Author: Evan Ren

GAME STORY: Cisco avenges Spearman upset with 41-17 win

WOLFFORTH — A year ago, while suffering a bi-district loss to Spearman, the top-seeded Cisco Loboes were their own worst enemy, coughing up six turnovers in a 33-29 upset that stunned the Big Country and the entire state of Texas.

Thursday night in Wolfforth, however, the Loboes did a complete 180, charting no turnovers in a come-from-behind 41-17 win at People’s Bank Stadium. 

Stanley Callahan rushed for 212 yards and a touchdown and Isaac Acosta rushed for 82 yards and three TDs on just five carries to lead Cisco (10-1), which advances to face Crane (9-2) in the Region I-3A Division II area round.

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BCP PLAYOFF FORCAST: Evan Ren’s Big Country Playoff picks

LAST WEEK: 34-7, .829

OVERALL: 431-83, .839

I say the same thing at this point every season.

We no longer have a Game of the Week. Once the playoffs start, they’re all the Game of the Week. We’ll only be limited by how many games we can get to and Big Country Preps will endeavor to get to as many as possible. 

Nonetheless, some games warrant a close inspection as we head into the bi-district round.  So here’s a quick peek at the five games we view as the most intriguing heading into this week’s action, with the remainder of my postseason picks listed below.

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FEATURE: Veteran’s Day carries special meaning for Haskell’s Hodnett

HASKELL — For some, life represents little more than organized chaos, with a mix of our decisions and random luck determining the final outcome. 

Don’t tell that to Haskell football coach Brian Hodnett, who is literally a jar of peanut butter and a canteen of water away from not even existing. 

For Hodnett, the chaotic violence that occurred on a distant battlefield 75 years ago shapes his life to this day. But as far as he’s concerned, luck had nothing to do with it. 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Hamlin’s Williams takes the top spot

Williams

Not since 2001 had the Hamlin Pied Pipers topped Albany in a game of football — a time span that included 12 straight defeats. 

So it goes without saying that when coach Russell Lucas’ crew finally broke through with a 66-20 win over the one area team they wanted to defeat more than any other, emotions were running a bit high at Piper Stadium on Friday. 

And no player wearing green contributed more than senior Jevon Williams, who helped turn our Big Country Preps Game of the Week into something lopsided. 

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District 5-2A Division II: Week 11 Report

Munday 62, Memphis 20 — Munday sent outgoing head coach Patrick Corcoran off as a winner with 42-point victory on the road. 

Corcoran, who is stepping down from his position after 15 seasons and two state titles, closed his final season at 2-6 and 1-4.  

His final career mark was 122-59, all at Munday. 

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District 6-3A Division II: Week 11 Report

Dublin 59, Millsap 20 — Cy Wing was 26 of 37 for 398 yards and four scores to lead Dublin to a rout of Millsap. 

Wing also rushed for 37 yards on 12 carries and two more TDs to lift the Lions to 8-2 overall and 4-1 in league play. 

Second-seeded Dublin will square off with Holliday (7-3) in the first round of the playoffs at 7 p.m. on Friday in Ponder. 

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District 4-3A Division II: Week 11 Report

Humphries

Cisco 38, Bangs 20 — Stanley Callahan rushed for 248 yards and three scores to lift Cisco to a surprisingly tough win over stubborn Bangs. 

Leading 18-12 at the break, the Loboes (9-1) finally took control with a 6-yard TD run from Callahan and a 33-yard scoring run from Jailynn Humphries in the third quarter. 

Bangs (6-4) was led by Ethan Sanchez with 109 yards rushing and one score. 

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District 3-2A Division I: Week 11 Report

Rodela

Hawley 62, Ozona 37 Colton Marshall rushed for 282 yards and four scores on 26 carries to help the Bearcats wrap up the district title. 

Xavier Rodela threw for 183 yards and three scores to help bolster Hawley’s offense. 

The Bearcats (10-0, 4-0) will open with Chico (3-7) in bi-district play on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Mineral Wells.  

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District 5-4A Division I: Week 11 Report

Huff

Brownwood 41, China Spring 14 Reece Rodgers rushed for 153 yards and three scores to help the Lions (9-1, 3-1) close its regular season with the No. 2 playoff seed.

Drew Huff threw for 251 yards and a score and rushed for 44 more to supplement the Brownwood attack. 

The Lions will open postseason play with Fort Worth Castleberry (7-3) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Tarleton State.

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District 3-3A Division I: Week 11 Report

Charleston

Clyde 55, Breckenridge 26 Clyde overcame 10 penalties for 115 yards to snag the No. 3 seed for the playoffs. 

The Bulldogs rushed for 268 yards via committee with Donovan Gomez charting 73 yards and two scores on just seven carries.

Caanan Charleston and Antonio Guerrero added rushing scores as well, with 68 and 62 yards on the ground respectively. 

Owen Woodward led Breckenridge with 145 yards passing for three scores. 

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Pied Pipers end Albany hex with 66-20 romp

HAMLIN — Whether it was due to a mental block or one team simply outplaying the other, Albany’s 18-year, 12-game winning streak over Hamlin came to a crashing halt on Friday with a 66-20 win for the Pied Pipers in the Big Country Preps Game of the Week. 

Jevon Williams rushed for 188 yards and four scores and added a 34-yard fumble return for a TD and two picks to lead Hamlin (7-2, 4-0 District 7-2A DII) which took the district title in dominating fashion. 

Albany, which was outgained 536-150, finished its regular season at 7-3 and 3-1 with the No. 2 district seed heading into the playoffs.

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Pipers, Lions clash for district title (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country picks)

LAST WEEK: 40-3, .930

OVERALL: 397-76, .839

At the beginning of the season, I pointed to this game as a likely Big Country Preps Game of the Week and along with that, I said two things: On paper, Hamlin would be the favorite (which they are) and that I’d pick Albany (which i will). 

I’m throwing logic completely out of the window here and basing this pick on history alone. 

For better or worse, Hamlin has not beaten Albany since 2001 — a time span that includes 12 straight AHS victories, including two Lion wins last year that saw me pick the Pied Pipers twice. 

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FEATURE: West pleased with milestone, but had to be told it was coming

CISCO — In one of the most successful coaching careers the Big Country has ever seen, Cisco’s Brent West has never been lacking in media attention.

On the other hand, he has never actively sought it either. 

So, it may come as no surprise that when the 19-year Cisco mentor was nearing his 200th career win this season, he had to be informed of the approaching milestone. 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: San Saba QB O’Keefe runs way to honor

San Saba senior Sean O’Keefe wasn’t fully needed through much of an 8-0 start that saw the Armadillos rout one team after another and consistently pull their starters early. 

In Friday’s district title game against Crawford, however, the Tulsa-bound signal caller had a full opportunity to shine in a 48-28 win over Crawford — the closest game the Armadillos (9-0) have had this season, by far. 

Rushing 21 times, O’Keefe piled up 364 yards on the ground, finding the end zone four times in the process to earn our Big Country Preps Player of the Week honor and lock up the District 7-2A Division I championship in his final home game.

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District 6-3A Division II: Week 10 Report

Dublin 20, Comanche 16 Cy Wing worked his late-game magic once again, leading the Lions to a come-from-behind win over Comanche. 

Trailing 13-7 at the break, Dublin used two second-half TDs to give the Lions their first win over Comanche since 1999. A 56-yard TD pass from Wing to Colten Couch with about four minutes to play proved to be the game winner. 

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District 4-3A Division II: Week 10 Report

Cisco 34, Anson 7 Cisco overcame an early 7-0 deficit with 34 unanswered points as coach Brent West chalked up his 200th career win. 

Gibson Hearne rushed for only 22 yards on 11 carries, but found the end zone four times to lead the Loboes (8-1, 6-0), who clinched their ninth straight district title with the win. 

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District 3-2A Division I: Week 10 Report

Hawley 50, Forsan 7 Coach Mitch Ables’ Bearcats improved to 9-0 overall and 3-0 in league play behind 165 yards rushing and two scores from Colton Marshall. 

Xavier Rodela rushed for 47 yards and one TD and threw for 87 yards and three scores to help keep the Bearcats unbeaten. Rodela (9 of 14) hit five different receivers on the night.

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District 5-4A Division I: Week 10 Report

Stephenville 49, Gatesville 24 Coach Sterling doty’s Yellow Jackets (5-4, 2-2) piled up 503 yards in total offense, including 386 rushing yards to lock up a playoff berth. 

Stephenville will now enjoy a bye week in preparation for the playoffs. 

Gatesville (0-9, 0-4) was mathematically eliminated from the playoff hunt with the loss. 

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District 3-3A Division I: Week 10 Report

Eastland 42, Clyde 27 Behren Morton was 22 of 36 for 288 yards and four scores as Eastland recovered from its first loss of the year (at Wall on Oct.

Bonilla

25) with a big win over Clyde. 

Anthony Bonilla was Morton’s favorite target, hauling in seven catches for 142 yards and a score. He also rushed eight times for 69 yards and two more touchdowns as the Mavericks improved to 8-1 overall and 3-1 in district play. 

Dylan Neuman led Clyde (6-3, 2-2) with 231 yards passing, including a 37-yard TD pass to Jax Roam in the fourth quarter.

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Mistakes, La Vega speed cost Brownwood in loss

BROWNWOOD — No. 3 Waco La Vega may have been as fast and as athletic as advertised. But once the Brownwood Lions examine the videotape of Friday’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week, they may very well find that their 31-14 loss was winnable. 

Elisha Cummings rushed for 76 yards and two scores to lift La Vega (8-1, 3-0 District 5-4A DI), which clinched the district title with only 285 yards in total offense. 

Brownwood, which hurt itself with a pair turnovers, fell to 8-1 and 2-1 with its first loss of the year. 

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Brownwood braces for La Vega (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 38-8, .826

OVERALL: 357-73, .830

If the sixth-ranked Brownwood Lions (8-0, 2-0 District 5-4A DI) are to reach Arlington this year, the road will pass directly through No. 1 Argyle or No. 3 Waco La Vega. 

It’s unavoidable. 

The Lions, therefore, may as well get an early preview to coming attractions. And in Friday’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week, they will get precisely that when La Vega (7-1, 2-0) comes to Gordon Wood Stadium for one of the top area games of 2019. 

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EVAN REN: A few odds and ends to talk about as the regular season winds down

Every year, my wife and I face the same predicament: How to schedule our annual trip to Fredericksburg for our anniversary while taking the state football championships into account. 

The trick, is to accurately project how many teams from the Big Country will get to Arlington and then make our reservations in Fredericksburg accordingly. Ideally, the Mrs. and I would like to be in our secret getaway on our anniversary or as close to it as possible.

The problem is, our anniversary often falls right in the middle of championship week and our “getaway spot” is often booked more than a month in advance.

During two-a-days it’s all fun speculation.

But by late October, this is a serious endeavor, and if I miscalculate it, I’ll be driving from Arlington to Fredericksburg in the middle of the night after covering a game. Or even worse, I’ll be driving from Fredericksburg to Arlington at the crack of dawn to reach a game on time.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cooper’s Garcia, Davis share award

As two of the most consistent performers in the Big Country this season, Cooper’s Noah Garcia and Dylon Davis could have earned Big Country Preps Player of the Week honors any number of times this season.

Garcia, a junior running back, has rushed for more than 190 yards per games this fall, while Davis, a senior cornerback, leads the state of Texas in interceptions with 12.

Well, after nine weeks and nine Cougar wins, it’s time to give this duo their due.

As has been the case in virtually every game in 2019, the pair was at the forefront of the Coogs’ 49-14 whipping of Lubbock High on Friday. And for their part in that game, Garcia and Davis will share a weekly award that could just as easily serve to recognize a season worth of outstanding play.

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District 5-2A Division II: Week 9 Report

Quanah 58, Munday 34 — Quanah rolled up 545 yards in total offense, of which 402 were on the ground to earn a win over Munday.

Landin Leija led Quanah with 195 yards rushing and four scores on 18 carries. He was also 8 of 11 through the air for 129 yards and another TD. 

Munday will close its regular against Shamrock at home and Memphis on the road over the next two Fridays. 

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District 6-3A Division II: Week 9 Report

Wilkerson

Comanche 46, Rio Vista 14 The Indians managed just 260 yards in total offense, but found compensation by forcing three Rio Vista fumbles. 

Braxton Patterson and Logan Wilkerson rushed for 55 and 49 yards respectively to lead Comanche, which tallied seven rushing touchdowns from six different players.

By halftime, Comanche had opened a 27-7 lead and was never seriously threatened.  

CHS, which improved to 4-4 and 1-1 with the win is still in contention for a high playoff seed. 

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District 4-3A Division II: Week 9 Report

Sanchez

Bangs 44, Coleman 21 The Dragons went to the ground game to win this crucial district matchup, with Brayton Wedemen, Ethan Sanchez and Guy Powell tallying 186, 135 and 123 yards respectively. 

This was a must win for both clubs, which were looking to secure the No. 4 playoff seed in district play. 

Coleman dropped to 3-5 and 2-3 with the loss.

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DISTRICT 2-4A Division I: Week 9 Report

Andrews 48, Big Spring 14 — The Mustangs (7-1, 1-0) rolled up 550 yards in total offense, including 301 yards through the air to grab a piece of the league lead. 

Big Spring was led by C.J. Harris and Orlando Sanchez, who both added 2-yard touchdown runs. 

The Steers fell to 1-7 and 0-1 with the loss. 

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District 5-4A Division I: Week 9 Report

Rodgers

Brownwood 38, Stephenville 22 Drew Huff threw for 130 yards and two scores and rushed for 155 yards and another TD to keep Brownwood (8-0, 2-0) unbeaten. 

Reece Rodgers was another key contributor for the Lions, rushing for 172 yards and three touchdowns. 

The win sets up a huge district showdown with Waco La Vega next Friday at Gordon Wood Stadium in Brownwood with the district title on the line. 

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District 3-2A Division I: Week 9 Report

Salas 

Winters 20, Forsan 13 Ethan Sanchez rushed for 194 yards and a score to help Winters to a crucial road win at Forsan. 

Alex Salas threw for 23 yards and one TD and rushed for 34 yards and another score as the Blizzards improved to 5-4 overall and 1-2 in league play. 

The victory now gives WHS (5-4, 1-2) an opportunity to snag one of four playoff seeds, given that it holds a tiebreaker with Forsan (3-5, 0-2).

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District 3-3A Division I: Week 9 Report

Woodward

Breckenridge 40, Early 7 Breckenridge pounded out 395 yards rushing as a team to notch its first victory of the season.

Owen Woodward rushed for 188 yards and three scores and Jonas Arellano added 100 yards and two TDS on just nine carries to lead the Buckaroos (1-7, 1-2).

Early fell to 3-5 and 0-3 with the loss. 

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Wall defense shuts down powerful Eastland 28-14

WALL — A workmanlike offensive effort, backed by yet another dominating defensive performance, pushed the second-ranked Wall Hawks to a 28-14 win over No. 7 Eastland in the Big Country Preps Game of the Week on Friday.

Mason Fuchs threw for 81 yards, rushed for 62 and accounted for two touchdowns to lift Wall (8-0, 3-0 District 3-3A Division I), which now has sole possession of first place in the league standings. 

Eastland, which was limited to 218 yards in total offense, was led by Behren Morton, who threw for 166 yards and one score and Anthony Bonilla, who caught one TD pass and rushed for another. 

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Mavs, Hawks clash in match of top offense, defense (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 33-6, .846

OVERALL: 319-65, .831

If I were to apply a cliché to our Big Country Preps Game of the Week, I suppose the old “irresistible force meets the immovable object” would work nicely here. 

I generally avoid clichés at every opportunity. But when the Wall Hawks (7-0, 2-0) square off with Eastland (7-0, 2-0) this Friday at Hawk Stadium, it’s temping to use every one of them. 

How much more intriguing can a matchup between the Big Country’s best 3A defense and its most explosive 3A offense be?

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FEATURE: Fielding a forgotten key in powerful Eastland offense

EASTLAND — They’re off to a 7-0 start heading into this week’s crucial district game at Wall (7-0). 

They’re averaging 52 points per game, their quarterback (Behren Morton) has just committed to Texas Tech and they have so many people catching passes, it’s difficult to keep track of it all. 

The media has heaped praise on the Eastland Mavericks’ aerial attack, which by season’s end, could finish as one of the top producers the Big Country has ever seen in Class 3A.

Opposing defenses, however, are prioritizing something entirely different.

Lurking in the Eastland backfield outside of the media’s highlight reel, has been a 5-foot-10, 220-pound wrecking ball better known as Brandon Fielding — a vital element who has provided the Mavs with a tough short-yardage presence, red zone reliability and the avoidance of second-and-long situations. 

Without him, the Eastland spread offense would look radically different, and be far less physical. 

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EVAN REN: Dublin pays fitting tribute to Cervetto, wife

It’s always been my contention that Bob Cervetto is the best thing to ever happen to Dublin High School athletics. 

Apparently there are those in Dublin who are thinking along the same lines. And in Monday night’s DISD school board meeting, one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a football coach was awarded to him. 

As an emotional Cervetto looked on, the school board voted unanimously to name its new 3,700-seat on-campus football field after he and his wife. The Lions, who have never played a game of football on campus, will do so next fall at Bob and Norma Cervetto Stadium.

This signifies something that the Dublin community should be quite proud of — the ability to patiently let a coach do the primary job he was assigned to do — love and set an example for our kids. 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Brady’s Bauer snags award again

In a week filled with explosive performances it wasn’t easy choosing our weekly award winner among those nominated by our coaches.

We eventually settled on Brady’s Walker Bauer, whose dual-threat performance in a win over Johnson City was just good enough to eclipse the others. 

Throwing for 132 yards and four touchdowns in a 53-3 win over Johnson City, Bauer was perhaps even more impressive running the ball, with 239 yards and and two additional scores. 

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BCP Game of the Week: Wall, Jim Ned clash in District 3-3A DI showdown (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 35-8, .813

OVERALL: 286-59, .829

If one accepts the notion that the third-ranked Wall Hawks (6-0, 1-0) are the favorite to win District 3-3A Division I, then the Jim Ned Indians (6-0, 1-0) are about to receive their mid-term report card in our Big Country Preps Game of the Week. 

I think that’s a fair way of looking at it, considering that Wall has already beaten teams such as Cisco, Midland Christian and Clyde.

However, there are reasons to believe that the Indians may be the best team Wall has faced to this point, not the least of which is a defense that has pitched four shutouts in six games and is allowing an average of just 7.0 points per night.

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FEATURE: Injury-wracked Stamford leaning on Barber for all-purpose yardage

STAMFORD — With the Stamford Bulldogs (4-3, 0-1 District 3-2A DI) slugging their way through an injury-plagued 2019 season, coach Ronnie Casey has been forced to lean on one player a bit more than he’d prefer to. 

Casey, who would ideally like to see as many sets of hands on the football as possible, has been giving senior running back D’Marcus Barber an opportunity to shine. 

And it’s not strictly on the ground. 

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BREAKING NEWS: Morton’s choice of Texas Tech an easy one

 

Behren Morton

EASTLAND — Eastland junior quarterback Behren Morton officially announced on Tuesday that he will sign with Texas Tech University. 

Still only a junior, Morton narrowed the field of several possible candidates to Oklahoma State, Baylor, TCU and Tech, before finally settling on the Red Raiders.

“I sat down with my family after this last week after we went to Baylor, and we decided where the best place for me to play would be,” Morton said. “We all agreed 100 percent that it was Texas Tech. 

“We just numbered them down and decided that Tech would be the best move.”

Continue reading “BREAKING NEWS: Morton’s choice of Texas Tech an easy one”

BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Coahoma’s Schneider this week’s top dog

Schneider

He looks more like a linebacker than a quarterback and he’s not exactly Usain Bolt on a dead run. 

But Coahoma quarterback Zack Schneider is smart, double-tough and proving more than capable of handling a position that he may not have been specifically designed for. 

That much was proven last Friday when the senior led Coahoma to a huge 29-21 win over Idalou in our Big Country Preps Game of the Week that saw him rush for 176 yards and four touchdowns and pass for 108.   

He also came up big defensively, charting 10 tackles, one interception , one fumble recovery and one pass breakup to help the Bulldogs improve to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in District 2-3A Division II.

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District 5-2A Division II: Week 7 Report

Wheeler 74, Munday 6 WHS piled up 633 yards in total offense,  including a 527-yard rushing tally to win going away. 

Wheeler limited Munday to just 15 total yards on the day to improve to 5-1, 1-0.  Munday, which is playing a mixed schedule of varsity/JV games, is currently 1-3 against varsity competition and 0-1 in district. 

Wheeler will play host to Shamrock next Friday; Munday will travel to Wellington on the same evening. 

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