Category: Hawley Bearcats

Evan Ren’s 2022 BCP Baseball/Softball All-Hustle Team: The hardest-working players in the area!

OTHER 2022 ALL-BIG COUNTRY PREPS TEAMS

Character, grit and work ethic aren’t seen in a box score. And it is with our Big Country Preps All-Hustle Team that we wish to honor those players (male and female) who exemplify those qualities. 

The All-Hustle team isn’t about who the best baseball and softball players were. It honors the best teammates. 

It is here where effort, discipline and coachability — traits that coaches wish they had in every player and upon which championships are built — are honored.

It is for that reason that this team is largely selected by area coaches and described in their own words.

Big Country Preps is now honored to present these individuals to you — the best team players (boys and girls) that the Big Country had to offer during the 2022 baseball and softball seasons.

The players below are listed in no particular order. 

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GAME STORY: Albany softball takes series opener against Hawley

In the postseason, teams must do two things: avoid mistakes on defense and capitalize on offense.

Thursday night at Cooper High School, the Hawley softball team made several mistakes and Albany was able to capitalize on them as the Lady Lions won 14-6 to take the opening game of the Region II-2A bi-district series.

Albany scored three runs off wild pitches on 1-2 counts with two outs in the second and third innings on their way to posting a pair of five-run frames in getting the win.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP Player of the Week: O’Malley overcomes injury to punch regional ticket

Merkel’s Alyssa O’Malley is no stranger to our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week column. 

If she’s not in the weekly mix during the basketball season as one of the area’s top players, she’s competing for our top spot during the spring in track and field. 

Her latest exploit: How about four area championships in solo events, despite having a painful foot injury? 

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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Big Country Girls 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. 

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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. 

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2021 BIG COUNTRY PREPS MAX EFFORT TEAM: The hardest-working players in area volleyball!

While our All-Big Country Preps Volleyball team is in place to honor those who achieved the most on-court success, our “Max Effort” team is something much more uncommon. 

This is a special accolade, which has nothing to do with talent or stats.

It is here where character, grit and work ethic — traits that coaches wish every player had — are recognized. It is here where we honor the best teammates and best citizens that area volleyball has to offer.

It is for that reason that this team is selected by area coaches and described in their own words.

Big Country Preps is now honored to present these individuals to you — the hardest-working, toughest volleyball players in the Big Country. Ladies and gentlemen: Our 2021 Big Country Preps Max Effort Team. 

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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. 

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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.

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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: 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: 

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GAME STORY: Hawley escapes trench war with Cisco, tops Loboes 17-14 in Big Country Classic

ABILENE — With their leading rusher out with an injury and perennial power Cisco blocking the path to their first-ever state semifinal, the Hawley Bearcats had to find a way to adapt Friday night at Shotwell Stadium. 

They responded with a gritty, come-from-behind 17-14 win that saw them erase deficits of 7-0 and 14-7, despite being shorthanded.

Diontay Ramon rushed for 120 yards and a score in a reserve role to lead Hawley (14-0), which took the lead for good with a 29-yard field goal by Kason O’Shields with 7:47 to play. 

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BCP Week 15 Playoff Forecast: Big Ev picks 92 percent over Thanksgiving. Can he keep it going?

LAST WEEK: 12-1, .923
SEASON TOTAL: 499-106, .825

Alright, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty — football in December with seven Big Country teams still fighting for a trip to Arlington. If I’m correct, we’ll have quite a few area survivors to congratulate by Sunday.

The column connected on 92 percent of its picks last week, so we’ll see if I can keep the hot streak going.

Here’s this week’s forecast: 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Stephenville linebacker Young takes award once again

It’s not easy for defensive players to wrestle the spotlight away from those on offense. It’s just the nature of things. 

But in the case of Stephenville linebacker Reese Young, he’s beginning to make a habit of it. 

Young, who charted 22 tackles (14 solos) in SHS’ 21-17 regional semifinal win over Argyle last week is our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week for a second time this year. 

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GAME STORY: Hawley wins physical battle with Coleman

With over 8,000 fans in attendance, the Region I-2A Division I semifinal between Hawley and Coleman lived up to the expectation of a street fight and the associated hype as a matchup of unbeaten teams.

Austin Cumpton ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns, including one on which he flipped over the pile and landed on his head, to fuel the Bearcats to a 21-7 win Friday night at Wylie’s Hugh Sandifer Stadium.

Hawley coach Mitch Ables knew his squad was going to be in for a fight and was looking forward to watching the game film to see how hard both defenses were hitting.

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EVAN REN’S WEEK 14 PLAYOFF FORECAST: 16 area teams still battling for regional titles

LAST WEEK: 17-4, .809
SEASON TOTAL: 487-105, .823

Some areas have quantity. Others have quality. The Big Country has both — at least, this year it does. 

Entering Week 14 there are no fewer than 16 area teams with a shot at reaching December. And with six of them paired off against each other, the Big Country is guaranteed to have at least three survivors a week from now. 

I have a strong feeling we’re going to see more area survivors than that. But we will have some casualties this time around. There’s no avoiding it with the level of competition our teams are facing. 

With 11-man teams reaching the regional semifinal round and six-man teams playing for regional titles, there are nothing but monsters remaining to block the path to Arlington. 

Who will make it through? 

Here’s this week’s forecast: 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Dublin’s Teten earns honor with historic effort

With a huge passing game in Dublin’s 41-35 area-round win over Palmer, junior Chris Teten put up numbers worthy of our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week award.

But it’s only once you grasp the historical significance of the Lions’ win over the Bulldogs on Friday that you gain a full appreciation for the junior’s performance.

In hitting 19 of 26 passes for 406 yards and six touchdowns — all of which were needed to escape Joshua’s Owl Stadium with a victory — Teten was objectively excellent behind center for the Lions. Now for the kicker: the win over Palmer marked the first area-round victory in the history of the Dublin program, which is significant considering the school has been playing football for more than a century.

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Class 2A area round report: A look at all of this week’s 2A area round games involving the Big Country.

DIVISION I

Cisco 69, Panhandle 21 Hunter Long rushed for 334 yards and three scores as Cisco eliminated Panhandle. 

Trent Huston added 146 yards rushing and three more TDs to help Cisco, which built a 48-7 halftime lead before putting things into cruise control.

The Loboes (10-2) finished with 686 yards in total offense including 664 on the ground. They advance to face New Deal (11-1) in the Region I-2A DI semifinals next week. 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Hico sophomore Booth earns the spotlight

Big numbers will generally get one strong consideration for our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week award. But when those numbers come against a team from a much larger classification, it quickly makes us take notice. 

Class 2A Hico’s Grace Booth did exactly that last week in a 61-57 win over Class 4A Mineral Wells, dominating both ends of the floor to lead the Lady Tigers in their season opener. 

Aside from the 40 points she poured in, Booth snagged 10 rebounds to chart a double-double. She also forced multiple turnovers (viewable on the video above), including three steals.

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Class 2A bi-district report: Hawley cruises past San Saba, into area round

DIVISION I

Hawley 56, San Saba 9 Austin Cumpton rushed for 111 yards and five touchdowns while the Bearcat defense limited San Saba to just 98 total yards in a lopsided victory for Hawley.

The Bearcats (11-0), who also got 97 yards and one TD rushing from Lawson Bailey, led 42-0 by halftime and added another touchdown in the third quarter before the Armadillos finally got on the board.

San Saba, which closed its season at 2-9, was led by Wesley Lackey with 99 yards and one rushing touchdown on 10 carries.

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BCP Boys Basketball Position Rankings: Guards

With boys basketball season beginning this week, it’s time to shine a spotlight on some of the players you’ll be reading about throughout the 2021-22 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 winter.

We hope you enjoy reading through our list.

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