Category: Cooper Cougars

BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cisco’s Edgar is the top dog

The Cisco Loboes may have only played one game last week (beating Hamlin 76-41). But senior guard Layne Edgar made the most of it.

Scoring 39 points with a 5-of-9 tally from 3-point range, he narrowly missed a monstrous triple-double, finishing with nine rebounds and eight assists.

In his spare time, he collected six steals in a truly dominating performance worthy of our Big Country Preps Player of the Week award for the Week ending Jan. 16.

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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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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Wylie boys, girls sweep Lubbock High

The Wylie boys basketball team evened its District 4-5A record at 1-1 on Tuesday, blasting Lubbock High 50-27 at Bulldog Gym.

Trailing 12-11 after the first quarter, the Bulldogs outscored the Westerners 39-15 the rest of the way to improve to 5-8 overall.

Wylie took a 24-19 lead into halftime after outpacing Lubbock High 13-7 in the second quarter, before using a 15-2 run through the third quarter to take control for good.

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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Cooper boys open district play with win over Lubbock High

LUBBOCK — The Cooper boys basketball team kicked off District 4-5A play with a victory Tuesday, outscoring Lubbock High in each of the first three quarters of a 44-31 road victory.

Leading 13-7 after a quarter, the Cougars (10-4 overall, 1-0 in district) used a 13-6 run through the second quarter to take a 26-13 advantage into halftime. The Coogs then outscored the Westerners 12-5 in the third quarter to all but put the game away.

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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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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: McGee, Watts lead Eagles to blowout win at Midland High

MIDLAND — Jalen McGee scored 26 points and Nathan Watts added 20 to power the Abilene High boys basketball team to an 84-31 rout of  Midland High in a District 2-6A matchup Friday.

The Eagles (13-3 overall, 2-1 in district) led 33-21 at halftime, before outscoring the Bulldogs 27-10 in the third quarter and 24-0 in the fourth to pull way for the 53-point win.

Continue reading “LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: McGee, Watts lead Eagles to blowout win at Midland High”

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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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: AHS boys finish strong in 22-point win over W.F. Rider

WICHITA FALLS — The Abilene High boys basketball team rallied from a first-quarter deficit to rout Wichita Falls Rider 64-42 on Monday, outscoring the Raiders 37-19 over the final two quarters to turn a four-point game at halftime into a rout.

The Eagles, who improved to 11-2 with the win, trailed 12-11 after a quarter before taking the lead for good with a 16-11 run through the second. Leading 27-23 at half, AHS took control quickly out of the break, outscoring Rider 18-8 in the third quarter before closing out the victory with another big period in the fourth.

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GAME STORY: Cooper boys use balanced effort to overwhelm Big Spring in 71-44 win

The Cooper boys basketball team rode fast starts to each half to a comfortable win over Big Spring on Monday, outscoring the Steers 18-7 in the first quarter and 25-12 in the third on its way to a 71-44 win at Cougar Gym.

Jalen Cherry scored a game-high 16 points to lead a group of four Cougars to reach double figures scoring, and CHS stifled Big Spring’s usually potent offense to improve to 7-4 on the year.

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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Abilene High boys keep roll going into Christmas break

SLATON — The Abilene High boys basketball team notched its fifth consecutive win Saturday, following Friday’s triumph over Cooper with a 63-46 victory over Plainview to improve to 10-2 heading into the Christmas break.

Jalen McGee led the Eagles with 16 points, helping AHS to a 15-6 first-quarter lead it would protect the rest of the way. Plainview pulled within eight (31-23) at halftime, before the Eagles took control for good with a 15-9 run through the third quarter.

In addition to McGee’s big night, AHS also got double figures scoring from Jackson Stevens (11 points) and Sami Kanayo (10 points). Nathan Watts added eight points and Jake Breckenridge scored six for coach Justin Reese’s squad, which saw nine players crack the scoresheet. 

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GAME STORY: Eagles get second win over Cooper in past week

Playing for the second time in a week, Friday night’s crosstown showdown between Abilene High and Cooper figured to be a white-knuckled affair.

The Cougars were playing their second game with several members of the football team while AHS was coming off a season sweep of Wylie.

A red-hot first quarter set the tone for AHS which picked up it’s third straight win against local competition with a 65-50 win at Eagle Gym to improve to 9-2 on the season.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT WEDNESDAY NIGHT PODCAST: Evan & Dan talk playoff football

VIDEO PODCAST NO. 12: Evan Ren and Dan Youngblood speak about last week’s playoff action, and this week’s state title games

Top games of this week discussed: May vs. Sterling City, Jim Ned vs. Mt. Vernon, Abilene vs. North Crowley 

Top games of last week discussed: Jim Ned vs. Mount Vernon, Cooper vs. Mansfield Summit, Abilene vs. El Paso Eastwood, Wylie vs. Grapevine.

 

 

LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Wylie girls fall just short against No. 2 Amarillo High

LUBBOCK — The Wylie girls basketball team outscored Class 5A No. 2 Amarillo High 36-31 over the final two quarters Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a 11-point halftime deficit in a 61-55 loss at Lubbock Christian University.

The Lady Bulldogs were right in the game after a quarter, trailing just 13-11, but a 17-8 second-quarter run sent Amarillo High to the locker room with a 30-19 halftime lead.

Wylie whittled that to one with a 20-10 run through the third period, but the Lady Bulldogs were outscored 21-16 over the final period to fall to 5-7 on the year.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Abilene High duo Ramirez, Dotson share award

Facing an explosive El Paso Eastwood offense in the opening round of the Region I-6A Division II playoffs, the Abilene High Eagles knew they’d need to move the ball and score if they hoped to earn their first postseason win since 2016.

That’s where junior quarterback Abel Ramirez and senior running back Phonzo Dotson came in.

Taking turns leading an AHS offensive explosion, this duo helped the Eagles rack up 569 yards of total offense in a 42-35 win over the Troopers. And in the process, the pair has earned the Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week award for the week ending Dec. 12.

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GAME STORY: Abilene High boys take care of Cooper in first crosstown matchup

Senior standouts Jalen McGee and Nathan Watts both had big games Saturday, giving Abilene High steady production from the perimeter and post, respectively, to lift the Eagles to a 56-44 win over crosstown rival Cooper at Cougar Gym.

Behind that duo, AHS outscored the Cougars 37-25 over the middle two quarters to take control of what was a one-point game after one quarter.

The win, the second in a row for the Eagles, improved coach Justin Reese’s squad to 7-2 on the year, while Cooper fell to 5-3 with the loss.

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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Wylie girls use fast start to run away from No. 10 Cisco

CISCO — The Wylie girls basketball team outscored Class 2A No. 10 Cisco 21-5 in the first quarter and kept the Lady Loboes’ offense in check the rest of the way to snap a three-game losing streak with a 48-33 road win Friday.

The Lady Bulldogs, who handed the Lady Loboes just their second loss of the season, got scoring from 10 of 11 players in the victory, led by Makinlee Bacon and Emma Melton with 12 points apiece and Ceci Widder with seven. 

Cisco (6-2), which trailed 31-14 at halftime and 44-22 after three quarters, got a game-high 20 points from Sophia Hurtado and eight from Justice Fox, but only two other players got onto the scoresheet for the Lady Loboes.

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GAME STORY: Big plays, fast start propel Summit to upset win over Cooper

On a night that saw two Cooper players etch their names in the record books, it was the Mansfield Summit Jaguars who left Shotwell Stadium smiling Friday after a dominating 49-28 bi-district win.

Summit jumped on Cooper early, scoring the game’s first 28 points, and answered both of the Cougars’ first-half touchdowns to take a 42-14 lead into halftime and make significant achievements for CHS quarterback Aidan Thompson and running back Noah Garcia footnotes in an otherwise forgettable game.

Thompson became Cooper’s all-time leading passer in the second quarter and tied the Coogs’ career passing touchdowns record in the fourth, while Garcia took over the top spot for all-purpose touchdowns, adding to a record-setting career that already included school and district records for career rushing yardage.

But in the end, this night belonged to Summit, which averaged 12.2 yards per play in the first half and became the first team all year to shut down Cooper’s potent rushing attack.

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FEATURE: Rapid progress of inexperienced line key to Cooper’s offensive success

Coming into the year with just two players who had played varsity football in a Cooper uniform, the Cougar offensive line was a significant question mark for coach Aaron Roan and his staff.

Add in a global pandemic that wiped out spring ball and played havoc on the fall practice and game schedule, and it would have been perfectly understandable if that group had struggled in 2020.

But eight games and 4,000 yards later, that’s been anything but the case. In fact, that group has largely matched the talented and senior-laden bunch that helped the Cougars average 39.4 points and 425.4 yards a year ago — a fact that’s surprised even Roan.

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Evan Ren’s Big Country playoff forecast

LAST WEEK: 3-2, .600
SEASON TOTAL: 432-93, .823

With two small-school area teams — Jim Ned and May — now joined in the postseason party by locals Abilene High, Cooper and Wylie (in the 6A-5A bi-district rounds), the Big Country still has five football teams still afloat heading into this week.

It should be noted that May, having already qualified for the 1A DI (six-man) state title game, won’t play again until next week’s championship matchup with Sterling City.
The rest will see action Friday and Saturday in venues scattered all over Texas, from the Metroplex to Fort Stockton.

Let’s dive in and have a look at all the matchups.

I’ll see you on the road. 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT WEDNESDAY NIGHT PODCAST: Abilene High’s Mike Fullen joins the show

VIDEO PODCAST NO. 11: Abilene coach Mike Fullen joins the show. Evan Ren and Dan Youngblood give the most complete look at the Big Country Playoff picture available from any media source in the Big Country.  

Top games of this week discussed: May vs. Sterling City, Jim Ned vs. Mt. Vernon

Top games of last week discussed: Jim Ned vs. Pilot Point, Eastland vs. Gunter, Cisco vs. Post, Strawn vs. Richland Springs, May vs. Blum. 

GAME STORY: Cooper boys get defensive in 44-33 home win over Midland Lee

With offense hard to come for both teams Tuesday, the Cooper boys basketball turned to its defense to secure a 44-33 win over Midland Lee at Cougar Gym.

Neither the Cougars nor the Rebels scored more than 12 points in any quarter, but the Cooper held Lee to single digits in three of the four periods to earn its second straight win and improve to 5-2 on the year.

Jaelyn Rivera (17 points) and Jalen Cherry (11 points) provided the bulk of the offense for the Coogs, who held all but one Lee player (Brandon Foster with 10 points) to single-figures scoring and limited four of the Rebels’ six scorers to four points or fewer.

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