Author: Evan Ren

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: San Saba QB snags this week’s top spot

San Saba quarterback Risien Shahan may have set an unconfirmed record on Friday — capturing the Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week Award with only 10 touches in a 47-0 win over De Leon. 

Rushing five times for 185 yards and three touchdowns, the senior quarterback had a 3-of-5 night passing for 193 more yards and two additional scores. That’s 478 yards and five TDs in total offense in only 10 plays that saw him running or throwing. 

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

EVAN REN: Sunday odds and ends (Eastland, Westbrook and a dash of COVID)

There’s something dangerous brewing in Eastland County, and I’m not referring to COVID.

When a short-handed Eastland High team started the season off at 0-3, the Mavericks may have looked like a train wreck on paper to someone monitoring the scores from across the state. 

But those of us who keep track of area football knew better. The combination of an early discipline issue and an outbreak of COVID had left the Mavericks with a skeleton crew and they took the beatings to prove it.

They are now making up for lost time. 

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

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Clyde tops Early 33-20

EARLY — When Clyde football coach Scott Campbell arrived at Longhorn Stadium on Friday and saw the flags whipping in a fierce north wind, he knew immediately what he was going to do if his Bulldogs happened to win the coin toss. 

They did. And his subsequent decision to defer and force Early to drive into that wind may very well have been the difference in a 33-20 Clyde win in the Big Country Preps Game of the Week. 

Dylan Neuman threw for 224 yards, rushed for 41 and accounted for four scores to lift Clyde (4-4, 3-0 District 3-3A DI), which remains in contention for the league title with the win. 

Early (4-4, 1-2) was led by Jaxyn Price, who threw for 111 yards, rushed for 25 and had a direct hand in all three EHS scores. 

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

District 5-3A Div. II Week 9 Report: Eastland routs Jacksboro

Eastland 55, Jacksboro 20 An improving Eastland defense forced five turnovers to give the Mavericks (5-3, 3-0) a stranglehold on the district title.

Behren Morton threw for 236 yards and three scores to lead Eastland, which would have to fall to both Dublin and Merkel over the final two weeks of the season in order to lose the league championship. 

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

District 3-3A Div. I Week 9 Report: Jim Ned remains unbeaten in district with rout of TLCA.

Jim Ned 75, TLCA 0 — The Indians (6-1, 3-0) had an easy time with winless TLCA, building a 61-0 halftime lead before coasting home.

Xavier Wishert had 115 yards rushing and two scores on only three carries on a night that saw five different Indians score rushing touchdowns.

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

EVAN REN: Season of promise getting a bit frustrating for Lucas, Hamlin

Football coaches are by nature, organized, disciplined people. They have to be, or they’d never be able to compete with their peers, who are also organized, disciplined people. 

Because of that, they are ready to deal with every contingency. Or at least, every contingency that has existed before the year 2020. 

How to handle a rash of injuries? Check.

How to deal with a discipline issue? Check.

How to play a game in the mud? Check.

How to deal with a worldwide pandemic? Hmmm … We’re a little fuzzy on that one. And even the most experienced coaches in the Big Country are learning on the fly when it comes to dealing with it. 

There’s been no lack of frustration for coaches all over the area. But at this juncture, no area team has more to lose, or more reason to go completely bananas over this subject than the second-ranked Hamlin Pied Pipers, who are once again a strong state title contender in Class 2A Division II. 

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

BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Clyde, Early meet in important District 3-3A DI matchup

LAST WEEK: 32-2, .941
OVERALL: 282-64, .815

With two straight weeks of hitting over 90 percent on my picks, I’m feeling ready for the home stretch. But our Big Country Preps Game of the Week and at least three other area games, are virtual tossups. So keeping this pace up will be a challenge.

Our spotlight game: Clyde (3-4, 2-0) facing Early (4-3, 1-1) in a game that in the end, may decide the No. 3 playoff seed.

But this game offers a bit more than that.

The Early Longhorns haven’t reached the playoffs since 2008 — 12 straight years of sitting at home in late November. But a win here would nearly lock up a playoff spot, assuming the Longhorns defeat winless San Angelo TLCA on Oct. 30. 

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

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT WEDNESDAY NIGHT PODCAST: Jim Ned’s Matt Fanning chats with Evan, Daniel

VIDEO PODCAST NO. 9: Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood chat with Jim Ned head coach Matt Fanning about last week’s win over Wall and his Indians’ strong play all season

Other games discussed from last week: Abilene High at San Angelo Central, Justin Northwest at Cooper, Eastland at Comanche, Early at Breckenridge, Sweetwater at Pecos and Anson at Forsan. From this week: Odessa Permian at Abilene High, Cooper at Granbury, Clyde at Early, Hawley at Anson, Bangs at Sonora, Jacksboro at Eastland, Coleman at Cisco and Brock at Boyd.

GAME STORY: Coleman sweeps Zephyr behind Allen

Coleman continued its rampage in District 8-2A Tuesday night, beating Zephyr 25-13, 25-16, 25-11 to secure the Co-District championship at the Coleman Gym.

Abbi Allen had eight kills and Aislyn Cox charted two kills and two aces to lead the Bluekatts, who improved their record to 16-7 on the season and 13-2 in district. 

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

Big Country Volleyball statistical leaders (Through Oct. 20)

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.

Teams that send in their statistics after deadline will be added to the lists below as we continually update the database.

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

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Holsey takes the top spot with big night in Pecos

When I hear about someone having a direct hand in nine touchdowns, my first thought is: which six-man team does he play for?

But Sweetwater junior Leo Holsey managed it at the Class 4A level, on the road in a crucial 62-39 win at Pecos that clinched the District 1-4A DII championship. 

Is he our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week?

Uh … yeah.

Holsey, who hit 11 of 15 throws for 283 yards and five touchdowns, was nearly as devastating with his feet, rushing for 233 yards and four more scores on only 11 carries. 

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

EVAN REN: My top 10 pleasant football surprises in 2020 (so far)

In what many people are calling one of the worst years in United States history, 2020 did offer us a sprinkling of bright spots, one of which was high school football.

In Texas, we’re playing it. 

We’re masked up. We’re socially distanced. We’re crossing our fingers. And in the process, we’re seeing our share of gridiron surprises — big surprises throughout the Big Country.

Though it isn’t over yet, I’ve catalogued the things that have stunned me the most on area football fields, limiting my list to a top 10. 

Let’s dive (or stumble) in, shall we? 

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

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Indians top Wall 28-8 behind Wishert, stout defense

TUSCOLA — If anyone doubted that Jim Ned’s Xavier Wishert is one of the premier running backs in the Big Country, he furnished 211 yards worth of proof in Friday’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week. 

Scoring three of Jim Ned’s four touchdowns in a 28-8 win over perennial power Wall, Wishert was the primary weapon in an Indian attack that scratched out 324 total yards.

The Jim Ned defense took much of the spotlight as well, limiting Wall’s vaunted option game to 222 total yards (all on the ground) to lift the Indians (5-1, 2-0 District 3-3A DI), who are now in the district driver’s seat. It was the fifth straight victory for Jim Ned since a season-opening loss to Ballinger.

Wall (4-3, 1-1) was led by Dominic Garcia, with 100 yards on 20 carries. 

Continue reading “BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Indians top Wall 28-8 behind Wishert, stout defense”

GAME STORY: Eastland rallies to beat Comanche on the road

COMANCHE — Behren Morton hit Payton McClain with three scoring passes as Eastland handed previously unbeaten Comanche a 31-17 loss at CHS. 

Trailing 7-0 early on, the Mavs (4-3, 2-0 District 5-3A DII) rallied with 24 straight points to earn their fourth straight win after an 0-3 start. Eastland’s 31-point night was far and away the most points allowed by Comanche, which had yet to surrender more than seven points to anyone in 2020.

The Indians fell to 6-1 and 1-1 with the loss.  

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

District 4-2A Div. I Week 8 Report: Dillos remain tied for first place with win over Winters

San Saba 49, Winters 0 — Stone Sears rushed for 99 yards and two scores and Risien Shahan threw for 201 yards and accounted for three TDs to lead San Saba to a win over the Blizzards. 

The Armadillos (5-1, 2-0) finished with 505 yards in total offense, including 292 yards on the ground to remain in district title contention.

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

District 3-2A Div. I Week 8 Report: Anson sets up first-place showdown with Hawley

Anson 27, Forsan 23 — Anson overcame three turnovers by limiting its penalties to three and Forsan to a modest 274 yards in total offense.

With the win, Anson (5-1, 2-0) sets up a huge district showdown at home with Hawley (5-2, 2-0) next week for sole possession of first place in the district standings. 

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

District 3-3A Div. I Week 8 Report: Longhorns notch crucial win over Breckenridge

Early 21, Breckenridge 0 — Early used one of its best defensive efforts of the year to score a crucial district win over Breckenridge. 

Limiting the Buckaroos to 138 yards in total offense, Early patiently built a three-score lead over one of the teams considered to be a contender for the No. 4 playoff seed. 

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

FEATURE: Cross Plains’ McWilliams the last in a long line of hard workers from the same family

CROSS PLAINS — During his nine-year tenure at Cross Plains as both a track and football coach, Daniel Purvis has openly displayed an affinity for tough, hard-working, blue-collar types. 

One family in particular — the McWilliamses — has not only typified the type of players Purvis wants on his team, but they have, through four siblings, spanned the entirety of his coaching career with the Buffaloes. 

The last of the McWilliams boys to venture through Purvis’ program, 17-year-old senior Cody, is currently sitting atop the Buffaloes’ rushing statistics — a fact that for Purvis, comes as no surprise. 

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

BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Jim Ned plays host to Wall in crucial district game (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country picks)

LAST WEEK: 33-2, .942
SEASON TOTAL: 250-62, .801

It took seven weeks of patience, but this column is now dialed in. 

Charting a season-best 33-2 mark last week, its season pick total has hit the all-important (to me) 80-percent accuracy mark, despite a sluggish start. 

Week 8, however, may bring a challenge to stay above that statistic, with a selection of games that are as difficult to pick as any we’ve seen this season. 

Our top choice: Wall (4-2, 1-0) at Jim Ned (4-1, 1-0) in a game we’ve had an eye on since before the season started.

To the winner: The driver’s seat in District 3-3A DI, with what is projected to be its toughest opponent in the rearview mirror. 

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

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT WEDNESDAY NIGHT PODCAST: Anson’s Chris Hagler speaks with Evan, Daniel

VIDEO PODCAST NO. 8: Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood chat with Anson head coach Chris Hagler about last week’s win at Stamford and this week’s huge game at Forsan.

Other games discussed from last week: Santo at Cross Plains, De Leon at Coleman, and Greenwood at Sweetwater. From this week: Eastland at Comanche, Cooper vs. Northwest, Abilene at SA Central and Wall at Jim Ned.

Big Country Volleyball statistical leaders (through Oct. 13).

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.

Teams that send in their statistics after deadline will be added to the lists below as we continually update the database.

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

BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Anson QB takes award with first start

Numbers alone don’t always take our Big Country Preps Player of the Week award, though they are usually the top consideration. 

When things get close among the top candidates, other factors begin to weigh in. That was precisely the case with this week’s top spot, which goes to Anson junior quarterback Blake Vinson. 

Vinson, who hit 23 of 32 passes for 367 yards and four scores in a 41-34 win over Stamford, had two factors in his favor that made his effort a bit more noteworthy than some of the area’s other top performances last week. 

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

FEATURE: Beal’s reemergence in Albany a big plus for the Lions

ALBANY — For a full year, Albany senior Barrett Beal had no choice but to be patient. 

Ruled ineligible to play varsity football in 2019 after moving to AHS from Roscoe, the 18-year-old had to remain with the JV for a full season before being able to suit up for coach Denney Faith on a Friday night.

He is now making up for lost time. 

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

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Sweetwater stops Greenwood in overtime classic

SWEETWATER — In recent years, the Sweetwater Mustangs haven’t been associated with winning through defense in the trenches. 

Yet that’s exactly what they did on Friday, knocking off Midland Greenwood 36-30 in overtime in a classic Big Country Preps Game of the Week. 

Leo Holsey threw for 222 yards, rushed for 94 and accounted for four touchdowns to lead Sweetwater (5-1, 2-0 District 1-4A DII), which can now lock up a league title if it beats Pecos on the road next week.  Holsey scored the game winner, pushing his way into the end zone on a 4-yard quarterback sneak in overtime. 

But it was the Sweetwater defense that came up with some of the game’s biggest plays, including a fumble recovery and score by Harrison Foster in the first quarter, a 56-yard pick-6 by Foster in the second quarter, and two short-yardage stops on fourth down  that killed potential scoring drives in the fourth quarter and overtime. 

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

District 4-3A Div. II Week 7 Report: Six turnovers doom Coahoma in loss to Idalou

Idalou 68, Coahoma 22 — Idalou (4-0, 1-0) took advantage of six Coahoma turnovers to hand the Bulldogs (4-1, 0-1) their first loss of the season.  

The Wildcats amassed 448 yards rushing and 507 total yards to win the district opener for both clubs.

Coahoma charted 368 yards, led by Brysen Kerby, who rushed for 109 yards and two scores. Kolt Redden threw for 201 yards and another TD.  

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

District 3-3A Div. I Week 7 Report: Clyde runs away from Breck to open league play

Clyde 38, Breckenridge 21 — Clyde charted 466 total yards to win the district opener for both clubs. Dylan Neuman threw for 213 yards and two scores and Austin Hastings rushed for 128 yards and two TDs to lead Clyde ( 2-4, 1-0). 

Leading 24-21 late in the third quarter, the Bulldogs pulled away with a 51-yard TD pass from Neuman to Jacob Roberts at the 1:26 mark of the third and a 6-yard TD run by Canaan Charleston with 0:29 to play.

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

District 4-2A Div. I Week 7 Report: Armadillos open district with win over archrival

San Saba 64, Goldthwaite 6 — The Armadillos rolled up more than 600 yards in total offense to improve to 4-1 on the year.

Risien Shahan threw for 367 yards and six scores and Stone Sears rushed for 97 yards and one TD on only 11 carries to lift San Saba in the district opener for both clubs.

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

District 3-2A Div. I Week 7 Report: Buffaloes win third straight, take district opener

Forsan 43, Colorado City 6 — Major Stockon rushed for 137 yards and two scores on only seven carries and passed for 46 yards and two more scores to lead Forsan to a win in the district opener for both clubs. 

The Buffs (3-2, 1-0) raced out to a 30-6 halftime lead before putting things into cruise control for their third straight win. 

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

BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Sweetwater hosts Greenwood in huge district clash (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country picks)

LAST WEEK: 29-5, .853
SEASON TOTAL: 217-60, .783

Every district has key games you can spot weeks in advance. And every season has games that are worth circling on the calendar.

Friday will bring us to the Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater for exactly that — a crucial district 1-4A DII showdown between SHS (4-1, 1-0) and Midland Greenwood (3-2, 1-0) with the driver’s seat in the league race at stake.

Big Country Preps has something at stake as well, with me having picked Sweetwater to win district prior to the season, when most of the media had chosen Greenwood.

I’m either right or I’m not. And this is likely to be the game which proves it, either way. 

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

Big Country Volleyball Statistical Leaders (through Oct. 5)

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.

Teams that send in their statistics after deadline will be added to the lists below as we continually update the database.

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

BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Eastland’s Behren Morton takes the top spot

Prior to the game, the numbers pointed to a track meet. But nobody was prepared for the more than 1,600 yards in combined total offense produced in last week’s 91-71 Eastland victory over Panhandle. 

It should come as no surprise that the Big Country Preps Player of the Week participated in this artillery barrage, disguised as a football game. 

Eastland senior Behren Morton earns the top spot, after hitting 22 of 32 throws for 405 yards and five touchdowns. The Texas Tech-bound QB also rushed nine times for 196 yards and three scores and was 12 of 13 on extra points. 

By night’s end, he had a direct hand in eight touchdowns and 60 points. And no, this was not a six-man football game. 

Continue reading “BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Eastland’s Behren Morton takes the top spot”

EVAN REN: Sweetwater may redefine what good defense is, or needs to be

SWEETWATER — Prior to the season, much of the attention received by the Sweetwater football team focused around the explosive offense the Mustangs were expected to have. 

This wasn’t difficult to predict — not with a talented junior quarterback with two full varsity seasons under his belt, a bevy of capable receivers and speed all over the field. 

Sweetwater closed last season on a noticeable upswing, averaging 41 points over its last six games last and followed a 1-4 start with a 3-3 finish. 

Those who were paying attention, however, realized that it was the Sweetwater defense, not its offense, that would determine how far the Mustangs would go in 2020. 

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

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Sweetwater tops Snyder in district opener

SNYDER — An improving defense and an increasingly dangerous receiver gave Sweetwater the winning edge in Friday’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week. 

Knocking off archrival Snyder 47-28, the Mustangs captured, lost and regained the momentum to win the District 1-4A DII opener for both clubs. 

Darian Carr caught four passes for 174 yards and four touchdowns to lift Sweetwater (4-1, 1-0), which put the game away with a 14-0 fourth quarter. 

Snyder (2-3, 0-1) was led by Jorge Martinez, with 35 yards rushing, 73 yards recieving and two combined touchdowns.  

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