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FEATURE: Wall’s balanced, unheralded defense dominant through a committee approach

WALL — If one examines the statistics of the area’s top high school defenses at this time of year, it is quite common to find at least one or two “stud” tacklers — usually a nasty linebacker with 100 or more stops. 

 But at Wall, the home of one of the best defenses in Big Country this season, a statistical anomaly is currently taking place. Nobody on WHS’ 2022 roster has more than 66 tackles through 11 played games (plus one forfeit) — a genuine oddity considering how dominant the Hawks have been on that side of the ball.  

Instead, Wall is tackling by committee out of its 4-2-5 scheme and doing it quite well, with nine players charting between 43 and 66 stops. 

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FEATURE: Loss of O’Shields a major challenge for Hawley, but there is a glimmer of hope

HAWLEY — It wasn’t exactly the ‘shot heard round the world’, but in Hawley it certainly created a noticeable tremor. 

The loss of do-everything receiver-defensive back-kicker Kason O’Shields had a far-reaching impact on the Hawley roster the moment it occurred on Oct. 29.  

O’Shields, who suffered a broken right fibula early in the second half at Stamford, had made himself so valuable in so many different ways, that his loss was the equivalent of losing six players rather than one. 

“He was our kicker, punter, kicker returner, punt returner and played offense and defense,” Hawley coach Mitch Ables said. “I don’t know how much more you could have a kid do for you, but he was a do-all for us for sure.” 

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CLASS 2A/3A AREA ROUND REPORT: Cisco, Hawley, Wall, Brock, Albany advance; Jim Ned, Coleman, Early, Comanche, Santo fall

REGION I-3A DIV. I 

Bushland 28, Jim Ned 10 — Dawson Jaco threw for 217 yards and four TD passes and Baylor King caught four passes for 89 yards and two scores to lift Bushland over Jim Ned. 

The Indians led twice in the first half — 3-0 on a 19-yard field goal by Breydon Walker in the first quarter and 10-7 after a 55-yard run by Troy Doran in the second. 

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GAME STORY: Albany uses big second half to eliminate Muenster

GRAHAM – Albany was challenged for the first time in a couple months Thursday night.  

The sixth-ranked Lions needed a touchdown in the last minute of the first half against Muenster to take a lead into the locker room in a Region II-2A Division II area round matchup.     

But once Albany regained the lead against the Hornets, there were no plans to relinquish it. The Lions scored six second-half touchdowns to pull away for a convincing 56-10 victory at Newton Field.  

Albany (10-2) advances to face No. 4 Wink (12-0), which eliminated Santo 35-19, at a time and place to be determined, while Muenster ends its season at 6-6.  

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GAME STORY: Brock uses five straight first-half scores to corral Mules before halftime

SWEETWATER — What had the appearance of a shootout early on turned into a rout on Thursday night as Brock overpowered Muleshoe in a Class 3A DI area round game at the Mustang Bowl. 

Carson Finney caught two touchdown passes and intercepted three others and Brett Tutter rushed for 153 yards and three scores to lead Brock (8-4), which won its eighth straight game after an 0-4 start. 

With both clubs trading two early touchdowns apiece in the first nine minutes of play and Brock clinging to a 15-13 lead, the Eagles blew the game open with 35 unanswered points and were never threatened beyond that point.  The Eagles now advance to face the winner of Bushland (11-0) and Jim Ned (8-3) in the Region I-3A quarterfinals. 

Muleshoe (8-4) was led by Nathan Martens, who threw for 132 yards and two scores. 

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GAME STORY: Forsan survives wild finish to eliminate Stamford, 21-14

BROWNWOOD — Not until the game’s final minute did the Stamford Bulldogs have the lead in Friday’s 2A DI bi-district game with Forsan at Gordon Wood Stadium. 

It lasted for a grand total of 16 seconds. 

Trailing 14-13 with under a minute to play, Forsan got the last word with a 63-yard touchdown strike from Cade Wallis to Brooks Wright and a subsequent two-point conversion run by Kevin Kilgora with 0:37 showing on the clock. The Buffaloes (9-2) then held on for a 21-14 win, advancing to face New Deal next Thursday in the area round.

Continue reading “GAME STORY: Forsan survives wild finish to eliminate Stamford, 21-14”

DISTRICT 10-2A DIV. II WEEK 11 REPORT: Dawson takes No. 2 seed, Meridian snaps losing streak, Mart finishes unbeaten

Wortham 48, Dawson 40 — In a battle for the District’s No. 2 seed, Wortham rallied from an early deficit to defeat Dawson. 

Tanner Bean scored on a 7-yard run with 16 seconds to play to lift Wortham, which will face the No. 2 seed from District 9 in the bi-district round.

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DISTRICT 4-3A DIV. II WEEK 11 REPORT: Idalou, Roosevelt, Abernathy end regular season with wins

Idalou 56, Santon 34 — Idalou rolled up 480 yards in total offense in an easy win over Stanton. 

Tate Hendley threw for 140 yards, rushed for 89 and accounted for five TDs to lead the Wildcats (7-3, 4-1), who go into postseason as a No. 2 seed. 

They will face District 3 No. 3 seed Friona in the Bi-district round. 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Hawley rallies to take district title in dazzling win over Cisco

cHAWLEY — It took a full 47 minutes and 57 seconds for the Hawley Bearcats to take their first lead in Friday’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week.  They only had to defend it for three seconds before claiming a 36-33 win over visiting Cisco, along with the District 4-2A DI title. 

Will Scott caught seven Rodey Hooper passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns to lead Hawley (10-0, 6-0), which trailed 19-8 at the half and 33-22 with 9:21 to play before rallying for the win. 

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2022 BIG COUNTRY PREPS GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: The area’s top teams in each class throughout the BCP coverage area

I can scarcely believe it, but it’s that time again —time to gear up for a new season of girls high school basketball which is getting underway throughout Texas this week. 

Below, you will find our top teams in each classification in the Big Country Preps coverage area, which extends from Big Spring in the West, to Brock in the east. And from Brady in the south to Munday in the north. 

Our rankings of the top teams in each class are given, along with a season outlook, cataloguing our expectations for each club. So by all means, dive in and join us for the upcoming season.

Here’s our preview. We’ll see you on the road.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Seymour squelches Haskell offense in 16-0 win

HASKELL — Needing a district win to put itself into a strong position for a No. 3 playoff seed, Haskell had Seymore at home, in front of an enthusiastic crowd and played gutsy, inspired defense all night. 

There was just one ingredient missing: The Haskell offense. 

Managing only 58 total yards and four first downs, the Indians fell in our Big Country Preps Game of the Week 16-0, as Seymour all but locked up the three seed and created some new possibilities for itself. 

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FEATURE: Vinson battles through diabetes to become one of area’s more versatile players

If you watched Jim Ned’s Avery Vinson play volleyball for the first time, you’d notice a few things about the junior.   

She never comes off the court. The six-rotation standout helps the Lady Indians as an outside hitter while sharing setting duties with Kate Bryant.  

She has really good hands, which is one reason she leads Jim Ned with 478 assists. She’s also a lefty, which adds another dimension to the Lady Indians’ attack.  

Perhaps you’d notice the passion Vinson has for the game and how she’s become more of a leader this year.  

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DISTRICT 7-2A DII WEEK 8 REPORT: Haskell falls to Archer City, Windthorst, Seymour both collect wins

Archer City 27, Haskell 20 — Freshman Joe Castles threw for 211 yards and one score and Elijah Jackson rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns to lead Archer City to a win over Haskell. 

The win sets up an opportunity for the surprising Wildcats (5-2, 3-0) to play for sole possession of the league lead next week at Windthorst.

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DISTRICT 4-3A DIV. II WEEK 8 REPORT: Coahoma falls at Idalou, Abernathy takes league lead, Littlefield routs Stanton

Idalou 28, Coahoma 16 — Idalou held off a strong challenge from Coahoma, forcing four Bulldog turnovers to get the win. 

 Tate Hendley threw for 158 yards and one score and Tyler Jack rushed for 108 yards and two scores to lead Idalou (4-3, 1-1).

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DISTRICT 3-3A DIV. I WEEK 8 REPORT: Doran leads Jim Ned past Clyde, Vernon upsets Breckenridge, Iowa Park clips Bowie in OT

Jim Ned 28, Clyde 21 — Troy Doran rushed for 190 yards and three scores and threw for 79 yards and another TD to lift Jim Ned (4-3, 2-0) to its fourth straight win.

Leading 21-14 with 7:21 left in the game, Doran scored what proved to be the game-winner on a 5-yard keeper

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DISTRICT 5-4A DI WEEK 8 REPORT: Jackets roll as Lambert returns, China Spring routs La Vega

Stephenville 63, Waxahachie Life 20 —  Ryan Gafford threw for 207 yards and four scores and Ryder Lambert returned from an injury to thew for 120 yards and two more TDs to lead Stephenville (7-0, 1-0) in its league opener.

The Yellow Jackets quickly built a 42-14 halftime lead before coasting to the finish.

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GAME STORY: Comanche in district driver’s seat following big win at Jacksboro

JACKSBORO — Comanche staked its claim as the District 5-3A Division II favorite Friday night against Jacksboro.  

The Indians did it in multiple ways as sophomore tailback Sawyer Wilkerson shredded the Tiger defense for 269 rushing yards and four touchdowns.  

Comanche also got an efficient performance from quarterback Layden Welch, who threw for 215 yards and had a hand in more touchdowns (three) than incomplete passes (two). 

It was yet another reminder that this year’s Indians (6-1, 2-0) are a much different team than last season when they only won once.  

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GAME STORY: Cisco wins fifth straight while handing Stamford its first loss of the year

STAMFORD — A week after rushing for more than 300 yards and five scores in a win over Olney, Cisco quarterback Hunter Long demonstrated another part of his game on Friday in a 47-14 win over Stamford: an accurate deep passing game. 

Long was 9 of 13 for 243 yards and three scores to lead Cisco (7-1, 4-0 District 4-2A DI), which is now in a firm position to challenge Hawley for the league title.  Long connected with passes of 77, 52 and 40 yards along the way and rushed for 145 yards and three scores to help the Loboes to their fifth straight win.

Limited to 201 yards in total offense, Stamford (6-1, 2-1) suffered its first loss of the year. Hayden Henager led the Bulldogs with 71 yards rushing on 14 carries. 

“We put ourselves in some third-and-long situations when we had to throw the ball,” said Cisco coach Kevin Stennett, whose club finished with 540 total yards (297 rushing). “We finally proved that we’ve got some receivers who will go up and get it and we got it to several different receivers. 

“We wanted to show that we can throw the ball and mix it up and I’ve very pleased about how balanced we were.” 

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FEATURE: Stephenville’s Maruska could find a spot in the SHS history books

Tate Maruska is well on his way to rewriting Stephenville’s rushing records.  

With 16 touchdowns in six games, the junior is on pace to break the Yellow Jackets’ mark of 29 scores set by Kason Phillips in 2020.  

Coach Sterling Doty wasn’t sure what Stephenville’s single-season rushing record was off the top of his head, but with Maruska already having 1,290 yards, it’s not a stretch to say that total is in danger of falling too.  

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FEATURE: Senior Madilyn Loper enjoying leadership role in her final season

Photos courtesy of The Dublin Citizen

Madilyn Loper isn’t ready for her time as a Dublin volleyball player to end.  

Loper has been on varsity since the early stages of her freshman season. Now she’s a senior standout who knows her playing days at Dublin are numbered. 

“Volleyball is going to be incredibly hard to say goodbye to,” Loper said. “It’s been so much fun, and I have made some of the best memories I could possibly imagine. I have put all my time and effort into this sport, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”  

Loper has been a stalwart in Arin Knight’s first year as Dublin’s head coach. She leads the Lady Lions with 2.2 kills per set and 23 aces while also ranking second in digs.  

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DISTRICT 7-2A DIV. II WEEK 7 REPORT: Haskell dominates Munday, Windthorst survives scare, Archer City wins

Haskell 58, Munday 6 — The Indians rolled up 438 yards in total offense to win their district opener. 

Grady Vasquez threw for 140 yards and two scores and Trevor Henry rushed for 80 yards and two more TDs to lead Haskell (4-3, 2-1) which remains in the hunt for a high playoff seed. 

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DISTRICT 6-2A DIV. II WEEK 7 REPORT: Roscoe, Albany and Hamlin win their district openers

Roscoe 28, Cross Plains 6 — Jax Watts threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 33 yards and another score to lead the Plowboys to a win over previously unbeaten Cross Plains. 

Outgained 317-167, Cross Plains fell to 6-1 and 0-1.  Noah Moses led the Buffaloes with 40 yards rushing and one TD to go with 14 solo tackles and a fumble recovery.

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DISTRICT 4-2A DIV. I WEEK 7 REPORT: Cisco, Anson, Hawley all notch important district wins

Cisco 34, Olney 15 — Hunter Long accounted for 355 of Cisco’s 399 yards in total offense, rushing for 338 yards and throwing for 17 in an important win over Olney.

Long found the end zone five times, scoring on runs of 11, 83, 64, 2 and 7 yards to help the Loboes improve to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in District 4-2A DI. 

 Olney was led by Gatlin Guy who rushed for 122 yards and one TD and Jovani Rockmore, who rushed for 116 and another TD.

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DISTRICT 4-3A DIV. II WEEK 7 REPORT: Coahoma wins fifth straight; Abernathy and Roosevelt chart wins.

Coahoma 35, Littlefield 28 — Boyd Cox threw for 261 yards and three scores and Tristan Guerrero hauled in four catches for 113 yards and one TD to lead Coahoma (5-1, 1-0) to an important district win. 

The Bulldogs have now won five straight games since falling to archrival Forsan in their season opener. 

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DISTRICT 2-3A DIV. II WEEK 7 REPORT: Early, Brady and Wall all win their district openers

Early 36, Ballinger 0 — The Longhorns rushed for 200 yards and four scores and Jaxyn Price threw for 161 yards and another TD in a win at Ballinger. 

Griffin Cheslock rushed for 130 yards and one touchdown and Caleb Ozuna rushed for 50 yards and two more scores as Early improved to 3-3 and 1-0. 

Limited to just minus-35 yards in total offense, Ballinger dropped to 0-6 and 0-1.

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DISTRICT 3-3A DIV. I WEEK 7 REPORT: Jim Ned wins third straight, Breck stays unbeaten, Clyde falls to Vernon

Jim Ned 48, Bowie 18 — Brayden Shipman rushed for 124 yards and two scores and Troy Doran threw for 114 yards and two more TDs and Jim Ned won its district opener. 

Leading 27-12 heading into the final quarter, the Indians put the game away with three touchdowns over the final 12 minutes. 

It was Jim Ned’s third straight win following an injury-plagued 0-3 start. 

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DISTRICT 5-4A DIV. I WEEK 7 REPORT: China Spring routs Alvarado; La Vega has easy time with Waxahachi Life

China Spring 59, Alvarado 17 — Cash McCollum threw for 201 yards and three scores as China Spring (6-1, 1-0) grabbed an early piece of the district lead. 

Leading 14-10 at the end of the first quarter, the Cougars blew the game open with a 42-0 run through the second. 

Kyle Barton led all rushers with 120 yards and three scores. 

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Tolar defense, bruising sophomore running back lead Rattlers past Coleman

COLEMAN — It didn’t clinch anything. It was too early in the district schedule to do that. But Tolar’s 16-6 win over Coleman in the Big Country Preps Game of the Week was important enough to put the Rattlers in the District 5-2A DI driver’s seat. 

A lot of defense and a lot of bruising sophomore running back Peyton Brown carried Tolar (6-0, 2-0), which gradually built a modest 16-0 lead before hanging on for the win at Hufford Field. 

Brown (6-2, 208) rushed for 143 yards and two scores on 27 carries and the Rattler defense limited Coleman (5-2, 2-1) to 197 total yards in a game that lived up to its billing as a physical trench war. 

Jadin Jackson led the Bluecats with 112 yards passing, 36 yards rushing and Coleman’s only TD.

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FEATURE: Trent’s lone senior providing leadership in Lady Gorilla’s return to volleyball

Photo courtesy of Jacob Brenem, Brenem Productions

Gracie Dearing feels like the rewards for playing volleyball at Trent are constant.  

The senior captain hadn’t ever competed in the sport before it was brought back last year after a hiatus dating back to the 1950s.  

But Dearing became interested when she saw a video of a men’s volleyball match. Getting an opportunity to represent her school and help start a program from scratch was too good of a chance to pass up.  

“It’s been very rewarding, not only as an individual but as a team,” Dearing said. “This team has worked really hard to keep this program going. It’s been hard with how little players we have.”  

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DISTRICT 6-2A DIV. II WEEK 6 REPORT: Plowboys fall to Sunray while the rest of the league takes a night off

Sunray 47, Roscoe 17 — The Plowboys (2-2) were the lone team in District 6-2A DII to take the field

on Friday and came up on losing side of a 30-point spread at Lubbock Cooper. 

Sunray finished with 631 yards in total offense, including 472 on the ground to improve to 5-1.

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