Category: Eula Pirates

EVAN REN: We can all use some good news and football can provide some of it

In a world that has seemingly gone mad, I’ll take any dose of good news that I can find — even if it’s mundane.

The stock market inched up a half point? I’ll take it. We can go back to worrying about COVID-19? I’m all-in. The buildings in Abilene are still standing? That’s a check mark in the plus column. 

So how do we get there? 

How do we reestablish normality? 

Aside from the obvious fact that we need to stop the ongoing mayhem that is plaguing our society, getting back to common things we all hold dear will set the foundation for healing. And I’m talking about the simplest of pleasures, from peaceful walks in the park, shopping in a mall, going to the movies or attending a sporting event. 

In Texas, the latter cannot be overstated, especially when it comes to football. 

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EVAN REN: 10 things I’ll take away from the COVID-19 pandemic

I’ve always held to a personal axiom that perspective is everything. True or not, how we view a situation becomes the truth in our minds.
There’s no escaping it and every one of us has our own perspective

Well, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have changed my perspective in several ways on several different things. And for a middle-aged guy who is pretty well set in my ways, this is like the planets aligning.

I’ve managed to list my top 10 takeaways from lockdown, as they pertain to this website and what we’re trying to accomplish here.

Let’s dive in: 

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EVAN REN: UIL announcement promising, but are we out of the woods just yet?

“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”
— Elbert Hubbard

 In a Tweet released earlier today, the University Interscholastic League announced that it is actively working to allow schools to begin limited summer strength and conditioning and marching band activities on June 8. 

The mere sight of this announcement had me on the verge of challenging my 55-year-old frame to do a cartwheel for which it is ill-prepared to attempt. Because frankly, Texas without high school pigskin is like Texas without oxygen. 

The thought of its absence has been too bitter to contemplate. And in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve allowed myself to go down one rabbit hole after another — trying to discern information from disinformation, and political rhetoric from that which is concrete. 

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EVAN REN: Virus may teach us some appreciation (for a while)

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
— Voltaire 

There’s a barbeque place near my home that I don’t like. In fact, I seldom go there — deliberately bypassing it whenever the BBQ craving hits me in favor of better choices. 

But Friday, after two months of COVID-19 exile, I decided to make a quick run to bring home some brisket for the wife and I and elected to go to the very place I try to avoid because it was convenient. 

Funny how one’s perspective can change while in isolation.

Abilene’s worst barbeque was suddenly good. In fact, it was beyond good. It was like freakin’ nirvana. 

I suspect that’s the way it’s going to be with virtually everything I had taken for granted before the lockdown. And I’m already experiencing some of it.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Lady Pirates were prepping for run at state title

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.

A year after finishing second at the University Interscholastic League girls Class 1A state golf tournament last year, the Eula Lady Pirates were looking ahead to 2020 with an eye on a possible state championship. 

And with good reason. 

Coach Darren Carson’s team had graduated only one player, its top golfers were coming back and the Lady Pirates were introducing a talented freshman to the team. 

At the time of the COVID-19 lockdown imposed by the UIL last month, Eula had already broken the school record for the lowest team round (345), which made the state tournament record of 351 an inviting target to shoot for. 

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Evan Ren’s 2020 Gym Rat Team: The hardest workers in the Big Country

Scoring and rebounding is only part of the story when it comes to basketball. Behind the scenes and beyond the view of the public, is where character is often measured. And it is with our Big Country Preps Gym Rat Team that we salute the individuals who exude the most of it. 

This team isn’t about who the best players are, though some of the area’s top players are on this list. 

The Gym Rat team is about effort, discipline, toughness, coachability and selflessness — traits that coaches love above all else and that championship foundations are built upon.

It is for that reason that our Gym Rat team is selected entirely by area coaches, described in their own words. And Big Country Preps is absolutely honored to present these individuals to you — the best “team players” (boys and girls) that the area had to offer during the 2019-20 season.

Players are listed in no particular order. 

Enjoy.

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All-Big Country Preps Boys Basketball Superlatives: Brewer, Medina, Lenard head of 2020 class

Here are our superlative award winners for the 2020 All-Big Country Preps boys basketball team. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.

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2020 All-Big Country Preps Boys Basketball Team: First-Team Roster

Here are our first-team selections for the 2020 All-Big Country Preps boys basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

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2020 All-Big Country Preps Boys Basketball Team: Second-Team Roster

Here are our second-team selections for the 2020 All-Big Country Preps boys basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

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2020 All-Big Country Preps Boys Basketball Team: Third-Team Roster (w/ honorable mention)

Here are our third-team selections for the 2020 All-Big Country Preps boys basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

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All Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Superlatives: Galvin sisters, Gonzales take top spots

Here are our superlative award winners for the 2020 All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.

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2020 All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: First-Team Roster

Here are our third-team selections for the 2020 All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

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2020 All Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: Second team starters and reserves

Here are our third-team selections for the 2020 All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

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2020 All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: Third-Team Roster (w/ honorable mention)

Here are our third-team selections for the 2020 All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

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BCP Podcast No. 85: Jayton’s Bleiker, San Saba’s Kyle talk state hoops with Evan, Daniel

Jayton boys basketball coach Ryan Bleiker has led the Jaybirds to their second state tournament appearance in as many years. San Saba’s Mark Kyle has led the Armadillos to their first state trip since 1928.

Earlier this week, both men took a few minutes to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about the challenge their teams face for this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel recap last week’s boys basketball regionals.

GAME STORY: No. 5 Slidell too much for Eula boys in Region III-1A semifinals

MANSFIELD — Eula boys basketball coach Josh Fostel knew a fast start would be key if his team was going to have any hope of knocking off the defending state champion Slidell Greyhounds in Friday’s Region III-1A semifinal at Mansfield Legacy High School.

Unfortunately for the Pirates, what they got was the opposite.

Falling behind 16-1 after a quarter, ninth-ranked Eula was never able to recover in a 58-33 loss to No. 5 Slidell, falling to the Greyhounds in the same round for the second consecutive season. 

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BOYS BASKETBALL PLAYOFF ROUNDUP: Eula, San Saba boys advance to region tournament

David Phillips scored 17 points and Dakota Boles added 12 more to lead Eula to a 46-41 win over Richland Springs in a Region III-1A quarterfinal on Tuesday in Coleman.  

Trailing 32-28 heading into the fourth quarter, the Pirates rallied with an 18-9 run through the final eight minutes to advance to the regional tournament. 

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GIRLS BASKETBALL REGIONAL ROUNDUP: Eula tops Saltillo, Gruver stops Stamford

MANSFIELD — The Eula girls outscored Saltillo 11-7 in the first quarter Friday and added to their lead in each of the next two periods to secure a 42-34 win in the Region III-1A semifinals and earn a spot in Saturday’s title game against No. 3 Lipan.

 Coach Jamie Masonheimer’s squad led 19-14 at halftime, before increasing its lead to eight with a 9-6 run through the third quarter.

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BCP Baseball Position Rankings: Outfielders

For Day 4 of our five-part baseball position rankings series, we focus our binoculars on the outfield grass.

After highlighting the Big Country’s top pitchers, catchers and infielders earlier this week, we now do the same with the area’s best outfielders, ranking our top 10 with others to watch in 2020.

We hope you enjoy our list.

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BCP Softball Position Rankings: Infielders

After highlighting the top pitchers and catchers on the Big Country softball scene the past two nights, it’s time to turn our attention to the field.

For the third installment in our five-part position rankings series, we list our top-10 infielders in the area for the 2020 season.

We hope you enjoy reading through our rankings.

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BCP Podcast No. 82: Evan, Daniel talk girls and boys playoff basketball

With the area girls heading into the area round of the playoffs and the boys settling their final tiebreakers to determine seeding, it’s time for Evan and Daniel to take a good look around the area. 

All the top favorites, all the top surprises and what they’re up against will be this week’s topic of conversation. 

GAME STORY: Eula escapes Baird with district-clinching win

BAIRD — When perennial power Eula came to Baird on Friday with a No. 7 statewide ranking and a 24-5 record, few gave the upstart Bears, with three players overcoming illnesses, much of a shot. 

By evening’s end, however, the Pirates were counting themselves as fortunate to escape with a 58-47 win and Eula coach Josh Fostel was pleased to see his top-seeded crew get a much-needed challenge. 

Jayton Jones scored 21 points, including six 3-pointers and David Phillips dropped in 18 more to lead Eula (25-5, 9-0 District 20-1A), which locked up the district title with the win. 

Baird (15-6, 7-2), which whittled a 27-point first-half deficit to only four by the 3:00 mark of the fourth quarter, was led by Max Dayton with 13 points and Aaron Halburton with 11. 

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BCP Podcast No. 81: Evan, Daniel talk Ballinger boys hoops with coach Jamal Anene

In his four years as Ballinger’s boys basketball coach, Jamal Anene has built the Bearcats into a consistent playoff team. The same is true this year of BHS, which enters a big game Friday against San Angelo TLCA at 23-8 overall and 8-2 in District 4-3A.

Earlier this week, Anene took a few minutes to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about this season, his goals for the program and his unique background for the Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss the end of the girls basketball regular season and some of the biggest storylines in the final week of boys district games.

BIG COUNTRY GIRLS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Feb. 7)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday at 7 p.m.

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. 

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BIG COUNTRY BOYS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Feb. 7)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday at 7 p.m.

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. 

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UIL hands out its share of surprises to area schools (w/ five video interviews)

ABILENE — The University Interscholastic league released its new athletic districts for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years on Monday. 

As always, a sizable contingent of area coaches was on hand at the Region 14 Education Service Center to receive their information packets and arrange for any last-second schedule changes that were forced by realignment. 

Perhaps the biggest stunner was a move north by Class 2A Division I power San Saba, which has been shifted to the new District 4 with Cisco, Coleman, De Leon, Goldthwaite and Winters. 

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If you’re not subscribed at Big Country Preps yet, here’s what you missed last month …

If you’re not subscribed at BigCountryPreps.com yet, this is what you’ve missed over the past month:
— 16 player features,
— On-site coverage of 18 of the area’s top games
— Boys and girls stat leaders (updated weekly)
— Area standings (updated twice weekly)
— Columns
— Our All-Big Country Preps football teams
— Evan Ren’s Big Country True Grit Football Team
— Four BCP Players of the Week
— Breaking sports stories. 
For as little as $3 per month you can gain access to the most comprehensive coverage of high school football, basketball, baseball, softball and track in the Big Country. 
We have three low subscription options for you to choose from — monthly, semiannual and annual — with prices that always stay the same. No sign-up gimmicks here.  
Here’s a look at the entirety of our January coverage (plus links):

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BIG COUNTRY BOYS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 30)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday at 7 p.m.

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. 

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BIG COUNTRY GIRLS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 30)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday at 7 p.m.

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. 

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: This week in Big Country boys basketball (Jan. 27-Feb. 2)

We’re closing in on February and the Big Country’s boys basketball district races are heating up. 

With most of our leagues at or approaching the midpoint of their schedules, we’ve seen championship favorites established in some districts while other races remain wide open. And in most cases, playoff opportunities still remain for those who have fallen out of district title contention. 

With so much left to be decided, let’s take a quick look at the biggest storylines on the local and area boys basketball scene this week.

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Mary Mosley

BREAKING: Eula honors an icon, renames Pirate Gymnasium

It was a secret that was kept for three months and in the end, Mary Mosley was caught completely off-guard with a homecoming surprise that will never be forgotten.

With two brothers, a sister, her daughter, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren in attendance, Eula’s longtime bookkeeper was surprised by Eula boys basketball coach and athletic director Josh Fostel pulling off a stunner for the ages.

Fostel honored Mosley, who has kept Eula’s scorebook for the past 41 seasons, by having Pirate Gymnasium renamed Mary Mosley Gymnasium on Friday night between games of the Pirates’ District 20-1A doubleheader against Ranger.

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BIG COUNTRY BOYS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 23)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday at 7 p.m.

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.

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BIG COUNTRY GIRLS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 23)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday at 7 p.m.

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. 

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BCP Podcast No. 78: Eula’s Josh Fostel talks Pirate hoops with Evan, Daniel

Under longtime boys basketball coach Josh Fostel, the Eula Pirates have been among the best and most consistent Class 1A programs in the state. And EHS, which reached the state semifinals in 2007 before winning the state championship in 2011, has another strong team this year, sitting at 19-6 after routing Moran on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, Fostel took a few minutes to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about this year’s team, its 62-56 upset of Class 4A Brownwood last week and the program he’s built for this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss some of the biggest boys and and girls basketball storylines of the season so far.

BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Eula junior leads Pirates to upset, claims weekly accolade

Within Eula circles, it may not have felt like an upset. But to the Big Country at large, the Class 1A Eula boys’ 62-56 win over a very good Class 4A team from Brownwood (19-5) was nothing short of eye-popping. 

Nonetheless, it happened, with junior guard Dakota Boles packed enough punch that night to earn our Big Country Preps Player of the Week award for the week ending Jan. 18. 

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BIG COUNTRY BOYS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 16)

Each Thursday at 7 p.m., Big Country Preps will publish area boys 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. 

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BIG COUNTRY GIRLS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 16)

Each Thursday at 7 p.m., Big Country Preps will publish area 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. 

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Evan Ren’s 2019 Big Country True Grit Team: The toughest players in the Big Country!

We all know a football player who almost never misses any practice time and practically lives in the weight room. He’s always early to arrive and late to leave. He’s coachable, but seldom needs direction because he always pays attention. 

You know who I’m talking about.

The guy who sets a good example for young players. The guy who never complains and, first and foremost, is tough mentally and physically. He may not be the best player on a team (though some of them are). But he’s definitely the guy who gets the most out of the talent he’s given. 

Welcome to the 2019 “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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TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Martin’s Mill tops Breck for Eula Holiday Classic boys title

For 2½ quarters, Breckenridge played right with perennial power Martin’s Mill in the Eula Holiday Classic boys championship game Saturday. But the Buckaroos ran out of gas over the final 12 minutes, falling to the Class 2A No. 3 Mustangs 64-42 to cap two days of near-nonstop basketball action.

Breck, which defeated Jim Ned 60-47 in Saturday morning’s semifinals after an impressive 2-0 showing on Friday, was tied with Martin’s Mill at 28-all with 5:31 remaining in the third quarter. But the Mustangs closed that period on a 16-2 run and maintained control for the remainder of the game to claim their second straight title at Eula’s annual tournament.

That finish followed a 62-44 win for Childress over Jim Ned in the boys third-place game. The Bobcats, who fell to Martin’s Mill 58-53 in the quarterfinals on Friday, replaced Tolar in the third-place game to avoid a matchup with district rival Holliday in the consolation title game. Tolar ended up taking the Gold Bracket consolation championship with a 39-36 victory over Holliday.

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TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Buzzer beaters decide girls title, third-place game at Eula Classic

The girls half of the Eula Holiday Classic came to a thrilling close Saturday as both the Gold Bracket championship and third-place games were decided by last-second 3-pointers.

Mere hours after Anna Masonheimer’s buzzer-beating trey lifted Eula to a 33-32 win over Eastland in the third-place game, Mason’s Jesse Armstrong canned a triple at the horn to lift the Cowgirls to a 37-35 victory over Cisco for the tournament title.

Those outcomes put a bow on a weekend of basketball action that saw 14 teams play 28 games over a two-day period at the Eula and Clyde gyms. 

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