Here are the Big Country’s receiving leaders through Week 9:
EARLY — When Clyde football coach Scott Campbell arrived at Longhorn Stadium on Friday and saw the flags whipping in a fierce north wind, he knew immediately what he was going to do if his Bulldogs happened to win the coin toss.
They did. And his subsequent decision to defer and force Early to drive into that wind may very well have been the difference in a 33-20 Clyde win in the Big Country Preps Game of the Week.
Dylan Neuman threw for 224 yards, rushed for 41 and accounted for four scores to lift Clyde (4-4, 3-0 District 3-3A DI), which remains in contention for the league title with the win.
Early (4-4, 1-2) was led by Jaxyn Price, who threw for 111 yards, rushed for 25 and had a direct hand in all three EHS scores.
Jim Ned 75, TLCA 0 — The Indians (6-1, 3-0) had an easy time with winless TLCA, building a 61-0 halftime lead before coasting home.
Xavier Wishert had 115 yards rushing and two scores on only three carries on a night that saw five different Indians score rushing touchdowns.
LAST WEEK: 32-2, .941
OVERALL: 282-64, .815
With two straight weeks of hitting over 90 percent on my picks, I’m feeling ready for the home stretch. But our Big Country Preps Game of the Week and at least three other area games, are virtual tossups. So keeping this pace up will be a challenge.
Our spotlight game: Clyde (3-4, 2-0) facing Early (4-3, 1-1) in a game that in the end, may decide the No. 3 playoff seed.
But this game offers a bit more than that.
The Early Longhorns haven’t reached the playoffs since 2008 — 12 straight years of sitting at home in late November. But a win here would nearly lock up a playoff spot, assuming the Longhorns defeat winless San Angelo TLCA on Oct. 30.
Early 21, Breckenridge 0 — Early used one of its best defensive efforts of the year to score a crucial district win over Breckenridge.
Limiting the Buckaroos to 138 yards in total offense, Early patiently built a three-score lead over one of the teams considered to be a contender for the No. 4 playoff seed.
Peyton Warren’s name is synonymous with Clyde volleyball.
The Lady Bulldogs’ program began eight years ago. Warren, who’s finishing up a stellar senior season, has been starting for half of that stretch.
As the curtain draws near on her final high school volleyball career, Warren admits there’s a different feeling now than in previous seasons.
Numbers alone don’t always take our Big Country Preps Player of the Week award, though they are usually the top consideration.
When things get close among the top candidates, other factors begin to weigh in. That was precisely the case with this week’s top spot, which goes to Anson junior quarterback Blake Vinson.
Vinson, who hit 23 of 32 passes for 367 yards and four scores in a 41-34 win over Stamford, had two factors in his favor that made his effort a bit more noteworthy than some of the area’s other top performances last week.
Clyde 38, Breckenridge 21 — Clyde charted 466 total yards to win the district opener for both clubs. Dylan Neuman threw for 213 yards and two scores and Austin Hastings rushed for 128 yards and two TDs to lead Clyde ( 2-4, 1-0).
Leading 24-21 late in the third quarter, the Bulldogs pulled away with a 51-yard TD pass from Neuman to Jacob Roberts at the 1:26 mark of the third and a 6-yard TD run by Canaan Charleston with 0:29 to play.
Prior to the game, the numbers pointed to a track meet. But nobody was prepared for the more than 1,600 yards in combined total offense produced in last week’s 91-71 Eastland victory over Panhandle.
It should come as no surprise that the Big Country Preps Player of the Week participated in this artillery barrage, disguised as a football game.
Eastland senior Behren Morton earns the top spot, after hitting 22 of 32 throws for 405 yards and five touchdowns. The Texas Tech-bound QB also rushed nine times for 196 yards and three scores and was 12 of 13 on extra points.
By night’s end, he had a direct hand in eight touchdowns and 60 points. And no, this was not a six-man football game.
Jim Ned 24, Hallettsville 21 — The Indians stunned the fifth-ranked Brahmas by forcing three turnovers and getting a good push up front.
The Indians, who gained the upper hand with a 10-0 third quarter, finished with 235 yards on the ground as a team
CLYDE — The Clyde volleyball team picked up a big win on Tuesday night at Bulldog Gym, sweeping Jim Ned 25-13, 25-16, 25-16 to take the lead in District 6-3A.
The Lady Bulldogs got off to a quick start in each set, scoring at least the first three points of each one, and trailed for only a single point in the match (5-4 in the second set) as they improved to 13-6 on the year and 3-0 in league play.
Jim Ned, meanwhile, fell to 14-2 and 2-1 with the loss.
Early 36, Grape Creek 0 — Early had an easy time with Grape Creek, limiting the Eagles to just 82 yards in total offense.
The Longhorns (3-2) led 20-0 at the end of the first half and put the game out of reach with a pair of second-half touchdowns.
Alex Jacobs led Early with 157 yards rushing and two scores on 16 carries.
Grape Creek fell to 1-4 with the loss.
LAST WEEK: 36-12, .750
SEASON TOTAL: 152-47, .763
I have not been to Bangs for a Game of the Week since 2013 — the last time the Dragons posted more than six wins in a season and the last winning record they had prior to last year’s 6-5 mark.
That drought ends tomorrow, when I travel to BHS for an interesting showdown between the Dragons (3-0) and Class 2A Division I power Hawley (3-1).
Bangs has the better overall numbers, but Hawley has faced a slightly tougher overall schedule, making this pick a perplexing one.
Photos by Stan West, Rachel Laughlin and Toni Brockway
Liz Underwood was focused on basketball as a sixth-grader at Clyde. That is, until new Clyde High School volleyball coach Laura Carr asked her to join a traveling club team.
“She wanted to play on a traveling volleyball team with girls in the grade above me,” Underwood said. “She said she needed a middle blocker. I was thinking to myself, ‘I don’t even know what a middle blocker is.’ But she’s the coach, and she asked me so I said, ‘Yes.’ ”
At her first practice, Underwood realized that volleyball was truly a team sport in which players relied on each other’s skills.
Wall 42, Mason 7 — The Hawks (3-1) rolled up 406 combined rushing yards in an easy win over still-winless Mason.
led Wall with 163 yards and three scores on 13 carries.
Drew Morrison added 135 yards and two scores on 14 touches.
Leading 22-7 at the break, the Hawks put the game away with a pair of third-quarter scores.
Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-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.
LAST WEEK: 42-9, .824
SEASON TOTAL: 116-35, .740
Week 4 arrives and I’m finally hitting my stride on pick accuracy.
It’s been an odd year thus far, both in terms of results and overall feel. It’s been tough to gauge.
Nonetheless, we’re hitting the road once again this Friday, with the Big Country Preps Game of the Week landing at Chesley Field in Cisco, where the Loboes (2-1) will play host to a Jim Ned club that is two divisions larger than they are.
As one of just one 12 returning lettermen for a young Clyde squad, receiver Jacob Roberts knew he’d have to step up his game in his final high school season.
In fellow senior Dylan Neuman, the Bulldogs had an established quarterback, and Clyde returned several lineman to protect him. But coach Scott Campbell’s squad would need some playmakers to emerge around that core if it hoped to build on last season’s 7-4 finish, and Roberts was determined to be one of those.
So far, he’s done just that for CHS, dwarfing his modest numbers from last season by the end of Week 1. And after helping the Bulldogs (1-2) to their first win last Friday — a 52-14 dismantling of previously unbeaten Riesel in Dublin — he’s only hoping to further establish himself as one of the Big Country’s true go-to receivers.
Opening its season against a Clyde squad that already had 14 matches under its belt, the Cooper volleyball team was tested early in Tuesday’s nondistrict showdown at Cougar Gym.
But the veteran Lady Cougars proved up to the challenge in a 25-23, 25-21, 25-13 sweep of the Lady Bulldogs.
Ending a long wait after the start its season was delayed a month by COVID-19, Cooper shook off any ring rust quickly, finding its offensive rhythm in the Game 3 to put the match away in style.
We have said all along that the Sweetwater Mustangs would be among the most explosive teams in the Big Country in 2020, and Friday gave us a glimpse of it.
Led by our Big Country Preps Player of the Week, Leo Holsey, SHS amassed nearly 700 yards in total offense in a 58-42 win over San Angelo Lake View.
A junior in his third varsity season, Holsey hit 14 of 26 throws for 254 yards and four scores and rushed for 111 and three more TDs to help the Mustangs improve to 1-1. He finished the day with 365 total yards and a direct hand in seven scores.
“He came out focused and prepared,” Sweetwater coach Ben McGehee said. “I thought he did a great job running the offense all night in the run and passing game.”
DUBLIN — The first two weeks of the season saw the Clyde Bulldogs get ambushed by Cisco and Idalou.
Saturday, the Bulldogs dished out a beating of their own as they hammered Riesel early and often and rolled to a 52-14 win over the Indians at Dublin’s Bob and Norma Cervetto Field.
Clyde coach Scott Campbell was quick to credit the play of his offensive line — one that features five seniors — which set the tone to allow his squad to run for 287 yards.
Austin Hastings was the biggest benefactor as he ran for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just a dozen carries.