Category: Local football

GAME REPORT: Ramirez, Thomas fuel Abilene High to impressive road win over Frenship

Photos by Katie Perkins, HubCitySports.com

WOLFFORTH — Abel Ramirez accounted for more than 300 yards of total offense and Da’King Thomas rushed for 151 yards and three touchdowns to fuel Abilene High to a dominating victory over Wolfforth Frenship on Friday at Peoples Bank Stadium.

The Eagles finished with 553 total yards, rushing for 294 and passing for 259, finding the end zone five times in the first half before putting the game away with two more touchdowns in the third quarter.

AHS, which scored with two seconds remaining in the second quarter to take a 34-21 lead into the halftime break, went up by 27 points in the third quarter before allowing a late touchdown to break up the second-half shutout.

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GAME STORY: First-quarter struggles doom Cooper in 37-14 road loss to Brewer

 WHITE SETTLEMENT — A disastrous first quarter put the Cooper football team in a 21-0 hole that it could never climb out of in a 37-14 loss to Fort Worth Brewer in a key District 3-5A Division I game Friday at Bear Stadium.

The Cougars, now 4-3 overall and 2-2 in league play, gave a game effort in the second half, outscoring the Bears 14-9 over the final two periods. But coach Aaron Roan’s squad was facing a 28-0 deficit by the time it went to the locker room for halftime, making a comeback unlikely against a talented Brewer squad (6-1, 4-0). 

Cooper pulled within two scores (30-14) early in the fourth quarter and appeared to recover a pooch kick on the ensuing kickoff, but an offsides penalty wiped out that potential momentum shift, and the Bears scored on the resulting drive to put the game away and preserve their firm standing in the district title race.

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GAME STORY: Wichita Falls High runs over, around Wylie to crucial 41-25 win

WICHITA FALLS — Leading Wichita Falls High 3-0 after six minutes Thursday, the Wylie football team allowed 31 unanswered points over the next two quarters to fall to the Coyotes 41-25 in a crucial District 3-5A Division II matchup at Memorial Stadium.

Wylie, which opened the game with a kickoff return to the Wichita Falls 28-yard line, a punt that pinned the Coyotes at their own 1 and an interception to set up a 22-yard field, looked early like a team determined to even its league record at 1-1. But the Bulldogs had to a settle a field goal after failing to score twice from the 2, and WFHS took it to them from there, building a 24-3 lead by halftime and increasing that to 28 points early in the third quarter.

Led by quarterback Bricen Vialpando, who rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries, the Coyotes ran for 308 yards as a team, keeping the ball away from the Wylie offense, which struggled to find any consistency until the third quarter.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 8)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday morning.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

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FEATURE: AHS seniors Dickinson, Stuckey turn heartbreak into leadership opportunity

Before the season, the inside linebacker duo of Jayton Stuckey and Maison Dickinson were expected to be the leaders of the Abilene High defense.

Both all-district performers in the 2020, the two senior standouts were considered by coach Mike Fullen to be the heart and soul of that unit.

With a knee injury ending Dickinson’s season in AHS’ opener against Amarillo Tascosa and a hand injury claiming the remainder of Stuckey’s campaign just five games in, things haven’t worked out as either had hoped or expected this fall. But while they’re no longer able to contribute on the field, the two have maintained active roles on the team and in doing so, have remained a significant part of the Eagles’ heartbeat.

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FEATURE: Young Wylie receiving corps growing into group of reliable playmakers

After graduating his top three receivers from last year’s team and leaning on his fourth more as a defensive back this season, Wylie coach Clay Martin knew he’d need some pass catchers to emerge for his offense to achieve its full potential.

Throw in a first-year starter at quarterback, and the urgency to find some reliable targets in the passing game only grew.

But through six games, the Bulldogs’ young receiving corps has not only answered the call, it has turned a position group that was one of the team’s most significant question marks at the start of the season into an area of strength.

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GAME STORY: Willis, Rider too much for Wylie in 34-19 win to open district

Entering the fourth quarter trailing Wichita Falls Rider by just two two points, the Wylie Bulldogs had upset on their mind Friday in their District 3-5A Division II opener at Hugh Sandifer Stadium.

But the Bulldogs were outscored 13-0 over the final 12 minutes, allowing a touchdown on the final play from scrimmage to fall to the still-unbeaten Raiders 34-19.

Leading 28-19 after stopping Wylie on downs with 2:17 to play, Rider closed the game with 61-yard scoring drive, calling a timeout with two seconds remaining to punch in the final touchdown, which gave coach Marc Bindel’s squad the maximum 15 points for tiebreaker purposes, should that become a factor down the road.

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FEATURE: Senior linebacker Graham hoping to lead Wylie to district, playoff success in final year

As a rare three-year starter in the Wylie football program, Garrett Graham has seen and experienced more situations than most of his peers on a football field.

Since cracking the starting lineup as a sophomore, the now-senior linebacker has been a integral part of a Wylie rebuild and transition from Class 4A to 5A.

But with his team entering District 3-5A Division II play at home Friday against Wichita Falls Rider, it’s something Graham hasn’t experienced that’s fueling him. The 6-foot, 225-pound senior is determined to position the Bulldogs for a run at their first district title since 2016 and lead them to their first playoff success since moving up in classification.

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GAME STORY: Cooper defense has near historical night in win over Arlington Heights

The Cooper football team has played 677 games in its 62-year history, and Thursday night against Fort Worth Arlington Heights the Cougars had the opportunity to break a school record that had stood since the third year of the program’s existence.

Cooper’s defense was two plays away from breaking the school record of fewest yards allowed (31 by Sweetwater in 1962) before allowing 15 yards on Brian Furch runs to put the Yellow Jackets to a grand total of 46 yards for the game.

The dominant effort led to a 43-0 win in a District 3-5A Division I game at Shotwell Stadium, leaving the Cougars one win shy of the 400th in program history.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 7)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday morning.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

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FEATURE: Talented Cooper quarterback Warren a quick study

As is always the case with new starters, Chris Warren’s first year as Cooper’s quarterback has been a learning experience. 

But five games in, it’s not hard to see why coach Aaron Roan was excited about the junior when the season began.

In leading his team to a 3-2 record, including wins over crosstown rivals Abilene High and Wylie, Warren has emerged as one of the area’s top dual-threat quarterbacks. And while his first year as a starter has had its share of challenges, the growth he’s shown through them has positioned him — and the Cougars — well for a strong second half.

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GAME STORY: Midland Legacy outlasts Abilene High for thrilling win

For 2½ quarters Friday night, the Abilene High football team executed its game plan about as well as it could against District 2-6A favorite Midland Legacy. 

Leading 27-13 with 6:19 remaining in the third quarter, the Eagles had moved the ball on virtually all of their possessions to that point, finished all but three in the end zone and, for the most part, kept the explosive Rebel offense in low gear.

But Legacy finally hit overdrive in the final 18 minutes, outscoring the AHS 29-6 over that span to spoil a gritty effort by coach Mike Fullen’s Eagles and escape Shotwell Stadium with a thrilling 42-33 win.

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VIDEO: Wylie coach Martin shares thoughts on bye week, state of team

Coming off a 49-21 homecoming win over Brownwood and in the midst of a bye week, Wylie coach Clay Martin took a few minutes to chat with Big Country Preps’ Daniel Youngblood about what he was hoping to accomplish and where his team stands heading into District 3-5A Division II play next Friday.

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FEATURE: Physical Abilene High line fueling potent run game … and enjoying every minute of it

There aren’t many situations in which being called a hog is a good thing. For the Abilene High offensive line, it’s not only a term of endearment, it’s a mentality. 

Dubbed by coach Mike Fullen as the H.A.W.G.’s (short for “hostile and wild group”), the AHS O-line has internalized that description this season, adopting a mindset of toughness and physicality that shows up in its play.

And in so doing, that bunch has formed the foundation of a physical — and at times, dominant — run game that is quickly becoming a significant part of the Eagles’ offensive identity. 

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 6)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday morning.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Snyder’s Benitez takes the top spot

Defensive specialists seldom get the attention they deserve in volleyball. Not unlike offensive linemen in football, who do the dirty work behind the scenes that enables the glamour positions to shine. 

That isn’t the case at Big Country Preps, where we take pride in giving credit to those willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. 

Snyder libero Abby Benitez, perhaps the best defender in the entire Big Country, fits that mold and has captured our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week award for the week ending Sept. 25. 

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FEATURE: Kincaid’s rapid maturation at QB has Wylie offense on the move

Taking over at quarterback for Wylie this season with just two varsity pass attempts to his credit, Aden Kincaid was always going to need a little time to grow into his new role.

Having spent all of last year backing up Balin Valentine, the senior had some idea of what to expect as a starting QB, but most of the experience he gained as a junior came in practice, so he’d need to catch up to game speed.

With the Bulldogs now 2-3 heading into their pre-district open date, Kincaid has done that. And the rapid progress he made during that maturation process has Wylie coach Clay Martin excited for the rest of the season. 

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GAME REPORT: Abilene High opens district play with big road win over Odessa Permian

ODESSA — Riding a two-game winning streak into the start of District 2-6A play, the Abilene High football team kept the momentum going in its opener Friday, rolling through Odessa Permian 42-21 at Ratliff Stadium.

Da’King Thomas rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns, Abel Ramirez threw for two TDs and ran for two more, and the Eagle defense limited the Permian offense to less than 100 yards rushing as AHS controlled the game from start to finish.

The Eagles led 21-7 by halftime and increased that advantage to 42-14 in the fourth quarter to improve to 3-2 on the season and 1-0 in league play.

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GAME STORY: Cooper has best start of the year, hammers Granbury

The Cooper football team has consistently been slow starting this year, entering Friday’s homecoming game against Granbury having scored just seven points in the first quarter all year.

The Cougars found their quick-strike offense Friday night at Shotwell Stadium, though, scoring on the first play of the game and three times in the opening five minutes as they rolled to a 56-34 win in District 3-5A Division I play.

Cooper’s defense also came up with four turnovers — three of which gave the offense the ball in the red zone — as the quick start by the offense let the defense attack the Pirates offense relentlessly.

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GAME STORY: Wylie runs away for 49-21 homecoming win over Brownwood

The Wylie football team treated a homecoming crowd to a dominating win Friday, scoring the first 35 points in a 49-21 victory over Brownwood.

The Bulldogs, who came in on a two-game losing streak, got their running game going early and controlled the line of scrimmage throughout, piling up 328 yards rushing while bottling up BHS standout Konlyn Anderson in the win.

Anderson came in as the Big Country’s leading rusher with more than 800 yards through the first four weeks, but it was the Wylie run game that stole the show as four Bulldog players tallied at least 70 yards on the ground.

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FEATURE: Roan, Cooper ready to put slow starts in rearview mirror

During his team’s 2-2 start, Cooper coach Aaron Roan has seen enough from the Cougars to conclude they have the tools to compete at a high level.

What he hasn’t seen from this group quite yet is four full quarters of football.

The Coogs, who are 0-1 in District 3-5A Division I play heading into Friday’s homecoming game against Granbury, have been plagued in the early going season by a slow starts that have consistently had them playing from behind. And that’s a trend Roan is ready to put an end to this week.

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FEATURE: Abilene High QB Ramirez showing off dual-threat chops for 2-2 Eagles

Last year as a junior, Abilene High quarterback Abel Ramirez established himself as one of the area’s most efficient passers, topping 2,200 yards with a 20-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

After losing his three leading receivers to graduation and watching senior running back Da’King Thomas miss two of the Eagles’ first three games this season due to injury, Ramirez is showing he can run a little bit, too.

With an abundance of skill talent around him in 2020, Ramirez didn’t necessarily need to be a dual-threat guy in his first full season as a starter. Circumstances have changed that this year, and through four games, the senior playmaker has risen to meet that challenge.

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