Author: Evan Ren

DISTRICT 7-2A DIV. II WEEK 10 REPORT: Haskell clinches playoff spot; Seymour, Archer City post wins to remain in title contention

Haskell 49, Electra 6 — Marquise Johnson rushed for 110 yards and three scores and Montrel Johnson rushed for 64 yards and two more TDs to lead Haskell to a win on the road. 

The Indians (5-5, 3-3) had one of the best defensive performances of the year, limiting Electra to only 127 yards in total offense to lock up a playoff berth. 

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DISTRICT 6-2A DIV. II WEEK 10 REPORT: Albany, Cross Plains, Miles secure Week 10 victories

Albany 55, Hamlin 6 — Coy Lefevre rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns and Adam Hill rushed for 95 yards and three scores to lead Albany past area rival Hamlin.

The Lions quickly built a 41-0 halftime lead before putting things into cruise control. It was the fourth straight win for the Lions since an injury-plagued 3-2 start and clinched the district title.

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DISTRICT 4-3A DIV. II WEEK 10 REPORT: Bulldogs remain in title contention; Idalou and Abernathy both post wins

Coahoma 27, Lubbock Roosevelt 26 — The Bulldogs survived what might be the most evenly matched game we’ve seen in the area this season. 

Not only did Coahoma win by a point, but outgained Roosvelt by a single yard, 366-365.  The turnovers broke even as well, with both clubs forcing one apiece. 

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DISTRICT 2-3A DIV. II WEEK 10 REPORT: Hawks take sole possession of first place with win over Early; Brady escapes Grape Creek

Wall 10, Early 7 — Gunnar Dillard rushed for 167 yards and on 32 carries and Nathan Pepper rushed for 88 yards and one TD to lead Wall to a difficult win over Early. 

The Hawks (8-1, 4-0) now has sole possession of first place with the win, but must defeat Brady (5-4, 3-1) next week to lock up the district title. 

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DISTRICT 5-4A DIV. I WEEK 10 REPORT: Yellow Jackets fall to Alvarado in stunning upset; China Spring tops Waxahachie Life

Alvarado 50, Stephenville 49 — AHS amassed 566 yards in total offense to overcome a 21-point deficit and pull off one of the biggest upsets of the year.

Trailing 49-28 in the fourth quarter at Dublin ISD Stadium, the Indians rallied with 22 unanswered points to defeat the defending state champs.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Indians top Vernon 28-7 behind two goal line stands and 221 rushing yards from Shipman

TUSCOLA — The Jim Ned Indians and Vernon Lions entered the Big Country Preps Game of the Week with two of the better rushing offenses in the area, along with two of the better rushing defenses. 

Friday night, however, the Indians clearly outperformed Vernon in both areas, dominating the trenches in a 28-7 win in Tuscola. 

Brayden Shipman rushed for 221 yards and two scores and the Indian defense came up with two crucial goal-line stands to lift the Indians (6-3, 4-0 District 3-3A DI), who can clinch the league title if they defeat Iowa Park on the road next Friday. It was the sixth straight win for Jim Ned following an injury-plagued 0-3 start.

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Jim Ned hosts Vernon in critical District 3-3A game (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 46-6, .880
SEASON TOTAL: 379-94, .801

As a season progresses, certain games that at first, look commonplace, suddenly emerge as high-stakes showdowns. 

Early in the season with Jim Ned battling through a rash of injuries and Vernon still short on respect, a late October meeting of these two teams wasn’t on the radar screen. 

That, however, has quickly changed in the wake of a 3-0 league start for the Indians and a surprising 28-21 upset of formerly unbeaten Breckenridge by Vernon two weeks ago. 

Jim Ned is now looking at a possible district title if it can beat Vernon and if Clyde can knock off Iowa Park. 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Zephyr running back brings home Player of the Week honors

With some people projecting Zephr as an underdog in last week’s game with Sidney, very few people were expecting ZHS to provide us with the Big Country Preps Player of the Week.

Nonetheless, here we are.

Zephyr senior running back Jayden Millican takes the spotlight after rushing for 285 yards and six touchdowns in a 68-20 win over over Sidney. But he wasn’t finished there.

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DISTRICT 10-2A DIV. II WEEK 9 REPORT: Hico locks up playoff berth with win over Hubbard

Hico 56, Hubbard 12 — The Tigers pounded out 330 yards rushing with five different players scoring touchdowns.

Price Mullin rushed for 78 yards one one TD and Carson Keller rushed for 67 yards and two scores to lead Hico, which improved to 3-6 overall and 2-3 in league play. 

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DISTRICT 7-2A DIV. II WEEK 9 REPORT: Munday falls to Petrolia in OT, Windthorst grabs district lead

Petrolia 27, Munday 20 — Petrolia narrowly escaped Munday in overtime, improving to 2-6 overall and 2-2 in league play to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. 

The Pirates must now sweep both Archer City and Seymour and hope that Haskell is upset next week by Electra to get into postseason play.

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DISTRICT 6-2A DIV. II WEEK 9 REPORT: Albany, Cross Plains and Miles all notch district wins

17Albany 55, Roscoe 0 — After a lengthy injury Cole Chapman returned to the Albany lineup at quarterback and had an immediate impact, hitting 5 of 11 throws for 105 yards and three scores.  

The Lions (6-2, 3-0) also ran the football effectively, charting 131 yards as a team, including 94 yards rushing and two scores from Coy Lefevre. 

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DISTRICT 4-3A DIV. II WEEK 9 REPORT: Coahoma remains in title hunt while Abernathy and Idalou collect wins

Coahoma 40, Stanton 12 — Jaidyn Vineyard rushed for 161 yards and two TDs on 21 carries as Coahoma defeated Stanton to keep its district title hopes alive. 

Boyd Cox led the CHS aerial attack, hitting 12 of 24 throws for 166 yards and three scores as the Bulldogs improved to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in district. 

Coahoma will close its regular season with a road date at Lubbock Roosevelt next Friday and a home date with Abernathy on Nov. 4. 

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DISTRICT 3-3A DIV. I WEEK 9 REPORT: Jim Ned takes league lead with win at Breckenridge, Iowa Park stuns Vernon, Clyde falls

Jim Ned 32, Breckenridge 25 — Troy Doran rushed for 182 yards and a score and the Jim Ned defense forced two costly Breckenridge turnovers to secure a huge win on the road.

With standout Breckenridge two-way player Jerry Lawson out with an injury, the Indians too full advantage of his absence on both sides of the ball. 

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DISTRICT 5-4A DIV. I WEEK 9 REPORT: Stephenville falls in thriller at China Spring; La Vega tops Alvarado

China Spring 38, Stephenville 36 — Cash McCollumn threw for 284 yards and three scores and Kyle Barton rushed for 75 yards and another TD to lift China Spring to a win over Stephenville.

China Spring clinched the district title with the victory, since it owns head-to-head tiebreakers with Waco La Vega and Stephenville. 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Seymour squelches Haskell offense in 16-0 win

HASKELL — Needing a district win to put itself into a strong position for a No. 3 playoff seed, Haskell had Seymore at home, in front of an enthusiastic crowd and played gutsy, inspired defense all night. 

There was just one ingredient missing: The Haskell offense. 

Managing only 58 total yards and four first downs, the Indians fell in our Big Country Preps Game of the Week 16-0, as Seymour all but locked up the three seed and created some new possibilities for itself. 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Seymour, Haskell meet in crucial district game (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country picks)

LAST WEEK: 37-7, .840
SEASON TOTAL: 333-88, .791

Aside from it being competitive on paper, our general rule of thumb when selecting our Big Country Preps Game of the Week is that it must be a home game for one of the teams in our coverage area (though we occasionally make exceptions). So for those of you wondering how high-profile matchups involving Big Country Preps teams like Stephenville at China Spring and/or Brock at Paradise are not in our top spot this week, there is your answer. 

Closer to home, we’ve selected Seymour at Haskell as the best combination of importance and competitiveness, though the decision wasn’t easy. Jim Ned at Breckenridge has the potential to be very close, as does Christoval at Forsan and Hamilton at De Leon. The final determining factor was our desire to share the love. The Big Country Preps Game of the Week has yet to visit Haskell since we opened our doors in 2018 and that’s a drought we wanted over. 

Here’s a look at all of this week’s top games, plus my picks on all games involving teams in our coverage area. I’ll see you on the road. 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Snyder’s Stewart takes the award after big win over Graham

Snyder quarterback Easton Stewart barely makes a dent when he steps on the scale, standing in at 5-foot-8 and only 140 pounds. But the SHS junior was plenty big enough to lead the Tigers to a 35-21 upset over Graham last week at Tiger Stadium. 

Our BCP Player of the Week connected on 27 of 34 pass attempts for 282 yards and five scores and rushed for an additional 30 to lead the Tigers (3-5, 1-1) to a crucial victory. 

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FEATURE: Oznick a genuine bright spot during rebuilding year for young EHS club

Photos courtesy of Kristin Oznick

EASTLAND — Jay Oznick is barely making a blip on the media radar screen. The Eastland junior receiver, like the rest of his teammates, has been working to improve through the day-to-day challenge of a rebuilding season.

So attention has been scarce for Oznick, who has quietly put together one of the best seasons in the area, despite missing one full game and half of another with an injury.

With only a handful of seniors seeing significant playing time, the 2022 Mavericks are at the shallow end of the experience pool, with several sophomores thrust into key roles. 

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DISTRICT 7-2A DII WEEK 8 REPORT: Haskell falls to Archer City, Windthorst, Seymour both collect wins

Archer City 27, Haskell 20 — Freshman Joe Castles threw for 211 yards and one score and Elijah Jackson rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns to lead Archer City to a win over Haskell. 

The win sets up an opportunity for the surprising Wildcats (5-2, 3-0) to play for sole possession of the league lead next week at Windthorst.

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DISTRICT 4-3A DIV. II WEEK 8 REPORT: Coahoma falls at Idalou, Abernathy takes league lead, Littlefield routs Stanton

Idalou 28, Coahoma 16 — Idalou held off a strong challenge from Coahoma, forcing four Bulldog turnovers to get the win. 

 Tate Hendley threw for 158 yards and one score and Tyler Jack rushed for 108 yards and two scores to lead Idalou (4-3, 1-1).

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DISTRICT 5-2A DIV. I WEEK 8 REPORT: Bangs tops Armadillos, Coleman rebounds, Tolar remains unbeaten

Bangs 42, San Saba 35 — Guy Powell rushed for 193 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries to lift Bangs to a crucial district win over the Armadillos. 

San Saba managed 505 yards in total offense but hurt itself with nine penalties and a 10 percent success rate on third downs.  

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DISTRICT 3-3A DIV. I WEEK 8 REPORT: Doran leads Jim Ned past Clyde, Vernon upsets Breckenridge, Iowa Park clips Bowie in OT

Jim Ned 28, Clyde 21 — Troy Doran rushed for 190 yards and three scores and threw for 79 yards and another TD to lift Jim Ned (4-3, 2-0) to its fourth straight win.

Leading 21-14 with 7:21 left in the game, Doran scored what proved to be the game-winner on a 5-yard keeper

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DISTRICT 5-4A DI WEEK 8 REPORT: Jackets roll as Lambert returns, China Spring routs La Vega

Stephenville 63, Waxahachie Life 20 —  Ryan Gafford threw for 207 yards and four scores and Ryder Lambert returned from an injury to thew for 120 yards and two more TDs to lead Stephenville (7-0, 1-0) in its league opener.

The Yellow Jackets quickly built a 42-14 halftime lead before coasting to the finish.

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GAME STORY: Comanche in district driver’s seat following big win at Jacksboro

JACKSBORO — Comanche staked its claim as the District 5-3A Division II favorite Friday night against Jacksboro.  

The Indians did it in multiple ways as sophomore tailback Sawyer Wilkerson shredded the Tiger defense for 269 rushing yards and four touchdowns.  

Comanche also got an efficient performance from quarterback Layden Welch, who threw for 215 yards and had a hand in more touchdowns (three) than incomplete passes (two). 

It was yet another reminder that this year’s Indians (6-1, 2-0) are a much different team than last season when they only won once.  

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GAME STORY: Cisco wins fifth straight while handing Stamford its first loss of the year

STAMFORD — A week after rushing for more than 300 yards and five scores in a win over Olney, Cisco quarterback Hunter Long demonstrated another part of his game on Friday in a 47-14 win over Stamford: an accurate deep passing game. 

Long was 9 of 13 for 243 yards and three scores to lead Cisco (7-1, 4-0 District 4-2A DI), which is now in a firm position to challenge Hawley for the league title.  Long connected with passes of 77, 52 and 40 yards along the way and rushed for 145 yards and three scores to help the Loboes to their fifth straight win.

Limited to 201 yards in total offense, Stamford (6-1, 2-1) suffered its first loss of the year. Hayden Henager led the Bulldogs with 71 yards rushing on 14 carries. 

“We put ourselves in some third-and-long situations when we had to throw the ball,” said Cisco coach Kevin Stennett, whose club finished with 540 total yards (297 rushing). “We finally proved that we’ve got some receivers who will go up and get it and we got it to several different receivers. 

“We wanted to show that we can throw the ball and mix it up and I’ve very pleased about how balanced we were.” 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Whitesboro visits Brock in highly anticipated matchup (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country picks)

LAST WEEK: 46-5, .901
SEASON TOTAL: 296-81, .785

The column saw its best week last week, hitting at 90 percent accuracy. And frankly, the timing couldn’t be better because we’re entering one of the toughest weeks for picking games that we’ll see in 2022. 

This week’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week will see us travel to Brock for a huge District 4-3A matchup between the Eagles and unbeaten Whitesboro. Other highlighted matchups will include Cisco at Stamford, Comanche at Jacksboro, Coahoma at Idalou, Bangs at San Saba and Miles at Hamlin, along with my picks on the rest of the area games.

Let’s dive in. 

Here’s this week’s forecast: 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cisco’s Long takes our top spot after huge night vs. Olney

With a difficult Olney team paying them a visit on Friday, the Cisco Loboes could ill afford a misstep in their quest to win District 4-2A Division I — not with Stamford and Hawley still on their plate. 

Cisco turned to veteran quarterback Hunter Long to get the job done and our Big Country Preps Player of the Week responded with an eye-popping 338 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 20 carries to help Cisco (6-1, 3-0) to a 34-15 win.

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FEATURE: Reed’s common sense quest may benefit track athletes all over Texas

GORDON — Throughout the gamut of junior high athletics, it is common to see adjustments made for children of that age.  From the size of the field, to the size of the ball to the weight of the equipment used, middle schoolers are helped with modifications designed specifically for them. Without them, 11-13 year-olds would have a difficult time competing in the sports of their choice. 

It only makes sense. 

In Texas, however, there has been a noteworthy exception — one that long-time area track coach Mike Reed (now at Gordon High School) has been battling to have changed for six years: The recommended distance for meet organizers to place between the girls 100 hurdles and boys 110 hurdles. 

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DISTRICT 7-2A DIV. II WEEK 7 REPORT: Haskell dominates Munday, Windthorst survives scare, Archer City wins

Haskell 58, Munday 6 — The Indians rolled up 438 yards in total offense to win their district opener. 

Grady Vasquez threw for 140 yards and two scores and Trevor Henry rushed for 80 yards and two more TDs to lead Haskell (4-3, 2-1) which remains in the hunt for a high playoff seed. 

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DISTRICT 6-2A DIV. II WEEK 7 REPORT: Roscoe, Albany and Hamlin win their district openers

Roscoe 28, Cross Plains 6 — Jax Watts threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 33 yards and another score to lead the Plowboys to a win over previously unbeaten Cross Plains. 

Outgained 317-167, Cross Plains fell to 6-1 and 0-1.  Noah Moses led the Buffaloes with 40 yards rushing and one TD to go with 14 solo tackles and a fumble recovery.

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DISTRICT 4-2A DIV. I WEEK 7 REPORT: Cisco, Anson, Hawley all notch important district wins

Cisco 34, Olney 15 — Hunter Long accounted for 355 of Cisco’s 399 yards in total offense, rushing for 338 yards and throwing for 17 in an important win over Olney.

Long found the end zone five times, scoring on runs of 11, 83, 64, 2 and 7 yards to help the Loboes improve to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in District 4-2A DI. 

 Olney was led by Gatlin Guy who rushed for 122 yards and one TD and Jovani Rockmore, who rushed for 116 and another TD.

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DISTRICT 4-3A DIV. II WEEK 7 REPORT: Coahoma wins fifth straight; Abernathy and Roosevelt chart wins.

Coahoma 35, Littlefield 28 — Boyd Cox threw for 261 yards and three scores and Tristan Guerrero hauled in four catches for 113 yards and one TD to lead Coahoma (5-1, 1-0) to an important district win. 

The Bulldogs have now won five straight games since falling to archrival Forsan in their season opener. 

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DISTRICT 2-3A DIV. II WEEK 7 REPORT: Early, Brady and Wall all win their district openers

Early 36, Ballinger 0 — The Longhorns rushed for 200 yards and four scores and Jaxyn Price threw for 161 yards and another TD in a win at Ballinger. 

Griffin Cheslock rushed for 130 yards and one touchdown and Caleb Ozuna rushed for 50 yards and two more scores as Early improved to 3-3 and 1-0. 

Limited to just minus-35 yards in total offense, Ballinger dropped to 0-6 and 0-1.

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