Author: Daniel Youngblood

GAME REPORT: Thompson’s big night fuels Cooper to rout at Granbury

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.

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GAME STORY: Abilene High comes up big in clutch, scores gritty win over Permian

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.

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District 2-4A Div. I Week 9 Report: Fort Stockton rallies past Big Spring

Fort Stockton 28, Big Spring 7 — Trailing the Steers 7-0 after three quarters, the Panthers exploded for four touchdowns in the fourth to rally for a big district win.

Fort Stockton, now 3-5 overall and 2-0 in league play, rushed for more than 300 yards on its way to 415 total yards. The Panthers got nice rushing games from quarterback Dominic Aguilar (16-118), Jaydrien Ramirez (6-76) and Pedro Vasquez (9-75) and a pick-six from Isaiah Garcia in the victory.

Big Spring, which fell to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in district, was led by quarterback Gabriel Baeza, who passed for 222 yards and rushed for 54. Receiver Pablito Dehoyos was Baeza’s favorite target, catching nine passes for 138 yards and the Steers’ lone touchdown in the first quarter.

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District 8-2A Div. II Week 9 Report: Hico boosts playoff hopes with shutout of Meridian

Hico 17, Meridian 0 — The Tigers picked up a huge win for their playoff hopes, shutting out the Yellowjackets to snap a seven-game losing streak.

Putting together one scoring drive in each of the first three quarters, Hico (2-7, 1-3) increased a 14-0 halftime lead to 17 points by the start of the fourth quarter and closed things out from there.

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District 4-3A Div. I Week 9 Report: No. 1 Brock dominates Boyd in battle of unbeatens

Brock 49, Boyd 14 — Playing the previously unbeaten Yellowjackets for sole possession of the district lead, the top-ranked Eagles dominated from start to finish, outgaining Boyd 452-228 in a blowout win. 

Cash Jones rushed for 305 yards and four touchdowns to lead Brock (8-0, 5-0), while Kutter Wilson added 75 yards and a TD on five carries and Myles Semas had 55 yards and a score on seven rush attempts.

Defensively, the Eagles bottled dual-threat quarterback Rendyn Lamance, limiting the standout to 12 passing yards with two interceptions and 28 rushing yards on 15 carries. The loss dropped Boyd to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in league play.

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District 1-4A Div. II Week 9 Report: Snyder falls to Greenwood in overtime

Midland Greenwood 17, Snyder 14 (OT) — The Rangers outlasted the Tigers in overtime, rallying from a 14-0 second-quarter deficit to force the extra period, before winning the game on a19-yard field goal by Rance Purser.

Greenwood (5-3, 3-1) got 200 yards and two touchdowns rushing from standout back Trey Cross, who scored late in the second quarter to pull his team within seven at halftime and late in the third quarter to tie the game.

Snyder (2-5, 0-2), meanwhile, got its touchdowns on a 6-yard run by Jorge Martinez and an 11-yard pass from Hunter Stewart to Cayden Hurtado.

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District 5-4A Div. I Week 9 Report: Brownwood strong in return from COVID layoff

Brownwood 47, Alvarado 14 — Playing their first game since Oct. 2 due to COVID issues, the Lions shook off the rust quickly in a blowout win over the Indians.

Royshad Henderson rushed for 170 yards and four touchdowns, while Blaize Espinoza passed for 206 yards and a score to help Brownwood (3-4, 1-1) take control of the game early.

Brownwood led 21-0 after a quarter and 40-7 at halftime in dropping Alvarado to 2-7 overall and 0-4 in district play.

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District 5-2A Div. II Week 9 Report: Jack Rabbits too much for Plowboys to handle

Ralls 76, Roscoe 6 — One of several games played on Thursday, this one was decided early, as the Jack Rabbits raced out to a 48-6 halftime lead and cruised from there to the lopsided victory.

Ralls (5-3, 1-1) took advantage of six Roscoe turnovers and used a strong running game to grind down the Plowboys (0-8,0-2). The Jack Rabbits finished with 295 rushing yards, getting solid production from Abraham Van Gundy (9-82, 1 TD rushing; 1 pick-six), Benjamin Njenga (6-67, 2 TDs) and Sergio Salinas (5-53, 2 TDs).

Roscoe’s only touchdown came late in the first quarter on a run that trimmed Ralls’ lead to 24-6.

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FEATURE: Speedy AHS wideout Houston growing into go-to, leadership roles

As a junior in 2019, Jeshari Houston made his presence felt for the Abilene High football team, catching 36 passes for 443 yards to lead the Eagle offense in both categories.

But in averaging 12.3 yards per catch and hauling in one touchdown pass, the speedy receiver was only scratching the surface of his potential.

Now in his final high school season, Houston has taken a significant step forward, progressing from the leading pass-catcher for a struggling offense into a true No. 1 receiver. With 11 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns through AHS’ first three games, the senior is on pace to dwarf last year’s production. And the scary part is, Eagles coach Mike Fullen said the wideout is just getting started.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 9)

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.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 9)”

FEATURE: New batch of Cooper corners striving to fill big shoes

 Last season, in Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year Dillon Davis and then-junior Brady Miller, the Cooper Cougars had one of the best cornerback tandems in the state.

That left some big shoes to fill when Davis graduated last spring and moved on to Midwestern State University and Miller was shifted to safety this fall out of necessity.

But through Cooper’s first three games — a road loss to Odessa Permian (47-35) and home wins over Abilene High (30-20) and Justin Northwest (54-21) — an inexperienced group of corners has more than held its own for coach Aaron Roan and Cougars. And while those guys aren’t putting up the eye-popping interception numbers that Davis and Miller did, their steady play has quickly earned them the respect and confidence of their teammates and coaches.

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FEATURE: Wylie’s Martin staying upbeat through unique, challenging first year as head coach

If you had told Clay Martin in January that his team would be undefeated four weeks into his first season as a head football coach, he’d likely have happily accepted that outcome.

If you had told him all of the challenges he’d face to get there, he likely wouldn’t have believed you.

Hired to replace longtime Wylie head coach Hugh Sandifer on Jan. 31 after spending more than a quarter-century on the Bulldogs staff, Martin has been tasked with navigating one of the most unique seasons in Texas high school football history. And with his team in the middle of what’s likely to be its third consecutive week off due to COVID-19 cancellations/postponements, he’s adopted an age-old coaching cliché as his guiding philosophy.

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GAME STORY: Cooper volleyball scores workmanlike sweep of Lubbock High

The Cooper volleyball team took care of business Tuesday, cruising to a workmanlike 25-19, 25-14, 15-17 sweep of Lubbock High at Cougar Gym.

Needing a win to stay within a match of Tuesday’s Lubbock Cooper-Wylie winner in the District 4-5A standings, the Lady Cougars took control early and never relinquished it in improving to 8-5 overall and 2-1 in league play.

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GAME STORY: Garcia’s big night fuels Cooper to district-opening rout of Justin Northwest

Cooper running back Noah Garcia needed just four carries to eclipse the 103 yards necessary to pass Mike Rose as the Cougars’ all-time leading rusher Friday at Shotwell Stadium, setting the tone for a banner night in a 54-21 district-opening win over Justin Northwest. 

The senior standout finished with 260 yards and four touchdowns on just 23 attempts to fuel the Cougars, who scored the final 30 points to turn a three-point game in the third quarter into a blowout victory.

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GAME REPORT: Eagles can’t slow Central passing attack in Fullen’s return to sideline

SAN ANGELO — Mike Fullen made his return to the Abilene High sideline after missing his team’s first two games while undergoing cancer treatment, but the Eagles were unable to make his return a winning one in their District 2-6A opener against San Angelo Central.

AHS (0-3, 0-1) fell behind early and was never able to slow the Bobcat passing attack in a 53-32 loss Friday at San Angelo Stadium.

Central quarterback Malachi Brown passed for 336 yards and a school record-tying five touchdown passes as the Bobcats (1-3, 1-0) raced out to a 29-12 halftime lead and cruised from there to the three-score victory.

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District 8-2A Div. II Week 8 Report: Albany blanks Ranger for fourth straight shutout

Albany 61, Ranger 0 — The Lions raced out to a 34-0 first-quarter lead on the Bulldogs and coasted from there to their fourth consecutive shutout victory. 

Albany (6-1, 3-0) rushed for 331 yards in the win, getting at least 50 yards and at least one touchdown from five players. Brooks Neece led all rushers with 84 yards and a score on just five carries, while Taren Farmer (9-79, 1 TD), Jaheim Newton (3-60, 1 TD), Isaiah Dockins (4-57, 2 TDs) and Coy Lefevre (1-51, 1 TD) all also had productive days.

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District 5-2A Div. II Week 8 Report: No. 2 Hamlin takes care of Roscoe in COVID-altered week

Hamlin 49, Roscoe 13 — Braydin Warner passed for two touchdowns and rushed for two more to lead the second-ranked Pied Pipers to a runaway victory over the Plowboys in a game that was pushed up due to COVID-related cancellations by the other three teams in this league.

Hamlin (7-0, 2-0) led 35-0 at halftime and increased that lead to 49 points in the third quarter before Roscoe (0-7, 0-1) added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to avoid the shutout. 

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District 4-3A Div. I Week 8 Report: No. 1 Brock cruises past Ponder to improve to 7-0

Brock 56, Ponder 19 — The top-ranked Eagles stayed perfect Friday, outgaining the Lions 502-238 in another dominating victory.

 Cash Jones rushed for 176 yards and three touchdowns on just 13 carries as Brock (7-0, 4-0) raced out to a 34-13 halftime lead and coasted from there to the blowout win.

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District 1-4A Div. II Week 8 Report: Holsey passes, runs Sweetwater past Pecos

Sweetwater 62, Pecos 39 — Quarterback Leo Holsey had a hand in all nine of the Mustangs’ touchdowns, passing for five and rushing for four to help Sweetwater clinch at least a share of the District 1-4A Div. II title with a win over Pecos. 

SHS (6-1, 3-0) led by just seven at halftime (34-27) but was able to pull away after the break, outscoring the Eagles 15-6 in the third quarter and 13-6 in the fourth. 

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District 5-4A Div. I Week 8 Report: Philips, Rountree lead Stephenville past Alvarado

Stephenville 56, Alvarado 21 — The Yellow Jackets bounced back from last week’s loss to Waco La Vega, using a 21-point first quarter to set the tone for a comfortable victory over the Indians.

Leading 28-14 at halftime and 35-21 after three quarters, the Yellow Jackets (4-4, 2-1) used a 21-0 run through the fourth quarter to put Alvarado (2-6, 0-3) away.

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District 2-4A Div. I Week 8 Report: Big Spring can’t complete rally in loss to Andrews

Andrews 56, Big Spring 35 — The Steers rallied from a 35-7 halftime deficit to pull within a touchdown in the final quarter, but the Mustangs closed the game with 14 unanswered points to squelch a Big Spring comeback.

Andrews (6-2, 1-0) outgained the Steers 593-411, passing for 369 yards and rushing for 224, but a 5-3 deficit in the turnover battle allowed Big Spring to fight its way back into the game in the second half.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel (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.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 8)”

FEATURE: ‘Quiet’ Abilene High LB Guzman letting play do the talking in breakout senior season

Abilene High outside linebacker Nathan Guzman is the type program success story that interim Eagles coach Jeff Rhoads just loves.

A hard-working, team-first kid who has paid his dues and waited his turn, Guzman is finally getting his chance to shine this season as a senior. And in his first year as a starter after playing sparingly behind a talented group of backers last year, he is definitely making the most of it.

Through two games, Guzman leads the Eagles with 25 total tackles (18 solo) and two tackles for loss. And his two forced fumbles are second on the team behind only fellow senior Joseph Woodyard (3). 

While that level of production has come as a surprise to some, including Guzman himself, Rhoads said it’s the culmination of years of hard work and should serve as an example to younger players of what can happen when one stays the course.

Continue reading “FEATURE: ‘Quiet’ Abilene High LB Guzman letting play do the talking in breakout senior season”

FEATURE: Standout Cooper RB Garcia savoring remaining time on field with ‘brothers’

Cooper running back Noah Garcia has learned not to make plans in 2020.

In a year where virtually nothing’s been normal and change has been one of very few constants, experience has taught him the disappointment that doing so can bring.

But needing just 103 yards to overtake Mike Rose as the Cougars’ all-time leading rusher, the standout senior is hoping to reach that total sooner than later. After seeing his final high school campaign nearly lost to a once-in-a-century pandemic and having his final game against crosstown rival Abilene High taken from him by COVID-19 protocols, he doesn’t want to leave anything to chance.

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