Author: Brandon McAuliffe

GAME STORY: Special teams lift Wylie past Canutillo and into state quarterfinals

FORT STOCKTON — It’s time to hang the “Football in December” banner at Hugh Sandifer Stadium.

The Wylie football team continued its postseason run through the Region I-5A Division II bracket with a thrilling 21-18 win over Canutillo at Fort Stockton’s Panther Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

After the game, Wylie players were quick to admit that they knew the last time the banner went up was in 2016 when the Bulldogs lost 31-17 to Carthage in the Class 4A Division I state championship.

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GAME STORY: Long, Huston, Gayle lead Cisco to regional finals

COLORADO CITY — A week of uncertainty of when the game would be played due to a forecasted winter storm that was going to stretch from the Panhandle to the Permian Basin didn’t impact the Cisco football team on Friday afternoon.

Playing in a steady rainfall, the Loboes knocked off New Deal 33-14 in a Region I-2A Division I semifinal game nobody was sure would be played until the Lions were able to get on the road to Colorado City’s Wolf Stadium on Friday morning.

Cisco now awaits the winner of Saturday night’s tilt between Hawley and Sonora to see who it will face for the Region I championship.

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GAME STORY: Big Spring sees season come to an end with second-round loss

CLYDE — In his fourth year at the helm of the Big Spring football program, Cannon McWilliams has preached to his team how they need to set the standard for the future.

Despite a 31-7 loss to Wichita Falls High in a Region I-4A Division I area-round game on Friday night at Bulldog Stadium, McWilliams was able to say that this year’s team helped raise the standard.

This year marked the first time since 2018 that the Steers had advanced past the bi-district round of the playoffs. Continue reading “GAME STORY: Big Spring sees season come to an end with second-round loss”

GAME STORY: Cisco girls open Pug Parris Classic with win over Cooper

Kyla Speights gave the Cooper girls basketball team a 3-0 lead early against Cisco as both teams began the Pug Parris Classic at Cougar Gym on Thursday night, but the Lady Loboes rebounded quickly on their way to a 52-34 win.

Braley Brunson and Brooklyn Hurtado led Cisco with 16 and 11 points, respectively, while Speights’ 14 points led the Lady Cougars.

Having scrimmaged each other already, both coaches knew what they would get from the other squad.

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GAME STORY: Santo holds off feisty Seymour in bi-district thriller

CLYDE — Santo coach Devon Mann challenged his squad to bully Seymour in its playoff opener Friday night at Clyde’s Bulldog Stadium, and the Wildcats answered him resoundingly.

Santo never trailed but needed an onside kick recovery with 15 seconds left to escape the Region II-2A Division II bi-district matchup with a 28-20 win in frigid conditions.

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GAME STORY: Hawley routs Christoval to open postseason

SAN ANGELO — The Hawley football team opened its playoff run by losing the coin toss to Christoval and seeing the Cougars elect to defer to the second half.

That’s the only thing that didn’t go the Bearcats way Thursday at San Angelo Stadium.

Chandlin Myers fielded the opening kickoff and raced 86 yards untouched through the middle of the field, and the Bearcats never looked back on their way to a 52-8 win in a Region I-2A Division I bi-district matchup.

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BREAKING: Stephenville voters narrowly pass bond election for new stadium

Cover photo courtesy of Kimberly McKinney

The Stephenville Yellow Jackets and Honeybees now know what the future holds for the program when they are no longer able to play at Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium.

Voters in Stephenville approved a $39,978,837 bond election for a new on-campus stadium by a slim margin of 147 votes on Tuesday — marking the first bond ever to be approved for Stephenville ISD athletics.

There were 3,878 votes cast in favor of the bond with 3,731 opposing it.

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GAME STORY: Slow start dooms Coahoma in loss to Abernathy

COAHOMA — The Coahoma Bulldogs entered Friday’s showdown with District 4-3A Division II leader Abernathy at Bill Easterling Memorial Stadium with plenty on the line to end the regular season.

With a win, they would clinch a share of the district title for the first time since 2003 — and it would be only the third such accomplishment in the past 50 years, setting up a points differential tiebreaker with the Antelopes and Idalou to determine seeding.

The Bulldogs knew if they won by at least 14 points, they’d enter the playoffs as the top-seeded squad, while a 10-13 point win would send them into the postseason as the second seed. Anything less than that, or a loss, and Coahoma would head into the playoffs with the No. 3 seed.

In the end, it was Abernathy jumping out to a 21-point lead in the first quarter and rolling to a 49-19 win.

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GAME STORY: Honeybees open playoffs with sweep of Estacado

As one of the top teams in Region I-4A, the Stephenville Honeybees hoped that Tuesday’s bi-district playoff matchup with Lubbock Estacado would be over fairly quickly.

The District 6-4A champions ensured that with a 25-11, 25-6, 25-11 sweep of the Lady Matadors at Abilene Christian University’s Moody Coliseum, ending Estacado’s return to the postseason after a 25-year drought in an emphatic way.

Coach Shay Douglas was proud of the concentration her team showed in the win.

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GAME STORY: Wylie clinches share of district title with heart-stopping win over Palo Duro

AMARILLO — On Sept. 23, the Wylie football team suffered a heartbreaking 63-61 loss to San Angelo Central on a Hail Mary at the buzzer.

Friday night, clinging to a 27-24 lead over Amarillo Palo Duro in District 2-5A Division II play at Dick Bivins Stadium, the Bulldogs faced another Hail Mary attempt.

This time, Wylie was on the right end of it as Liam Cisneros pulled down an interception, giving the Bulldogs the win and at least a share of the district championship for the first time as a Class 5A program. The Bulldogs last won a district title in 2016 and will look to claim the outright title next week in the Southtown Showdown against crosstown rival Cooper at Hugh Sandifer Stadium.

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GAME STORY: Sandies prevent Abilene High from clinching No. 3 seed

AMARILLO — The Abilene High football team entered Friday’s District 2-5A Division I game against Amarillo High wanting to stay healthy, but also needing a win to lock up the No. 3 seed for the playoffs.

While they came out of the game without any significant injuries, the Eagles limped to the finish line with a penalty-riddled 17-10 loss to the Sandies at Dick Bivins Stadium.

AHS committed 11 penalties for 91 yards, often negating big plays ill-timed flags — an aspect coach Mike Fullen said was key to the outcome of the game.

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GAME STORY: Wylie stuns Lubbock Cooper with Senior Night sweep

The Wylie volleyball team entered Tuesday’s District 4-5A volleyball match against Lubbock Cooper with nothing tangible on the line.

The Lady Bulldogs were already locked into the league’s No. 2 playoff seed and a date with Amarillo Caprock in next week’s bi-district round when they took the floor for their Senior Night match against the district champions.

Making matters tougher, the Lady Pirates had only lost one set over the past seven weeks entering their match at Bulldog Gymnasium.

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GAME STORY: Laine, Carlton help Bulldogs clinch playoff berth with Lubbock High shutout

With the Southtown Showdown looming in two weeks, it would be easy for the Wylie football team to be caught looking ahead to the game that could provide the Bulldogs with an outright district championship.

On Friday night at Hugh Sandifer Stadium, coach Clay Martin’s squad showed that wasn’t the case as the Bulldogs hammered Lubbock High 43-0, moving to 5-3 on the season and 3-0 in District 2-5A Division II play.

The win gave the Bulldogs their highest single-season win total since moving up to Class 5A in the 2018-19 school year.

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GAME STORY: Coogs stiff-arm Palo Duro for 50-14 homecoming win

Heading into Friday night, the Cooper football team had not played a game at Shotwell Stadium in 35 days.

Getting back on their home turf, for homecoming no less, was a welcome gift for the Cougars as they rolled to a 50-14 win over Amarillo Palo Duro in District 2-5A Division II play, evening their district record at 1-1 while improving to 3-4 on the year.

The return home was appreciated by Cooper coach Aaron Roan.

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GAME STORY: Wall withstands Clyde early, rolls to key District 6-3A sweep

CLYDE — Volleyball is all about gaining, and sustaining, momentum.

With the District 6-3A lead on the line, it was the Wall Lady Hawks who were able to seize momentum early and roll to a 25-19, 25-21, 25-9 win over Clyde on Tuesday night at Bulldog Gym.

Wall scored the first five points of the match, never trailing in the first set, as the Lady Hawks improved to 33-5 overall and 6-0 in district. Including Tuesday’s sweep, the Lady Hawks have won 18 of 19 sets during district play.

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GAME STORY: Quarterback Long, defense lead Wylie to win over Plainview in district opener

With three straight wins over Plainview and a matchup next week with state-ranked Wichita Falls Rider on the horizon, the Wylie football team could have been caught looking ahead in a classic trap game on Friday night.

Instead, quarterback KJ Long directed the high-powered Wylie offense to a 38-14 win over Plainview in the District 2-5A Division II opener for both teams at Hugh Sandifer Stadium while the Wylie defense had one of its best showings of the year.

Getting district play started with such a dominant effort over a team that it had shut out the previous two years was something that Wylie coach Clay Martin was happy to see with several big games ahead.

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GAME STORY: Clyde volleyball spikes De Leon in nondistrict matchup

CLYDE — The Clyde volleyball team picked up a midweek nondistrict match with De Leon to avoid an open date in the middle of district play, and the Lady Bulldogs responded with a resounding three-set win.

Implementing new offensive sets, coach Laura Carr’s squad knocked off the Lady Bearcats 25-20, 25-8, 25-9 on Tuesday nightat Bulldog Gym.

In addition to finding their rhythm in system, the Lady Bulldogs had 17 aces in the three sets, with Chloe Ukle’s five leading the way.

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GAME STORY: Wall overcomes fumbling problem to hold off Mason

WALL — The numbers looked more like a team playing its first game of the year than a squad halfway through the regular season, but in the end it didn’t matter as Wall knocked off Mason 14-6 in nondistrict action Friday Night at Clayton Weishuhn Field.

The Hawks had 10 fumbles, losing four, while also throwing an interception, but it was Briggs Jones who came up with the play of the night to help Wall improve to 4-1.

After a Mason timeout with the Hawks kneeling to close out the game, Wall had its ninth fumble of the night with under 30 seconds left to give the Punchers possession at the WHS 26-yard line.

Jones then picked up his second interception in as many drives to seal the win.

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GAME STORY: Wall volleyball plays fast, sweeps San Angelo TLCA

WALL — Playing with just two girls on its bench, the Wall volleyball team knew that it would have its hands full against a San Angelo TLCA squad that rolls with a roster of 14 players.

The 16th-ranked Lady Hawks struggled with a faster pace that TLCA brought in the first set before regrouping and rolling to a quick 25-21, 25-12, 25-12 win in 50 minutes Tuesday in a District 6-3A match at Hawk Gym.

Wall’s ability to adjust on the fly and adapt to the pace that the Lady Eagles were pushing was something coach Robynn Jones was pleased to see.

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GAME STORY: Defense gets key stops, offense rallies Stephenville to homecoming win

STEPHENVILLE — Entering Friday night’s homecoming game at Memorial Stadium against Wichita Falls Rider, Stephenville was unbeaten at 4-0 but allowing 46.5 points per game.

Against Everman in Week 2, the Yellow Jackets found themselves down by 21 points on multiple occasions before winning on a walk-off Hail Mary.

That experience paid off Friday, as Stephenville found itself in a 21-0 hole to the Raiders after just eight minutes. But the Yellow Jackets used a second-half rally to take a 43-42 heart-stopping win — their fourth one-score victory in five weeks.

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned gets 14th win in last 15 matches with five-set thriller

TUSCOLA — The Jim Ned volleyball team, which has only lost one match since Aug. 23, has not been afraid to play outside their classification in order to get stronger heading into district play.

Last week, that meant the Lady Indians hit the road and played up three classifications, getting swept by Class 6A Midland Legacy, before playing down two classes on Tuesday night in a classic trap game against Class 1A Veribest — which entered the match at Bill Thornton Arena as the fourth-ranked team in the state.

Through three sets against the Lady Falcons, it looked like the trap was in full effect and the Lady Indians were looking ahead to their district opener against San Angelo Grape Creek. In the fourth set, though, Avery Vinson took over and led the Lady Indians to a thrilling 25-21, 23-25, 23-25, 25-11, 15-12 come-from-behind win as Jim Ned improved to 14-1 in its last 15 matches, having lost only seven sets in that span.

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GAME STORY: Hamlin runs all over Munday for Saturday night win

MUNDAY — Swenson Benavides, Colten Spalding and Hudson Smith all ran for more than 100 yards as the Hamlin offense piled up 568 total yards and the Pied Pipers spoiled Munday’s quadrennial homecoming celebration with a 53-8 win Saturday night at Scruggs Field.

Benavides (15-157) and Spalding (12-111) were both comfortably in the 100-yard club before Smith’s 18-yard run on the game’s final play pushed him to 104 yards on 13 carries as Hamlin continued its rebound from a disappointing 2021 season by picking up its third consecutive win.

The Pied Pipers have allowed just 10 points over the last three weeks with one more game remaining before the start of district play.

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GAME STORY: Frenship’s defense spoils Abilene High’s homecoming

The Abilene High football team entered Friday’s homecoming game against former district foe Wolfforth Frenship desperately needing to find some rhythm on offense heading into next week’s District 2-5A Division I opener against Lubbock Monterey.

AHS’ coaching staff made several changes to the starting lineup against the Tigers with De’Zhon Magee taking over at running back behind a revamped offensive line that saw two sophomores (Shetonde Polepole and Jerrod Turner, both as tackles) and junior right guard Boss Brake start alongside seniors Miguel Hernandez (left guard) and Alex Mehaffey (center).

Despite the lineup changes, the Eagles fell short in a 21-7 defeat to the Tigers at Shotwell Stadium.

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GAME STORY: Warren, Jackson lift Cooper to thrilling 41-38 OT win over Central

Cooper quarterback Chris Warren will be the first to admit that he struggles keeping his eyes downfield when the pocket is collapsing around him.

When the senior was faced with that exact situation, trailing San Angelo Central 38-35 in overtime, what did Warren do?

He kept his eyes downfield, found Malik Jackson wide open in the end zone and hit his fellow senior for a thrilling 41-38 walk-off win, giving the Cougars their first win of the season.

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FEATURE: Bruntmyer sisters leading the way for Abilene Christian

Abilene Christian volleyball coach Arnett McClure knows he’s got a good team this year and a big part of that is the play of sisters Halle and Shea Bruntmyer.

The daughters of Hardin-Simmons University president Eric Bruntmyer have become mainstays in McClure’s lineup, with Shea leading the way as the team’s setter and leading server, while Halle is a back-line anchor.

Shea, who is a year older than Halle, has the task of being both a teammate and older sister and has to juggle being able to know when to play each role both on and off the court.

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