Author: Mike Lee, Special to Big Country Preps

FEATURE: De Leon wading through injuries, schedule and transition

DE LEON — The De Leon Bearcats would have enough challenges this football season just switching from the pass-oriented spread offense to the run-oriented Wing-T. But the Class 2A Bearcats also lost six starters to injuries in their first two games, which doesn’t mix well with a challenging nondistrict schedule that opens with four 3A opponents in Clyde, Tolar, Dublin and Comanche.

The Bearcats edged Clyde 7-6 in the opener, but have since lost to Tolar 23-17 and Dublin 31-7. Next up is county rival Comanche followed by Stamford, a perennially solid 2A program.

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

FEATURE: ‘Pound the rock and run the clock’ — Goldthwaite transitions from passing to running with Slot-T

Goldthwaite lines up in its new slot-T offense during its Aug. 30 season opener with Winters.

GOLDTHWAITE — The Goldthwaite Eagles’ transition from the pass-oriented pistol offense to the run-oriented Slot-T under new coach Keith Virdell enjoyed a breakout performance during Friday’s 36-27 win at Junction.

Goldthwaite rushed for 351 yards against Junction — which incredibly was more than the 317 yards rushing the Eagles managed during the entire 2018 season, when they finished 1-9. The 2018 total included 131 negative yards for quarterback sacks and 76 negative yards credited to the team for errant shotgun snaps.

The Eagles won’t have lost yardage for bad shotgun snaps this year since senior quarterback Grayson Moore is under center. They won’t have many sacks, either, since Moore has passed only five times in two games. The win over Junction ended Goldthwaite’s nine-game losing skid.

Virdell’s Slot-T is all about running backs hitting the holes quickly — whether it’s on a trap, sweep, quick pitch or misdirection run. The philosophy is to block and run quickly so the offense goes downhill.

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

FEATURE: Dominant pitching a big reason for Wall’s No. 1 ranking

By MIKE LEE (Special to Big Country Preps) photos courtesy of Stephanie Weishuhn

Most Class 3A baseball teams hope to have one or two starting pitchers who can consistently shut down opponents.

Wall has five pitchers with earned run averages of 0.60 or less, and it’s not like the undefeated Hawks have played a weak schedule. Their nondistrict victims include Class 6A Odessa High and 4A opponents Pecos, Andrews, Seminole, Dumas, Lubbock Estacado, Lamesa and Snyder.

It’s no wonder Wall is 31-0 and has been ranked No. 1 in 3A in the Texas Association of Baseball Coaches poll since the first week of April. Wall will face Alpine in the regional quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday in a best-of-three series scheduled for Christensen Stadium in Midland.

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

FEATURE Gorman’s Guthery: Being 25-0 feels ‘awkward’ (photos courtesy of Jennifer Overstreet)

Caitlyn Clark has pitched through tendinitis this season.

Nick Guthery had to talk girls into playing softball when he became the Gorman coach in 2011. Nine years later, his Lady Panthers are 25-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state entering the Class 1A regional semifinals.

“I have to admit. It feels a little awkward,” Guthery said after Gorman, No. 1 in Class 1A in the Texas Girls Coaches Association poll, beat No. 5 Perrin-Whitt 6-1 in Thursday’s regional quarterfinals. “We’ve been undefeated in district before, but we’ve never been this far along and not lost a game.

“We don’t see ourselves as undefeated. We just play it a game at a time and move on to the next one. Most people think I should be pumped up about being undefeated. And I am, but we don’t dwell on it because we know we can be beaten on any day.”

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

San Saba eliminates De Leon 31-17

BROWNWOOD — When Jerod Fikac arrived at San Saba in 2017 and inherited a 0-10 team, he asked his players a simple question.

“Coach Fikac asked us which was bigger: the rearview mirror or the front windshield?” recalled Armadillos’ end Joseph Watson. “We all said the front windshield. He told us not to look through the rearview mirror because it shows what’s in the past. The front windshield looks toward the future. He wanted us looking toward the future.”

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