Category: Wall Hawks

BCP Podcast No. 99: Evan, Daniel discuss Dave Campbell’s Texas Football (Part 1)

Like most followers of Texas high school football, Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood are big fans of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine.

After receiving their copies on Monday, the duo used this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast to discuss the publication’s projections on the area’s Class 1A-3A teams. In Part 2 next week, Evan and Daniel will discuss Texas Football’s forecast for the Big Country’s Big Schools.

EVAN REN: We’re pushing ahead at Big Country Preps — getting the the ball rolling

“A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work.” — John Lubbock

My business partner, Daniel Youngblood, is the king of not worrying.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

If NASA were to announce that an asteroid impact was imminent in 15 minutes and that Abilene would be at ground zero, anything beyond a shrug of the shoulders from Youngblood would surprise me. Of course, I wouldn’t be there to see it. I’d be 25 miles down the road with the accelerator smashed to the floor, one hand on the steering wheel and a rabbit’s foot in the other.

The recent turmoil in the world has put both of our natures on display — him letting it all roll off his back and me, well … being me.

If fate allows it, a return to normalcy is the objective here and the sooner the better. As the designated worrier at Big Country Preps, I’ve been on pins and needles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the massive social unrest created by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. And let’s just call it what it was — a murder.

That said, I’m currently doing my best to steal a page from the Youngblood stress-free handbook and turning my attention from our tumultuous, viral-plagued world to something I can understand: football. That means that heading into the summer months, we’ll be diving headlong into our previews for the upcoming season.

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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. 

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: Region I-3A playoff race huge loss for this baseball junkie

Those who know me well know that I’m a “baseball guy” at heart.

I love football and basketball, but baseball’s my sport. It’s the one I played the longest and the one I follow most diligently now.

As a sportswriter, I enjoy covering all sports, but come springtime, there’s one I look forward to more than any other. And the baseball playoffs, in particular, have always held a special place in my heart.

So I had little trouble empathizing with our area players and coaches about the premature ending of the 2020 season as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. I was almost as heartbroken as they were when the University Interscholastic League pulled the plug on the season just a few weeks in.

There were so many things I was looking forward to watching and never got to see play out. And perhaps nothing climbed higher on that list than a Region I-3A playoff race that was shaping up to be one for the ages.

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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: 

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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. 

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Wall softball was hitting stride when season was halted

The “What Might Have Been” feature series is Big Country Preps’ effort to celebrate area athletes who have seen their seasons affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The series will continue through June 15. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

Photos by Jen Kleman

It’s not how you start, but how you finish. 

While the Wall softball team will never know how 2020 would have played out, the progress made before its season was halted certainly had everyone optimistic.

Healthier than they’d been all year, the Lady Hawks captured district victories over San Angelo TLCA and Brady when the coronavirus shut down their momentum. Officially, Wall finished with a 6-13 record, but that doesn’t begin to tell the whole story.

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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.

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BCP Podcast No. 89: Albany’s David Fairchild talks COVID-19 shutdown with Evan, Daniel

After leading his team to state tournament appearances in 2017 and 2019, Albany baseball coach David Fairchild may have had his best squad yet this season. But after starting 7-0, the second-ranked Lions had their season shut down by the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Tuesday, Fairchild joined Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood for the Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast to talk about this year’s team, how he’s handling the COVID-19 shutdown and what he’s hoping will happen over the next couple of months. 

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Wall baseball’s title defense put on hold

The “What Might Have Been” feature series is Big Country Preps’ effort to celebrate area athletes who have seen their seasons affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The series will continue through June 15 or until the UIL rules that high school athletics statewide may resume. If you have a suggested story for the “What might have been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

Coming off its first state championship in program history, the Wall baseball team entered this season eager to defend its title.

With eight key seniors graduating off that 39-1 squad, a repeat run through the Class 3A bracket would not be easy, but the Hawks returned a pair of all-state pitchers in Caleb Heuertz and Luke Young and viewed this as more of a reloading job than a rebuild.

Sitting at 9-3-1 on March 12 with the start of District 4-3A play on the horizon, everything was going according to plan for coach Jason Schniers and his players — until, that is, the COVID-19 outbreak and University Interscholastic League’s subsequent shutdown intervened.

In a matter of days, the Hawks went from gearing up for the district season and another strong playoff push to wondering if they’d get to take the field again at all in 2020. And three weeks later, with school suspended indefinitely and the players and coaches separated, little has changed to ease their uncertainty.

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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.

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All-Big Country Preps Boys Basketball Superlatives: Brewer, Medina, Lenard head of 2020 class

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

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

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

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2020 All-Big Country Preps Boys Basketball Team: Second-Team Roster

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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BCP Baseball Position Rankings: Outfielders

For Day 4 of our five-part baseball position rankings series, we focus our binoculars on the outfield grass.

After highlighting the Big Country’s top pitchers, catchers and infielders earlier this week, we now do the same with the area’s best outfielders, ranking our top 10 with others to watch in 2020.

We hope you enjoy our list.

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BCP Baseball Position Rankings: Infielders

After ranking  the top pitchers and catchers on the Big Country baseball scene the past two nights, we now turn our attention to the infield.

For the third installment in our five-part position rankings series, we list our top-10 infielders in the area with a list of others to watch in 2020.

We hope you enjoy reading through our rankings.

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BCP Baseball Position Rankings: Catchers

After opening our baseball position rankings series with the pitchers on Monday, it’s time to shift our attention to their battery mates.

For the second installment in our five-part series, we celebrate the Big Country’s top catchers, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch in 2020.

We hope you enjoy our list.

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BCP Baseball Position Rankings: Pitchers

After kicking off the spring sports season with our softball position rankings last week, it’s time to turn our attention to the the baseball field and the names we’ll be hearing and reading about throughout the 2020 campaign.

For the first installment in a five-part series that will cover all position groups on the area baseball scene, we’ll be taking a look at the Big Country’s top pitchers, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch this fall.

We hope you enjoy reading through our list.

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BCP Podcast No. 82: Evan, Daniel talk girls and boys playoff basketball

With the area girls heading into the area round of the playoffs and the boys settling their final tiebreakers to determine seeding, it’s time for Evan and Daniel to take a good look around the area. 

All the top favorites, all the top surprises and what they’re up against will be this week’s topic of conversation. 

DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: This week in Big Country boys basketball (Feb. 17-23)

It’s hard to believe, but we have reached the final scheduled date of the boys basketball regular season. After Tuesday, all that will separate us from the playoffs are a handful of seeding games and coin flips.

But while most Big Country districts have already crowned their champions, plenty of intrigue remains heading into this final night of district games.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at this week’s top matchups and outcomes last week’s key results.

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BCP Podcast No. 81: Evan, Daniel talk Ballinger boys hoops with coach Jamal Anene

In his four years as Ballinger’s boys basketball coach, Jamal Anene has built the Bearcats into a consistent playoff team. The same is true this year of BHS, which enters a big game Friday against San Angelo TLCA at 23-8 overall and 8-2 in District 4-3A.

Earlier this week, Anene took a few minutes to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about this season, his goals for the program and his unique background for the Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss the end of the girls basketball regular season and some of the biggest storylines in the final week of boys district games.

BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Priddy’s Evans takes award after leading Lady Pirates to district title

While the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches does not have the Priddy girls basketball team ranked at the moment, the Lady Pirates (20-7, 11-0 District 17-1A) are making enough noise to get noticed. 

And with last week’s sweep of Lometa (51-29) and Cherokee (59-52), it’s beginning to look as though PHS is capable of doing some postseason damage. 

Our Player of the Week, senior Linda Evans, led that charge with a combined 60 points through two games, including a 36-point effort with four assists in a district-title clinching win over Cherokee. 

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: This week in Big Country boys basketball (Feb. 10-16)

It seems like basketball just started a few weeks ago, but — believe it or not — we’re down to the final two weeks of the boys hoops regular season.

And with just three more dates remaining before the playoffs begin, the urgency has never been higher for area teams. Whether they’re fighting for a district title, jockeying to improve playoff seeding or just trying to find a way into the postseason bracket, Big Country squads will have plenty to play for in jam-packed Tuesday and Friday slates this week.

Without wasting any more time, let’s take a look at what the schedule has in store.

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FEATURE: Young Lady Hawks growing in new system under Richardson

WALL — When first-year Wall girls basketball coach Kevin Richardson was hired to replace the highly successful Tate Lombard in June, he knew he was being given the keys to a basketball Ferrari. 

He knew there would be expectations. He knew there would be pressure. 

And that’s just the way he wanted it. 

Lombard, who resigned last spring to join the staff of his father (legendary girls coach Joe Lombard) in Canyon, charted more than 200 wins and two Class 3A state titles during his tenure at Wall. 

That left Richardson with one of the toughest acts to follow in all of Texas high school girls basketball. 

Richardson, however, who had coached at Class 3A Canadian for 18 seasons prior to coming to WHS, was comfortable with it all. So comfortable, in fact, that he didn’t hesitate to introduce a new system at a place that had known nothing but success for decades. 

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GAME STORY: Wall sweeps big doubleheader at Ballinger (w/ box scores, videos)

BALLINGER — Wall locked up one district title and put itself into the driver’s seat in another with a varsity doubleheader sweep at Ballinger on Friday.

Facing a pair of upstart programs on the road, WHS opened the evening with a 41-26 win in the girls game, and followed that with a 52-45 boys victory in the nightcap.

Kamryn Williams scored 15 points and Kylie Phillips added 10 more to lead the Lady Hawks (22-7, 12-0 District 4-3A), which concluded an unbeaten run through district play with the win. 

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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. 

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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. 

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BCP Podcast No. 80: Dublin’s Parker talks ‘Flyin’ Lions’ basketball with Evan, Daniel

During his time at Dublin, boys basketball coach Will Parker has introduced an up-tempo, run-and-gun playing style that has not only increased enthusiasm around his program,but has helped the “Flyin’ Lions” win games. That’s a true again this season, which has seen the DHS boys produce a 20-9 record to date.

Earlier this week, Parker took some time to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about this year’s team, his philosophy on tempo and the success he’s enjoyed for the Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this week’s episode, Evan and Daniel discuss the top upcoming matchups on the Big Country hoops scene and give their thoughts on Wylie’s decision to promote longtime defensive coordinator Clay Martin to head football coach. 

SIGNING DAY: Weather spoils several signing ceremonies, but Signing Day still brings recognition

Eastland’s Behren Morton isn’t the only current Big Country high school athlete moving on to the next level. 

A number of others joined him in making their collegiate commitments during National Signing Day on Wednesday. Though Morton is only a junior, his highly publicized verbal commitment to Texas Tech on Oct. 15 headlines the current crop of Big Country athletes who will be seen on collegiate playing fields in the near future. 

There are several other notables, beginning with Brownwood senior receiver/defensive back AJ McCarty, who is heading to Baylor, San Saba quarterback Sean O’Keefe, who is heading to Tulsa and Early high jumper/hurdler Trinity Tomlinson, who will compete for the University of Texas.

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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. 

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: This week in Big Country boys basketball (Feb. 3-9)

It’s hard to believe, but we’re rapidly approaching the home stretch of the high school boys basketball season.

District races are starting to take shape, making every game important for the teams still in district title/playoff contention.

With that said, let’s take our weekly look at the top matchups this week and biggest results from last week’s games.   

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EVAN REN: This week in Big Country girls basketball (Feb. 3-9)

February brings the regular season homestretch for girls basketball, along with the first round of the playoffs, slated to begin Feb. 17. 

In the meantime, we’ve got a solid set of games to keep track of this week with playoff implications up and down the menu. 

Let’s have a quick look at what’s on tap:  

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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. 

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