Category: Area football

BREAKING: Ballinger’s Lipsey looks back on his career and announces his retirement

After a lengthy career spanning multiple decades, Chuck Lipsey has decided to hang up his whistle and retire from coaching, he announced on Friday.

In 21 years as a head coach, Lipsey compiled a record of 157-88 with stops at five schools: Winters, Whitewright, Bangs, Brady and Ballinger.

Lipsey led 20 of his 21 squads to the postseason, making it as deep as the state semifinals in 2002 with Winters, regional finals in 2003 with Whitewright and the regional semifinals during his time at Bangs (2012, 2013) and Ballinger (2020).

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BREAKING: Anson’s Hagler stepping down as football coach, athletic director

Anson football coach and athletic director Chris Hagler announced on Tuesday morning that he would be resigning from his post at the end of the school year.

Hagler, who has led the Tigers since the 2014-15 school year, confirmed his departure in a phone call Tuesday afternoon with Big Country Preps.

He compiled a record of 50-42 in eight years leading the Anson program, which was his first career head coaching job. Continue reading “BREAKING: Anson’s Hagler stepping down as football coach, athletic director”

FCA ALL-STAR FESTIVAL: Players excited to see assistant coaches get their chance to shine

With the Big Country Chevy Dealers Fellowship of Christian Athletes All-Star Festival entering its 23rd year, event organizers are faced with the unique dilemma of needing new coaches.

The FCA staffs in Abilene, Brownwood and San Angelo have found a creative solution for this year’s festival, which is scheduled for June 2-11: to give area assistant coaches their moment in the spotlight.

This provides a neat opportunity for both the coaches and their players, who are excited to see their assistant coaches have a chance to lead a squad.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

FCA ALL-STAR FESTIVAL: Rosters announced for this year’s event

As the winter sports start to hit the playoffs, it means another thing: it’s time to start finding out who the Fellowship of Christian Athletes all-stars are.

The 23rd annual Big Country Chevy Dealers FCA All-Star Festival will take place with eight events over nine days in four different cities from June 2-11.

Here’s a look at this year’s participants.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Big Country Girls Basketball Statistical Leaders (through Feb. 3)

Each Thursday night, Big Country Preps will publish area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders.

This database will be continually updated for our subscribers throughout the remainder of the season, using only those statistics submitted by area coaches.

Teams that do not submit their statistics in a given week will not be listed when our stats are posted, but will be added to the lists below as they are received in the coming days. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

UIL REALIGNMENT: Going virtual amid winter storm adds stress for area coaches

When the University Interscholastic League held its biennial realignment in February 2020, the world had yet to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That would come just over a month later.

While many thought things would be back to normal in time for Thursday’s release, on Wednesday another winter storm from Mother Nature led to an unprecedented challenge: a virtual realignment.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

UIL REALIGNMENT: Big Country football landscape will change dramatically

While icy road conditions may have changed the UIL’s method of delivering the news, the results of its biennial realignment still offered the usual mix of surprises on Thursday. 

Held via live feed over the internet, area coaches learned their fate on the web. 

Topping the list of stunners for area teams would be the shift of Brownwood from its centralized home in District 5-4A DI to the far west in District 2.  There, the Lions will join Big Spring, Lubbock Estacado, San Angelo Lake View and Andrews — the last of which will produce a 480-mile round trip.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Big Country Boys Basketball Statistical Leaders (through Jan. 20)

Each Thursday night, Big Country Preps will publish area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders.

This database will be continually updated for our subscribers throughout the remainder of the season, using only those statistics submitted by area coaches.

Teams that do not submit their statistics in a given week will not be listed when our stats are posted, but will be added to the lists below as they are received in the coming days. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

EVAN REN’S 2021 TRUE GRIT TEAM: The toughest, hardest-working players in the Big Country!

Most high school football teams have that one player acknowledged by the coaching staff as the prime example of what a teammate should be. 

He’s the guy who seldom misses any practice time and is a regular in the weight room. He’s early to arrive. He’s late to leave, takes pride in being coachable but seldom needs direction. 

He always sets the right example for younger players. He doesn’t gripe and, above all else, he’s tough enough to make all the aforementioned traits possible. 

Know someone like that? Here is where they are honored. 

Welcome to Big Country Preps’ “True Grit” team — a collection of area players nominated by their head coaches, who exemplify the character traits football mentors want throughout their roster. 

Not all of them are great players. In fact, many of them will never play a down of college football. But every single one of them is making the most of their high school football experience and has helped those around them do the same.

We are absolutely honored to present these young men to you — the toughest, hardest-working football players the Big Country had to offer in 2021. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

All-Big Country Preps Football Team: Rising Stars Team

Here are our selections for the 2021 All-Big Country Preps Rising Stars Team — an honor reserved for the area’s top freshman and sophomore football players. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Eakin takes our final award for 2021

NOTE: This will be our final Player of the Week award for 2021, but the column will return after the holidays on Monday, Jan. 10.

Our final Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week award for 2021 could not have been earned on a bigger stage. 

Stephenville receiver Coy Eakin claims the accolade, after earning Offensive MVP honors during the Yellow Jackets’ 38-21 win over Austin LBJ in the Class 4A Division I state championship game on Friday. 

It was genuinely Eakin’s night and for more reasons than one. 

Aside from hauling in nine catches for 187 yards and three scores (including a one-handed grab for a TD), Eakin rushed for another touchdown, forced a fumble, recovered an important onside kick and picked off a pass. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

EVAN REN: Never underestimate the Jerry World factor

ARLINGTON — Who doesn’t like pageantry at the football state championship games? Who doesn’t like a big atmosphere? 

Of course, every real high school football fan loves it. That’s why we take part in the annual migration to AT&T Stadium each December to participate in Texas’ greatest high school spectacle. 

There is, however, at least one drawback and it showed itself in Stephenville’s 38-21 win over Austin LBJ in Friday’s Class 4A Division I state championship game. 

Sometimes, “Jerry World” (as it has become known in some circles) can simply overwhelm the event itself. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Playmaker Eakin, opportunistic defense fuel Stephenville to sixth state title

ARLINGTON — After grinding out a trio of one-score wins to earn their way to the Class 4A Division I state championship game, the Stephenville Yellow Jackets spared their fans any unnecessary suspense Friday against top-ranked Austin LBJ.

The No. 2 Yellow Jackets rode a picture perfect start to a 24-0 second-quarter lead and held off the Jaguars from there to claim their sixth state championship with a 38-21 win.

SHS, which finished undefeated at 16-0, recovered fumbles on each of LBJ’s first four possessions and followed those with a goal-line stand and a punt to keep an explosive Jaguar offense off the board until the waning minutes of the first half. And senior receiver Coy Eakin fueled a strong offensive start, sandwiching a pair of first-half touchdown catches around a scoring run and a Corbin Poston field goal to put the Jackets in control by halftime.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: Brock ran into under-the-radar buzzsaw in Lorena

ARLINGTON — During a 15-0 run to the state championship in which they outscored their opponents by an average margin of 51-13, the Brock Eagles looked nearly invincible.

Ranked No. 2 for most of the season behind defending state champion Jim Ned, the Eagles cruised through Region I, routing the top-ranked Indians 70-25 in the third round before finally being tested in a 35-28 overtime win over Mount Vernon in the state semifinals.

It wasn’t until the state title game, however, that Brock finally met its match. And after Thursday’s 35-18 loss to Lorena, no other explanation’s really necessary.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Brock falls to Lorena 35-18 in Class 3A Division I state title game

ARLINGTON — Missed opportunities and inconsistency.

The stat sheet from Brock’s 35-18 loss to Lorena in Thursday’s Class 3A Division I state championship game largely masks both factors. Yet both were key reasons why the Eagles fell short at AT&T Stadium. 

Rhett Hanson rushed for 196 yards and three scores and Ryne Abel threw for 163 yards and another TD to lead Lorena (14-2), which earned its first state football title since 1987 and the 200th career win for coach Ray Biles. 

Brock finished its season at 15-1 — led by Tyler Moody with 170 yards passing and two scores and Kutter Wilson, who rushed for 171 yards and another TD. The Eagles were only outgained 370-359, but the game’s keys weren’t found on paper. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

EVAN REN: Ables has earned a spot among the area’s top coaches

Ask a Big Country football fan to name the area’s most successful coaches over the past 20 years and the list will generally sound like this: Denney Faith, Brent West, Hugh Sandifer, Wayne Hutchinson, Patrick Corcoran, Gary Proffitt, Russell Lucas, Dewaine Lee, Mike Reed and a varying number of stragglers. 

You won’t hear the name Mitch Ables. Yet you should. 

In fact, a large number of area fans could not tell you for certain that he’s the Hawley coach. And many could not tell you that he has ushered in an era of success with the Bearcats that is absolutely unprecedented. 

Even I have been a bit slow at giving Ables credit for what he has become, and this extends well beyond Thursday’s 47-12 loss to Shiner in Hawley’s first-ever state championship game. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Brooks brothers lift Shiner past Hawley in 2A DI state title game

ARLINGTON — Making their state championship debut, the Hawley Bearcats knew they would have to play near-flawless football in all three phases of the game to pull off a stunner against the defending state champion Shiner Comanches.

For one half Wednesday, it looked like the Bearcats might have the magic needed to do that, but a punishing Shiner running game and multiple second-half turnovers led to a 47-12 win for the Comanches in the Class 2A Division I championship game at AT&T Stadium.

Despite the loss, Hawley coach Mitch Ables was proud of his squad, which closed the greatest season in program history at 15-1.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Strawn rolls Motley County for state title

ARLINGTON — After falling a few yards short of a state championship appearance in 2020, the Strawn Greyhounds left no doubt that they were the better team on Wednesday afternoon in a 73-28 throttling of Matador Motley County at AT&T Stadium for the Class 1A Division II championship.

The redemption tour saw Strawn win all five playoff games on the 45-point mercy rule, an absolutely dominating run through the postseason.

Strawn scored at least 61 points in all of its playoff games en route to its third title in five years and fifth in school history.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Westbrook rides Ware’s legs to first state title

ARLINGTON — Entering Wednesday’s Class 1A Division I state championship game at AT&T Stadium, the Westbrook Wildcats had the 10th-ranked scoring defense in the state, giving up just 28.1 points per game.

On the other hand, May entered with the second-highest scoring offense in the state at 66.7 points per game.

Despite May’s offense having an average day by it’s standards, it was Westbrook’s defense that came up with the biggest play when it mattered most as the Wildcats won the first state title in school history in a 72-66 thriller.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BCP WEEK 17 PLAYOFF FORECAST: Six area teams reach Arlington with state titles on the line

LAST WEEK: 3-1, .750
SEASON TOTAL: 509-107, .826

What a year for area football.

Six … count’em … six teams from the Big Country Preps coverage area still have a pulse in Week 17 and will compete for state titles at five different levels.

Strawn, May, Westbrook, Hawley, Brock and Stephenville will all make their way onto the turf at AT&T Stadium this week with a shot at the history books.

The Big Country Preps staff will be on hand at Jerry World, of course, soaking it all in and sharing it with you, our subscribers.

It’s difficult to believe, but its time to make my final round of picks for 2021. 

Here’s this week’s forecast: 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 17)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games and select six-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 17)”

McAuliffe: Big Country fans have potential history to look forward to this week

There are 12 games left in the 2021 Texas high school football season, meaning just 24 teams have a shot at ending their season with the ultimate prize: a state championship.

Of those 24 teams, six of them are in the Big Country Preps coverage area — a pool from which five championships could be claimed.

That’s a significant shift from years past as the area has won a combined total of four titles in the past six years. Prior to that, the Big Country had a run of 10 championships from 2009-2014. The banner year during that stretch came in 2012 when Throckmorton, Stamford, Munday and Stephenville were all crowned as champions.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Stamford’s Applin wins this week’s award

While scoring a lot of points is always an attention-getter, the Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week column puts a great deal of value in players who can contribute in a variety of ways. And today’s winner is a prime of example of that. 

Stamford junior guard Laylonna Applin takes our accolade after helping the Lady Bulldogs to a 5-0 record on the week, with wins over Burkburnett, Christoval, Class 4A No. 13 Sanger, the San Angelo Central JV and Veribest. The last for victories came in the Ballinger tournament, at which Applin was named MVP.

Yes, she did plenty of scoring, dropping in an eye-popping 134 points through five games. But Applin did a lot more than just put the ball in the hoop.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Area coaches react to passing of Texas icon Dave Campbell

Cover photo courtesy of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.

On Friday, legendary media icon Dave Campbell passed away in Waco at the age of 96.

He founded Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine in 1960 and still served as its editor-in-chief up until his death.

On Saturday, coaches across the Big Country shared their memories of Campbell.

Continue reading “Area coaches react to passing of Texas icon Dave Campbell”

GAME STORY: Stephenville edges Wichita Falls Hirschi in semifinal thriller

FRISCO — Through much of the 2021 season, the Stephenville Yellow Jackets have created a cushion for themselves — nearly eliminating pressure situations with an average victory margin of 41-13 through their first 14 games. 

Friday night at the Star, however, the Jackets were forced to answer the bell time and time again in a 38-35 win over Wichita Falls Hirschi in the Class 4A Division I state semifinals. 

Ryder Lambert threw for 220 yards and two scores and rushed for a third touchdown to lift Stephenville, which battled through six lead changes to reach the state championship game. There, the Jackets (15-0) will meet either Tyler Chapel Hill (11-3) or Austin LBJ (14-0) next week in Arlington. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Brock uses rare center-eligible pass to beat Mt. Vernon

MCKINNEY — With the score tied a 28 in overtime, nobody was really surprised that the Brock Eagles went to standout tight end  Nathan Jones for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown against Mount Vernon. 

The way they did it, however, caught nearly everyone off-guard including every defender on the Mount Vernon defense.  

With Jones lining up t center, the Eagles shifted two linemen to the right, leaving Jones at the end of the line, still snapping the ball, but eligible for a pass.  After snapping the ball to Tyler Moody, Jones did a short out pattern into the end zone where Moody found him all alone for a 35-28 lead.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Albany meets its match in 35-14 state semifinals loss to Stratford

LUBBOCK — Through their first 13 games, the Albany Lions built and unblemished record by being the most physical team on the field.

On Thursday, in its Class 2A Division II state semifinal matchup against Stratford, coach Denney Faith’s squad finally ran into a team it couldn’t move.

SHS controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, outrushing Albany 299-32, and the Lions couldn’t generate enough in the passing game to compensate, allowing the final 25 points in a 35-14 loss at Lowrey Field.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Suffocating defense has Hawley headed to first state championship game

WEATHERFORD — Hawley’s football team has been making history on a regular basis since Mitch Ables took over as the head coach in 2014.

After Thursday night’s 19-12 win over Marlin in the Class 2A Division I state semifinals, the Bearcats have another historical milestone: their first championship game appearance.

The fifth-ranked Bearcats will face No. 2 Shiner for the state championship at 7 p.m. Wednesday at AT&T Stadium, completing a tripleheader of Big Country games on the opening day of the 2021 state championships.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 16)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games and select six-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday morning.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 16)”

BCP WEEK 16 PLAYOFF FORECAST: Seven Big Country Preps teams still alive

LAST WEEK: 7-0, 1.000
SEASON TOTAL: 506-106, .826

As Week 16 arrives, Big Country Preps still has an astonishing seven teams still active — Stephenville, Brock, Hawley, Albany, Westbrook, May and Strawn — the last three of which will be playing for the Class 1A Division I and Division II titles next week. 

In the meantime, we have four 11-man state semifinal games involving teams in our coverage area to discuss this week, including three Thursday dates. 

The column remains red hot at the moment, going 7-0 on picks last week and 19-1 over the last two weeks. 

Here’s this week’s playoff forecast: 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BREAKING: Realignment takes its second step and impact to be felt across the Big Country

It may not be February, but the second part of the University Interscholastic League’s bi-annual realignment plan came out on Wednesday as the high school governing body released the cutoff numbers for each classification.

The impact will be felt across the Big Country as the area’s lone 6A representative, Abilene High, found out that it will be dropping to Class 5A Division I for football and should be in a district with Cooper and Wylie for all non-football sports.

Cooper, meanwhile, saw its enrollment cause it to drop into Class 5A Division II along with the Bulldogs meaning the annual Southside Showdown is now expected to be a district game.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sweetwater’s Foster takes the top spot

He might be better known as one of the top receivers in the Big Country — hauling in 78 catches for more than 1,300 yards for Sweetwater’s football team in 2021. 

What some don’t realize is, Harrison Foster is also one of the area’s top basketballers, as evidenced by his taking our Capital Farm Credit-BCP Player of the Week award for the week ending Dec. 4. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us