Category: Albany Lions

Evan Ren’s 2020 True Grit Team: The toughest, hardest-working players in the Big Country!

Most of us know a football player who lives in the weight room, who’s always dependable and who always does what his coaches ask him. He always puts the team first. He’s early to arrive and late to leave. And he seldom needs direction because he always pays attention. 

You know the type. But you seldom hear about them, since there is no specific category to put them in and the media doesn’t recognize these qualities.

This is the guy who always sets a good example. He doesn’t complain and above all else, is tough mentally and physically. He’s not necessarily the best player on his team (though some are). But he’s definitely the guy who gets the most out of whatever talent he was born with.

Welcome to the 2020 “True Grit” team — the one place in the Big Country where guys who fall into this category are recognized for it.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Dublin’s Escobar takes the top spot

He’s been consistently pouring in points since the season’s outset. So it’s not a surprise that Dublin senior guard Daniel Escobar has taken our first Big Country Preps Player of the Week award for 2021. 

Helping the Lions to wins over Eastland (69-42) and Millsap (79-43), Escobar finished the week with a total of 63 points through the two games, including a 38-point night in the Eastland win. 

But scoring was only a portion of his overall contribution. 

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: Big Country Preps Top 10 Stories for 2020

The year 2020 is finally behind us — a fact I think we can all celebrate as a positive.

A wretched year in so many ways, 2020 presented unique challenges most of us never could have envisioned and brought levels of heartbreak and hardship we may never experience again in our lifetimes. 

But even out of bad years, good stories can arise. And as a website devoted to highlighting the positives in our narrow area of focus, we’re going to revisit some of the best today.

As has become a New Year’s Day custom here at Big Country Preps, it’s time once again to revisit the biggest Big Country sports stories of the past year. And while narrowing and compiling that list is never easy, and always leaves worthy stories unaccounted for, we hope you enjoy looking back at some of the highlights from a tough year.

As we say goodbye to 2020 (thankfully), we turn our attention to the local athletes and coaches who produced some positive memories for area sports fans. 

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 10 stories from last year:

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Evan Ren’s Thanksgiving week playoff picks

LAST WEEK: 23-2, .920
SEASON TOTAL: 422-88, .827

Turkey Day has arrived and we’ve still got 10 Big Country football teams showing a pulse.

Of those, there are at least six that I believe have a shot at getting to Arlington and of those, perhaps four that have a good shot at bringing home a state title.

So let’s dive in and take a look at this week’s matchups, shall we?  

Be safe going to your games! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT WEDNESDAY NIGHT PODCAST: Cisco’s Kevin Stennett joins the show talks about CHS’ upcoming regional semifinal with Hawley

VIDEO PODCAST NO. 11: Cisco coach Kevin Stennett joins the show and to talk about his experience at CHS and this week’s regional semifinal clash with Hawley.  Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood examine this week’s regional semifinal pairings.

Top games of this week discussed: All playoff pairings involving Big Country teams from Class 1A-4A this week are mentioned. 

Top games of last week discussed: Sweetwater vs. Celina, Hawley vs. Sundown, Albany vs. Ralls, Wall vs. Bushland, Brock vs. Denver City, Jim Ned vs. Dalhart, San Saba vs. Panhandle.

 

 

 

GAME STORY: Albany eliminates Ralls 56-22 to advance to regional semis

SNYDER — Heading into Thursday’s Region II-2A Division II area round game with Ralls, the last thing Albany coach Denney Faith wanted was to play from behind against RHS’ clock-killing slot-T offense. 

Getting early defensive stops, therefore, would be crucial for the Lions. 

Albany did precisely that, grabbing an early lead, taking Ralls out of its normal game and winning by a lopsided 56-22 margin at Tiger Stadium. 

Coy Lefevre rushed for 89 yards, while adding 60 yards receiving, two interceptions and accounting for two scores to lead Albany (10-1), which advances to face either Windthorst or Archer City in the regional semifinals next week. 

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GAME STORY: Albany’s dream season finally ends with loss to Crawford in 2A state semifinals

By Seth LaRue (special to Big Country Preps)

WEATHERFORD — Few playoff teams are allowed to enjoy happy endings and the Albany volleyball team wasn’t one of the exceptions in 2020.

Facing reigning Class 2A state champion Crawford in a  state semifinal matchup, the Lady Lions fell in straight sets 14-25, 11-25, and 14-25. 

“It was a great season, (The Lady Lions) haven’t been this far since 2008. We were going to feel sad whatever round we lost at and we are thankful that we made it to the state semifinals.” Albany coach MJ Reneau said at the conclusion of their game at Weatherford High School. 

The Lions were forced into an early hole in the first set by an aggressive Crawford team led by Junior Katie Warden. Down 6-12, the Pirates went on a 13-8 run to secure their advantage and eventually, the set.

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BCP Boys Basketball Position Rankings: Guards

With boys basketball season upon us, it’s time to shine a spotlight on some of the players we’ll be writing and you’ll be reading about throughout the 2020-21 season.

For the first installment in a three-part series that will cover all positions on the area boys basketball scene, we’ll be taking a look at the Big Country’s top guards, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch this fall.

We hope you enjoy reading through our list.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Albany’s Cotter takes award with two dominating efforts

One dominating performance deserves another. 

Having already helped Albany reach the Region I-2A finals with a 17-kill performance in a win over Plains (22-25, 25-10, 25-22, 25-16) last week, Sarah Beth Cotter wasn’t finished. 

With AHS facing perennial power Wink in the regional finals Saturday in Big Spring, she helped the Lady Lions reach the state semis with 16 kills, two blocks, four digs and an ace in a stunning 25-14, 25-19, 25-20 sweep of the Lady Cats. 

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GAME STORY: Albany eliminates Wink in three straight games to capture Region I title

BIG SPRING — Prior to Saturday’s Region I-2A championship match with Wink, Albany volleyball coach M.J. Reneau knew her team had an advantage up front over WHS. The key to winning would be in consistently getting an attack set up, without letting postseason nerves lead to too many mistakes. 

Mission accomplished. 

The Lady Lions held their unforced errors in check, dominated the net and swept Wink in three games, 25-14, 25-19, 25-20 at Big Spring High School. 

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Class 2A Bi-District Round Report: Hawley fends off Goldthwaite with dominant second half

REGION I-2A DIV. I

Hawley 34, Goldthwaite 20 — Trailing the Eagles 20-19 at halftime Thursday, the Bearcats finished the game with 15 unanswered points to fend off an upset bid and advance to the area round of the playoffs.

Hawley (9-2) outgained Goldthwaite by a 394-254 margin, getting 125 yards and three touchdowns passing from Rodey Hooper and 151 yards and one TD rushing from Xavier Rodela.

The Eagles (3-8) led by quarterback Jackson Patrick, who passed for 96 yards and a touchdown and rushed for a team high 68 yards on nine carries.

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Evan Ren’s regional football projections and bi-district picks

LAST WEEK: 26-4, .866
SEASON TOTAL: 377-81, .823

Week 12 of the football season is here. And you know what that means.

The horses are at the starting gate with a finish line set up in Arlington for the state championship games.

More than 97 percent of the teams won’t make it. And by the time Thanksgiving arrives, 75 percent of them will already be finished. Such is the magnitude of our postseason.

In the meantime, hundreds of teams from Class 1A through 4A have their dreams of reaching Jerry World still intact. Classes 5A and 6A will start their postseason journeys in mid December, after having their seasons delayed by COVID-19.

That said, it’s time to choose which of our Big Country entries have the best shot of conquering their regions. Who are the favorites? Who are the dark horses? An perhaps most importantly, where are the elephants in the room — the teams from outside of our area with the most potential to spoil the Big Country’s chances?

Let’s get started, shall we?

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BCP Girls Basketball Position Rankings: Posts

After highlighting the top guards and forwards on the Big Country girls basketball scene the past two nights, it’s time to shift our attention to the block.

For the final installment in our three-part position rankings series, we list our top-10 post players for the 2020-21 season.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading through these rankings, and make sure to come back next week when we’ll feature the top boys basketball players in the Big Country.

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BCP Girls Basketball Position Rankings: Guards

With the girls basketball season underway, it’s time to take a look at the players who will be making the biggest impact during the 2020-21 season.

For the first installment in a three-part series that will cover all positions, we’ll be taking a look at the Big Country’s top guards, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch this season.

As with any such list, these rankings are subjective. We hope you enjoy reading through our selections.

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District 8-2A Div. II Week 11 Report: Hico can’t complete rally in nondistrict loss to Gruver

Gruver 40, Hico 29 — The only team in this district in action after picking up a nondistrict game in Week 11, the Tigers couldn’t complete a second-half rally in a competitive loss to the Greyhounds.

Hico (3-8, 2-3) trailed 20-15 at halftime and twice trimmed two-score leads to single digits in the second half — at 26-23 midway through the third quarter and 34-29 early in the fourth — but that was as close as it would get to the lead after halftime.

Angel Gonzalez passed for 198 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 147 yards and two scores to lead the Tigers, who wrapped up the No. 4 playoff seed out of this district with their Oct. 22 win over Meridian. They’ll open the postseason next week against District 7 champion Windthorst (9-1, 4-0).

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District 8-2A Div. II Week 10 Report: Albany pulls away from Cross Plains for title

Albany 35, Cross Plains 0 — Leading 6-0 at halftime, the Lions outscored the Buffaloes 22-0 in the third quarter to turn a tight defensive ballgame into a rout and claim the outright district title in the regular season finale for Albany.

Albany (8-1, 5-0) rushed for 242 yards as a team, getting 132 yards from Jaheim Newton and 43 yards and two touchdowns from Coy Lefevre. Quarterback Barrett Beal, meanwhile, passed for 149 yards with a touchdown to Cole Chapman (4-87 receiving) and an interception.

Cross Plains, the No. 2 playoff seed out of this district, fell to 7-2 overall and 3-1 in league play heading into a scheduled game against Meridian next week.

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