Author: Zach Duncan, Special to Big Country Preps

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: C-City sophomore was on the verge of making Big Country splash

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.

Will Maddox was excited after his first round of high school golf this spring.

The Colorado City sophomore fired a 79 at Brownwood’s The Hideout Golf Club, marking the first time he’d broken 80 in tournament action.

That also would be Maddox’s final round representing the Wolves in 2020 as the UIL shuttered the spring season soon after.

However, the pandemic hasn’t kept Maddox from honing his craft. In fact, he noted having an extended downtime has benefitted his golf game.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Hawley’s do-it-all Leathers may have been area’s top utility of 2020

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. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

Breanna Leathers’ versatility and dependability were a comforting combination for Hawley’s Maci Clayton.

The first-year coach not only started the aptly named Leathers in center field, but she was the Lady Bearcats’ second pitcher to Caitlin Crow.

Because of that, Leathers didn’t see much time at shortstop, but that change didn’t keep the junior from being unprepared.

Continue reading “WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Hawley’s do-it-all Leathers may have been area’s top utility of 2020”

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Minus their senior seasons, three Lady Lions will press on with their track careers

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. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

The Brownwood girls track team didn’t shy away from lofty expectations this year. 

Aleyia Cotton, Trinity Jackson and Alyssa Couey competed at the sport’s grandest stage in 2019 and expected to qualify for state again.

While they didn’t get to finish their senior seasons, the trio of Lady Lions can take solace in the fact they’ll be competing at the next level together.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Even Albany’s Faith is in uncharted territory during pandemic

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. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

Albany’s Denney Faith is used to recognizing a challenge and then tackling that task head-on.

You don’t win 307 football games and get a field named in your honor without thriving in adverse situations.

But nothing in Faith’s first 33 years as the Lions’ head football coach could have prepared him for the uncertainty of leading an athletic program in the middle of a pandemic.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: New Dublin facilities and spring momentum will have to wait

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. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

Bob Cervetto is patiently awaiting a return to normalcy.

Dublin’s athletic director and head football coach misses the hectic spring sports season. He misses watching his athletes competing and working out daily.  

“It scares me to death because you never know where your kids are going to be,” Cervetto said. “I’m just like every other coach in the state — I hope they are doing something.”

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Young Ballinger team was hoping for prolific 2020 season

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. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

Photos courtesy of  Chad McDufee, Dana Travis and Don Pena

Fantastic.

That one word is how Ballinger softball coach Missy Vaughn described the Lady Cats’ 2020 season before it was prematurely ended.

Vaughn’s seniors had thrived in their leadership positions. Even after junior pitcher Daniella Luna suffered a season-ending knee injury, freshman April Pena had stepped up admirably in her place. 

Sophomore catcher Jenna Battle and her teammates were ripping the cover off the ball. Other underclassmen had emerged as Ballinger won nine of its first 13 games and was undefeated in district.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Middleton, Comanche boys golf team lose shot at state

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. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

This spring was supposed to be Kasey Middleton’s fourth trip to the state golf tournament as he hoped to bookend his high school career with a second title.

It was supposed to be Bryce Hermesmeyer’s triumphant return to golf after missing last year with a shoulder injury.

And with a couple freshmen helping step up and a low score of 316 despite playing in only three tournaments, it was supposed to end with a second state berth in three years for Comanche’s boys golf team.

But before the Indians could find a groove, their promising season came to an end after the COVID-19 pandemic altered the University Interscholastic League high school sports landscape. That’s hard for Comanche golf coach Richard Pringle to stomach.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Hawley powerlifters see state meet dreams unfulfilled

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. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

Hawley’s powerlifting program produces state champions seemingly every year.

While nothing is ever guaranteed in the sport, juniors Kolter Willeford and Bo Thompson were ready for their chance to continue the Bearcats’ winning tradition.

Thompson had won the 275-pound weight class at regionals by 125 pounds after totaling 1,675 pounds in his three lifts. Willeford’s super heavyweight total of 1,775 pounds included an 800-pound squat and was 150 clear of second place.

But their dreams of gold will have to wait another year after the Texas High School Powerlifting Association’s state meet was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Roscoe track joins long list of promising teams crushed by UIL cancellation

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. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

March 7 was a banner day for Roscoe’s boys track team.

The Plowboys captured gold in all three relays, while Jaythan Coale won the 200 and nearly matched the school record in the pole vault.

After beating bigger schools like Wall and Bangs, Roscoe celebrated its team title from the Bluebonnet Relays by dining at Brownwood barbeque staple Underwood’s before enjoying a jubilant bus ride home.

That would be the last time the Plowboys competed in 2020. While Friday’s UIL announcement officially ended any hopes of spring high school sports occurring, Roscoe coach Ryan Dillon said he told his guys on March 17 their season was all but over.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Winters girls expected a strong follow up to last year’s breakthrough season

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. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

After Winters’ softball season came to an end against Haskell last spring, coach Kendra Bryant made her girls write a note to themselves.

Bryant then tucked those notes away inside the base of the bi-district trophy the Lady Blizzards had just captured. It was the program’s first postseason triumph since 2011. 

With every starter returning in 2020, the notes were to serve as reminders that aspirations naturally would be increasing. Bryant’s plan was for the girls to pull the notes out before district began and read over them.

“Last year winning that first playoff game, you would have thought we won state,” Bryant said. “I wanted them to think bigger.”

The notes still sit in the trophy base, never having been unsealed. Winters’ promising softball season, like so many others across the state, is put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Four Coahoma seniors were on quest for redemption

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. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

Coahoma’s softball team has been out for vengeance ever since last May when it lost to Henrietta in the area round for the second straight season.

Senior outfielders Caitlyn Corley, Macee Grant and Sidney Rinard plus second baseman Alex Bailey were tasked with making sure the Bulldogettes stayed hungry in 2020.

The early results had been positive as Coahoma started 15-5-1 before the coronavirus pandemic brought its season to a halt just as District 5-3A action had begun.

Now the Bulldogettes’ four seniors are forced to wait and see if they’ll be able to finish their high school careers on their own terms.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Merkel’s Pursley sees potential state title put on hold indefinitely

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. If you have a suggested story for the “What might have been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

Kaydi Pursley held the highest of expectations for her final high school track season.

After finishing second in the UIL 3A 100 hurdles in 2019, a state title was on the Merkel senior’s mind. Pursley also wanted to medal in the pole vault, too.

But those goals are in limbo right now with the coronavirus pandemic shuttling UIL athletic activities for at least another month and maybe longer.

Pursley has spent the past couple weeks working on staying in shape. Even if she has represented Merkel for the last time, Pursley knows she must be ready in the fall when she joins Abilene Christian’s track program.

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FEATURE: Turner, Lee headline dangerous Clyde softball team

Kaitlyn Turner and Peyton Lee have been impact players on Clyde’s softball team ever since they were freshmen.

Coach Reagan Sewell knows having two college-caliber pitchers at the 3A level is a luxury. The growth they’ve achieved since joining the Lady Bulldogs in 2017 hasn’t been a fluke, either.

“Watching them become the leaders they are right now has been tremendous,” Sewell said. “And you give that up to experience, just having the experiences they have had. They’ve just grown all the way around, it just seems like every year they get better.”

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FEATURE: Hermleigh in uncharted territory after snapping 113-year playoff drought

Photos courtesy of Texas1AFan —Johnna Reynolds.

After achieving an accomplishment that hadn’t been attained in 113 years, a letdown could have been expected.

Hermleigh’s overtime win over Lueders-Avoca drew all sorts of media coverage to Scurry County last week. And with good reason because it was the boys basketball team’s first playoff victory since 1907.

But first-year coach Kia McCarty knew his Cardinals still were focused on their goal of reaching the regional tournament. Second-round opponent Munday wouldn’t just roll over because it was facing a media darling.

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FEATURE: Pied Pipers’ football momentum carries into basketball

Barely losing to Mart in the Class A Division II football championship game unquestionably stung.

But the Hamlin athletes who assembled eight days later for the team’s first basketball practice on Dec. 27 had a forward-thinking mindset.

“They were still kind of disappointed, but we had a good practice,” coach Joe Thomasson recalled. “For the most part, we played as hard as we could (against Mart). Kids are more resilient than we are as grownups. They were like, ‘We lost, let’s move on.’”

The Pied Pipers have certainly done just that, transferring their gridiron dominance over to the hardwood. After sweeping District 14-A, they enter the playoffs with a 12-1 record and a first-round bye.

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FEATURE: Moguls, Mogulettes on a roll after sluggish starts

PHOTOS courtesy of Mandi Perry

Munday’s two head basketball coaches never had doubts despite rocky starts.

First-year girls coach Richard Ramsey didn’t panic during a slow debut because he knew learning his system would be a process with point guard Carlie Willison injured and four new starters.

Boys coach Adrian Daniel knew a difficult football season wouldn’t necessarily translate to hardwood struggles either, not after the Moguls’ playoff success a year ago.

It’s a critical week for both squads as the girls will face either Highland or Roby after a first-round bye, while the boys host Knox City Tuesday night with an outright District 16-A title on the line.

The Mogulettes (20-13) already went undefeated in 16-A and ascended to No. 22 in the state after persevering through a rocky start. Since Wilson’s return from a fractured foot, Munday has won 17 of 19 games with its only losses coming to Guthrie and No. 15 Abbott.

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