in battle of unbeatens (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country picks)

LAST WEEK: 36-16, .692
OVERALL: 163-46, .779

After four straight weeks of picking 80 percent or better, the USS Ren ran aground last Friday, bottoming out with a season-low .692 percentage and dropping my season tally to .779.

I generally like to be above 80 percent by midseason, so last Friday served as a wakeup call. Actually, it was more of a gut punch. But I’ll get over it.

This week’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week will see me traveling to Snyder, where the unbeaten Class 4A Tigers will play host to 3A DI state champion Jim Ned in what should be an absolutely electric atmosphere. 

You all set? Let’s dive in to this week’s picks. 

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EVAN REN : Virdell’s Goldthwaite program beginning to take steps forward

GOLDTHWAITE — His Goldthwaite program battled through a lack of experience and depth after he inherited a 1-8 program in 2019.  It endured the COVID lockdown at the worst possible time for a rebuilding team and the lack of quality weight training it desperately needed. 

Through it all, coach Keith Virdell’s Eagles had a combined 5-16 record —not exactly earth-shattering for a program what was 10-3 as recently as 2015 and had won a state championship as recently as 2009.

What some forget, however, is that Virdell was virtually starting from scratch when he arrived at GHS from Sudan, where he had posted a 9-2 mark in his first and only season there. 

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GAME STORY: Abilene High volleyball battles but falls in three at home to Frenship

The Abilene High volleyball team competed well with Wolfforth Frenship on Tuesday night, but untimely mistakes by the Lady Eagles allowed the visitors to leave Eagle Gym with a 25-21, 26-24, 25-18 sweep in District 2-6A action.

Coach Caroline Cleveland’s squad had opportunities in all three games, but the Lady Tigers executed just a little better down the stretch in each to keep the Abilene High at arm’s length throughout the match.

AHS (19-11 overall) trailed by just a point (21-20) late in Game 1, rallied from a 24-20 deficit to tie things up in Game 2 and were deadlocked as late as 13-all in Game 3. The Lady Eagles could never come up with the runs they needed to take control of any of those games, however, in falling to 0-3 to start league play.

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GAME STORY: Clyde starts fast, opens 6-3A play with four set win over Wall

Earlier this season, the Wall volleyball team took two of three sets from Clyde in tournament action.

The Lady Bulldogs were determined to not let that happen again as District 6-3A play started Tuesday night in Bulldog Gym.

A loud and rowdy crowd became more and more boisterous with each thunderous kill by Liz Underwood, and Clyde went on to take a 25-13, 16-25, 25-21, 25-21 win.

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FEATURE: Resurgent Lady Eagle volleyball a Big Country surprise in 2021

Abilene High School is enjoying a turnaround season under first-year head volleyball coach Caroline Cleveland.  

The Lady Eagles have won 19 games heading into Tuesday’s match against Frenship. Even though they haven’t gotten off to the best district start, Cleveland sees how much potential her girls possess nearly every day.  

One example of that upside is sophomore setter Shea Bruntmyer, who is thriving in her first season as a six-rotation player.  

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FEATURE: Breck libero Thompson an ace at keeping the ball alive

Photos courtesy of Calvin Best, Breckenridge ISD

Haigan Thompson’s Big Country-leading 10.9 digs per set begins with studying video of opponents with first-year Breckenridge coach Paula Taylor.

“The very first thing is we try to study our opponents’ tendencies – especially where they like to hit the ball and where certain players like to hit the ball,” Taylor said Monday. “We talk to our assistant coaches during the matches about where they’re hitting the ball, and we listen to Haigan about what spots they’re hitting to.”

Thompson, a 5-foot-4 junior libero, also reads and reacts based on keys from the opponents’ hitters during matches.

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Big Country Volleyball Statistical Leaders (Through Sept. 21)

Big Country Preps is publishing area volleyball statistical leaders each Tuesday at 7 p.m.

This database will be continually updated for our subscribers throughout the remainder of the season, using only those statistics submitted by area coaches.

We will continually update the database throughout the regular season.

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FEATURE: Lambert rapidly becoming one of the area’s top quarterbacks

Lambert

Stephenville’s successful quarterback lineage is one of the Big County’s most impressive athletic accomplishments.

Junior Ryder Lambert knows that tradition well. He can’t pick just one quarterback when asked who he enjoyed watching lead the Yellowjackets’ offense while growing up.

But he doesn’t have to look very hard for motivation, either.  

“I can say that I am lucky to be coached every day by one of the best with coach (Kelan) Luker,” Lambert said of his quarterback coach who led Stephenville to a championship in 1998. “I hope to represent Stephenville as well as he did and hopefully bring home a state title.”

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Stephenville QB takes the top spot

When you combine our two key factors in selecting our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week — quality of numbers and level of difficulty — nobody outperformed Stephenville quarterback Ryder Lambert last week in SHS’ 37-7 rout of Class 5A Abilene Wylie. 

Lambert connected on 22 of 28 throws for 458 yards and five scores to help push the Yellow Jackets to 4-0. 

Just four weeks in and the ‘Jackets are looking like they could win Texas’ most difficult 4A district (5-4A DI), despite having road dates with Waco La Vega and Midlothian Heritage. 

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FEATURE: Anderson is Brownwood’s latest bell-cow running back

Konlyn Anderson has exceeded expectations through four games this season as Brownwood’s latest bell-cow running back, a crucial role in Lions head coach Sammy Burnett’s run-first offensive scheme.

“I honestly believe that if we can move the ball on the ground, we can control the clock and control the opponents’ possessions,” Burnett said Saturday. “If we can run, that opens up our RPOs (run-pass options), our play-action passes and our vertical passing game.”

Burnett’s belief in the running game comes from his football roots. He played the 1985 season at Brownwood for legendary coach Gordon Wood and the 1986 and 1987 seasons for Randy Allen, two of the four winningest coaches in Texas high school football history. Both Wood and Allen utilized the run-first Wing-T offense.

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District 3-2A Div. I Week 4 Report: Buffs stay unbeaten with big win over McCamey

Forsan 48, McCamey 27 — Forsan (4-0) rolled up 345 yards rushing and six TDs on the ground to hand McCamey (2-1) its first loss of the year. 

Major Stockton rushed for 217 yards and four scores and threw for 96 yards and another touchdown to lead the Buffaloes, who put McCamey away with two late scores in the fourth quarter. 

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District 8-2A Div. II Week 4 Report: Hico gets defensive in win over Junction

Hico 24, Junction 7 — The Tigers snapped a two-game losing streak with a three-score win over a previously unbeaten Eagles team in Bangs.

Hico (2-2) only had 190 yards of total offense, but the Tigers held Junction to 59 yards on 41 snaps and forced a pair of turnovers.

Angel Gonzalez led HHS with 85 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while Jaydon Qualls rushed for 43 yards on three attempts.

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District 4-3A Div. II Week 4 Report: Bulldogs put C-City to bed after midnight

Coahoma 26, Colorado City 12 — Brysen Kerby rushed for 119 yards and a score on 27 carries and Billy Bailey threw for 122 yards and a touchdown to lead Coahoma to a lightening-delayed win over one of its top area rivals.

The game was halted for more than three hours due to lightning and ended at roughly 1 a.m. Saturday morning.

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District 5-2A Div. II Week 4 Report: Aguayo, McCann lead Roscoe to impressive win over Christoval

Roscoe 42, Christoval 30 — The Plowboys continued their resurgent start to the season, outlasting the previously unbeaten Cougars for their third consecutive win.

Leading 20-14 at halftime and 34-30 after three quarters, Roscoe (3-1) outscored Christoval 8-0 over the final 12 minutes to secure the victory.

Senior Antonio Aguayo led the winning effort for the Plowboys, rushing for 78 yards and two scores, receiving for 34 yards and throwing a 77-yard touchdown pass. Freshman Ivan McCann also had a big day, rushing for 114 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore Seth Wilcox caught two passes for 83 yards and a TD.

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District 4-3A Div. I Week 4 Report: Brock wraps up nondistrict play with blowout win at Iowa Park

Brock 41, Iowa Park 6 — The second-ranked Eagles closed out nondistrict play in dominating fashion, outgaining the Hawks 428-117 in a blowout win. 

Led by quarterback Tyler Moody (12-22-0—189, 1 TD passing; 10-87, 2 TDs rushing) and tailback Kutter Wilson (18-103, 2 TDs rushing), Brock (3-0) outscored Iowa Park 27-0 in the second half to turn a one-score game into a rout.

Eli Potts (4-79) and Zach Brewster (2-64, 1 TD) both had nice days receiving for BHS, which will open District 4-3A Division I play next week at home against Bowie.

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District 1-4A Div. II Week 4 Report: Snyder blasts Lake View to improve to 4-0

Snyder 42, San Angelo Lake View 7 — The Tigers dominated the Chiefs, scoring 35 unanswered points after Lake View had tied the game at 7 with a touchdown late in the first quarter.

Snyder, which outgained the Chiefs 404-208, led 21-7 by halftime and added three more touchdowns after the break to improve to 4-0 on the year.

The Tigers were led in the win by Jorge Martinez, who rushed for 174 yards and three touchdowns on just 17 carries, while quarterback Hunter Stewart completed 11 of 15 passes for 144 yards and added 41 yards and one TD rushing. 

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District 5-3A Div. II Week 4 Report: Mavs earn first win of the season

Eastland 28, Breckenridge 19 — Judson Beard rushed for 123 yards and two scores and Keaton Hicks threw for 116 yards and another touchdown to help Eastland (1-3) collect its first win of the year. 

The Mavs led 21-19 in the fourth quarter when Hicks hit Jared Cruz with a 32-yard TD strike to provide Eastland with a two-score cushion.

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District 5-4A Div. I Week 4 Report: Anderson’s big game fuels Brownwood to win over Burnet

Brownwood 31, Burnet 26 — The Lions evened their record at 2-2, using a 21-point third quarter to build a 31-17 lead they’d protect the rest of the way.

The game was scoreless after a quarter and tied 10-all at halftime, but Brownwood finally pulled away after the break.

The Lions rushed for 285 of their 338 total yards in the win, getting 261 yards and two touchdowns from running back Konlyn Anderson. Jordan Leach added an 83-yard touchdown return for BHS, which allowed 371 yards but forced the only two turnovers of the game. 

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District 3-3A Div. I Week 4 Report : Early remains unbeaten with win over Merkel

Early 47, Merkel 13 — Early stayed unbeaten behind 215 yards passing and three scores from Jaxyn Price. 

Leading 14-6 at the break, the Longhorns blew the game open with a 26-0 third quarter. 

Merkel was led by Dayton Huggins, who rushed for 26 yards and a score on five carries. Joey Zink threw for 153 yards, but was picked three times. 

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District 2-4A Div. I Week 4 Report: Big Spring tops Brownfield in weather-shortened game

Big Spring 7, Brownfield 6 — The Steers had their homecoming game against the Cubs called in the first quarter due to lightning.

After Brownfield took an early lead with a long touchdown run, Big Spring (3-1) answered with a scoring drive, going up by one on Gabriel Baeza’s three-yard pass to Sa’Quan Fizer. But the game was stopped there, with the Steers outgaining the Cubs 49-47.

Baeza had completed four of his five passes for 24 yards and a score while adding a 14-yard run. But the Steers were able to run just seven offensive plays before play was stopped.

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GAME REPORT: Slow start sinks Cooper in district opener at Justin Northwest

JUSTIN — A disastrous start was too much for the Cooper football team to overcome in a 33-21 loss to Justin Northwest in the District 3-5A Division I opener for both teams Friday at Northwest ISD Stadium.

The Cougars, who have been slow out of the gate in every game this year, fell behind 19-0 by halftime and were unable to work their way back into the game after the break.

Cooper (2-2 overall, 0-1 in district) outgained the Texans 303-295, but some special teams miscues and a pair of turnovers allowed Northwest (3-1, 1-0) to pull ahead 33-7 early in the fourth quarter. Coach Aaron Roan’s squad did battle back with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull within two scores late, but by then the deficit was too large.

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GAME REPORT: Fast start, Thomas’ return propel AHS to road win over Grand Prairie

GRAND PRAIRIE — Da’King Thomas made an instant impact in his return to the Abilene High lineup Friday, rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns to fuel the Eagles to a 35-28 road win over Grand Prairie.

Behind Thomas, who did the bulk of his damage in the first half, AHS built a 28-7 lead by halftime. And after watching the Gophers pull within a touchdown with a pair of third-quarter scores, quarterback Abel Ramirez provided what would prove to be the game-winning TD in the form of a 32-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

The win, the Eagles’ second in a row, evened the team’s record at 2-2 heading into next week’s District 2-6A opener at Odessa Permian.

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GAME STORY: Top-ranked Jim Ned survives scare from Cisco

TUSCOLA — Xavier Wishert ran for 175 yards and two scores while Tate Yardley added a pair of touchdowns as Class 3A Division I’s top-ranked Jim Ned held off a rally from 2A Division I’s No. 5 Cisco 28-14 on Friday night at Indian Stadium.

It wasn’t just Wishert’s legs that made a difference on Friday night and he was quick to credit a few of his teammates.

Yardley, Braden Lewis and Blaine Palmer have been inseparable no matter the season — spring, summer, fall or winter. The trio is always putting in work whether on the football field or as members of Jim Ned’s powerful baseball team as the primary members of its starting rotation.

The camaraderie that those three have built playing catch was something Wishert said makes his job easier and coach Matt Fanning said makes the Indians offense that much harder to stop.

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Dublin wrecks Brady homecoming

BRADY — Our Big Country Preps Game of the Week didn’t turn out the way most prognosticators saw it. It didn’t turn out the way BCP saw it. And it certainly wasn’t the way the Bulldogs had hoped to spend a homecoming evening at Bulldog Stadium. 

In short, Friday’s 38-12 loss to visiting Dublin (a two-score underdog heading in) was nothing short of disastrous for the home club, which crippled itself with seven fumbles (three lost) and an interception while dropping to 2-1.

Chris Teten shredded the Brady secondary with a 24-of-29 passing effort for 312 yards and four scores to lead Dublin (3-1), which blew the game open with two unanswered scores in the fourth quarter. 

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GAME STORY: Stephenville aerial attack too much for Wylie in homecoming rout

STEPHENVILLE — The Big Country’s most explosive passing attack was on full display Friday at Tarleton Memorial Stadium, where the Stephenville Yellow Jackets racked up 466 yards through the air on their way to a 37-7 homecoming win over Wylie.

Quarterback Ryder Lambert, the area’s leading passer, completed 22 of 28 passes for all of those yards and five touchdowns, while Coy Eakin, the area’s top pass-catcher, was on the receiving end of 12 of those passes for 285 yards and three TDs.

With those two leading the way, the Jackets used a touchdown late in the second quarter to take a 17-7 lead into halftime, before pulling away in the second half for their fourth straight win to open the season.

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