Category: Merkel Badgers

FEATURE: Hard-working Merkel senior O’Malley looking to finish career off right

Alyssa O’Malley’s happy place is inside a basketball gym.

That’s where the Merkel senior spends most of her free time, honing her shot and working on her craft.

“A special coach once told me that there is always someone out there working harder than you,” O’Malley said. “There is a lot of pride taken into my work ethic as I know that the preparation side of the game is vital to the way I perform.”

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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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GAME STORY: Merkel boys, Jim Ned girls claim wins in key District 6-3A doubleheader

MERKEL — Merkel’s Ryder Hoyle had perhaps the play of the game Tuesday night against district rival Jim Ned, and it wasn’t even one that added points to the scoreboard.

Instead, his rotation from the backside allowed him to make a thunderous block on a second-quarter dunk attempt and propelled the Badgers to a 42-37 win over the Indians in a thrilling District 6-3A matchup on Tuesday night.

After the game, Merkel coach B.C. Lee gushed over Hoyle and his block, which helped move MHS into at least a three-way tie for the district lead after two weeks.

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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: 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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District 5-3A Div. II Week 11 Report: Mavs edge Dublin in thriller to clinch district title

Eastland 40, Dublin 39 — Keaton Hicks scored on a game-tying 1-yard run in the fourth-quarter and Jared Cruz booted the go-ahead extra point as Eastland prevailed in a seesaw battle at Dublin.

Hicks led the Mavericks with 111 yards passing and one score and 84 yards rushing and two more scores as EHS locked up the district title.

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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 5-3A Div. II Week 10 Report: Eastland, Dublin, Jacksboro still vying for league crown

Eastland 45, Merkel 21 — Keaton Hicks and Cooper Wright combined for 257 yards passing and two TDs to help Eastland improve to 4-5 overall and 3-1 in district play. 

Isaiah Burns led Merkel with 112 yards rushing and a score. Joey Zink added 75 yards passing, including a pair of TD strikes. 

Continue reading “District 5-3A Div. II Week 10 Report: Eastland, Dublin, Jacksboro still vying for league crown”

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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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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District 5-3A Div. II Week 8 Report: Mavericks surive scare from Comanche

Eastland 21, Comanche 20 — Eastland was fortunate to survive what was nearly the area’s top upset of the year, holding off winless Comanche by a single point.

Judson Beard rushed for 181 yards and two scores and caught three passes for 8 yards and another score to lead the Mavericks (3-4, 2-0)  which held off a late Comanche rally to get the win.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Roscoe travels to Ralls for crucial district game (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 40-7, .851
SEASON TOTAL: 287-63, .820

Week 8? Are you kidding?

I ask the same question, or some variant of it virtually every year. We just finished with two-a-days. How can we possibly be this deep in the season so quickly?

Yet hear we are. A cold weather snap approaching. Thanksgiving right around the corner —as are the playoffs.

This week’s Game of the Week will see me traveling north to Ralls where the surprising Roscoe Plowboys, off to their best start in years, will be in a showdown for the district lead.

The column hit at 85 percent accuracy last week and is now up to 82 percent on the year. So we’ll see if we can keep the momentum going through the home stretch.

Let’s have a look at this week’s picks: 

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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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Big Country Volleyball Statistical Leaders (through Oct. 12)

Big Country Preps is publishing area volleyball statistical leaders each Tuesday 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.

We will continually update the database throughout the regular season.

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District 5-3A Div. II Week 7 Report: Eastland takes early district lead with win over Millsap

Eastland 48, Millsap 27 — Keaton Hicks and Cooper Wright combined for 218 yards passing and three touchdowns as Eastland started district play with a key win. 

Hicks and Wright also rushed for a combined 140 yards and two TDs, joined by Judson Beard, who rushed for 74 yards and two more scores. 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF WEEK: Unbeaten Early, Jim Ned clash in huge district opener (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 39-4, .906
SEASON TOTAL: 247-56, .815

Gramps Ren is back in the groove, hitting over 90 percent of his picks a week ago, to push this column’s season percentage to .815 as we head into district play across the area.

Whether or not I can keep the momentum remains to be seen, entering what might be the toughest week of area picks I’ve seen this year, with multiple games that I would rate as near-tossups.

This week’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week will see us heading to Tuscola where Jim Ned will begin its District 3-3A DI title defense against a red-hot, unbeaten team from Early.

Let’s have a look at this week’s picks …

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