Author: Daniel Youngblood

District 8-2A Div. II Week 1 Report: Santo rallies past Rio Vista in opener

rioSanto 14, Rio Vista 12 — Trailing 12-8 heading into the final quarter, the Wildcats got a five-yard touchdown run from Sam Henderson with a little more than eight minutes remaining in the game to earn a come-from-behind win over the Eagles.

Santo (1-0) was outgained 228-177 and lost the turnover battle 2-1, but the Wildcats were able to make the plays they needed down the stretch to get the victory.

The Wildcats, who rushed for 141 yards on 35 carries, were led by Jake Bryan (8-48 rushing), Hutson Thornton (3-43, 1 TD rushing; 1-36 receiving) and Henderson (7-37, 1 TD rushing). Rio Vista (0-1) gained all but 17 of its yards through the air.

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District 5-4A Div. I Week 1 Report: Brownwood outlasts No. 20 Lampasas for thrilling win

Brownwood 58, Lampasas 55 — The Lions outscored the Badgers 20-7 in the fourth quarter, getting a 21-yard field goal from Junior Martinez as time expired to break a 55-all tie and earn a thrilling win in their season opener.

In a game that went back and forth throughout, Lampasas took the first two-score lead late in the third quarter, but Brownwood (1-0) rallied from that 48-38 deficit to pull ahead 55-48 with about four minutes remaining in the game. The Badgers countered with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Sanchez to Ethan Moreno to tie things up about two minutes later, but the Lions put together the final drive for the game-winning field goal.

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District 2-4A Div. I Week 1 Report: Baeza leads way as Steers rally past Lions

Big Spring 31, Vernon 22 — The Steers kicked off their season with a come-from-behind win, rallying from a 22-15 fourth-quarter deficit with pair of touchdowns by quarterback Gabriel Baeza.

The senior signal caller put the Steers up 23-22 with an 11-yard touchdown strike to Eli Cobos before putting the game on ice a little later with an eight-yard TD run. Baeza passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns and led Big Spring (1-0) in rushing with 59 yards and a score on 12 carries.

The Steers, who outgained the Lions 391-274 and won the turnover battle 3-2, also got a big game from receiver Kaegen Mitchell, who caught 11 passes for 138 yards and a score, while fellow receiver Quetavian Lewis added 78 yards and a score on five receptions.

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District 5-2A Div. II Week 1 Report: Turnovers doom Roscoe in loss to Hawley

Hawley 34, Roscoe 14 — Five Roscoe turnovers, including two pick-sixes, proved costly as Roscoe dropped its season opener to Hawley. 

The Plowboys (0-1) limited the Bearcats to just 287 yards of total offense but were unable to overcome their offensive miscues — two of which resulted in touchdowns for Hawley.

Rodey Hooper led HHS (1-0) with 126 yards passing and two touchdowns, while sophomore Jax Watts topped the Roscoe stat sheet with 233 yards passing and two scores. 

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GAME REPORT: Slow start sinks Abilene High in road loss to Tascosa

Photos by Trevor Flemman, Special to PresspassSports.com

AMARILLO — A disastrous first quarter doomed Abilene High in a 40-21 loss to Amarillo Tascosa in its season opener Friday at Dick Bivins Stadium.

The Eagles outscored the Rebels 21-14 over the final three periods, but they never pulled closer than 18 points of the lead after spotting Tascosa a 26-0 first-quarter advantage.

The Rebels, who rushed for 294 yards in the victory, got a pair of scoring runs from quarterback BT Daniel to take a 14-0 lead less than five minutes into the game, before using a 50-yard fumble return touchdown by Jayden Whiteside to build the three-score cushion they would maintain the rest of the way.

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GAME STORY: Keller runs away from Cooper for 39-0 win

Keller scored on its first play from scrimmage and controlled the game from there to hand Cooper a season-opening 39-0 loss Friday at Shotwell Stadium. 

After Matthew Anderson hooked up with Amarion Henry for a 64-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first snap, the Indians found the end zone twice more in the opening quarter and were never threatened after in improving to 1-0.

KHS, which outgained Cooper 336-209, got most of its offense on three big plays, adding an 87-yard touchdown run by Austin Coleman to cap the first-quarter scoring before getting a 51-yard run from Tre Guerra to set up a Jake Roberts field goal for the final points of the game. The Indians also took advantage of three Cougar turnovers to keep the home team from  ever fighting its way back into the game.

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GAME STORY: Burleson rides fast start to 42-3 win over Wylie in season opener

BURLESON — Burleson grabbed the momentum on the opening play and never relinquished it in a dominant 42-3 win over Wylie in the season opener for both teams Thursday at Burleson Stadium.

After winning the toss and deferring to the second half, the Elks tried and recovered an onside kick to open the game, and they followed that with the first of five consecutive touchdowns to put the visiting Bulldogs on the ropes from the start.

Following a failed onside kick on Burleson’s second kickoff, Wylie threatened to answer with a score of their own. But penalties turned a first-and-goal situation from the 4 into a 37-yard field goal attempt that was pulled to the left and no good. The Elks then capitalized on the following drive, pushing 80 yards in nine plays to go up 14-0 with 2:33 remaining in the first quarter, and it was off to the races from there.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 1)

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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BCP Football Preseason Position Rankings: Quarterbacks

After a week of highlighting area playmakers, we wrap up our eight-part preseason position rankings series with the Big Country’s best signal callers.

To complete our look at the area’s top players, we’ve ranked our top 10 quarterbacks with a list of others to watch in 2021.

We hope you enjoy this list and that you’ve enjoyed our position rankings as we get set to kickoff a new season.

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BCP Football Preseason Position Rankings: Running Backs

As we wind down our eight-part preseason position rankings series, we arrive finally at the Big Country’s top ball-carriers.

After breaking down this year’s crop of receivers and tight ends Monday, we move now to the area’s top backs, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch in 2021. Don’t forget to check in Wednesday night when we conclude our series with the top 10 area quarterbacks.

We hope you enjoy tonight’s list and encourage you to check out the other position groups, which are linked below.

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BCP Football Preseason Position Rankings: Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

We’re approaching the final stretch of our eight-part preseason position rankings series, and it’s time to look at the Big Country’s top pass-catchers.

After starting the offensive portion of our series Sunday with the linemen, we now shift our attention to the playmakers on the perimeter, ranking our top 10 wide receivers/tight ends with a list of others to watch in 2021.

We hope you enjoy our list and encourage you to check out the other position groups, which are linked below.   

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BCP Football Preseason Position Rankings: Offensive Linemen

With the defensive and special teams rankings behind us, it’s time to look at the area’s top offensive players. And we’ll start with the foundation of any productive offense: the offensive line.

For the fifth installment of our eight-part preseason position rankings series, we turn our attention to the trenches, ranking the Big Country’s top 10 offensive linemen with a list of others to watch in 2021.

We hope you enjoy reading through our rankings.

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BCP Football Preseason Position Rankings: Kickers/Punters

After recognizing the top defensive players throughout the Big Country over the past three days, it’s time to honor the specialists.

We continue our eight-part preseason position rankings series by naming our top 10 kickers and top three punters to watch this fall.

We hope you enjoy this list and that you have enjoyed our position rankings as we get set to kickoff the 2021 season.

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BCP Football Preseason Position Rankings: Defensive Backs

After starting with the linemen and linebackers, we turn to the defensive backfield to complete our look at the top defenders in the Big Country.

For the third installment in our eight-part preseason position rankings series, we shift our focus to the secondary, giving our list of the area’s top-10 defensive backs and others to look out for in 2020.

We hope you enjoy our list.

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BCP Football Preseason Position Rankings: Linebackers

After taking a look at the Big Country’s top defensive linemen on Wednesday, it’s now time to examine those who will backing them in 2021.

Continuing with Big Country Preps’ eight-part preseason position rankings series, here’s our top 10 linebackers to watch this fall, as well as a list of the others we’re expecting big things from.

We hope you enjoy our list.

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BCP Football Preseason Position Rankings: Defensive Linemen

With the start of football season around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the players who will be making the biggest impact in 2021.

For the first installment in an eight-part series that will cover all position groups, we’ll be taking a look at the area’s top defensive linemen, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch this fall.

As with any such list, these rankings are subjective. We hope you enjoy reading through them.

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ABILENE HIGH FEATURE: Da’King Thomas ready to take throne as Eagles’ featured back

Sharing time in the Abilene High backfield with senior Phonzo Dotson, Abilene High running back Da’King Thomas proved last year as a junior that he be can explosive weapon for coach Mike Fullen and the Eagles.

This year, he wants to prove he can be a consistent one, too.

Poised to take on a more featured role in the AHS offense after rushing for 474 yards, receiving for 103 and scoring six total touchdowns a year ago, Thomas is hoping to put his name in the same conversation as AHS greats such as Abram Smith, Arturo “Sneezy” Beltran, Herschel Sims, Marcell Porter, Paxton Greyer and Keithy Flye. And he hopes to do so by being a guy his teammates and coaches can consistently count on for production and leadership.

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2021 ABILENE HIGH FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Confident Eagles riding wave of momentum into 2021

A strong finish to a tumultuous season put the Abilene High football team back on the map last fall. The goal for the Eagles now is to stay there. 

With 33 lettermen back from last year’s 6-5 team, including seven starters on both sides of the ball, coach Mike Fullen and Co. are hoping to build on what was accomplished during last year’s run to the third round of the Class 6A Division II playoffs. 

And though they’ll have some key players to replace from that group, the Eagles are confident that both the success enjoyed and momentum gained during a late five-game winning streak is sustainable. 

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: ‘Next man up’ more than cliché for Roan, Cooper program

Talk to enough high school football coaches, and you’ll hear quickly and a lot about the “next man up” mentality. 

In a business where your oldest — and often, most experienced — players leave your program each year with diplomas, replacing lost talent is a fact of life. And given that there’s no (legal) way to keep your star seniors for a fifth year, what else can you do but embrace that annual challenge?

But while most programs talk the talk on the “next man up” concept, achieving consistent success through heavy graduation losses is often easier said than done. It’s this truth that makes what Cooper has done the past decade and a half pretty remarkable.

In the midst of a 14-year playoff streak that’s spanned three coaches, the Cougars have reached the third round of the playoffs nine times while posting just one losing season since 2007. So when current coach Aaron Roan says his answer to graduating a pair of record-setters in running back Noah Garcia and quarterback Aidan Thompson is, “Next man up,” what can you do but trust him?

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2021 COOPER FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Cougars’ goals remain high despite graduation losses

After graduating 32 lettermen from last year’s 7-2 squad, including record-breaking running back Noah Garcia and quarterback Aidan Thompson, the Cooper Cougars are going to look a little different in 2021.

But don’t expect that to alter the team’s goals.

Coach Aaron Roan’s squad is still expecting to compete for the District 3-5A Division I championship and to make a playoff run after that. It will just have to find a way to do it with some new players in key spots this fall.

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WYLIE FEATURE: Offensive line, lack of running game no longer trouble spots for Bulldogs

During its two-year playoff hiatus spanning the 2018 and 2019 seasons, the Wylie football team’s struggles could largely be boiled down to one simple issue. When push came to shove, the Bulldogs couldn’t move the pile at the line of scrimmage.

This problem, evident on both sides of the ball, was a throttling force for WHS, particularly on offense where a lack of a running game made moving the chains with consistency a near impossibility.

But after averaging 92. 1 rushing yards and 14.2 points per game over those two campaigns, which saw the Bulldogs post a 2-18 overall record, Wylie took a significant step forward in 2020. And that progress, which culminated in a 4-4 mark and playoff berth in Clay Martin’s first year as head coach, could just be the start.

No longer undersized or overmatched, the Wylie offensive line managed to assert its will a little last fall, paving the way for 152 rushing yards per game. And with that production came success and confidence — two things the Bulldogs are expecting to start the 2021 season with.

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2021 WYLIE FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bulldogs hoping to reload, build on last year’s progress

After posting a combined 2-18 record across the 2018 and 2019 seasons, the Wylie football team took a nice step forward last fall in coach Clay Martin’s first year at the helm. 

While COVD limited the Bulldogs to just eight games, Martin’s squad finished 4-4, reaching the playoffs for the first time in WHS’ three years as a Class 5A program.

With 27 returning lettermen being joined by call-ups from a 4-3 junior varsity team, the Bulldogs will be looking to build on that progress this season. And despite graduating seven starters on both sides of the ball, Martin believes they can do just that.

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BIG SPRING FEATURE: Deep, talented receiving corps ready to challenge opponents

BIG SPRING — While the Big Spring offense was inconsistent at times in 2020, averaging 22.8 points per contest over nine games, the connection between quarterback Gabriel Baeza and his deep and talented receiving corps was a big bright spot for the Steers and coach Cannon McWilliams.

With Baeza back for his senior season and all but one of the team’s top five wideouts returning, the Steers could boast one of the best aerial attacks in the Big Country this fall.

A rare offense that passes to set up the run, Big Spring had five players chart at least 100 receiving yards last season. And the four of those who are back are hoping to take Big Spring to another level in 2021.

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2021 BIG SPRING FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Talented Steers gearing up for best season in years

BIG SPRING — A 5-4 record and trip to the area round of the playoffs may not seem like much to some. But for the Big Spring Steers, those accomplishments in 2020 represented significant improvement.

In posting their first winning season since going 9-3 in 2014 and earning just their second playoff win since that same year, coach Cannon McWilliams’ Steers put a forgettable five-year stretch in the rearview and restored a sense of hope and optimism to the program.

Now, with 28 lettermen returning from that squad, including nine offensive and eight defensive starters, the goal and expectation is to take the next step forward.

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WALL FEATURE: Fullback Garcia ready to carry even heavier load for Hawks

WALL — One of precious few returning starters for the Wall Hawks this season, fullback Dominic Garcia knows he’ll be leaned on heavily for both production and leadership.

But the 5-foot-8, 180-pound bruiser wouldn’t want it any other way.

After rushing for 999 yards and eight touchdowns on just 130 attempts last year, Garcia will likely carry an even heavier load in 2021. Fortunately for coach Houston Guy and a young Wall squad, the senior is built for just such a role.

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2021 WALL FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Young Hawks will have to grow up quickly to achieve goals

WALL — If Wall coach Houston Guy has had a younger team than the one he’ll field this season, he can’t remember it.

With just 12 lettermen back from last year’s 8-4 squad, including three total starters (all on offense), the Hawks will be leaning on the strength and tradition of their program to make up for a lack of varsity experience.

Fortunately for Wall and its fans, Guy feels confident in the talent he’ll be putting on the field. The Hawks will just need to grow up quickly through a brutal nondistrict schedule, so they’re seasoned and battle-hardened by the time District 3-3A Division I play rolls around.

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EARLY FEATURE: Senior RB/LB Beam eager to prove himself in expanded role this fall

EARLY — Sharing carries with Alex Jacobs each of the past two seasons, Early tailback Tre Beam has proven he can produce at a high level.

But until this year, the talented senior has never had an opportunity to be the Longhorns’ featured ball-carrier. 

With Jacobs’ graduation clearing the way to more rush attempts this fall, Beam will see an increased role on the offensive side in his final high school campaign. And after watching him rush for 980 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 154 carries the past two years, coach Daniel Price is excited to see what the back can do with more touches.

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2021 EARLY FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Longhorns equipped, ready to build on last year’s success

EARLY — In Daniel Price’s first year as a head coach last fall, the Early Longhorns took a big step forward, going 5-6 to earn their program’s first playoff berth since 2008.

With 17 lettermen back from that team, including eight starters on both sides of the ball, EHS will be looking to take the next step this season.

Loaded with skill-position talent, and bolstered by a strong group of juniors who gained valuable experience last year, the Longhorns are hoping to not only return to the postseason in 2021, they want to do some damage once there.

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CLYDE FEATURE: First-year coach Dudgeon relying on past experience, winning culture in new role

Hired to replace Scott Campbell in April, new Clyde coach Danny Dudgeon has been hard at work since laying the foundation for his program.

Coming over from Cooper, where he had previously served as Aaron Roan’s offensive coordinator, the first-time head coach has made setting the culture priority one.

For Dudgeon, who also worked under Keith Woolf, Steve Freeman and Todd Moebes, X’s and O’s and schemes are important. But nothing’s more vital to the success of a program than establishing a shared set of values and expectations that will guide it through good times and out of the bad.

For Bulldogs fans wondering what those values and expectations might look like, a quick peak to the west will provide a pretty good glimpse. After seeing firsthand the impact a positive culture built around a family atmosphere can have at Cooper, Dudgeon plans to bring those same aspects with him to Clyde.

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2021 CLYDE FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bulldogs look to lay firm foundation in Dudgeon’s first year

CLYDE — The 2021 season will be one of transition for the Clyde football team. With a new coach and just nine lettermen returning from last year’s 4-7 squad, a young Bulldogs team will have to adjust to a number of new realities this fall.

With a new culture and new schemes under former Cooper offensive coordinator Danny Dudgeon, Clyde will operate differently both on and off the field. And with first-year starters occupying six spots on offense and four on defense, the Bulldogs will make those changes with a relatively inexperienced roster.

But despite the challenges that lie ahead for this CHS squad, Dudgeon is confident in his club’s willingness and ability to compete. And from what he’s seen so far, the first-time head coach can find no reason to lower the expectations for a program that has reached the postseason in eight of the past 10 seasons.

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COAHOMA FEATURE: Hard-working running back Kerby a selfless star for Bulldogs

COAHOMA — There’s an axiom among coaches that if/when your best players are also your hardest workers and best teammates, you’ve got a chance to be good.

Fortunately for the 2021 Coahoma Bulldogs, senior running back Brysen Kerby checks all of those boxes.

As a 1,500-yard rusher with 24 touchdowns a year ago, Kerby’s talent is unquestionable. But if you ask fourth-year CHS coach Chris Joslin, that’s only a small part of what makes the 5-foot-9, 185-pound speedster special. It’s what he does in the weight room, on the practice field and around his teammates that really sets him apart — and gives Joslin confidence that his Bulldogs will be just fine despite graduating more lettermen (14) than they return (13).

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2021 COAHOMA FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bulldogs leaning on speed, continuity to keep train rolling

COAHOMA —Throughout his time at Coahoma, fourth-year coach Chris Joslin has been working to build a program that can absorb significant graduation losses and still compete at a high level on the field.

After losing a combined 32 lettermen the past two seasons, that goal is being put to the test.

The Bulldogs graduated 18 seniors off their 9-3 team in 2019. And after seeing 14 lettermen move on from last year’s 6-4 squad, they’ll try to extend their streak of consecutive playoff seasons to six this fall.

While CHS will certainly have some holes to fill, Joslin is confident the 13 lettermen that remain will join call-ups from a 5-5 junior varsity team to keep the Bulldog train rolling forward.

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BRADY FEATURE: Deep, talented lines ready to move pile in 2021

BRADY — If it’s true that strong line play is the foundation of a successful football team, the Brady Bulldogs should be building from a solid slab in 2021.

Blessed with an ample supply of talent, size, depth and experience, BHS coach Shay Easterwood is in the best shape he’s been up front since taking over the Bulldogs program in 2017. 

And coming off back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since Brady reached the postseason in four straight years from 2013-16, Easterwood and his squad are hoping to turn that  potential advantage in the trenches into BHS’ first winning season since 2015.

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2021 BRADY FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bulldogs equipped for breakout season in 2021

BRADY —Shay Easterwood’s first four years as the Brady football coach have seen the Bulldogs make quiet progress, culminating in playoff berths each of the past two seasons. But BHS is still in search of its first winning season since 2015.

With 16 lettermen back from last year’s squad, including eight returning starters of both sides of the ball, the Bulldogs expect to change that this fall.

Buoyed by 1,000-yard back JD Ibarra and a deep and talented line, the Brady offense should challenge the 2019 unit as the best Easterwood has fielded thus far. And an experienced defense appears poised to continue the steady growth pattern that’s marked the past four years.

If everything goes to plan, the Bulldogs could be looking at a true breakout year in what appears to be a wide-open District 2-3A Division II race. 

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WINTERS FEATURE: Senior QB Busher ready for increased role in new spread scheme

WINTERS — After getting a taste of the starting quarterback position last fall, Winters’ Jon Kullen Busher is ready for a full meal in 2021. 

And it’s a good thing, too, because the senior will be getting a heaping helping of responsibility when the Blizzards’ season kicks off in two weeks.

Not only is Busher going to be the undisputed leader of the WHS offense after taking over the quarterback position for the final four games of the 2020 season, he’ll be guiding a transition from the flexbone to the spread — a move that will put even more on his plate in his first full season as the Blizzards’ trigger man.

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2021 WINTERS FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Blizzards set sights on fifth straight playoff appearance

WINTERS — Coming off their fourth consecutive playoff appearance under seventh-year coach Matt McCarty, the Winters Blizzards have reached a level where postseason trips are expected.

And with 13 lettermen returning from last year’s team, including six offensive and seven defensive starters, McCarty’s squad feels like it can continue that trend this fall.

While a difficult nondistrict slate and a brutal league schedule await the Blizzards, Winters is blessed with both the talent and experience to compete for a fifth straight playoff berth. And McCarty is banking on a couple of scheme changes and some rapid development along the lines to allow his team to achieve that potential.

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: Lost playoff opportunity provides unique fuel for 2021 Coleman squad

COLEMAN — If there was ever a Big Country football team that deserved to taste the postseason, it was the 2020 Coleman Bluecats.

Led by a group of seniors who had guided the program through a difficult rebuild, that squad had faced and overcome adversity and earned the opportunity to play in the playoffs with 6-3 record through its first nine games.

Unfortunately, that opportunity never came. Instead, the Bluecats became the only area team to have their season cut short by COVID, which forced them to forfeit their regular-season finale to Winters and watch Goldthwaite — a team they beat 28-7 — take their playoff berth with a win over De Leon. It was a heartbreaking end to what was otherwise a breakout campaign for Coleman and a gut punch for the seniors who had to see their careers end that way.

But if you’re into silver linings, one does exist. First, CHS returns 18 lettermen from that squad and has an outstanding sophomore class coming up, so that setback was likely only temporary. And second, that experience has provided the 2021 Bluecats with a unique motivating factor — and placed a Texas-sized chip on their shoulder.

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2021 COLEMAN FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Hungry Bluecats eager to build on successful 2020

COLEMAN — After an extended rebuilding period that saw them post a 9-22 record from 2017 to 2019, the Coleman Bluecats are back.

Coming off the program’s first winning season since 2016, coach John Elder’s squad is loaded with experienced talent and will be welcoming reinforcements from a 10-0 junior varsity squad.

And if that’s not reason enough for excitement about the upcoming season, the Bluecats will have an added bit of motivation driving them in 2021.

As the Big Country’s only team to have its season ended early by COVID-19 last fall, CHS had to watch district mate Goldthwaite take the spot it earned in the Class 2A Division I playoffs. So no team will be more hungry than the Bluecats to get back to the postseason this year.

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STAMFORD FEATURE: Senior standout Faulks ready to tackle new, expanded role

STAMFORD — Splitting his time between receiver and safety, Dylan Faulks was a breakout star for the Stamford Bulldogs last year as a junior.

Now in his final year of high school with new coach Britt Hart taking over the SHS program, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound athlete could be asked to do even more this fall.

In addition to the time he’ll likely see as a wideout and defensive back, Faulks has been asked to take some snaps at quarterback in Hart’s hybrid Wing-T system. And as he prepares for a new challenge at a position he’s never played, the senior is prepared to take the latest in a series of changes in stride. 

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2021 STAMFORD FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Hart brings new schemes, same high expectations

STAMFORD — After 15 years with similar schemes and philosophies under Wayne Hutchinson and Ronnie Casey, change is coming to the Stamford football program.

Hired in March to replace Casey, new coach Britt Hart will be shaking things up this fall, replacing the Bulldogs’ pass-heavy spread with his hyrbid Wing-T system and trading his predecessor’s 3-3 stack defense for a unique Eagle scheme.

But one thing that won’t be changing with the arrival of Hart, who posted a 58-12 record at Falls City before spending last season at Merkel, is the high expectations that have remained constant since Hutchinson put the Bulldogs back on the map with a period of near-unparalleled success from 2010-13.

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HASKELL FEATURE: Senior linebacker Jimenez a coach’s dream

HASKELL — At 5-foot-7 and 155 pounds, Haskell senior Matthew Jimenez is undersized for a linebacker. But when you watch him run and see what he’s capable of in the weight room, it becomes apparent quickly why he’s the playmaker he is.

With 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash and a three-lift powerlifting total of 1,175 pounds, Jimenez is simply an outstanding athlete.

Add in a ceaseless work ethic, an infectious intensity and an earnest desire for knowledge and coaching, and you have a player that the Haskell staff wishes it could clone.

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2021 HASKELL FOOTBALL PREVIEW: McLemore hoping to get Indians back on track

HASKELL — Mitch McLemore is no stranger to turnaround projects. Each of his first three head coaching stops saw him tackle such undertakings.

And after turning around programs at Junction and Petrolia around a tough two-year stint at Big Spring, the former Stamford assistant will try to get the Haskell Indians back on track this fall.

With 16 lettermen back from last year’s 2-8 squad, McLemore will have some talent to work with. But he views existing community pride and program culture as his greatest assets as he works to lead the Indians to their first winning season since 2015.

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FORSAN FEATURE: Playmaker Morgan provides physicality, leadership for Buffs

FORSAN — Senior Cayden Morgan has been a playmaker since the day he stepped on campus.

A two-way starter since his freshman year, the standout receiver/safety has played a significant role in leading the Buffaloes through a rebuilding process that ended last year with FHS’ first playoff appearance since 2016.

Now entering his final high school season with a group of 13 other lettermen, Morgan is hoping to close his celebrated career with his best campaign yet. And after watching what he’s accomplished to date, 13th-year Forsan coach Jason Phillips sees no reason why he can’t.

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