Author: Daniel Youngblood

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 and select six-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.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

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GAME STORY: Wylie earns gritty home sweep over Coronado, pulls into second place in 4-5A standings

The Wylie volleyball team pulled into second place in the District 4-5A standings Tuesday, overtaking Abilene High with a 25-23, 25-23, 25-13 win over Lubbock Coronado at Bulldog Gym.

The Lady Bulldogs, who entered the day one-half match back of the Lady Eagles in the league race, improved to 19-15 overall and 4-1 in league play, while AHS (13-17 overall) fell to 4-2 in 4-5A action with a 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 loss to district leader Lubbock Cooper (27-4, 5-0).

Thanks to Tuesday’s win, which saw Wylie rally in Games 1 and 2 before finally taking control in the third set, the Lady Bulldogs will now travel on Friday to take on Lubbock Cooper with a share of the district lead on the line.

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GAME REPORT: Abilene High closes first half of district play with home loss to Lubbock Cooper

Hosting Lubbock Cooper with the District 4-5A lead on the line, the Abilene High volleyball team fell 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 to the Lady Pirates to close out the first half of league play at 4-2.

The Lady Eagles, who entered Tuesday on a four-match winning streak, will be idle Friday before opening the second half of district action at Wylie next Tuesday. The Lady Bulldogs (19-15, 4-1) overtook AHS for second in the district standings with a home win over Lubbock Coronado on Tuesday, but they’ll travel to Lubbock Cooper on Friday with a share of the league lead on the line.

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FEATURE: Abilene High senior Hernandez a force in the middle for young Lady Eagles

At 6-foot-2, Jadyn Hernandez casts an imposing shadow at the net. But the senior middle blocker is far more than a just a big body for the Abilene High volleyball team.

Blessed with excellent athleticism to go with her height, Hernandez is an offensive force as middle hitter, and her presence at the net on defense is one all opponents must account for.

But perhaps just as important as what she does on the court on game days is what she has brought as a leader — a role through which she’s helped a young Lady Eagles squad find its stride in the first half of District 4-5A play.

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DISTRICT 2-5A DIV. II WEEK 5 RECAP: Wylie drops heartbreaker in San Angelo as league goes 1-5

San Angelo Central 63, Wylie 61 — The Bulldogs dropped heartbreaker, allowing a 40-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the game to fall to the Bobcats in their final nondistrict game.

Wylie (2-3) rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to take a 54-49 lead in the fourth quarter and answered a Central touchdown with what appeared to be a game-winning scoring drive with just 19 seconds remaining in the game. But after evading a potential sack, Bobcat quarterback Tyler Hill hit Ben Imler, who split a pair of Wylie defenders at the 10-yard line to turn a 61-57 deficit into a two-point win. 

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DISTRICT 2-5A DIV. I WEEK 5 RECAP: Abilene High, Caprock and Tascosa open league play with victories

Abilene High 37, Lubbock Monterey 7 — The Eagles opened league play with a blowout win, limiting the Plainsmen to 155 yards of total offense in a game that was well in hand by halftime.

Despite leaving some points on the field on the board in the opening quarter, AHS (2-3, 1-0) led 23-0 at the break and added two more touchdowns to their lead in the fourth quarter before Monterey (0-5, 0-1) finally got on the board with 1:32 remaining in the game.

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DISTRICT 3-2A DIV. I WEEK 5 REPORT: Forsan comes up just short in one-point loss to Kermit

Kermit 14, Forsan 13 — The Yellow Jackets shut the Buffaloes out in the second half and scored the only touchdown of the fourth quarter to overcome a 13-8 halftime deficit and claim a dramatic one-point win. 

Kermit outgained Forsan 254-186 in the defensive dogfight, overcoming a 4-1 deficit in the turnover margin to score the victory.

Nate Gensler ran for a game-high 139 yards and a touchdown to lead the Yellow Jackets, who also got 103 yards receiving from Jadan Bejarano. The Buffs (4-1), meanwhile, were paced by Kevin Kligora, who rushed for 93 yards on 21 carries. Brooks Wright had a pick-six for the game’s first score, and Brycen Cervantes ran for Forsan’s only offensive TD. 

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DISTRICT 5-3A DIV. II WEEK 5 REPORT: Gaitan, Rasberry fuel Dublin past Florence

Dublin 34, Florence 23 — The Lions took care of business against the Buffaloes, outscoring FHS 21-14 in the second half to pull away for a two-score win.

Dublin (2-3) led 13-9 at halftime, before using a 14-0 run through the third quarter to create some distance. The Lions got a pair of touchdown passes from Kaden Gaitan to Dalan Rasberry, while Gaitan added a rushing score and Cameron Patton scored twice on the ground.

Florence, which finished with 355 total yards, was led by quarterback Ryland Carlile (10-24-1—139, 3 TDs), running back Jose Maldonado (36-164) and receiver Zakary Webb (8-85, 2 TDs.

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DISTRICT 8-2A DIV. II WEEK 5 REPORT: Collinsville, Celeste and Muenster race out to 1-0 district starts

Collinsville 26, Lindsay 0 — The Pirates took care of business against the Knights, limiting LHS to just 181 total yards in a shutout victory.

CHS, which improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in league play, put up 360 total yards (203 rushing, 157 passing) and outscored the Knights 19-0 in the second half to break open what had been a close game through two quarters.

The Pirates were led offensively by quarterback Logan Jenkins (18-31-2—157, 1 TD passing; 12-84, 2 TDs rushing), running back Rylan Newman (18-119, 1 TD) and receiver Carter Scott (5-85, 1 TD). Lindsay (0-5, 0-1) rushed for all but 40 of its yards and turned the ball over four times.

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District 4-3A DIV. I WEEK 5 REPORT: Brock blasts Boyd to earn first win of season

Brock 55, Boyd 6 — The Eagles broke into the win column in dominating fashion, blasting the Yellowjackets in the district opener for both teams.

Brock, which outgained Boyd 576-189, built a 27-0 lead by halftime and was never threatened after in improving to 1-4 on the year and 1-0 in league play. 

Tyler Moody passed for 253 yards, while the Eagles got strong rushing games from Brett Tutter (11-102, 1 TD), Reid Watkins (11-82, 3 TDs rushing; 2-70 receiving), Zachary Brewster (2-70, 2 TDs) and Cannon Stephens (4-52, 1 TD). The Yellowjackets (3-2, 0-1), meanwhile, were led by quarterback Braden McIntire (16-31-0—175, 1 TD passing) and receivers Mason Turner (6-93) and Aidan LeMasters (6-73, 1 TD).

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DISTRICT 5-2A DIV. I WEEK 5 REPORT: Bangs, Coleman and Hamilton open league play with victories

Bangs 49, De Leon 21 — Guy Powell rushed for 323 yards and five touchdowns on just 14 carries and added a kickoff return TD for good measure to lead the Dragons to an impressive district-opening win over the Bearcats.

Bangs, which rushed for 505 of its 583 total yards, led just 28-21 at halftime, but the Dragons took control in the second half to improve to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in league play.

In addition to Powell’s big game, BHS got 78 yards passing and 56 yards and a touchdown rushing from quarterback Kenny Cole. De Leon (3-2, 0-1), which finished with 543 total yards (286 rushing, 257 passing) was led quarterback Heston Jobe (18-27-1—257 passing; 14-107 rushing) and running back Kallen McIlvain (25-165, 3 TDs rushing; 1-27 receiving).

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DISTRICT 3-4A DIV. II WEEK 5 REPORT: Sweetwater, Snyder drop tough games

Clyde 29, Sweetwater 28 (OT) — The Mustangs fell just short in overtime, surrendering a game-ending two-point conversion to drop a heartbreaker to the Bulldogs.

Sweetwater (1-4) led 15-14 at halftime and held a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter, but Clyde rallied to tie the game by the end of regulation and answered a Mustangs touchdown in overtime with a TD and two-point conversion to claim the win.

Blake Carr led the effort for CHS, passing for 253 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a team-high 61 yards and another score. Sweetwater, which rushed for 237 of its 310 yards, was paced by Jadyn Forbes (3-6-0—21, 1 TD passing; 11-99 rushing; 1-17 receiving) and Jamarian Amos (20-88, 1 TD rushing; 2-16, 1 TD receiving). 

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DISTRICT 2-4A DIV. I WEEK 5 REPORT: Brownwood throttles Connally, Big Spring outlasts Snyder

Brownwood 52, Waco Connally 21 — Ike Hall passed for 157 yards and a two touchdowns while rushing for 123 yards and two more scores to fuel the Lions to dominating victory over the Cadets.

Kolyn Anderson added 113 yards and two touchdowns rushing, while Thad Hinds received for 92 yards and two TDs as Brownwood (4-1) outscored Connally 28-7 in the second half.

For the game, the Lions outgained the Cadets 442-297, rushing for 285 yards in the victory. Connally, which gained all but 27 of its yards on the ground, was led by Kiefer Sibley, who rushed for 227 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries.

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GAME REPORT: Odessa Permian pulls away late for 56-28 win over Cooper

ODESSA — The Cooper football team hung with unbeaten Odessa Permian for three quarters Friday at Ratliff Stadium, but the Panthers scored three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth period to pull away for a 56-28 win in the final nondistrict test for both squads.

Permian rushed for 311 yards and outgained the Cougars 541-274 for the game, but CHS took advantage of a special teams score and four Panther turnovers to stay within a touchdown at halftime (28-21) and at the end of three quarters (35-28).

Eventually, though, the home team’s ground attack was just too much for the Coogs, resulting in fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns from Juzstyce Lara, Rodney Hall and Jonathan Viscaino to turn a close game into a four-touchdown margin.

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GAME REPORT: Central hits Hail Mary on game’s final play to edge Wylie 63-61

SAN ANGELO — The Wylie football team piled up yards and points Friday night in its final nondistrict game against San Angelo Central. But in the end, it wasn’t enough as the Bobcats had a prayer answered on the final play of the game to edge the Bulldogs 63-61 at San Angelo Stadium.

With 40 yards to cover and one play to do it, Central quarterback Tyler Hill escaped what appeared to be a sure sack and retreated more than 20 yards into the backfield before heaving a Hail Mary to Ben Imler. Imler made a leaping catch near the sideline at the 10, split a pair of Wylie defenders and sprinted across the field to the end zone for the game-winning score.

That touchdown was the last of many wild momentum swings in a crazy game that saw the Bulldogs drop to 2-3 with their third consecutive one-score loss.

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GAME STORY: Abilene High stifles Monterey, opens district play with 37-7 victory

Fueled by a dominant defensive performance, the Abilene High football team opened District 2-5A Division I play with a comfortable win over Lubbock Monterey, blanking the Plainsmen until the final minutes of a 37-7 victory at Shotwell Stadium.

The Eagles, who held Monterey to just 154 total yards and 10 first downs, led 23-0 by halftime and never let the Plainsmen back in the game after the break.

AHS extended its lead to 37-0 in the fourth quarter with a pair of Antoine Rashaw touchdown runs, before the visitors finally got on the board with a 71-yard touchdown pass with just 1:32 remaining in the game.

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FEATURE: Fullen, Abilene High leaning on tried and true process as district play arrives

After watching his team play to a 1-3 record during the nondistrict portion of its schedule, Abilene High coach Mike Fullen would be the first to tell you that he’d prefer to have more wins heading into Friday’s District 2-5A Division I opener against Lubbock Monterey.

But if pressed on the issue, he’d also tell you that nondistrict record falls pretty low on his list of priorities.

As a process-minded coach who values wins in October, November and December over those in August and early September, Fullen’s primary focus early in seasons is to make sure his team is on schedule to play its best football when games matter most. And while the Eagles scheme and play every game to win, they know the ultimate success of their campaign will depend on their growth from Week 1 to Week 11, not their record the first four weeks of the season.

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FEATURE: Prolific passing attack fueling young Big Spring Steers to strong start

Photos courtesy of Cannon McWilliams

Things don’t always go the way you expect them to, so it’s probably worth a doff of the cap when a team coached by a guy named Cannon is firing the football all over the field.

Said mentor, Cannon McWilliams, leads the Big Spring Steers, who have been slinging it on offense, pretty much whistle to whistle, en route to a 3-1 record.

Following a 27-20 setback against Pampa in the season opener, the Steers have scored 51, 24 and 20 points in successive wins. And more often than not, they’ve embraced the notion that the surest way for them to get to the end zone is by air.

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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 and select six-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.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

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GAME STORY: Abilene High stretches win streak to three with home sweep of Lubbock High

The Abilene High volleyball team continued its recent run of quality play Tuesday at Eagle Gym, sweeping Lubbock High 25-20, 25-20, 25-7 to improve to 3-1 in District 4-5A play.

The Lady Eagles, 12-14 overall, had one of their best offensive performances of the season, hitting .310 as a team to stretch their winning streak to three matches since opening league play with a loss to crosstown foe Wylie.

The victory kept AHS within a win of the district lead with two more matches remaining in the first half of district play.

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DISTRICT 2-5A DIV. II WEEK 4 REPORT: Cooper wins wild one, Wylie drops shootout as league posts 1-5 record

Cooper 33, Lubbock Coronado 28 — The Cougars hit a 64-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute remaining to edge the Mustangs in a wild one.

Cooper led 27-7 at halftime, but Coronado (1-3) came all the way back in the second half to take a 28-27 lead in the fourth quarter. Down to their final possession after forcing a punt with less than two minutes remaining, the Cougars got a long touchdown pass from Chris Warren to Jaylen Parker that was tipped by a defender before being caught for the winning score.

Cooper finished with 376 yards of total offense, led by Warren, who passed for 334 yards with five touchdowns to five different players. Coronado, which finished with 298 yards, was paced by quarterback Jett Carroll, who passed for 158 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 47 yards and two more scores.

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DISTRICT 2-5A DIV. I WEEK 4 REPORT: Eagles fall to Frenship on homecoming as league goes 3-4

Wolfforth Frenship 21, Abilene High 7 — The Eagles had another tough offensive game, falling to 1-3 with a two-touchdown loss to the Tigers on homecoming.

Abilene High outgained Frenship 290-285 yards, limiting the Tigers to 37 yards on 22 carries, but the Eagles could only put seven points on the board, scoring their only touchdown in the second quarter to pull within 14-7 at halftime.

Frenship was led in the win by quarterback Hudson Hutcheson, who passed for 248 yards and two touchdowns, and receivers Landon Hutcheson (15-120) and Tate Beeles (7-86, 2 TDs). AHS, meanwhile, got 211 passing yards for Dylan Slack, who threw one touchdown and three interceptions. Antoine Rashaw added 64 yards rushing on nine carries, and Ryland Bradford had a 65-yard touchdown reception. 

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DISTRICT 8-2A DIV. II WEEK 4 REPORT: Santo blows out Rio Vista to continue dominant start

rioSanto 34, Rio Vista 7 — The Wildcats stayed unbeaten with another impressive showing, outgaining the Eagles 289-168 in a blowout win.

Santo (4-0), which rushed for 343 of its yards, led 21-7 at halftime before shutting out Rio Vista over the final two quarters.

Quarterback Hut Thornton had a big day for the Wildcats, rushing for a team-high 142 yards and three touchdowns while Rodolfo Vega ran for 65 yards and a TD. Rio Vista was also led by its quarterback, Taylor Pritchett, who passed for 94 yards and rushed or 58 yards and a score.

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DISTRICT 3-2A DIV. I WEEK 4 REPORT: Kligora, Forsan run wild in blowout win over McCamey

Forsan 33, McCamey 2 — The Buffaloes stayed unbeaten with a blowout win over the Badgers, increasing a 13-2 halftime lead to 26-2 after three quarters and cruising from there to their fourth consecutive victory.

Forsan gained 342 of its 352 yards on the ground, getting 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns from Kevin Kligora. Brooks Wright added 68 yards rushing on six carries, while Huston Stockton and Brycen Cervantes also had scoring runs for the Buffs.

The FHS defense was virtually flawless, keeping the McCamey offense off the board and improving its opponents’ scoring average to 11 points per game for the season.

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DISTRICT 4-3A DIV. I WEEK 4 REPORT: Brock falls to 0-4 with loss to Gunter

Gunter 21, Brock 16 — The Tigers scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to erase a 3-0 halftime lead and held in the fourth quarter for a hard-fought victory over the Eagles.

Brock, which fell to 0-4 on the season, lost despite a 323-205 edge in total yardage. The Eagles were hurt by two turnovers, including a pick-six that gave Gunter a 21-10 lead with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter.

Tyler Moody completed 16 of 31 passes for 177 yards with two touchdowns, but he also had two interceptions. Reid Watkins rushed for a team-high 75 yards for BHS, while Carson Finney (5-52 receiving) and Zachary Brewster (5-40) each hauled in touchdown passes.

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DISTRICT 5-3A DIV. II WEEK 4 REPORT: Area teams go 0-4 in rough week for league

Bangs 28, Merkel 13 — The Dragons rushed for 230 yards in a workmanlike win over the Badgers, racing out to a 21-7 halftime lead and holding from there for the victory.

Guy Powell led the effort for Bangs, rushing for 150 yards and two touchdowns, while Kenny Cole passed for 89 yards and Hunter Newton received for 63.

Merkel, which fell to 1-3 with the loss, was paced on the offensive end by quarterback Joey Zink (10-17-2—151, 1 TD passing; 19-71 rushing) and receiver Maddox O’Malley (5-102, 1 TD receiving; 1-1-0—49, 1 TD passing). 

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DISTRICT 5-2A DIV. I WEEK 4 REPORT: De Leon, San Saba and Bangs all pick up victories

De Leon 52, Hico 7 — The Bearcats ran away from the Tigers for their second consecutive win, racing out to a 38-0 halftime lead to end the competitive phase of the game early.

De Leon (3-1) got strong performances from quarterback Heston Jobe (9-11-0—220, 3 TDs passing; 8-108, 2 TDs rushing) and running back Kallen Mcilvain (16-186, 2 TDs rushing), while Jake Cooper (3-79, 1 TD) and Andrew Coan (2-86, 2 TDs) had big days receiving the ball.

Hico, which was limited to 249 yards (all rushing), was led by Carson Keller, who rushed for 115 yards and the Tigers’ only touchdown on 12 carries.

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DISTRICT 3-4A DIV. I WEEK 4 REPORT: Snyder falls to Monahans; Sweetwater can’t solve Big Spring

Monahans 48, Snyder 21 — The Tigers couldn’t keep up with the Loboes, allowing 35 first-half points in a lopsided loss to MHS.

Snyder (2-2) finished with just 285 yards of total offense, passing for 140 and rushing for 145. Monahans, meanwhile, gained 397 total yards — 275 on the ground — and took advantage of two Tiger turnovers.

SHS was led in the loss by Easton Stewart, who went 13-of-18 passing for 127 yards with two touchdown and an interception while adding 35 yards rushing. Dom Dominguez, meanwhile, added 82 yards and one TD rushing wand 37 yards and another score receiving.

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DISTRICT 2-4A DIV. I WEEK 4 REPORT: Big Spring takes care of Sweetwater to improve to 3-1

Big Spring 20, Sweetwater 7 — Gavin Padron passed for 286 yards and two touchdowns while Kavien Ford rushed for 96 yards to fuel the Steers to a two-touchdown win over  the Mustangs.

Big Spring, which improved to 3-1 with the victory, outgained Sweetwater 401-159 and held a 3-2 advantage in the turnover margin. Despite this, the Steers trailed 7-0 after one quarter and were tied 7-all at halftime, before taking control of the game with a pair of scores in the third quarter.

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GAME STORY: Maruska, Stephenville hold off Wylie in offensive shootout

For the second straight week, the Wylie football team went toe to toe with an outstanding opponent at Hugh Sandifer Stadium. But for the second straight week, the Bulldogs came up one touchdown short of a signature win.

Hosting Class 4A Division I No. 1 Stephenville a week after falling 33-28 to Lubbock Cooper, coach Clay Martin’s team topped the 500-yard mark for the second time in as many weeks. But it couldn’t contain Tate Maruska and the Yellow Jackets offense in a 56-49 loss.

Maruska, who came into Friday’s game with a Big Country-leading 773 yards and nine touchdowns rushing, ran for 270 yards and five scores against the Bulldogs to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in just four games and fuel the unbeaten Jackets to a thrilling win.

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