Category: Roby Lions

EVAN REN: We can all use some good news and football can provide some of it

In a world that has seemingly gone mad, I’ll take any dose of good news that I can find — even if it’s mundane.

The stock market inched up a half point? I’ll take it. We can go back to worrying about COVID-19? I’m all-in. The buildings in Abilene are still standing? That’s a check mark in the plus column. 

So how do we get there? 

How do we reestablish normality? 

Aside from the obvious fact that we need to stop the ongoing mayhem that is plaguing our society, getting back to common things we all hold dear will set the foundation for healing. And I’m talking about the simplest of pleasures, from peaceful walks in the park, shopping in a mall, going to the movies or attending a sporting event. 

In Texas, the latter cannot be overstated, especially when it comes to football. 

Continue reading “EVAN REN: We can all use some good news and football can provide some of it”

EVAN REN: 10 things I’ll take away from the COVID-19 pandemic

I’ve always held to a personal axiom that perspective is everything. True or not, how we view a situation becomes the truth in our minds.
There’s no escaping it and every one of us has our own perspective

Well, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have changed my perspective in several ways on several different things. And for a middle-aged guy who is pretty well set in my ways, this is like the planets aligning.

I’ve managed to list my top 10 takeaways from lockdown, as they pertain to this website and what we’re trying to accomplish here.

Let’s dive in: 

Continue reading “EVAN REN: 10 things I’ll take away from the COVID-19 pandemic”

EVAN REN: UIL announcement promising, but are we out of the woods just yet?

“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”
— Elbert Hubbard

 In a Tweet released earlier today, the University Interscholastic League announced that it is actively working to allow schools to begin limited summer strength and conditioning and marching band activities on June 8. 

The mere sight of this announcement had me on the verge of challenging my 55-year-old frame to do a cartwheel for which it is ill-prepared to attempt. Because frankly, Texas without high school pigskin is like Texas without oxygen. 

The thought of its absence has been too bitter to contemplate. And in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve allowed myself to go down one rabbit hole after another — trying to discern information from disinformation, and political rhetoric from that which is concrete. 

Continue reading “EVAN REN: UIL announcement promising, but are we out of the woods just yet?”

EVAN REN: Virus may teach us some appreciation (for a while)

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
— Voltaire 

There’s a barbeque place near my home that I don’t like. In fact, I seldom go there — deliberately bypassing it whenever the BBQ craving hits me in favor of better choices. 

But Friday, after two months of COVID-19 exile, I decided to make a quick run to bring home some brisket for the wife and I and elected to go to the very place I try to avoid because it was convenient. 

Funny how one’s perspective can change while in isolation.

Abilene’s worst barbeque was suddenly good. In fact, it was beyond good. It was like freakin’ nirvana. 

I suspect that’s the way it’s going to be with virtually everything I had taken for granted before the lockdown. And I’m already experiencing some of it.

Continue reading “EVAN REN: Virus may teach us some appreciation (for a while)”

Evan Ren’s 2020 Gym Rat Team: The hardest workers in the Big Country

Scoring and rebounding is only part of the story when it comes to basketball. Behind the scenes and beyond the view of the public, is where character is often measured. And it is with our Big Country Preps Gym Rat Team that we salute the individuals who exude the most of it. 

This team isn’t about who the best players are, though some of the area’s top players are on this list. 

The Gym Rat team is about effort, discipline, toughness, coachability and selflessness — traits that coaches love above all else and that championship foundations are built upon.

It is for that reason that our Gym Rat team is selected entirely by area coaches, described in their own words. And Big Country Preps is absolutely honored to present these individuals to you — the best “team players” (boys and girls) that the area had to offer during the 2019-20 season.

Players are listed in no particular order. 

Enjoy.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

All Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Superlatives: Galvin sisters, Gonzales take top spots

Here are our superlative award winners for the 2020 All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

2020 All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: First-Team Roster

Here are our third-team selections for the 2020 All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

2020 All Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: Second team starters and reserves

Here are our third-team selections for the 2020 All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

2020 All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: Third-Team Roster (w/ honorable mention)

Here are our third-team selections for the 2020 All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BIG COUNTRY GIRLS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Feb. 7)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday 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.

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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BIG COUNTRY BOYS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Feb. 7)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday 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.

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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

UIL hands out its share of surprises to area schools (w/ five video interviews)

ABILENE — The University Interscholastic league released its new athletic districts for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years on Monday. 

As always, a sizable contingent of area coaches was on hand at the Region 14 Education Service Center to receive their information packets and arrange for any last-second schedule changes that were forced by realignment. 

Perhaps the biggest stunner was a move north by Class 2A Division I power San Saba, which has been shifted to the new District 4 with Cisco, Coleman, De Leon, Goldthwaite and Winters. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

If you’re not subscribed at Big Country Preps yet, here’s what you missed last month …

If you’re not subscribed at BigCountryPreps.com yet, this is what you’ve missed over the past month:
— 16 player features,
— On-site coverage of 18 of the area’s top games
— Boys and girls stat leaders (updated weekly)
— Area standings (updated twice weekly)
— Columns
— Our All-Big Country Preps football teams
— Evan Ren’s Big Country True Grit Football Team
— Four BCP Players of the Week
— Breaking sports stories. 
For as little as $3 per month you can gain access to the most comprehensive coverage of high school football, basketball, baseball, softball and track in the Big Country. 
We have three low subscription options for you to choose from — monthly, semiannual and annual — with prices that always stay the same. No sign-up gimmicks here.  
Here’s a look at the entirety of our January coverage (plus links):

Continue reading “If you’re not subscribed at Big Country Preps yet, here’s what you missed last month …”

BIG COUNTRY BOYS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 30)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday 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.

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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BIG COUNTRY GIRLS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 30)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday 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.

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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BIG COUNTRY BOYS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 23)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday 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.

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.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BIG COUNTRY GIRLS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 23)

Big Country Preps publishes area boys and girls basketball statistical leaders each Thursday 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.

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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BIG COUNTRY BOYS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 16)

Each Thursday at 7 p.m., Big Country Preps will publish area boys 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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BIG COUNTRY GIRLS STATISTICAL LEADERS (Scoring, rebounds, assists and steals through Jan. 16)

Each Thursday at 7 p.m., Big Country Preps will publish area 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. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Evan Ren’s 2019 Big Country True Grit Team: The toughest players in the Big Country!

We all know a football player who almost never misses any practice time and practically lives in the weight room. He’s always early to arrive and late to leave. He’s coachable, but seldom needs direction because he always pays attention. 

You know who I’m talking about.

The guy who sets a good example for young players. The guy who never complains and, first and foremost, is tough mentally and physically. He may not be the best player on a team (though some of them are). But he’s definitely the guy who gets the most out of the talent he’s given. 

Welcome to the 2019 “True Grit” team — the one place in the Big Country where guys who fall into this category are recognized for it.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Pipers, Lions clash for district title (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country picks)

LAST WEEK: 40-3, .930

OVERALL: 397-76, .839

At the beginning of the season, I pointed to this game as a likely Big Country Preps Game of the Week and along with that, I said two things: On paper, Hamlin would be the favorite (which they are) and that I’d pick Albany (which i will). 

I’m throwing logic completely out of the window here and basing this pick on history alone. 

For better or worse, Hamlin has not beaten Albany since 2001 — a time span that includes 12 straight AHS victories, including two Lion wins last year that saw me pick the Pied Pipers twice. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Coahoma to receive huge test from Idalou (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 34-9, .790

OVERALL: 251-51, .831

There comes a point when every emerging football program has to show its hand. And it’s usually around the midpoint of the season when we can differentiate between who has a full house and who’s holding a pair of deuces. 

The Coahoma Bulldogs (4-1) will reach that point this Friday when they host perennial toughie Idalou (3-2) in our Big Country Preps Game of the Week. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

EVAN REN: High school athletics has forgotten itself

What is the purpose of interscholastic athletics? It seems silly to even pose the question.

I bring it up because within the word purpose lies the problem — a poisonous problem, brought on by our own lack of vision.

Must I say it?

The original purpose behind high school sports was the teaching of teamwork, work ethic, sacrifice, respecting authority, overcoming adversity and accepting discipline.

Sports taught our kids that the world wasn’t perfect. It taught our kids that there would be disappointments to endure. It taught them the benefits of hard work and we hired our coaches accordingly. 

Somewhere along the line we injected winning into the mix and it has resulted in something truly ugly.

Continue reading “EVAN REN: High school athletics has forgotten itself”

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Loboes, Bearcats clash in our spotlight game (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 43-7, .860

OVERALL: 173-34, .835

While the Cisco Loboes have been in countless big games over the last two decades, the last few years have been a bit lean for Ballinger. 

In fact, the general consensus is, when the Bearcats (3-0) play host to the Loboes (2-1) on Friday, this will be the biggest regular season game played in Ballinger in several years. 

At the very least, it’s our Big Country Preps Game of the Week, and deservedly so. 

Continue reading “BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Loboes, Bearcats clash in our spotlight game (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)”

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Explosive Brady visits Dublin (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 41-8, .837

OVERALL: 130-27, .828

On a Friday where any one of four or five games is arguably a candidate for our Big Country Preps Game of the Week, our final decision — Brady at Dublin — was based on sharing the love. 

Jim Ned and Mason is on the board, as is Wichita Falls Rider at Brownwood, Hawley at Albany, Christoval at Cross Plains and, of course, the annual war between Brock and Breckenridge. 

But with Jim Ned a likely candidate for Game of the Week when it faces Wall and Eastland later this year, and Brownwood receiving live coverage for Snyder two weeks ago and Wylie next week, the field narrowed a bit. 

Hawley got our Game of the Week last Friday, and Albany will likely see the GOW when it faces Hamlin, so we’re heading to Dublin where Brady will be a part of its first-ever BCP spotlight game.

It shouldn’t disappoint. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Cisco, Wall square off in a clash of area powers (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country Picks)

LAST WEEK: 43-13, .767

SEASON TOTAL: 43-13, .767

The beauty of Week 1 of the football season is that it throws all sorts of new questions into your face. The beauty of Weeks 2 and 3 is that most of those questions get answered. 

Our Big Country Preps Game of the Week — Wall at Cisco — should serve as a moment of clarity. 

Just how good is this Wall team that routed perennial power Mason 47-7 at the Puncher Dome last week? Entering as a nine-point favorite, the Hawks shattered the computer projections leading some to believe this could be a vintage Hawks football team. 

At this point, however, we don’t know exactly where Mason stands. 

We do, however, have a pretty fair idea about Cisco, which handed a rapidly improving (albeit young) Class 4A Sweetwater team a 49-27 loss in the Mustang Bowl. This is your standard, tough Cisco football team with an excellent running game and physical defense. 

So we’ll find out precisely where Wall is on Friday. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BCP Preseason Position Rankings: Linebackers

After taking a look at the area’s top defensive linemen on Wednesday, it’s now time to examine those who will backing them in 2019.

Continuing with Big Country Preps’ eight-part preseason position rankings series, here’s our top 10 linebackers to watch this fall as well as a list of the others we’re expecting big things from.

We hope you enjoy our list.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

DISTRICT PREDICTIONS: Evan and Dan make their picks

Without further ado it is time for us to make our Big Country predictions, district-by-district.

This is the culmination of several weeks of research and two solid months of summertime labor, so we’re more than ready to post it. 

So dive in and study our take on the upcoming season, along with the more than 80 preseason stories we posted earlier today.  Enjoy!  We’ll see you on the road. 
You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BCP BOYS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AND SUPER DOZEN: Yeager claims top spot

On the heels of announcing our first-ever Big Country Preps Girls Athlete of the Year, it’s now time to announce our first boys winner.

Again, our Athlete of the Year and subsequent “Super Dozen” represent the Big Country Athletes who contributed the most to their athletic programs — most often over a broad range of disciplines. 

So, at this time, Big Country Preps proudly announces its Boys Athlete of the Year: Kevin Yeager of De Leon. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

BCP GIRLS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AND SUPER DOZEN: Masonheimer takes top spot

An Athlete of the Year award for the Big Country has been a long time coming, and Big Country Preps is officially ending the wait. 

What better way to end our first school year than by honoring our top all-around athletes. By that, we mean those athletes who competed at a high level over a broad range of disciplines and had the biggest overall impact on their athletic programs (as nominated by area athletic directors). 

So without further ado, we proudly announce our first Big Country Preps Girls Athlete of the Year: Anna Masonheimer of Eula. 

From start to finish, Masonheimer was a key contributor to Eula’s athletic success during the 2018-19 school year, beginning with her helping the EHS cross country team reach the regional meet. 

She was the MVP of Eula’s district champion basketball team, earning all state honors from both the Texas Association of Basketball coaches and the Texas Girls Coaches Association. But she was just getting started at that point. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

All-Big Country Preps Baseball Team: First-Team Roster

Here are our first-team selections for the inaugural All-Big Country Preps baseball team. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

All-Big Country Preps Baseball Team: Second-Team Roster (w/ honorable mention)

Here are our second-team selections for the inaugural All-Big Country Preps baseball team. For the rest of this year’s selections, click the links below.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

2018-19 IN REVIEW: Softball (w/ two photo galleries)

Prior to the release of our All-Big Country Preps softball and baseball teams on Friday and Saturday, Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood will review the 2018-19 school year throughout this week and the top athletic stories produced by the area in football, boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball.

I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for fastpitch softball — I admit it. 

A long time ago, it was common for men to play the game. My dad played it. I played it. So I still thoroughly enjoy getting to as many girls softball games as possible — just to see some fastpitch again.

So, it is with pleasure that I review the the 2019 season — the top teams, the top games, the top surprises and the clubs that are about to make a splash in 2020.

 That said, it’s time to dive in.

Continue reading “2018-19 IN REVIEW: Softball (w/ two photo galleries)”

BCP Podcast No. 51: Evan, Daniel discuss Baird’s move to six-man, look back at 2018-19 athletic year

With Baird’s decision this week to join the six-man football ranks, which follows a trend set in recent years by fellow Big Country Class 1A schools Rotan, Gorman, Bronte and Roby, the Bears will be entering a whole new world this fall.

On this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast, Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood explore that transition from all angles. 

Also in this week’s episode, Evan and Daniel take a look back at the 2018-19 athletic year and discuss some of their highlights from the football, boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball seasons.

BCP Podcast No. 38: Evan, Daniel discuss All-Big Country Preps basketball teams

In this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast, Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood discuss the inaugural All-Big Country Preps boys and girls basketball teams, giving insight into the selection process and sharing their opinions the superlative award winners and first-tema selections.

To read more on this year’s selections, click the links below:

All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: First-Team Roster

Here are our third-team selections for the inaugural All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: Second-Team Roster

Here are our third-team selections for the inaugural All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

All-Big Country Preps Girls Basketball Team: Third-Team Roster (w/ honorable mention)

Here are our third-team selections for the inaugural All-Big Country Preps girls basketball team. For the rest of this year’s boys and girls basketball selections, click the links below.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us