Category: Merkel Badgers

BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Comanche QB snags this week’s accolade

With standout running back Sawyer Wilkerson getting much of the media attention in 2022, the Comanche Indians have been receiving efficient, under-publicized play from the quarterback spot through much of a 10-1 record. 

Last week was perhaps the best example of that, with junior signal caller Layden Welch torching Henrietta with an 11 of 16 passing performance for 248 yards and five TDs in a 69-27 win. 

But that’s just the beginning. 

Welch also rushed 11 times for 65 yards and two scores. He gathered five solo tackles, four assisted stops, forced a fumble and deflected a pass to help CHS advance to the area round. 

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CLASS 3A BI-DISTRICT REPORT: Jim Ned wins eighth straight; Brock, Early Comanche, Wall advance to area round

REGION I-3A DIV. I 

Jim Ned 41, Pilot Point 0 — Troy Doran rushed for 174 yards and two scores to lead Jim Ned to an easy first round win over Pilot Point. 

The Indians rolled up 479 yards in total offense en route to the win, overcoming a 3-1 turnover disparity in the process.  Leading 14-0 at the break, Jim Ned blew the game open with 27 unanswered points in the second half. 

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Big Country Preps Boys Basketball Position Rankings: Posts

After highlighting the Big Country’s top guards and forwards the past two nights, we now take a look at the area’s best big men.

For the final installment in our three-part boys basketball position rankings series, we rank the Big Country’s top 10 post players.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading through our rankings, and make sure to check back for all our boys and girls basketball coverage this season.

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Big Country Preps 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 2022-23 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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DISTRICT 5-3A DIV. II WEEK 11 REPORT: Comanche routs Eastland to finish perfect run through league play

Comanche 49, Eastland 7 — The Indians wrapped up a perfect run through district play with a blowout win over the Mavericks, rushing for 285 yards in the victory.

Comanche (9-1, 5-0), which led 29-0 by halftime and took a 35-0 lead into the fourth quarter, got 194 yards and two touchdowns rushing from standout sophomore Sawyer Wilkerson, while quarterback Layden Welch passed for 100 yards and one touchdown and ran for 80 yards and two more scores.

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Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Position Rankings: Posts

After focusing on the top guards and forwards the Big Country has to offer the past two nights, it’s time to shift our attention to the paint.

For the final installment in our three-part position rankings series, we list our top-10 post players for the 2022-23 season.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading through these rankings, and make sure to come back next week when we’ll feature the top boys basketball players in the Big Country.

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Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Position Rankings: Forwards

After kicking off our girls basketball position rankings series with the guards on Tuesday, we now turn our attention to the forwards.

For the second installment in our three-part series, we rank the area’s top 10 players at that position with some others to watch for in 2022-23.

We hope you enjoy our list.

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Big Country Preps 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 2022-23 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: Comanche routs Merkel to clinch at least share of league title

Comanche 49, Merkel 14 — The Indians wrapped up at least a share of their first district championship since 2018, rushing for 404 yards and gaining 510 yards total in a blowout win over the Badgers.

Leading 7-6 after one quarter, Comanche (8-1, 4-0) outscored Merkel 28-8 over the middle two quarters to pull away.

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DISTRICT 5-3A DIV. II WEEK 9 REPORT: Comanche stays perfect in league play with big win over Dublin

Comanche 77, Dublin 7 — The Indians strengthened their grip on the district lead, improving to 3-0 in league play with their fourth consecutive victory.

Comanche (7-1 overall) abused the Lions for 512 rushing yards, getting 310 yards and four touchdowns rushing from Sawyer Wilkerson on just 11 carries. Cayden Davis (4-78), Ezequiel Medrano (6-43) and Layden Welch (2-15) also had rushing scores, while Welch hit all four of his pass attempts for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

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FEATURE: Oznick a genuine bright spot during rebuilding year for young EHS club

Photos courtesy of Kristin Oznick

EASTLAND — Jay Oznick is barely making a blip on the media radar screen. The Eastland junior receiver, like the rest of his teammates, has been working to improve through the day-to-day challenge of a rebuilding season.

So attention has been scarce for Oznick, who has quietly put together one of the best seasons in the area, despite missing one full game and half of another with an injury.

With only a handful of seniors seeing significant playing time, the 2022 Mavericks are at the shallow end of the experience pool, with several sophomores thrust into key roles. 

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DISTRICT 5-3A DIV. II WEEK 8 REPORT: Comanche, Merkel earn wins to stay unbeaten in league play

Comanche 53, Jacksboro 33 — The Indians abused the Tigers on the ground, rushing for 349 yards and six touchdowns on their way to a 20-point win.

Sawyer Wilkerson fueled the effort, rushing for 272 yards and four scores to help Comanche (6-1, 2-0) to a 36-11 halftime lead. Quarterback Layden Welch also had a big game, hitting 10 of 12 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 28 yards and two more TDs.

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DISTRICT 5-3A DIV. II WEEK 7 REPORT: Comanche rolls through Millsap; Merkel doubles up Dublin

Comanche 45, Millsap 28 — The Indians took care of the Bulldogs in three-score win, racing out to a 35-7 halftime lead to remove all intrigue early.

Comanche, which got a big rushing day from Sawyer Wilkerson (11-134, 3 TDs) extended its lead to 45-14 by the start of the fourth quarter to improve to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in district play.

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FEATURE: Through unique experience, Merkel seniors are paving way for Lady Badgers volleyball program

You probably should make a point to remember the seven girls noted in the ensuing paragraph, because what they are accomplishing at Merkel High School this year is virtually unprecedented.

Sydnee Barnes, Jada O’Kelly, Kloe Pursley, Autumn Hammond, Avery Hollaway, Micah Hollaway and Avery Chacon are seniors on the Lady Badgers volleyball team, meaning the 2022 season represents their final time to play the sport in high school.

It is also their first.

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DISTRICT 5-3A DIV. II WEEK 5 REPORT: Gaitan, Rasberry fuel Dublin past Florence

Dublin 34, Florence 23 — The Lions took care of business against the Buffaloes, outscoring FHS 21-14 in the second half to pull away for a two-score win.

Dublin (2-3) led 13-9 at halftime, before using a 14-0 run through the third quarter to create some distance. The Lions got a pair of touchdown passes from Kaden Gaitan to Dalan Rasberry, while Gaitan added a rushing score and Cameron Patton scored twice on the ground.

Florence, which finished with 355 total yards, was led by quarterback Ryland Carlile (10-24-1—139, 3 TDs), running back Jose Maldonado (36-164) and receiver Zakary Webb (8-85, 2 TDs.

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DISTRICT 5-3A DIV. II WEEK 4 REPORT: Area teams go 0-4 in rough week for league

Bangs 28, Merkel 13 — The Dragons rushed for 230 yards in a workmanlike win over the Badgers, racing out to a 21-7 halftime lead and holding from there for the victory.

Guy Powell led the effort for Bangs, rushing for 150 yards and two touchdowns, while Kenny Cole passed for 89 yards and Hunter Newton received for 63.

Merkel, which fell to 1-3 with the loss, was paced on the offensive end by quarterback Joey Zink (10-17-2—151, 1 TD passing; 19-71 rushing) and receiver Maddox O’Malley (5-102, 1 TD receiving; 1-1-0—49, 1 TD passing). 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Brownwood entertains red hot Glen Rose (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country picks)

LAST WEEK: 51-10, .836
SEASON TOTAL: 131-42, .757

Football picks are something I take pride in and it irritates me to no end when I stink it up. So let’s just say, I burned some midnight oil to get that situation corrected last week. 

As a result, the column recovered with a solid .836 percentage in Week 3, salvaging my bruised ego after a disastrous Week 2 tally. In all, 51 of 61 area picks hit the mark last week, elevating my season’s record above 75 percent. 

That’s more like it.

Week 4 in the meantime, presents a lineup of some of the most difficult area picks we’ve had this season — including an explosive Glen Rose team facing Brownwood in our BCP Game of the Week. Let’s dive in, shall we? 

Here’s this week’s forecast: 

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