Category: Six-man

GAME STORY: Strawn rolls Motley County for state title

ARLINGTON — After falling a few yards short of a state championship appearance in 2020, the Strawn Greyhounds left no doubt that they were the better team on Wednesday afternoon in a 73-28 throttling of Matador Motley County at AT&T Stadium for the Class 1A Division II championship.

The redemption tour saw Strawn win all five playoff games on the 45-point mercy rule, an absolutely dominating run through the postseason.

Strawn scored at least 61 points in all of its playoff games en route to its third title in five years and fifth in school history.

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GAME STORY: Westbrook rides Ware’s legs to first state title

ARLINGTON — Entering Wednesday’s Class 1A Division I state championship game at AT&T Stadium, the Westbrook Wildcats had the 10th-ranked scoring defense in the state, giving up just 28.1 points per game.

On the other hand, May entered with the second-highest scoring offense in the state at 66.7 points per game.

Despite May’s offense having an average day by it’s standards, it was Westbrook’s defense that came up with the biggest play when it mattered most as the Wildcats won the first state title in school history in a 72-66 thriller.

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BCP WEEK 17 PLAYOFF FORECAST: Six area teams reach Arlington with state titles on the line

LAST WEEK: 3-1, .750
SEASON TOTAL: 509-107, .826

What a year for area football.

Six … count’em … six teams from the Big Country Preps coverage area still have a pulse in Week 17 and will compete for state titles at five different levels.

Strawn, May, Westbrook, Hawley, Brock and Stephenville will all make their way onto the turf at AT&T Stadium this week with a shot at the history books.

The Big Country Preps staff will be on hand at Jerry World, of course, soaking it all in and sharing it with you, our subscribers.

It’s difficult to believe, but its time to make my final round of picks for 2021. 

Here’s this week’s forecast: 

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McAuliffe: Big Country fans have potential history to look forward to this week

There are 12 games left in the 2021 Texas high school football season, meaning just 24 teams have a shot at ending their season with the ultimate prize: a state championship.

Of those 24 teams, six of them are in the Big Country Preps coverage area — a pool from which five championships could be claimed.

That’s a significant shift from years past as the area has won a combined total of four titles in the past six years. Prior to that, the Big Country had a run of 10 championships from 2009-2014. The banner year during that stretch came in 2012 when Throckmorton, Stamford, Munday and Stephenville were all crowned as champions.

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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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GAME STORY: No. 1 May survives Abbott in state semifinal thriller

DUBLIN — After falling short of a championship with a 68-22 loss to Sterling City in the 2020 state title game, the May Tigers spent this year looking for redemption.

The road to a return trip to AT&T Stadium in Arlington wasn’t a cakewalk for the top-ranked Tigers, who saw playoff games against No. 2 Jonesboro and No. 4 Water Valley leading into their Class 1A Division I state semifinal matchup with third-ranked Abbott.

Having not been involved in a close game, May needed a fourth-down touchdown run from Avery Williford late in the fourth quarter to retake the lead for good as the Tigers edged the Panthers in a 50-48 thriller Saturday at Bob and Norma Cervetto Field.

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BCP Week 15 Playoff Forecast: Big Ev picks 92 percent over Thanksgiving. Can he keep it going?

LAST WEEK: 12-1, .923
SEASON TOTAL: 499-106, .825

Alright, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty — football in December with seven Big Country teams still fighting for a trip to Arlington. If I’m correct, we’ll have quite a few area survivors to congratulate by Sunday.

The column connected on 92 percent of its picks last week, so we’ll see if I can keep the hot streak going.

Here’s this week’s forecast: 

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EVAN REN’S WEEK 14 PLAYOFF FORECAST: 16 area teams still battling for regional titles

LAST WEEK: 17-4, .809
SEASON TOTAL: 487-105, .823

Some areas have quantity. Others have quality. The Big Country has both — at least, this year it does. 

Entering Week 14 there are no fewer than 16 area teams with a shot at reaching December. And with six of them paired off against each other, the Big Country is guaranteed to have at least three survivors a week from now. 

I have a strong feeling we’re going to see more area survivors than that. But we will have some casualties this time around. There’s no avoiding it with the level of competition our teams are facing. 

With 11-man teams reaching the regional semifinal round and six-man teams playing for regional titles, there are nothing but monsters remaining to block the path to Arlington. 

Who will make it through? 

Here’s this week’s forecast: 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Dublin’s Teten earns honor with historic effort

With a huge passing game in Dublin’s 41-35 area-round win over Palmer, junior Chris Teten put up numbers worthy of our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week award.

But it’s only once you grasp the historical significance of the Lions’ win over the Bulldogs on Friday that you gain a full appreciation for the junior’s performance.

In hitting 19 of 26 passes for 406 yards and six touchdowns — all of which were needed to escape Joshua’s Owl Stadium with a victory — Teten was objectively excellent behind center for the Lions. Now for the kicker: the win over Palmer marked the first area-round victory in the history of the Dublin program, which is significant considering the school has been playing football for more than a century.

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FEATURE: Youthful Jaybirds reach regional semis, give Stanaland a shot at career win No. 100

JAYTON — The key question for the Jayton Jaybirds heading into the 2021 season wasn’t if they would be good. The question was, how  good?

The ‘Birds afterall, have grown accustomed to success under coach Josh Stanaland, who has posted a 99-48 mark in 12 seasons at JHS, including a 60-14 mark since 2016.

But 2021 was to bring some special challenges. To begin with, no fewer than four standout players — Pecos Smith, Tripp Scott, Caleb Valerio, Mason Long and Devon Jones — had been handed their diplomas.  Secondly, the 2021 ‘Birds would carry only four seniors on their roster, with no more than two being on the field at the same time, offensively or defensively. 

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BCP 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 2021-22 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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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Roscoe’s Watts claims this week’s award

Nobody ever truly obtains perfection on the football field. And even if you believe you’ve achieved it, any competent coach can quickly scan the game film and point out when and where you could have been better along the way. 

Roscoe sophomore Jax Watts, however, came about as close as one can come to that lofty goal in Friday’s 61-0 win over Hamlin. 

To begin with, our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week hit 17 of 18 passes for 436 yards and six touchdowns as the Plowboys (9-1) closed the season with a nine-game winning streak and district title. 

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FEATURE: Hermleigh adjusts to changes, posts 10-0 regular-season record

Photos by Sasha Duck, Hermleigh school photographer

Sam Winters is in the first season of his second stint as Hermleigh’s head coach.

The Hermleigh Cardinals completed a 10-0 regular season Oct. 29 by beating preseason favorite Ira 66-48 for the District 7-1A Division I football championship. With a bye Nov. 5, the Cardinals could sit back and soak up the spoils of victory.

Or maybe not.

“It was like ‘Congratulations, you’re the district champions. As a reward, you get to play the state champions in bidistrict,’ ” Hermleigh head coach Sam Winters said.

Sterling City won the Class 1A Division I state championship last year. But the Eagles were upset by Westbrook this year and finished second in District 8-1A DI, creating the bidistrict matchup with Hermleigh. It’s a rematch of last year’s bidistrict game won 61-12 by Sterling City.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Brock QB Moody takes this week’s accolade

I suppose we should have seen Brock’s 80-7 rout of archrival Peaster coming last Friday. 

The Eagles have been getting better and more explosive by the week as they adjust to first-year coach Billy Mathis’ offensive scheme, and quarterback Tyler Moody has only gotten more efficient along the way.

Our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week was nearly perfect against Peaster, hitting 11 of 12 throws for 239 yards and five scores. He also rushed five times for 54 yards and an additional touchdown, giving him a direct hand in seven TDs.

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FEATURE: Hoops-crazy Lingleville enjoying fine football season

Photo by Keith Philips

Now is usually about the time Lingleville is counting down the days until basketball season.  

The Cardinals have had only two winning seasons since football returned in 2010, and expectations for this fall weren’t sky high after last year’s 1-9 record.  

But football is all the buzz these days in western Erath County as Lingleville (6-1) has been one of the Big Country’s biggest surprises. Coach Ken Davis and the Cardinals have won six straight games heading into Friday’s critical District 13-A Division I matchup against Baird.  

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FEATURE: Resurgent Baird Bears seeking to continue climb in Schlieve’s second season

Photos by Sarah Schlieve

Baird has experienced growth in Derek Schlieve’s second season running the football program.

The Bears got off to their best start in a couple decades, winning their first five games and handing Gordon its only loss of the season.

Even though their momentum was slightly dashed after Friday’s 78-30 loss to Fort Worth Covenant Classical, Schlieve is insistent his guys are remembering the big picture.

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FEATURE: Close-knit Benjamin volleyball team outperforming expectations despite youth

Photos by Brittany Lowe 

The Benjamin volleyball team’s theme this season is “Believe in We.”  

It’s a three-word motto the Lady Mustangs have taken to heart during a successful 2021 campaign despite depending on a heavy dose of underclassmen.  

That belief in each other has forged a dynamic team chemistry that is one of the reasons Benjamin is ranked No. 18 in the state at the Class 2A/1A level.  

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Young takes spotlight with monstrous effort

Who says defensive players can’t be the Player of the Week?

That’s certainly not true at Big Country Preps, where our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week helped push Stephenville to a stunning 35-7 rout of perennial power Waco La Vega on Friday night.

Senior linebacker Reese Young takes our weekly accolade after charting an almost unbelievable 25 tackles to lead an SHS defensive effort that saw the Yellow Jackets hold La Vega to just 94 yards rushing on 44 carries.

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FEATURE: German exchange student joins Raiders during unusual season

Photos courtesy by Roger Niehaus of the Lueders-Avoca Raiders Sports Facebook page.

Having a German exchange student join the football team hasn’t been the most unusual occurrence for the Lueders-Avoca Raiders this season.

After all, the six-man Raiders have had exchange students from Germany serve as the team kicker in 2018 and 2019. This season German exchange student Jasper Humphert is kicking, playing special teams, and filling in on offense and defense when the Raiders’ seven other healthy players need a breather.

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FEATURE: Kirk, Abilene TLCA make a little history with first win

Cover photo courtesy of Brian Hobbs.

The first one is always the hardest.

For Jeremy Kirk and Texas Leadership Charter Academy of Abilene, that was certainly true.

The Eagles and their first-time head coach had seen their share of heartbreaking losses this year prior to Saturday’s win over Newman International Academy.

It was the first win in TLCA’s brief two-year varsity history and Kirk’s first win as a head coach as the Eagles knocked off NIA 66-18 in a neutral site game.

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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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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Stephenville QB takes the top spot

When you combine our two key factors in selecting our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week — quality of numbers and level of difficulty — nobody outperformed Stephenville quarterback Ryder Lambert last week in SHS’ 37-7 rout of Class 5A Abilene Wylie. 

Lambert connected on 22 of 28 throws for 458 yards and five scores to help push the Yellow Jackets to 4-0. 

Just four weeks in and the ‘Jackets are looking like they could win Texas’ most difficult 4A district (5-4A DI), despite having road dates with Waco La Vega and Midlothian Heritage. 

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FEATURE: Tiny Paint Creek ends three-year football hiatus with big win

For most teams, a big win sealed with taking a knee is just that, a win.

For Paint Creek, that kneel down was a lot more than just a win.

Friday’s 52-0 win over Harrold came as the Pirates took the field for the first time in three years and coach Leonel Murguia wanted to make sure his team soaked it in.

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SIX-MAN FEATURE: First-time head coach Kirk setting the bar high at TLCA

Sure there may be a huge hole in the middle of the practice field and they may not have goalposts to work on their kicking game, but the Texas Leadership Charter Academy Eagles are not seeing those as negative things heading into the year.

The Eagles, who just moved into the former State Street YMCA, will be fielding a UIL-sanctioned team for just the second time this year and have tapped former Stamford defensive coordinator Jeremy Kirk to lead the program in transition.

Despite the limitations on the practice field, Kirk is fired up for his first head coaching job and all of the history that his squad is poised to make.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Clyde’s Phillips earns this week’s spotlight

In a week filled with unforgettable moments, several of our nominees handed in by area coaches could justifiably be called our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week. 

We finally settled on Clyde sophomore Payton Phillips, who stunned attendees at the Region I-3A meet by taking gold in both the long jump (18 feet, 6 inches) and the 100 hurdles (15.12) — breaking school records that were 25 and 15 years old, respectively. 

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CLASS 1A REGIONAL TRACK RECAP: Cross Plains boys, girls have big showing in San Angelo

The Cross Plains girls and boys track teams topped the list of Big Country teams competing at LeGrand Stadium in the Region II-1A meet on Friday and Saturday. 

Fueled by wins in the 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams , the Cross Plains girls (60 points) earned a second-place finish behind regional champion Irion County (71.33). 

Cross Plains’ Addison Long, Tori Taylor, Abbigale Shepard and Katie Goins combined for gold in both the 400 and 800 relays.  Cadence Wediking joined Long, Shepard and Goins for the win in the 4×400. 

Other top area teams included Munday and Blackwell, which tied for fourth in the 30-team field, along with Roby, which finished sixth. 

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FEATURE: May’s Reese Chambers seeking return to state in sprints

The present and the future will intersect this week for Reese Chambers.

The May senior will compete in the sprint races at the Region II-1A track and field meet at San Angelo. This is the week in which Chambers can qualify for next month’s UIL state meet after finishing fifth in the 100 meters and ninth as a member of the 400-meter relay at state as a sophomore in 2019.

The top two finishers in each event at regional guarantee themselves a spot in the UIL Class 1A state meet on May 8 in Austin.

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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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GAME STORY: Top-ranked Sterling City dispatches May for first state title

ARLINGTON — For one play on Wednesday, everything was good for May in the Class 1A Division I state championship game against top-ranked Sterling City at AT&T Stadium.

Kaden Halk had a 67-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game to stake the Tigers to a quick 8-0 lead, but after that, it was all Eagles as Sterling City took a 68-22 win in a game was stopped just 23 seconds into the second half because of the 45-point rule.

May, now 1-5 all-time in state championship games, finished the season at 13-2 with both losses coming to Sterling City.

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