Month: October 2021

GAME STORY: Wichita Falls High runs over, around Wylie to crucial 41-25 win

WICHITA FALLS — Leading Wichita Falls High 3-0 after six minutes Thursday, the Wylie football team allowed 31 unanswered points over the next two quarters to fall to the Coyotes 41-25 in a crucial District 3-5A Division II matchup at Memorial Stadium.

Wylie, which opened the game with a kickoff return to the Wichita Falls 28-yard line, a punt that pinned the Coyotes at their own 1 and an interception to set up a 22-yard field, looked early like a team determined to even its league record at 1-1. But the Bulldogs had to a settle a field goal after failing to score twice from the 2, and WFHS took it to them from there, building a 24-3 lead by halftime and increasing that to 28 points early in the third quarter.

Led by quarterback Bricen Vialpando, who rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries, the Coyotes ran for 308 yards as a team, keeping the ball away from the Wylie offense, which struggled to find any consistency until the third quarter.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Roscoe travels to Ralls for crucial district game (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 40-7, .851
SEASON TOTAL: 287-63, .820

Week 8? Are you kidding?

I ask the same question, or some variant of it virtually every year. We just finished with two-a-days. How can we possibly be this deep in the season so quickly?

Yet hear we are. A cold weather snap approaching. Thanksgiving right around the corner —as are the playoffs.

This week’s Game of the Week will see me traveling north to Ralls where the surprising Roscoe Plowboys, off to their best start in years, will be in a showdown for the district lead.

The column hit at 85 percent accuracy last week and is now up to 82 percent on the year. So we’ll see if we can keep the momentum going through the home stretch.

Let’s have a look at this week’s picks: 

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 8)

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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FEATURE: AHS seniors Dickinson, Stuckey turn heartbreak into leadership opportunity

Before the season, the inside linebacker duo of Jayton Stuckey and Maison Dickinson were expected to be the leaders of the Abilene High defense.

Both all-district performers in the 2020, the two senior standouts were considered by coach Mike Fullen to be the heart and soul of that unit.

With a knee injury ending Dickinson’s season in AHS’ opener against Amarillo Tascosa and a hand injury claiming the remainder of Stuckey’s campaign just five games in, things haven’t worked out as either had hoped or expected this fall. But while they’re no longer able to contribute on the field, the two have maintained active roles on the team and in doing so, have remained a significant part of the Eagles’ heartbeat.

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FEATURE: Young Wylie receiving corps growing into group of reliable playmakers

After graduating his top three receivers from last year’s team and leaning on his fourth more as a defensive back this season, Wylie coach Clay Martin knew he’d need some pass catchers to emerge for his offense to achieve its full potential.

Throw in a first-year starter at quarterback, and the urgency to find some reliable targets in the passing game only grew.

But through six games, the Bulldogs’ young receiving corps has not only answered the call, it has turned a position group that was one of the team’s most significant question marks at the start of the season into an area of strength.

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned volleyball uses fast starts to defeat San Angelo TLCA

TUSCOLA — The Jim Ned volleyball had no problem putting together sustained rallies and quick starts in a District 8-3A match with San Angelo TLCA on Tuesday at Bill Thornton Arena.

Those starts and rallies allowed the Lady Indians to pick up a key 25-17, 25-20, 26-24 win to improve to 17-10 overall and 5-2 in district.

Despite the sweep, Jim Ned coach Miranda Garcia saw plenty of things for her squad to improve on for the second half of district play as they look to keep pace with Clyde and Wall in challenging for a district championship.

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FEATURE: Jim Ned Cross Country team aiming for return to state meet

Photos by Julie Guffey 

TUSCOLA — A year ago, a young Jim Ned boys cross country team was thrilled to simply qualify for the state meet with a second-place regional finish. The Indians’ subsequent sixth-place finish at state was viewed as icing on top of the greatest season the program had ever known. 

A year later, however, things have changed. 

The 2021 Indians are not only aiming for a second straight trip to Round Rock, but this time around, the goal is to return home with some hardware around their necks. 

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FEATURE: Close-knit Benjamin volleyball team outperforming expectations despite youth

Photos by Brittany Lowe 

The Benjamin volleyball team’s theme this season is “Believe in We.”  

It’s a three-word motto the Lady Mustangs have taken to heart during a successful 2021 campaign despite depending on a heavy dose of underclassmen.  

That belief in each other has forged a dynamic team chemistry that is one of the reasons Benjamin is ranked No. 18 in the state at the Class 2A/1A level.  

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Big Country Volleyball Statistical Leaders (through Oct. 12)

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: Albany’s Chapman making move to quarterback look easy

Albany’s Denney Faith had high expectations before the 2021 season regarding Cole Chapman taking over the reins of the Lions’ attack.  

Faith had seen Chapman excel at the position at lower levels. He’d seen Chapman thrive on varsity last season at receiver and cornerback.  

Faith also knew the supporting cast Albany had would be able to put Chapman in the best position possible to succeed.  

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Young takes spotlight with monstrous effort

Who says defensive players can’t be the Player of the Week?

That’s certainly not true at Big Country Preps, where our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week helped push Stephenville to a stunning 35-7 rout of perennial power Waco La Vega on Friday night.

Senior linebacker Reese Young takes our weekly accolade after charting an almost unbelievable 25 tackles to lead an SHS defensive effort that saw the Yellow Jackets hold La Vega to just 94 yards rushing on 44 carries.

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FEATURE: German exchange student joins Raiders during unusual season

Photos courtesy by Roger Niehaus of the Lueders-Avoca Raiders Sports Facebook page.

Having a German exchange student join the football team hasn’t been the most unusual occurrence for the Lueders-Avoca Raiders this season.

After all, the six-man Raiders have had exchange students from Germany serve as the team kicker in 2018 and 2019. This season German exchange student Jasper Humphert is kicking, playing special teams, and filling in on offense and defense when the Raiders’ seven other healthy players need a breather.

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District 5-3A Div. II Week 7 Report: Eastland takes early district lead with win over Millsap

Eastland 48, Millsap 27 — Keaton Hicks and Cooper Wright combined for 218 yards passing and three touchdowns as Eastland started district play with a key win. 

Hicks and Wright also rushed for a combined 140 yards and two TDs, joined by Judson Beard, who rushed for 74 yards and two more scores. 

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District 8-2A Div. II Week 7 Report: Hico gets defensive in big district win over Cross Plains

Hico 14, Cross Plains 6 — The Tigers scored a huge victory for their playoff hopes, intercepting the Buffaloes four times to overcome a 231-173 deficit in total offense.

Hico (4-3, 1-0), which went to halftime up 8-6, capped the scoring with a pick-six when Cooper Roach stepped in front of a third-quarter pass from Kade Purvis and returned it for a touchdown.

Angel Gonzalez added two interceptions and Jayden Crouch had one for the Tigers, who were led offensively by Reese Polk with 94 yards and a touchdown passing. Cross Plains (4-2, 0-1), which held Hico to just 87 rushing yards on 34 carries, was led on offense by Ryan Hopkins, who rushed for 40 yards and the Buffs’ only touchdown and hauled in six passes for a game-high 71 yards.

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District 2-3A DII Week 7 Report: Brady hands Ballinger stunning loss on the road

Brady 54, Ballinger 41 — JD Ibarra rushed for 217 yards and five scores to help the Brady Bulldogs to a district-opening stunner in Ballinger.

Brady (3-2, 1-0) pounded out 378 rushing yards as a team and never scored fewer than two touchdowns in a quarter while handing the Bearcats what many consider to be an upset loss.

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District 4-3A Div. I Week 7 Report: No. 2 Brock pulls away from Whitesboro to stay perfect

Brock 42, Whitesboro 21 — After going to halftime tied with the Bearcats at 21, the No. 2 Eagles scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to remain unbeaten at 6-0 overall and 3-0 in district play.

Brock trailed for about seven minutes in the second quarter after Whitesboro (3-3, 2-1) scored to go up 21-14 with 9:24 to play in the first half. But coach Billy Mathis’ squad evened the score before halftime, regained the lead with a touchdown in the third quarter and put the win on ice with two more fourth-quarter scores.

The Eagles outgained the Bearcats 514-245, getting 285 yards passing and three touchdowns from Tyler Moody and 197 yards and two scores rushing from Kutter Wilson, as well as strong receiving games from tight end Nathan Jones (4-95, 1 TD) and receiver Eli Potts (8-79, 2 TDs).  

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District 3-3A Div. I Week 7 Report: Bucks hold off Clyde to win important district opener on the road

Breckenridge 44, Clyde 29 — Jerry Lawson rushed for 106 yards and four TDs and Anson Rodgers rushed for 143 yards and two more scores to lift Breckenridge to a tough road win in the district opener for both clubs. 

Breckenridge never trailed, but never managed to completely shake Clyde, which rallied from a 32-14 deficit with two straight third quarter TDs to cut the gap to 32-29.  

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District 2-4A Div. I Week 7 Report: Sans QB Baeza, Big Spring struggles at Pampa

Pampa 58, Big Spring 7 — Playing without standout quarterback Gabriel Baeza, the Steers had a rough night in Pampa, turning the ball over five times in a blowout loss to the Harvesters.

Trailing just 10-7 after Gavin Padron hit Devin Manning with a touchdown pass about five minutes into the second quarter, Big Spring (5-2) allowed 48 unanswered points the rest of the way, falling behind 23-7 by halftime.

Led by Padron (43-60-3—285, 1 TD passing), Kavien Ford (9-71 rushing, 11-71 receiving) and Manning (12-82, 1 TD receiving), the Steers finished with 373 total yards. But they were hurt by three interceptions and two lost fumbles and allowed four scoring plays of 40 yards or more in surrendering 461 yards to Pampa.

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District 5-2A Div. II Week 7 Report: Ralls runs away from Hamlin in league opener, clash with Roscoe awaits

Ralls 68, Hamlin 0 — The Jackrabbits had their way in a blowout win over the Pied Pipers, outgaining Hamlin 430-18 in a dominating effort.

Leading 14-0 after a quarter, Ralls (5-2, 1-0) scored 30 in the second to take a 44-0 lead into halftime and cruised from there to its fifth consecutive victory.

The Jackrabbits didn’t attempt a single pass in the victory, getting big days from Sergio Salinas (8-152, 3 TDs) and Justin Zavala (8-101, 1 TD) to lead a 430-yard rushing effort. Hamlin (0-7, 0-1) ran just 26 offensive plays, finishing with more turnovers (4) than first downs (3).

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District 1-4A Div. II Week 7 Report: Greenwood routs Pecos, Sweetwater tops archrival Snyder

Midland Greenwood 42, Pecos 17 — The Rangers finally got untracked offensively, racking up 396 yards and six touchdowns in blowout win over the Eagles.

Greenwood (3-3, 1-0), which had come in averaging just 15.6 points per game, led 28-10 by halftime and scored the first touchdown out of the break to end any hopes of a comeback for Pecos (4-3, 0-1).

The Rangers, who ran for 280 yards, were led by Aaron Fikes, who rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns, and Ty Flowers, who passed for 116 yards and one TD and added 51 yards rushing. Ezekiel Saldana paced the Eagles, rushing for 260 of the their 386 total yards, but he accounted for two of Pecos’ three turnovers, fumbling twice.

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District 5-4A Div. I Week 7 Report: Lambert leads No. 2 Stephenville to blowout win at La Vega

Stephenville 35, Waco La Vega 7 — The No. 2 Yellow Jackets dominated the sixth-ranked Pirates from start to finish, building a 28-0 halftime lead and cruising from there to a huge district-opening victory.

Stephenville (6-0, 1-0), which limited La Vega (3-3, 0-1) to one third-quarter touchdown, got another big night offensively from quarterback Ryder Lambert, who finished with 294 total yards and had a hand in four touchdowns (three passes and a run).

Coy Eakin, the area’s leading receiver, was the on the receiving end of Lambert’s first TD pass and added a rushing score to put the Jackets up 14-0 in the first quarter. Kyle Ward’s first of two TD receptions was followed by a seven-yard touchdown run by Lambert in the second quarter to give SHS .

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District 4-2A Div. I Week 7 Report: Eagles slip past archrival Armadillos in league opener

Goldthwaite 28, San Saba 26 — Jackson Patrick rushed for 216 yards and a score to lead Goldthwaite to a win over its archrival in the district opener for both clubs. 

Seth Gardner added two rushing touchdowns to help the Eagles (3-3, 1-0), who led 28-14 in the third quarter before surviving a San Saba rally. 

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District 3-2A Div. I Week 7 Report: Forsan improves to 6-0 with win at C-City

Forsan 27, Colorado City 7 — Major Stockton threw for 68 yards and a score and rushed for 70 yards and another touchdown to lead Forsan to a win in the district opener for both clubs. 

With the score knotted at 7 at halftime, Forsan gained the upper hand with 20 unanswered points in the second half. 

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District 4-3A Div. II Week 7 Report: Coahoma falls to perennial power Idalou

Idalou 62, Coahoma 24 — The Wildcats piled up 569 yards in total offense, including 384 yards rushing to hand Coahoma a loss in the district opener for both clubs.

Chase Hill rushed for 71 yards and three scores and William Wall threw for 185 yards and another score to lead Idalou (6-0, 1-0), which led 34-17 at the break and 48-24 at the end of three quarters.

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GAME STORY: Willis, Rider too much for Wylie in 34-19 win to open district

Entering the fourth quarter trailing Wichita Falls Rider by just two two points, the Wylie Bulldogs had upset on their mind Friday in their District 3-5A Division II opener at Hugh Sandifer Stadium.

But the Bulldogs were outscored 13-0 over the final 12 minutes, allowing a touchdown on the final play from scrimmage to fall to the still-unbeaten Raiders 34-19.

Leading 28-19 after stopping Wylie on downs with 2:17 to play, Rider closed the game with 61-yard scoring drive, calling a timeout with two seconds remaining to punch in the final touchdown, which gave coach Marc Bindel’s squad the maximum 15 points for tiebreaker purposes, should that become a factor down the road.

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GAME STORY: Sweetwater outlasts Snyder for thrilling 42-37 win

SWEETWATER — Leo Holsey accounted for five touchdowns and the Sweetwater football team outlasted Snyder 42-37 in the District 1-4A Division II opener Friday night at the Mustang Bowl.

Holsey ran for three scores and threw for two more as the Mustangs improved to 4-3 overall and 1-0 in district in coach Russell Lucas’ debut season.

Snyder, which got 235 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Jorge Martinez, dropped to 5-2 on the year and 0-1 in district.

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Jim Ned dominates Early, hands EHS first loss of 2021

TUSCOLA — For the upstart Early Longhorns to have any shot at upsetting defending Class 3A DI state champion Jim Ned, they absolutely had to do two things: quickly seize the momentum and win the turnover battle. 

Neither objective was met. On the contrary, it was Jim Ned which started strongly and closed with a 3-1 turnover ratio in a 48-7 win in the Big Country Preps Game of the Week. 

Xavier Wishert rushed for 215 yards and four scores on only 16 carries to lift Jim Ned (6-0, 1-0 District 3-3A DI) to a lopsided win in the district opener for both clubs.

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FEATURE: Senior linebacker Graham hoping to lead Wylie to district, playoff success in final year

As a rare three-year starter in the Wylie football program, Garrett Graham has seen and experienced more situations than most of his peers on a football field.

Since cracking the starting lineup as a sophomore, the now-senior linebacker has been a integral part of a Wylie rebuild and transition from Class 4A to 5A.

But with his team entering District 3-5A Division II play at home Friday against Wichita Falls Rider, it’s something Graham hasn’t experienced that’s fueling him. The 6-foot, 225-pound senior is determined to position the Bulldogs for a run at their first district title since 2016 and lead them to their first playoff success since moving up in classification.

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GAME STORY: Cooper defense has near historical night in win over Arlington Heights

The Cooper football team has played 677 games in its 62-year history, and Thursday night against Fort Worth Arlington Heights the Cougars had the opportunity to break a school record that had stood since the third year of the program’s existence.

Cooper’s defense was two plays away from breaking the school record of fewest yards allowed (31 by Sweetwater in 1962) before allowing 15 yards on Brian Furch runs to put the Yellow Jackets to a grand total of 46 yards for the game.

The dominant effort led to a 43-0 win in a District 3-5A Division I game at Shotwell Stadium, leaving the Cougars one win shy of the 400th in program history.

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FEATURE: Roscoe’s rapidly improving QB one of the keys to this year’s Plowboy turnaround

ROSCOE — After laboring through a combined 5-25 record over the last three seasons, the surprising Roscoe Plowboys have already won that many games in 2021 — off to their first 5-1 start since 2007. 

What some may not realize, is that directing a talented Roscoe offense, is a little-known sophomore quarterback, whose rapid improvement is one of the keys to the turnaround. 

Jax Watts (70-of-113, 916 yards, seven TDs), who is currently sitting ninth among the Big Country’s leading passers, is a man who Big Country football fans are likely to hear more and more about over the next two years. 

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 7)

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 WEEK: Unbeaten Early, Jim Ned clash in huge district opener (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 39-4, .906
SEASON TOTAL: 247-56, .815

Gramps Ren is back in the groove, hitting over 90 percent of his picks a week ago, to push this column’s season percentage to .815 as we head into district play across the area.

Whether or not I can keep the momentum remains to be seen, entering what might be the toughest week of area picks I’ve seen this year, with multiple games that I would rate as near-tossups.

This week’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week will see us heading to Tuscola where Jim Ned will begin its District 3-3A DI title defense against a red-hot, unbeaten team from Early.

Let’s have a look at this week’s picks …

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