Category: Hico Tigers

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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2022 Big Country Preps Softball Superlatives

Here are our superlative award winners for the 2022 All-Big Country Preps softball team. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.

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GAME STORY: Hico rallies to eliminate Tolar, advances to first regional semifinal

“Winning a series this way is like eating an elephant. It’s monumental, but the way you do it is just one bite at a time. The kids believed that and they did it.” — Hico Softball coach Ryan Starnes

STEPHENVILLE — Prior to this season the Hico Lady Tigers had never won a softball playoff game, much less a series. 

Now they’re heading to a regional semifinal and very few, even in the Hico camp, saw it coming.

With Monday’s 4-2, 7-3 sweep of Tolar in Games 2 and 3 of a Region II-2A quarterfinal, the Lady Tigers completed a stunning series comeback after falling  14-5 in Game 1 on Saturday. They now continue their journey into uncharted waters, where they will face Axtell in the Region II semis later this week. 

“We’ve had an inability to get over the hump against Tolar,” Hico coach Ryan Starnes said. “We played them several times and things would just go bad. We wouldn’t play good softball, but today, we put it together.” 

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GAME STORY: Hico softball takes first-ever postseason win

rioSTEPHENVILLE — Only four times in their history had Hico reached postseason play in softball. And never before Wednesday night had the Lady Tigers scored a single postseason victory. 

That streak came to a end at Stephenville High School when Hico opened its best-of-three series against Santo with a 17-1 win.  

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FEATURE: Now-healthy Fincannon making a huge splash in Big Country softball

HICO — The name of Kiersten Fincannon is likely to be unfamiliar to most Big Country softball fans at this point. 

That’s about to change. 

The Hico sophomore, who played much of last season at Dublin with an ailing knee, was far below her potential even as a freshman.  But with the arrival of the 2022 campaign, a now-healthy knee is allowing the 16-year old to pitch to the level she is capable of and the results are stunning. 

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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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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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Week 8-2A Div. II Week 11 Report: Albany blasts Cross Plains to finish perfect regular season

Albany 61, Cross Plains 3 — The No. 4 Lions piled up 506 yards of total offense in a blowout win over the Buffaloes to close out the regular season at 9-0 overall and 4-0 in district play.

Behind big games from quarterback Cole Chapman (15-22-0—193, 2 TDs passing) and running back Jaheim Newton (14-124, 3 TDs rushing), Albany raced out to a 34-3 halftime lead and cruised from there.

The loss dropped Cross Plains to 5-4 overall and 1-3 in district play.

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BCP Girls Basketball Position Rankings: Guards

With the girls basketball season upon us, it’s time to take a look at the local and area players who will be making the biggest impact for their teams during the 2021-22 season.

For the first installment in a three-part series that will cover all positions, we’ll be focusing on the Big Country’s top guards, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch this season.

As with any such list, these rankings are subjective. We hope you enjoy reading through our selections.

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District 8-2A Div. II Week 10 Report: Hico closes regular season with shutout win over Meridian

Hico 42, Meridian 0 — The Tigers wrapped up the No. 3 playoff seed out of this district with a shutout win over the Yellowjackets.

Hico (5-5, 2-2) led just 14-0 at halftime, but coach Todd Swearengin’s squad scored three unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter to pull away.

Angel Gonzalez led the effort for the Tigers, rushing for 164 yards and three touchdowns on just 17 carries. Reese Polk (12-59 rushing) and Price Mullin (7-37) also had rushing scores for Hico, which posted its best regular-season record and highest playoff seed since 2017.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sweetwater QB Holsey snags this week’s accolade

It’s never a surprise to see Sweetwater senior quarterback Leo Holsey among the top performers in our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week column. 

Since his freshman year, the four-year starter has topped our weekly list multiple times, including this week after helping Sweetwater to a 61-37 win over Pecos on Friday. 

Holsey only threw 15 passes, but he connected on 12 of them for 364 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed six times for 75 yards and two more scores, giving him a direct hand in 439 yards and seven TDs. 

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District 8-2A Div. II Week 9 Report: Cross Plains routs Meridian for first district win

Cross Plains 60, Meridian 12 — The Buffaloes snapped a two-game district losing streak and all but clinched the No. 4 playoff seed in this league with a lopsided win over the YellowJackets.

Needing a win to avoid missing the postseason for the first time since 2014, coach Daniel Purvis’ squad raced out to a 35-6 lead by halftime and cruised from there to the blowout. Cross Plains outgained Meridian 520-225, rushing for 341 of those yards. 

Kade Purvis passed for 185 yards and three touchdowns, while Ryan Hopkins (3-113, 2 TDs rushing; 7-80, 2 TDs) had a huge day in both the running and passing game.The 60 points were a season-high for the Buffs, which had been limited to 13 points through its first two district contests. 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Cisco to battle Coleman with top seed in the balance (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 35-11, .760
SEASON TOTAL: 322-74, .813

This week’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week will send me south to historic Hufford Field in Coleman, where the Bluecats (6-0) will play host to perennial power Cisco (6-1) in what is essentially the District 4-2A Division I championship.

Opened way back in 1934, Hufford is one of the Big Country’s oldest and most unique venues and if you are looking for a game to go to on Friday, this one will not only offer some good football, but some nostalgia as well.

The immense rock wall surrounding the field was built in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration or WPA as the nation battled its way out of The Great Depression.

Hope to see you there.

Here are this week’s picks:  

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jim Ned’s Wishert claims the top spot

It’s one thing to rush for more than 300 yards and three scores against a struggling program. We see that all the time from the area’s top running backs. 

But it’s an entirely different thing when those yards come against a solid team with a sturdy defense. That’s earning it the hard way.

Jim Ned’s Xavier Wishert, our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week, took that route on Friday night when he charted 313 yards rushing and three scores on just 20 carries in a 37-20 road win over the Wall Hawks. 

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