Category: Jim Ned Indians

GAME STORY: Jim Ned sweeps Ballinger as boys rally for OT win

TUSCOLA — The Jim Ned boys basketball team didn’t take a lead on Ballinger until early in the fourth quarter on Friday night at Bill Thornton Arena, and then was forced into overtime, but came away with a key 51-47 win in District 6-3A action.

Kaden Davis led a trio of Indians in double-digits with 15 points, while Xavier Wishert and Ben Eshelman added 14 and 13, respectively.

Jonathan Delgado had a game-high 29 points for the Bearcats, who went 0-for-4 from the free-throw line in the game.

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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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FEATURE: Jim Ned celebrates state title with parade, belated medal ceremony

More than two weeks after claiming the first state championship in their program’s history, the Jim Ned Indians finally got to have the medal ceremony that COVID robbed them of after their 29-28 overtime win over Hallettsville on Dec. 17.

Following a championship parade Monday afternoon, Jim Ned fans piled into Indian Stadium one final time to celebrate the 2020 Indians, whose 14-1 record and run to the Class 3A Division I state title made them the most successful team in school history.

The event, organized by Superintendent Dr. Glen Teal, gave the community the opportunity to properly recognize a special group of young men and the Jim Ned players and coaches a chance to relive a truly remarkable season.

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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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EVAN REN: Heart, toughness, consistency were the hallmarks of 2020 Jim Ned championship team

ARLINGTON — Almost every high school football team has a weakness. Even championship clubs generally have something we can point to and say, “Here’s how you beat them.”

You could not do that with the 2020 Jim Ned Indians.

That fact alone will make them one of the most memorable teams I’ve covered in all my years in the Big Country. Though Thursday’s 29-28 overtime win over Hallettsville to take the Class 3A Division I state title will be difficult to forget by itself. 

The Indians, without a highly rated DI recruiting prospect to carry the load, used a balance of talent, toughness, effort and heart to create a team that was literally very good at everything it did. 

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned rallies past Hallettsville in overtime to claim first state title

ARLINGTON — Trailing Hallettsville 21-0 with 5:19 remaining in the second quarter, things looked dire for Jim Ned. The Indians couldn’t get their patented running game going on offense and were struggling to slow standout running back and University of Texas signee Jonathon Brooks on the other end of the field.

But with hope dimming for most in red Thursday at AT&T Stadium, coach Matt Fanning’s team leaned on the mental and physical toughness that had gotten it to a state championship game in the first place. And as they had done so many times before during the 13-game winning streak that had earned them their trip to Arlington, the Indians made the plays they needed to at the end to win.

Jim Ned scored just before halftime to trim the Brahmas’ lead to 21-7 at the break, outscored Hallettsville 14-0 in the second half, answered their challenger’s touchdown in overtime and converted a pressure-packed two-point conversion to pull out a thrilling 29-28 win for the Class 3A Division I title.

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EVAN REN: Jim Ned special teams the unsung element to Indians’ 2020 success

Because of its complexity, it’s easy to adopt a form of tunnel vision while watching football. 

The vast majority of us simply watch the ball. We don’t notice the blocking up front. We don’t notice the quality of the tackling. We don’t notice if people are hustling or loafing away from the play.  And we certainly don’t notice special teams (unless it’s bad).

This is unfortunate, especially in the case of teams that achieve special things by doing all the little things right. Teams like the Jim Ned Indians — a collection of unsung heroes who have almost turned being underappreciated into an art form.

Ask your typical fans about a game they saw from the Jim Ned skill personnel and they’ll be able to recite it as though it were straight off the stat sheet. But ask them about all of the little things the Indians have done to advance to tonight’s Class 3A DI state championship game with Hallettsville and that’s where things begin to get fuzzy. 

And nowhere are the Indians more underappreciated than in the special teams department, without which (quite frankly) they would not have made it all the way to Arlington. 

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Evan Ren’s Playoff forecast: Jim Ned heads to Arlington, Abilene advances to area round

LAST WEEK: 3-2, .600
SEASON TOTAL: 435-95, .821

With May’s loss to Sterling City in the Class 1A DI title game on Wednesday (a game we made our picks for last week), there are but two Big Country teams still playing football in 2020 — the Jim Ned Indians and the Abilene Eagles. 

Jim Ned will square off with Hallettsville on Thursday evening in Arlington in the Class 3A DI state title game. Abilene High will go against North Crowley in the Class 6A DII area round. 

It’s always nice to see some of our area clubs still playing in December. But in the delay-hampered season that we’ve seen this year, it’s a blessing to see anyone suiting up at this point.

I’ll see you on the road. Here’s a look at this week’s games: 

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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.

 

 

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: Jim Ned outlasts Mount Vernon 24-17

ARLINGTON — The Jim Ned Indians put things into low gear in Friday’s Class 3A DI state semfinal with Mount Vernon.

In fact, they slowed things to a crawl — chewing up much of the clock and keeping Art Briles’ high-powered spread offense off the field in a 24-17 win at Globe Life Park. 

Xavier Wishert rushed for 171 yards and two scores and Caden Martin came up with a game-clinching interception in the game’s final seconds to lead Jim Ned (13-1) which will face Hallettsville (13-2) in the state championship game on Thurs., Dec. 17 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington at 7 p.m. 

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FEATURE: Jim Ned offensive line paves the way for Indians to reach state semifinals

TUSCOLA — If you’re a Big Country high school football fan, you’ve likely heard of Jim Ned star running back Xavier Wishert. You’ve likely heard of Jim Ned quarterback Tate Yardley and the extraordinary defense the Indians have been playing.

You may have even heard of the outstanding special teams play going on in Tuscola.

But sitting outside of the spotlight the entire time has been a largely unsung, but no less extraordinary offensive line, without which Jim Ned’s run to the Class 3A Division I state semifinals could not have happened. 

Beyond that, the unit has helped Jim Ned sculpt an entirely new football culture — from that of a finesse-style team years ago to one that currently bulldozes its way to wins.

The Indians (12-1) will square off with Mount Vernon (12-2) on Friday at Arlington’s Globe Life Park with a trip to the state championship game going to the winner. 

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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. 

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

He’s been one of the most consistent offensive weapons in the Big Country throughout the 2020 season.

So it probably comes as no surprise that Jim Ned running back Xavier Wishert has taken our Capital Farm Credit-Big Country Preps Player of the Week award for the Week ending Dec. 5. But he did it in extraordinary fashion — chalking up five touchdowns in a 45-28 win over Pilot Point in Friday’s Region I-3A DI championship game in Stephenville. 

Rushing 32 times, Wishert piled up 271 yards and four scores from the Jim Ned backfield. This, combined with an 83-yard kickoff return and eight tackles from his linebacker spot and the junior was the hands-down choice for the award. 

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned takes regional title with win over Pilot Point

STEPHENVILLE — No matter what Pilot Point did in Thursday’s 45-28 loss to Jim Ned, the Indians had a counter punch waiting in the form of running back Xavier Wishert. 

And they went to him, over and over again, to advance to the Class 3A Division I state semifinals, where they will face either Malakoff (10-2) or Mount Vernon (11-2) next week. 

Helped by a huge push from the Jim Ned offensive line, Wishert piled up 271 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 31 carries and added an 83-yard kickoff return for a fifth TD to pace Jim Ned, which led from the 3:10 mark of the first quarter until the final whistle at Memorial Stadium. 

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FEATURE: Jim Ned’s defensive physicality one of the keys to Indians’ success in 2020

TUSCOLA — Long gone are the days when the Jim Ned football program was viewed as a finesse team — an offseason workout for a more successful basketball program on a grass surface. 

That perspective has been laid to rest, courtesy of an 11-1 season that has seen the Indians hammer their way to a 3A DI regional title game against Pilot Point tonight at Tarleton State.

A high level of physicality, years in the making, is at the heart of Jim Ned’s rebirth, which as seen the Indians produce their best run of success in more than 15 years.

It has seen a much-publicized ground-oriented offense develop on one side of that coin. But a lesser-known, and equally important element of Jim Ned’s success has been a consistent, hard-hitting defense which has held the opposition in check on a weekly basis.

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Evan Ren’s Big Country Playoff forecast

LAST WEEK: 7-3, .700
SEASON TOTAL: 429-91, .825

We enter December with five Big Country survivors.

Jim Ned, Eastland, Cisco, May and Strawn have all retained a pulse beyond Thanksgiving Day, the latter two of which are in their respective six-man state semifinals and need only one more win to reach Arlington.

Our 11-man clubs are currently at the regional championship round and would need an additional win beyond this week to suit up at Jerry World.

As one would expect, the overall level of difficulty is virtually pegged at this point. So it’s doubtful that we’ll see all five of our clubs continue on.

Let’s have a look at their chances: 

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned stuns top-ranked Brock 19-16

STEPHENVILLE — The Jim Ned Indians had a checklist of items they knew they had to accomplish prior to Friday’s Region I-3A Division I semifinal with top-ranked Brock if they were to pull off an upset. 

They had to contain Brock’s speed. Check. They had to win the turnover battle. Check. They needed a big special teams play. Check. They needed a good start. Check. And they needed to keep their mistakes to an absolute minimum. Check. Check. Check. 

By game’s end, the Indians had pulled off a stunning 19-16 win at Memorial Stadium to advance to next week’s Region I-3A DI championship game. 

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Evan Ren’s Thanksgiving week playoff picks

LAST WEEK: 23-2, .920
SEASON TOTAL: 422-88, .827

Turkey Day has arrived and we’ve still got 10 Big Country football teams showing a pulse.

Of those, there are at least six that I believe have a shot at getting to Arlington and of those, perhaps four that have a good shot at bringing home a state title.

So let’s dive in and take a look at this week’s matchups, shall we?  

Be safe going to your games! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT WEDNESDAY NIGHT PODCAST: Cisco’s Kevin Stennett joins the show talks about CHS’ upcoming regional semifinal with Hawley

VIDEO PODCAST NO. 11: Cisco coach Kevin Stennett joins the show and to talk about his experience at CHS and this week’s regional semifinal clash with Hawley.  Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood examine this week’s regional semifinal pairings.

Top games of this week discussed: All playoff pairings involving Big Country teams from Class 1A-4A this week are mentioned. 

Top games of last week discussed: Sweetwater vs. Celina, Hawley vs. Sundown, Albany vs. Ralls, Wall vs. Bushland, Brock vs. Denver City, Jim Ned vs. Dalhart, San Saba vs. Panhandle.

 

 

 

Class 3A Area Round Report: Jim Ned rolls through Dalhart, earns shot at Brock

REGION I-3A DIV. I 

Jim Ned 31, Dalhart 14 — Xavier Wishert had a game-high 131 yards rushing and two scores on 25 carries to lead lead Jim Ned to its first regional semifinal in 16 years.

The Indians built a 24-0 halftime lead before holding on for the win. Tate Yardley led Jim Ned through the air with 200 yards on 13-of-16 passing. 

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BCP Boys Basketball Position Rankings: Guards

With boys basketball season upon us, it’s time to shine a spotlight on some of the players we’ll be writing and you’ll be reading about throughout the 2020-21 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 fall.

We hope you enjoy reading through our list.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Albany’s Cotter takes award with two dominating efforts

One dominating performance deserves another. 

Having already helped Albany reach the Region I-2A finals with a 17-kill performance in a win over Plains (22-25, 25-10, 25-22, 25-16) last week, Sarah Beth Cotter wasn’t finished. 

With AHS facing perennial power Wink in the regional finals Saturday in Big Spring, she helped the Lady Lions reach the state semis with 16 kills, two blocks, four digs and an ace in a stunning 25-14, 25-19, 25-20 sweep of the Lady Cats. 

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Class 3A Bi-District Round Report: Jim Ned rallies past Paradise, moves on to area round

REGION I-3A DIV. I

Jim Ned 21, Paradise 18 — Trailing 10-7 after three quarters, the Indians outscored the Panthers 14-8 over the final period to rally for the victory Friday.

A Xavier Wishert rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter was followed a Tate Yardley touchdown pass to give Jim Ned (9-1) a 21-10 lead and the Indians held on from there to escape with the win.

Wishert rushed for 177 yards and two scores in the victory, while Yardley passed for 116 yards a the one TD to Austin Martin. Zach Henderson led the Indians in receiving with three catches for 48 yards.

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Evan Ren’s regional football projections and bi-district picks

LAST WEEK: 26-4, .866
SEASON TOTAL: 377-81, .823

Week 12 of the football season is here. And you know what that means.

The horses are at the starting gate with a finish line set up in Arlington for the state championship games.

More than 97 percent of the teams won’t make it. And by the time Thanksgiving arrives, 75 percent of them will already be finished. Such is the magnitude of our postseason.

In the meantime, hundreds of teams from Class 1A through 4A have their dreams of reaching Jerry World still intact. Classes 5A and 6A will start their postseason journeys in mid December, after having their seasons delayed by COVID-19.

That said, it’s time to choose which of our Big Country entries have the best shot of conquering their regions. Who are the favorites? Who are the dark horses? An perhaps most importantly, where are the elephants in the room — the teams from outside of our area with the most potential to spoil the Big Country’s chances?

Let’s get started, shall we?

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