Author: Brandon McAuliffe

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Coaching change shifts Winters’ philosophy

The “What Might Have Been”  feature series is Big Country Preps’ effort to celebrate area athletes who have seen their seasons affected  by the Covid-19 outbreak. The series will continue through June 15 or until the UIL rules that high school athletics statewide may resume. 

This was not how Derek Dallas and Brady Keane saw their first season with the Winters baseball team going.

Last year, Dallas was an assistant in Snyder before becoming the head baseball coach for the Blizzards this year. Keane, his assistant, was a sportswriter with the Denton Record-Chronicle covering high school athletics.

The duo spent this season working on reinvigorating the Blizzards baseball team and changing the mentality of the program.

To say that they were successful after nine games, before the UIL shut down games due to the Coronavirus, would be a gross understatement.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS Q&A: FCA Area Director Andy Penney provides updates on All-Star Festival

The Big Country Fellowship of Christian Athletes is like everyone else in the sports world these days.

With the Big Country All-Star Festival scheduled for early June, the FCA is not sure if, or when, it will be able to host the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has the entire country at a standstill.

The FCA is stuck in a holding pattern due to the uncertainty of what the University Interscholastic League is going to do. Currently the UIL has stopped all activity for athletics and fine arts through the first weekend of May.

Sunday afternoon, Andy Penney of the Big Country FCA chapter took some time to discuss the evolving situation with BigCountryPreps.com and talked about how the local group is proceeding during this unprecedented time.

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2019-20 Jayton boys

GAME STORY: Scogin’s surge lifts Jayton over Irion County, into II-1A final

In 2019, a driving layup at the buzzer by Tye Scogin sent the Jayton boys basketball team to the Class 1A state championship at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Friday night, with the Jaybirds locked in a nail-biter with Irion County at McMurry’s Kimbrell Arena, the senior took over the final 10 minutes and led eighth-ranked Jayton to a 43-31 win in a Region II-1A semifinal.

The Jaybirds will face seventh-ranked Paducah on Saturday afternoon with another state tournament berth on the line.

Continue reading “GAME STORY: Scogin’s surge lifts Jayton over Irion County, into II-1A final”

GAME STORY: Cold shooting dooms Brownwood boys in loss to WF Hirschi

BRECKENRIDGE — The first couple of minutes of Brownwood’s Region I-4A area-round matchup with Wichita Falls Hirschi went exactly how coach Nadir Dalleh had hoped they would.

But after jumping out to a quick 9-2 lead over the Huskies, the Lions lost their shooting touch.

Brownwood was held without a field goal in the second quarter — the first time in at least four years that has happened according to Dalleh — and the Huskies got red-hot during the period to seize control on their way to a 72-40 win.

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GAME STORY: Stamford girls advance to first regional tournament

Describing how she felt was hard for Stamford girls basketball coach Missy Dutchover on Tuesday night after her squad earned its first ever regional tournament berth with a 49-39 win over Albany at Hardin-Simmons University’s Mabee Complex.

“It’s a little surreal right now,” Dutchover said. “I’m really proud of my kids. We talked really big about taking advantage of your opportunities because you don’t know when you’re going to get them again.”

Sophomore guard Tylee Jo Bevel had a game-high 16 points for the Lady Bulldogs and was equally speechless as Stamford gets ready to face No. 3 Gruver in Friday’s Region I-2A semifinals at 8 p.m. at South Plains College in Levelland.

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GAME STORY: Third-quarter surge sends Haskell past Forsan in bi-district

HERMLEIGH — The Haskell boys basketball team has thrived for years at home in the Tee Pee and closed out the venerable gymnasium last week with a win to head into the postseason on a high note.

Monday night, the Indians had to feel like they were right back in the Tee Pee as a boisterous crowd buoyed a 14-0 run to start the second half in a 60-43 win over Forsan in a Region I-2A bi-district game.

The advantage Haskell received on its home court this season was something coach Josh Webb saw pay dividends to open the postseason.

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GAME STORY: Cooper boys claim 4-5A’s third seed with another win over Wylie

It might have been Abilene High’s Eagle Gym, but on Friday night, Noah Garcia took ownership for Cooper.

The junior had a game-high 27 points — 20 in the first half — as the Cougars knocked off Wylie for the third time this season with a 62-50 win, claiming the third seed from District 4-5A.

“We are going to go best-of-seven,” Cooper coach Bryan Conover said, jokingly. “It just worked out that way (to play) four times in a year. They’re really good and we didn’t have to spend much time scouting. We knew what we were getting into, and the kids came out and played well.”

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GAME STORY: Westbrook girls withstand cold quarter to knock off Hamlin

MERKEL — The Westbrook girls basketball team might have earned a bi-district win in 2019, but this postseason they plan to enjoy everything a little bit differently.

After picking up a 51-42 win over Hamlin in a Region II-1A bi-district game at Merkel’s Badger Gymnasium, coach Jeff Bontrager gave simple instructions to his squad on how to properly cut down the nets from the rim.

“We won last year in bi-district, but we didn’t do this,” Bontrager said of cutting down the nets. “We are going to celebrate everything, every victory, especially in the playoffs. Some teams might wait a little longer, but we are going to show them how fun it can be and hopefully put a run together.”

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GAME STORY: Cisco withstands Coahoma rally, foul trouble to advance

MERKEL — The Cisco girls basketball team started off on fire from the field, saw Coahoma put together a second-quarter rally and then hit a barrage of fourth-quarter free throws to earn a 68-56 Region I-3A bi-district win Monday night at Merkel’s Badger Gymnasium.

Landry Edgar led three Lady Loboes in double-digits with 20 points, while Sophie Hurtado had 16 points before fouling out and Savannah Dycus added 10.

Makynlee Overton had a game-high 24 points for the Bulldogettes, while Caitlyn Corley, the subject of a weekend feature, added 16 points.

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GAME STORY: Cisco sweeps Eastland in District 6-3A basketball twinbill

CISCO — The Cisco girls basketball team clinched at least a share of the District 6-3A championship with a 38-31 come-from-behind win over rival Eastland on Tuesday night.

The Lady Loboes moved to 12-0 in district with the win, taking a two-game lead with two games left in the regular season. Cisco needs just two more wins to finish off its third consecutive undefeated district campaign.

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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”