Author: Brandon McAuliffe

Mary Mosley

BREAKING: Eula honors an icon, renames Pirate Gymnasium

It was a secret that was kept for three months and in the end, Mary Mosley was caught completely off-guard with a homecoming surprise that will never be forgotten.

With two brothers, a sister, her daughter, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren in attendance, Eula’s longtime bookkeeper was surprised by Eula boys basketball coach and athletic director Josh Fostel pulling off a stunner for the ages.

Fostel honored Mosley, who has kept Eula’s scorebook for the past 41 seasons, by having Pirate Gymnasium renamed Mary Mosley Gymnasium on Friday night between games of the Pirates’ District 20-1A doubleheader against Ranger.

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GAME STORY: Abilene High boys hold off Euless Trinity in District 3-6A action

Abilene High boys basketball coach Justin Reese believes Eagle Gym provides his squad one of the greatest home court advantages in the state.

A second-quarter 3-pointer by D.J. Modest sent the gym into a frenzy after cutting Euless Trinity’s lead to 15-14, and that set the tone for the rest of the game as the Eagles finished the first half of District 3-6A play at 6-0 with a thrilling 56-50 win Tuesday night.

“We are so grateful as a program because our crowd has been awesome since last year,” Reese said. “They give us a really big home-court advantage, which is how it used to be in the 80s and 90s, and so we are kind of getting that back. We are a hard out in Eagle Gym because our crowd gives us great energy and our kids play really hard.”

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BREAKING: Big Country FCA All-Star Festival coaches announced

The coaches for the annual Big Country Fellowship of Christian Athletes were announced on Monday morning with the revelation that for the first time the event will include a three-day golf tournament in Eastland.

The inaugural golf tournament will run from Sunday, June 7, through Tuesday, June 9, on the Kingdom Course of the Solid Rock Camp near Lake Leon.

The seventh annual baseball and softball games will be played on June 12 at Angelo State University and then the festival winds up with a smorgasbord of events on June 13.

The eighth annual men’s and 12th annual women’s basketball games will be at the Brownwood Coliseum, the eighth annual volleyball game at Wylie High School’s Bulldog Gym and then the week-long event culminates for the 21st time at Shotwell Stadium with the Myrle Greathouse All-Star Football Classic. Continue reading “BREAKING: Big Country FCA All-Star Festival coaches announced”

GAME STORY: Ballinger sweeps Brady in District 4-3A play

BALLINGER — The Ballinger basketball teams had no issues in sweeping Brady on Tuesday night at Joe A. Forester Gymnasium.

The Lady Bearcats came away with a 60-28 win to remain tied for the district lead with Wall, while the boys team jumped out to a fast start and never looked back on its way to a 56-30 win.

Continue reading “GAME STORY: Ballinger sweeps Brady in District 4-3A play”

GAME STORY: Jim Ned dominates Merkel in District 5-3A action

TUSCOLA — The Jim Ned girls basketball team will head into the Christmas break on a high note after dominating Merkel 66-21 in a key District 5-3A game Friday at Bill Thornton Arena.

Brooke Galvin had 24 points to lead a group of four Lady Indians in double digits. Claire Graham added 15 points, while Ashton Garner scored 11 and Ashlynn Galvin had 10 to help fourth-ranked Jim Ned improve to 17-2 on the season and 2-0 in district.

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GAME STORY: Abilene High girls honor Roberson milestone, fall to Jim Ned

Before its home game against Jim Ned on Friday night, the Abilene High girls basketball team took time to honor one of its own — junior guard KK Roberson.

Roberson scored the 1,000th point of her career in AHS’ tournament last weekend, and the Lady Eagles recognized her for the achievement prior to their final nondistrict tuneup before opening District 3-6A play on Tuesday at Euless Trinity.

After hanging with the Lady Indians for the first half, the Abilene High offense went cold in the third quarter as Jim Ned pulled away for a 51-22 win at Eagle Gym.

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TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Locals go 4-1 on opening day of Catclaw Classic

The Abilene High, Cooper and Wylie boys basketball teams narrowly missed a perfect start to the 2019 Catclaw Classic as the Eagles were unable to finish off a late rally in their second of two games Friday afternoon.

AHS opened the tournament with a 60-33 win over San Angelo Lake View before falling 43-39 to Midland Christian in its final game in Pool A action. The Cougars, meanwhile, won Pool B by beating Seminole 52-42 and Canyon 66-65.

The Bulldogs closed out the night with a 52-29 win over Bullard Brook Hill in their first game in Pool C play.

Continue reading “TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Locals go 4-1 on opening day of Catclaw Classic”

TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Fort Worth Wyatt wins Cane’s Key City Classic, AHS drops third-place game

The Raising Cane’s Key City Classic came to a close on Saturday at Abilene High’s Eagle Gym and Cooper’s Cougar Gym with all three local high schools fighting to the end of the three-day tournament with impressive showings.

Fort Worth Wyatt won the championship with a second-half comeback for a 56-51 win over Midland Christian at AHS to close out the tournament.

The host Eagles and Cougars saw their tournaments end with tough losses, while Wylie got a much needed confidence boost with a win over Burnet.

AHS fell in the third-place game 49-38 to North Crowley. Wylie, meanwhile, had no issues with Burnet in a 86-47 runaway at Eagle Gym, and Cooper fell in the seventh-place game 72-66 to Justin Northwest at Cougar Gym. Continue reading “TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Fort Worth Wyatt wins Cane’s Key City Classic, AHS drops third-place game”

BREAKING: Abilene High’s Roberson joins the 1,000-point club

Abilene High girls basketball guard Trakenya (KK) Roberson scored the 1,000th point of her high school career on Friday with a driving shot in the paint during the Lady Eagles tournament in Burleson.

The junior entered the weekend needing 69 points in the tournament and scored the bucket during a 74-47 loss to Mansfield Lake Ridge.

The achievement came early in the first quarter as she entered the game with 999 career points.

Continue reading “BREAKING: Abilene High’s Roberson joins the 1,000-point club”

GAME STORY: Second half rally not enough for Cisco

VERNON — The Cisco Loboes season — and possible Class 3A Division II era — came to an end on Friday in a sloppy 55-28 loss to top-ranked Canadian in a Region I semifinal at Lion Stadium.

The No. 6-ranked Loboes, who saw their season end at 11-2, had three first-half turnovers — and four overall — en route to falling into a 41-0 halftime hole.

Cisco, which is projected to drop to Class 2A Division I during the UIL’s biennial realignment in February, was outgained 514-413 by the Wildcats. The Loboes put up 319 yards in the second half on 33 plays after being shut down offensively in the first half.

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BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: And then there were four

Throughout the season, the Six-Man Spotlight has focused on different teams across the area.

We have taken a look at Gordon coach Mike Reed, Blackwell kicker Mickey Toasaksiri, two-time defending state champion Strawn taking everyone’s best shot and the bond between Jayton coach Josh Stanaland and standout Tye Scogin.

Now, those are the last four teams standing and chasing a state championship. Continue reading “BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: And then there were four”

GAME STORY: Windthorst upsets Albany in area round

GRAHAM — The Albany Lions saw their season come to a surprisingly early end with a 24-20 loss on Friday night at Newton Field to Windthorst in a Region II-2A Division II area round game.

Ben West threw for 254 yards and two scores while Blaine Kayga had nine catches for 165 yards, but an inability to contain Trojan running back Awtry Blagg turned out to be the difference.

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GAME STORY: San Saba moves on with rout of Collinsville

MINERAL WELLS — Having allowed 55 points in the past three weeks after only surrendering nine points total through the first eight weeks of the season, the San Saba defense wanted to make a statement in Thursday’s Region II-2A Division I area-round game against Collinsville.

Statement made.

The No. 3-ranked Armadillos, who had six shutouts in the regular season, just missed their seventh, limiting the Pirates to one second-quarter score in a 54-6 win at Ram Stadium.

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BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: Throckmorton picks up first playoff win since 2014

The Throckmorton football team is coming off its first playoff win in five years, even if nobody predicted it early in September.

After an 0-2 start to the season with narrow losses to Vernon Northside (33-30) and Bryson (20-18), the Greyhounds fell 60-14 to Division I’s Saint Jo as they experienced a rash of injuries early on.

“We started the season 0-3 and we were hurt,” Throckmorton coach C.J. Hantz said. “We lost Will Harris to a broken leg and torn ligaments and have been banged up all year. We just have not been healthy, but going into district we finally got everybody back.”

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GAME STORY: Dublin’s season ends with loss to Holliday

PONDER — At larger schools, it’s easy to find a good kicker, but the further you go down in classifications, the harder it gets.

Holliday found one in Logan Whitling and used his right leg to claim a 33-14 win over Dublin in a Region II-3A Division II bi-district game at Ponder Field on Friday night.

Whitling had a field goal in each quarter — connecting from 31, 28, 28 and 41 yards — as he was able to constantly put pressure on coach Bob Cervetto’s team.

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GAME STORY: Christoval ends Cross Plains’ season with defensive effort

BALLINGER — The Cross Plains football team did everything it needed to do in order to win Thursday night’s Region II-2A Division II bi-district game at Bearcat Stadium against Christoval.

Having played the Cougars three times in the past two seasons, including a 26-14 loss in Week 4 this year, the Buffaloes knew they were going to have to keep the Christoval offense on the sidelines.

The Buffaloes did just that in the second half, holding the ball for over 16 consecutive minutes, but a pair of costly pick-six interceptions cost Cross Plains in a 28-14 loss.

Continue reading “GAME STORY: Christoval ends Cross Plains’ season with defensive effort”

FEATURE: ‘Meet the Eagles’ offers a glimpse into the future

Late in the 20th century, one of the toughest tickets in town to get was a seat in Eagle Gymnasium for an Abilene High basketball game.

That’s something second-year boys coach Justin Reese and seventh-year girls coach Terri Aston are trying to bring back.

“We knew that the hard work would eventually pay off,” Aston said after Monday night’s second annual ‘Meet the Eagles’ event. “We have put in a lot of time and effort trying to make this gym turn out the way that it used to. Justin and I come from the generations where you couldn’t even get in the gym and if you wanted to, you had to get here early enough to get a seat.”

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GAME STORY: Fielding, Bonilla lead Eastland past Jim Ned

TUSCOLA — Brandon Fielding accounted for 172 yards of offense and Anthony Bonilla had a pair of touchdowns as Eastland clinched the second seed for District 3-3A Division I with a 29-14 win over Jim Ned at Indian Stadium on Friday night.

Fielding, a bruising 225-pound running back, ran for 97 yards and added a 54-yard touchdown catch in which he tip-toed his way down the sideline as the Mavericks earned a bi-district matchup with Whitesboro. That game will be played at 7 p.m. Thursday in Graham.

“I feel pretty good but I’m a little beat up,” Fielding said. “It’s not anything that (the trainer) can’t fix.”

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BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: Young Robert Lee Steers control their playoff destiny

The Robert Lee football team lost 11 lettermen and a head coach from last year’s playoff team.

Inheriting a squad that was moving up a wealth of talent from an undefeated JV squad, Karry Owens was hired to replace 11-year coach Shay Avants at the end of the school year and didn’t get to start working with his squad until late summer.

Fast forward to today and Owens’ Steers enter the final week of regular season with a clear path back to the playoffs — win Friday and they’re in.

The Steers will look to get that win against Eden. And adding to the intrigue of that matchup is the fact that the Bulldogs are led by Avants, who took defensive coordinator Manuel Gamboa with him when he left Robert Lee.

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GAME STORY: Wylie playoff hopes on life support after loss to Lubbock Cooper

The Wylie football team went into Friday night’s District 3-5A Division II game against Lubbock Cooper needing to pull off an upset of the district leaders to bolster their playoff hopes.

Instead, the Bulldogs saw a strong first quarter evaporate before halftime before dropping a 49-14 decision to the Pirates at Bulldog Stadium.

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BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: Tough schedule, new game challenge Roby

This year has been all about learning for the Roby football team.

The Lions made the move from 11-man to six-man for this season and have been playing an outlaw schedule this fall against some of the toughest teams in the state.

Roby has faced Division I’s No. 3 Borden County and No. 12 Aspermont, as well as Division II’s No. 1 Jayton and the top outlaw team in Irion County this season.

For coach Angel Pantoja, that murderer’s row of scheduling hasn’t been exactly fun.

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GAME STORY: No. 9 Cooper stays perfect with Lubbock High rout

Noah Garcia ran for 189 yards and five touchdowns, Aidan Thompson threw for 207 yards with two touchdowns and Cooper moved to 9-0 on the season and 5-0 in District 2-5A Division I with a 49-14 win over Lubbock High on Friday at Shotwell Stadium.

Dylon Davis added two interceptions — increasing his state-leading season total to 12 — as the ninth-ranked Cougars did their part to set a showdown in two weeks with Amarillo High for the district championship.

Davis, who broke Brandon Berg’s career interception record with the 15th and 16th picks of his career, had a third interception that was called back due to a penalty on Cooper.

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BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: Baird Bears embracing, adjusting to new challenge

BAIRD — Baird High School spent 97 years playing 11-man football before the decision was made in late June to play an outlaw six-man schedule this year due to being in between UIL realignments.

That change has paid immediate dividends for the 5-2 Bears.

“It brought us some energy because you have to do your homework,” Baird coach Joel Baker said. “We did our homework this summer and we visited a lot of people to find out how to do (the transition) right.”

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 3 Wall claims thriller over Jim Ned

TUSCOLA — If defensive football is your thing, then the Big Country Preps Game of the Week was one you would have loved Friday night at Jim Ned’s Indian Stadium.

In a potential playoff preview, the Wall defense held Jim Ned to 76 yards of offense and claimed a 14-7 win in a defensive battle full of big hits and momentum swings.

“I will take any kind of win, whether it’s ugly or not,” Wall coach Houston Guy said. “I knew going in that they were going to be very tough defensively. I thought that they were going to be hard to run the ball against.”

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BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: Reed has found a familiar place in Gordon

As Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” And that certainly rings true for Gordon football coach Mike Reed.

After a four-year stint as the head coach at Hamilton, Reed returned to the six-man ranks last year when he took over the football program at his alma mater.

Prior to heading to Hamilton, Reed led the programs at Strawn, Rule and Throckmorton after attending college at Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

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GAME STORY: Garcia, Sifuentes lead Cooper past Palo Duro

Noah Garcia and Dalziel Sifuentes combined to run for 321 yards and quarterback Aidan Thompson accounted for four touchdowns as the 10th-ranked Cooper football team moved to 7-0 on the season and 3-0 in District 2-5A Division I play with a 42-6 win over Amarillo Palo Duro on Friday night at Shotwell Stadium.

Garcia ran for 207 yards and a touchdown to put him over 1,400 yards on the season, while Sifuentes made his varsity debut in a big way.

The varsity newcomer had 114 yards on 20 carries as he got a chance to shine under the Friday night lights for the first time.

Continue reading “GAME STORY: Garcia, Sifuentes lead Cooper past Palo Duro”

BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: Strawn gets everyone’s best shot while reloading

STRAWN — The Strawn Greyhounds are the two-time defending state champions and, as such, get their opponent’s best shot on a weekly basis.

In 2017, Tanner Hodgkins (127 rushing yards, 4 total TDs) and Christian Villanueva (104 rushing yards, 76 passing yards, 4 total TDs) led Strawn to a 78-42 win over Balmorhea in the Class 1A Division I state title game.

Playing for the Division II championship last year, the duo combined for four touchdowns as the Greyhounds rolled Follett 48-0.

That duo is gone this year and Strawn has turned to senior running back J.W. Montgomery to fill the void that was left.

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GAME STORY: Turnovers doom Strawn in loss to Garden City

STRAWN — A 24-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Garden City’s John Michael Alegria set the tone for the Bearkats, who upset No. 2 Strawn 78-32 on Friday night in a game that ended with 4:30 to play.

Alegria added four catches for 172 and three touchdowns as the Bearkats had touchdowns on 10 of their 12 drives on the night, while the Greyhounds had five fumbles, losing three.

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BCP SIX-MAN SPOTLIGHT: Ira’s Goodwin reaping rewards of longevity

Feature photo by Summer McCowen

Toby Goodwin

Toby Goodwin has been at Ira now for 23 years, spending the past 22 of as the man in charge of the Bulldog football program.

Inheriting an Ira outfit that had gone 158-262 since starting varsity competition in 1947, Goodwin provided a steady hand at the top and quickly went about reversing the Bulldogs’ fortunes.

Since taking over program in 1998, Goodwin has posted a 195-51 record in his lone stop as a head coach, including five straight wins to open this season.

But as large a role as he’s played in the Bulldogs’ turnaround, he’s quick to deflect praise that comes his way.

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GAME STORY: Richland starts fast, rallies late for win over AHS

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Missed opportunities and big plays cost the Abilene High football team in a heartbreaking 35-34 loss to North Richland Hills Richland in the District 3-6A opener at Birdville ISD Fine Arts/Athletic Complex on Friday night.

Seth Wells’ 9-yard touchdown catch on a wide receiver reverse pass from C.J. Nelson with 48 seconds to play capped off an eight-play, 82-yard scoring drive that proved to be the game-winner.

It was Richland’s first points since taking a 28-7 lead with 7:28 to play in the first half.