Month: September 2021

FEATURE: Physical Abilene High line fueling potent run game … and enjoying every minute of it

There aren’t many situations in which being called a hog is a good thing. For the Abilene High offensive line, it’s not only a term of endearment, it’s a mentality. 

Dubbed by coach Mike Fullen as the H.A.W.G.’s (short for “hostile and wild group”), the AHS O-line has internalized that description this season, adopting a mindset of toughness and physicality that shows up in its play.

And in so doing, that bunch has formed the foundation of a physical — and at times, dominant — run game that is quickly becoming a significant part of the Eagles’ offensive identity. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 6)

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.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

FEATURE: Brock center Cade Harris contradicts every stereotype attached to offensive linemen

Action photos by Tommy Hays

We’ve all heard the tiresome stereotypes surrounding the big guys on a football field — most of which were disproven decades ago.

Offensive linemen are generally very smart out of necessity. They don’t spend most of their time chewing raw meat and watching MMA fights. They have a diverse set of interests and their talents extend well beyond simply knocking people on their keister.

We know all of this. Or at least, by this day and age, we should know it. But for those of us who don’t, Brock center Cade Harris stands as a living contradiction to all of the false perceptions. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Steers plays host to Littlefield, Gramps Ren rebounds (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 45-6, .882
SEASON TOTAL: 208-52, .800

After a disastrous night of picking football games on Sept. 19 that saw his season percentage dip below .800, Gramps Ren has rebounded. Thank you, thank you. 

Last Friday saw this column hit with more than 88 percent accuracy on games throughout the Big Country, pulling its season percentage to an even .800 as we hit the season’s midpoint. 

This week I’ll be heading west — way West — to the very edge of our coverage area to get a first-hand look at the Big Spring Steers in their matchup with Littlefield in our Big Country Preps Game of the Week. 

Let’s dive in to this week’s picks, shall we? 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT WEDNESDAY NIGHT PODCAST: Area’s top dogs at the midpoint?

—The area’s most improved teams at seasons midpoint? Early, Roscoe, Forsan, Big Spring, Coleman, Snyder, Dublin and Stephenville are among those mentioned.

—Teams with best shot at getting to Arlington? Albany, Cisco, Jim Ned, Brock, and Stephenville are among those discussed.

—Top quarterbacks, running backs and receivers get a shout as we prepare to jump into district play.


GAME STORY: Clyde volleyball sweeps Jim Ned to gain edge in District 6-3A race

TUSCOLA — The Clyde volleyball team took sole possession of first place in the District 6-3A race on Tuesday, sweeping Jim Ned 25-13, 26-24, 25-19 at Bill Thornton Arena to improve to 3-0 in league play. 

Entering the night tied with the Lady Indians atop the district standings, the Lady Bulldogs (23-11 overall) overcame a strong start by Jim Ned to pull away in Game 1 and rallied from game point in Game 2 to set up the sweep.

It was a key road victory for CHS, which now holds a one-match lead on both Jim Ned (14-10, 2-1) and Wall (25-10, 2-1) with matches against Brady and San Angelo TLCA to wrap up the first half of league play.

Continue reading “GAME STORY: Clyde volleyball sweeps Jim Ned to gain edge in District 6-3A race”

FEATURE: Snyder’s versatile Burns as good on the backline as she is at the net

Action photos by Ali Martinez. Portrait by Mindi Bredemeyer. 

Joanie Burns has worked hard to become a valuable, versatile player in Snyder’s attack.  

But while the senior has put in dozens of hours to hone her craft, she doesn’t quite see it as a burden.   

“I would say I’ve worked hard,” she said. “However, it’s not work when you love what you’re doing.”  

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

FEATURE: ACS junior Beard recovers from knee surgery to play on both rows

Photos courtesy of Kelsey Aycock of Copper and Pearl Photo & Video

Despite a season-ending ACL knee injury last year, Campbell Beard become an inspiration as the 2020 Abilene Christian School volleyball team advanced to the TAPPS Class 2A regional final.

“I was set to help the team try to get to state, but that wasn’t part of the plan,” Beard said of 2020. “So I wanted to be there for my teammates. It was hard at times to put a smile on my face, but it allowed me to see a different perspective as a cheerleader and encourager for the team.”

ACS coach Arnett McClure said, “I can’t imagine how depressing it was for Campbell, but she was at every practice and game yelling for the team, talking to the players and picking people up.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Big Country Volleyball Statistical Leaders (through Sept. 28)

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.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Snyder’s Benitez takes the top spot

Defensive specialists seldom get the attention they deserve in volleyball. Not unlike offensive linemen in football, who do the dirty work behind the scenes that enables the glamour positions to shine. 

That isn’t the case at Big Country Preps, where we take pride in giving credit to those willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. 

Snyder libero Abby Benitez, perhaps the best defender in the entire Big Country, fits that mold and has captured our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week award for the week ending Sept. 25. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

FEATURE: Kincaid’s rapid maturation at QB has Wylie offense on the move

Taking over at quarterback for Wylie this season with just two varsity pass attempts to his credit, Aden Kincaid was always going to need a little time to grow into his new role.

Having spent all of last year backing up Balin Valentine, the senior had some idea of what to expect as a starting QB, but most of the experience he gained as a junior came in practice, so he’d need to catch up to game speed.

With the Bulldogs now 2-3 heading into their pre-district open date, Kincaid has done that. And the rapid progress he made during that maturation process has Wylie coach Clay Martin excited for the rest of the season. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

District 8-2A Div. II Week 5 Report: Santo rallies to knock off 3A Millsap 36-33

rioSanto 36, Millsap 33 — Moving up a division to take on the Bulldogs, the Wildcats stayed unbeaten with a come-from-behind victory. 

Trailing 20-13 at halftime, Santo (5-0) outscored Millsap 16-6 in the third quarter to take the lead and held on down the stretch to escape with the victory.

The Wildcats overcame a 457-409 deficit in total yardage, getting big offensive days from quarterback Case Procter (4-6-0—80 passing; 21-115, 2 TDs rushing) and running back Sam Henderson (13-125, 2 TDs rushing). Jake Bryan (6-54 rushing) also had a touchdown for Santo, which allowed 395 passing yards but came up with two big interceptions.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

District 5-2A Div. II Week 5 Report: Roscoe keeps roll going with blowout win over New Home

Roscoe 44, New Home 12 — The Plowboys increased their winning streak to four games with a blowout victory over New Home, holding the Leopards to 35 yards of offense in a stifling performance.

Roscoe (4-1) led just 7-6 after a quarter, but coach Jake Freeman’s squad scored 37 unanswered points over the middle two periods to take complete control.

Jax Watts passed for 152 yards and two touchdowns, while Seth Wilcox rushed for 50 yards and a pair of scores and added a team-high 69 receiving yards. Ivan McCann and Jake Gonzales  pitched in with 45 and 42 rushing yards, respectively, and Antonio Aguayo received for 67 yards and a TD.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

District 4-3A Div. I Week 5 Report: No. 2 Brock blasts Bowie to open league play 1-0

Brock 68, Bowie 6 — The second-ranked Eagles opened district play with a dominating effort, scoring 68 unanswered points in a blowout victory over the Jackrabbits.

Bowie (2-2, 0-1) got on the board first with a 12 touchdown run by quarterback Landon Felts, but Brock (4-0, 1-0) scored the final 21 points of the first quarter and increased its lead to 40-6 by halftime.

The Eagles, who outgained the Jackrabbits 479-54, got 204 yards and four touchdowns passing from Tyler Moody, while Kutter Wilson rushed for 145 yards and three TDs and added a receiving score.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

DISTRICT 2-3A Div. II Week 5 Report: Ballinger wins thriller in overtime over Llano

Ballinger 35, Llano 34, OT — Carter Arrott threw for 208 yards and two scores and Beau Perkins rushed for 117 yards to lift Ballinger to a thrilling OT win at home.

The Bearcats (3-1) trailed 3-0 after one quarter, 9-7 at the break and 15-13 after three quarters, but took a 28-21 lead with 3:33 to play after Arrott scored on a 1-yard run. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

District 1-4A Div. II Week 5 Report: Holsey, Sweetwater too much for Clyde in nondistrict romp

Sweetwater 42, Clyde 21 — The Mustangs piled up 526 yards of total offense, rushing for 289 and passing for 237, in a three-touchdown win over the Bulldogs.

Sweetwater (2-3) outscored the Bulldogs 27-7 over the first two quarters, before putting the game away with the only touchdown of the third period.

Quarterback Leo Holsey spearheaded the winning effort for the Mustangs, passing for four touchdowns while adding a fifth score on the ground. Ethan Aguilar was the Mustangs leading rusher with 110 yards and a touchdown on just six carries, while Harrison Foster was the leading receiver with six catches for 129 yards and a TD.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

DISTRICT 3-2A Div. I Week 5 Report: Haskell shuts out Hamlin to end losing skid

Haskell 25, Hamlin 0 — Haskell limited Hamlin to just 47 yards in total offense to improve to 2-3 on the year. 

Anthony Martinez threw for 92 yards and two scores and Marquise Johnson rushed for 100 yards and one TD on 17 carries to lift the Indians, who snapped a three-game losing streak with the win. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

District 5-4A Div. I Week 5 Report: No. 5 Stephenville dominant again in win over Waco Connally

Stephenville 44, Waco Connally 12 — Ryder Lambert passed for 206 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 148 yards and another score to help the No. 5 Yellow Jackets remain unbeaten with a blowout win over the Cadets.

Stephenville led 31-0 by halftime and cruised from there to take a 5-0 record into its bye week next week.

Coy Eakin had touchdown catches of 36 and 32 yards to improve his Big Country-best receiving TDs total to 12, while Corbin Poston hit three field goals in the victory.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

District 2-4A Div. I Week 5 Report: Big Spring pulls away in second half to blow out Clint

Big Spring 42, Clint 16 — Leading the Lions 13-10 after a quarter and 20-16 at halftime, the Steers outscored Clint 22-0 the rest of the way to turn a tight game into a blowout.

Led by quarterback Gabriel Baeza, who passed for 254 yards and four touchdowns, Big Spring outgained the Lions 407-283 in improving to 4-1 on the season.

Kaegen Mitchell led all Steer receivers with 10 catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns, while Quetavian Lewis caught a pair of passes for 96 yards and a score and Eli Cobos had four receptions for 86 yards and two TDs. Adonis Lewis paced the defensive effort with nine tackles.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

DISTRICT 3-3A Div. I Week 5 Report: Early routs Grape Creek, concludes its non-district schedule at 5-0

Early 49, San Angelo Grape Creek 0 — Jaxyn Price threw for 222 yards and four TDs to keep Early (5-0) unbeaten at the season’s midpoint. 

Tre Beam rushed for 115 yards and a score and Cale Ozuna added a pair of rushing touchdowns to lead the Longhorns, who will face Jim Ned (5-0) in a District 3-3A DI showdown on Oct. 8. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME REPORT: Abilene High opens district play with big road win over Odessa Permian

ODESSA — Riding a two-game winning streak into the start of District 2-6A play, the Abilene High football team kept the momentum going in its opener Friday, rolling through Odessa Permian 42-21 at Ratliff Stadium.

Da’King Thomas rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns, Abel Ramirez threw for two TDs and ran for two more, and the Eagle defense limited the Permian offense to less than 100 yards rushing as AHS controlled the game from start to finish.

The Eagles led 21-7 by halftime and increased that advantage to 42-14 in the fourth quarter to improve to 3-2 on the season and 1-0 in league play.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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 200 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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us