Class 4A bi-district report: Lambert perfect as Stephenville routs Dunbar

DIVISION I

Stephenville 49, Fort Worth Dunbar 21 Ryder Lambert was a perfect 20 of 20 through the air for 373 yards and five scores to lift the Yellow Jackets to a bi-district win over Dunbar. 

Lambert, who rushed for 14 yards and an additional touchdown, connected with Coy Eakin seven times for 213 yards and two TDs.

The Jackets (11-0) finished with 505 yards in total offense, with 108 coming on the ground.  

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Class 2A bi-district report: Hawley cruises past San Saba, into area round

DIVISION I

Hawley 56, San Saba 9 Austin Cumpton rushed for 111 yards and five touchdowns while the Bearcat defense limited San Saba to just 98 total yards in a lopsided victory for Hawley.

The Bearcats (11-0), who also got 97 yards and one TD rushing from Lawson Bailey, led 42-0 by halftime and added another touchdown in the third quarter before the Armadillos finally got on the board.

San Saba, which closed its season at 2-9, was led by Wesley Lackey with 99 yards and one rushing touchdown on 10 carries.

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GAME REPORT: Colleyville Heritage too much for Cooper in 63-21 bi-district rout

GRAPEVINE — The Cooper football team could never find its footing in its bi-district matchup with Colleyville Heritage on Friday, mustering just 111 yards of total offense in a 63-21 loss at Mustang-Panther Stadium.

The Cougars, who finished their season at 6-5, found themselves down 28-7 after a quarter, and they never got closer than two scores the rest of the way.

A 19-yard touchdown pass from Keegan Anderson to Cameron Herring pulled the Coogs within 28-14 with 9:55 remaining in the second quarter, but the Panthers scored just before halftime to go back up 21 and added the first touchdown of the second half to put the gam out of reach.

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GAME STORY: Mistakes, missed opportunities cost Abilene High in bi-district loss to Eastwood

Missed opportunities and bad bounces were the story of the night for Abilene High on Friday at Shotwell Stadium, where the Eagles saw a promising season come to an end earlier than expected with an upset loss to El Paso Eastwood.

Despite two empty red zone trips and a pair of costly fumbles, AHS rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to take its first lead of the game with 2:44 to play. But at the end of the night, it was the Troopers celebrating a 31-27 victory on the Eagles’ home field, thanks to a clutch 75-yard touchdown drive, a late interception near midfield and an intentional safety that drained the final 12 seconds of game time. 

Eastwood’s win avenged a 42-35 loss to the Eagles in the bi-district round last year in a game that helped propel coach Mike Fullen’s team to a run to the regional quarterfinals. AHS was hoping a win Friday would help kickstart a similar run, but a slow start and a fair number of uncharacteristic mistakes left the Eagles on the wrong side of a playoff thriller. 

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GAME STORY: Cisco blitzes Haskell in first quarter, rolls to win

CLYDE — The Haskell Indians knew it would take a near perfect game to beat Cisco in a Region I-2A Division I bi-district playoff game at Clyde’s Bulldog Stadium on Friday night.

The Loboes, however, were the ones that were perfect for the first 12:04 as they rattled off the first 41 points of the game on their way to a 55-28 win over the Indians.

Even more impressive was the fact that Cisco scored 13 points in the first 31 seconds of the game, which saw Hunter Long throw four touchdown passes to Dawson Hearne.

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GAME STORY: Forsan rallies to eliminate pesky Goldthwaite

BROWNWOOD — Yes, it was a No. 2 vs. No. 3 seed in bi-district play, which often brings a competitive game in the first round. But few envisioned the difficulty the No. 10 Forsan Buffaloes would have with an unheralded Goldthwaite team in a 22-15 win on Friday. 

The Eagles entered the game with a .500 record and a clear-cut game plan against the heavily favored Buffs: keep the football away from them for as long as humanly possible. Then hope for the best. 

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GAME STORY: No. 9 Coleman blasts Anson 62-12 in triumphant playoff return

Playing their first playoff game since 2017 after having the postseason trip they earned last year wiped out by COVID, the Coleman Bluecats weren’t about to let Thursday’s bi-district matchup with Anson go by without savoring the experience.

And by the time they left the field at Wylie’s Hugh Sandifer Stadium with the gold ball they had earned with Thursday’s 62-12 win, coach John Elder and company had given themselves — and the many blue-clad fans in attendance — a memorable experience to enjoy.

The ninth-ranked Bluecats rushed for 425 yards while limiting the Tigers to just 237 yards of total offense to run away from the Tigers and earn an area-round matchup next week with the winner of Farwell and Post at a time, date and location to be determined.

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GAME STORY: Jayton advances with win over Benjamin

KNOX CITY — The issue was in doubt well into the fourth quarter in Thursday’s Class 1A DII bi-district matchup between Jayton and Benjamin. 

That is, until the Jaybirds, came up with a pair of scores down the stretch and forced a late turnover to end one of Benjamin’s finest seasons ever, 52-41 at Greyhound Field. 

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GAME STORY: Wilson, Brock run past Wall in playoff opener

CLYDE — Kutter Wilson ran for 269 yards and three touchdowns while Tyler Moody threw for three scores as Brock opened the Class 3A Division I playoffs with a 40-6 win over Wall Thursday night at Clyde’s Bulldog Stadium.

Wilson had scoring runs of eight, 27 and 72 yards, while Moody connected with Elijah Potts for two scores and hit Minnesota commit Nathan Jones for his other score as the Eagles amassed 561 yards of offense, 297 of which came in the first half.

Starting the playoffs with a bang was something first-year Brock coach Billy Mathis was excited about.

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BCP 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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SIGNING DAY: Trio of Jim Ned athletes sign with Division I schools

Three Jim Ned athletes made their college choices official during a signing ceremony Wednesday at Bill Thornton Arena, where baseball players Tate Yardley and Blaine Palmer and girls basketball standout Claire Graham all signed with Division I schools.

Yardley signed to play collegiately for Texas Tech, while Palmer and Graham both solidified their commitments to Abilene Christian University.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 12)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday morning.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel vs. Twitter Polls (Week 12)”

BCP PLAYOFF FORECAST: Big Ev closes his eyes, throws his darts and makes his bi-district picks

LAST WEEK: 36-8, .818      
OVERALL: 436-96, .820   

As we jump into postseason play, Big Country Preps, as per tradition, no longer focuses on a “Game of the Week.”   There are simply too many important matchups at this stage to put one game under a microscope. 

Everything about this time of year has a different feel.  It’s colder. It gets dark earlier.  The sense of urgency is constantly pegged. 

And I’ll tell you another thing: Picking winners becomes more and more difficult from this point forward, as matchups between far-flung districts and (eventually) region vs. region games, come into play.  

It’s a challenge, but a fun challenge — one that marks the beginning of the end of each passing season. I scarcely believe we’ve already reached this stage, but I feel this way every year.  

So here goes nothing. Hope to see some area survivors in Arlington when its all said and done.  

Here’s this week’s playoff forecast: 

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LOCAL SIGNINGS: Four Wylie baseball players, three Cooper athletes make college decisions official

Wylie catcher Landon Williams and pitcher Brooks Gay signed letters of intent with the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and Abilene Christian University, respectively, on Wednesday to headline a list of four Bulldogs baseball players to make their college decisions official during a ceremony at the Wylie Performing Arts Center.

In addition to Williams and Gay, who will continue their careers at the Division I level, second baseman J.T. Thompson signed with Division II Lubbock Christian University and third baseman/designated hitter Garrett Graham signed with Midland College.

That quartet, each member of which played a key role in last year’s run to the Region I-5A semifinals, became the latest in a long line of Wylie baseball players to earn opportunities at the next level, following a group of eight seniors who signed to play collegiately last year.

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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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District 2-3A Div. II Week 11 Report: Sonora clinches top seed with win at Ballinger

Sonora 28, Ballinger 21 —Hunter O’Bannon rushed for 120 yards and a score and Jaime Buitron threw for 79 yards and an additional TD to help Sonora clinch the No. 1 seed.

The Bearcats led SHS 14-6 after one quarter and 21-14 at the break, but were held scoreless in the second half. Carter Arrott threw for 169 yards, rushed for 51 and accounted for three scores to lead Ballinger.

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District 5-3A Div. II Week 11 Report: Mavs edge Dublin in thriller to clinch district title

Eastland 40, Dublin 39 — Keaton Hicks scored on a game-tying 1-yard run in the fourth-quarter and Jared Cruz booted the go-ahead extra point as Eastland prevailed in a seesaw battle at Dublin.

Hicks led the Mavericks with 111 yards passing and one score and 84 yards rushing and two more scores as EHS locked up the district title.

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District 4-3A Div. I Week 11 Report: Wilson helps Brock run away from Pilot Point, claim district title

Brock 47, Pilot Point 13 — The second-ranked Eagles blasted the Bearcats, outgaining Pilot Point 615-277 to complete a perfect regular season and claim the district title. 

Brock (10-0, 7-0) led just 14-7 at halftime, but after taking a 27-13 lead into the fourth quarter, the Eagles scored 20 unanswered points to close out the victory.

Kutter Wilson had a monster game for coach Billy Mathis’ squad rushing for 341 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries to lead a 456-yard rushing effort. Quarterback Tyler Moody also had a productive day, passing for 159 yards, rushing for 97 and accounting for three total touchdowns, while Nathan Jones (5-103, 1 TD) topped the century mark for receiving yardage.

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District 4-2A Div. I Week 11 Report: Huston has big night to lead Cisco in win over San Saba

Cisco 46, San Saba 7 — Trent Huston rushed for 181 yards on only eight carries and scored four touchdowns to lead Cisco in a win over San Saba.

With the score knotted at 7 near the end of the first quarter, Cisco took the game over with 39 unanswered points, including three straight TDs to close the first half. 

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Week 8-2A Div. II Week 11 Report: Albany blasts Cross Plains to finish perfect regular season

Albany 61, Cross Plains 3 — The No. 4 Lions piled up 506 yards of total offense in a blowout win over the Buffaloes to close out the regular season at 9-0 overall and 4-0 in district play.

Behind big games from quarterback Cole Chapman (15-22-0—193, 2 TDs passing) and running back Jaheim Newton (14-124, 3 TDs rushing), Albany raced out to a 34-3 halftime lead and cruised from there.

The loss dropped Cross Plains to 5-4 overall and 1-3 in district play.

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District 5-2A Div. II Week 11 Report: Watts, Aguayo connect for four TDs in comfortable win over Hamlin

Roscoe 61, Hamlin 0 — The Plowboys completed an undefeated run through district play with a shutout win over the Pied Pipers, outgaining Hamlin 543-97 in a lopsided affair.

Roscoe (9-1, 4-0) led 52-0 by halftime before cruising in the second half their ninth consecutive victory.

Jax Watts and Antonio Aguayo both had huge games for the Plowboys connecting on four touchdown passes in the victory. Watts finished 17-of-18 passing for 436 yards and six scores, while Aguayo had nine catches for 288 yards and four TDs to go with 50 rushing yards on just three carries. 

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District 4-3A Div. II Week 11 Report: Abernathy tops Coahoma to clinch No. 2 seed

Abernathy 49, Coahoma 14 — Jess Hoel threw for 241 yards and four scores and added a fifth TD on the ground to lead Abernathy (9-1), which will face Friona (8-2) in the bi-district round.

Billy Bailey led Coahoma with 153 yards passing and two scores. Brysen Kerby was the top ground gainer for CHS with 89 yards on 18 carries. 

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District 1-4A Div. II Week 11 Report: Sweetwater rallies past Monahans to close out perfect district run

Sweetwater 27, Monahans 21 — The Mustangs wrapped up a perfect run through district play with a thrilling road win over the Loboes.

Trailing 14-7 at halftime and 21-13 at the end of three quarters, Sweetwater (7-3, 4-0) outscored Monahans 14-0 over the final period, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute remaining to rally for the district championship-clinching victory.

Quarterback Leo Holsey led the effort for the Mustangs, passing for a pair of touchdowns and rushing for another fuel the comeback. His final TD pass — a 39-yarder to Armando Torres — completed a 70-yard scoring drive in the final two minutes to turn a 21-19 deficit into a six-point lead.

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District 5-4A Div. I Week 11 Report: Lambert, defense fuel Stephenville to rout of rival Brownwood

Stephenville 63, Brownwood 7 — The No. 2 Yellow Jackets completed a perfect run through district play and an undefeated regular season with a blowout win over the Lions.

After allowing a touchdown to Brownwood on its opening possession, Stephenville (10-0, 5-0) responded with nine consecutive touchdown drives to put the game out of reach quickly.

The Yellow Jackets finished the game with 633 yards, piling up 493 by halftime. Quarterback Ryder Lambert was at the heart of that, hitting 13 of 17 passes for 376 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for 53 yards and two more scores. Coy Eakin had four receptions for 148 yards and two TDs and added a third score rushing.

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District 3-3A Div. I Week 11 Report: Early stuns Wall to force tiebreaker for the No. 2 seed

Early 24, Wall 14  — Jaxyn Price threw for 185 yards and two scores to lead Early to a big win over Wall. 

Trailing 14-10 in the fourth quarter, the Longhorns (8-2, 3-2) got a pair of late touchdowns to  force a three-way tie for second place in the league standings between the Longhorns, Wall and Breckenridge. 

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District 2-4A Div. I Week 11 Report: Big Spring sees title hopes fade with upset loss to Lake View

San Angelo Lake View 49, Big Spring 35 — With a chance to clinch a share of their first district championship since 1990 thanks to Andrews’ win over Fort Stockton on Friday, the Steers couldn’t capitalize, allowing 21 fourth-quarter points in a tough loss to the Chiefs.

Big Spring (6-4, 1-2) outgained Lake View 449-427, but the Steers were hurt by a 4-2 disadvantage in the turnover margin. This allowed the Chiefs to overcome deficits of 21-14 at halftime and 28-21 in the third quarter and win the game with a 21-7 run through the final period.

Quarterback Gabriel Baeza led the Steers with 389 yards and four touchdowns passing to go with 46 yards and another score rushing, while Kaegen Mitchell had a huge day catching the ball (15-203, 2 TDs).

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GAME REPORT: Wylie dominant in 35-0 season-closing win over Plainview

PLAINVIEW — Trey Gomez rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns, Aden Kincaid accounted for 236 yards and a pair of scores, and the Wylie defense pitched a shutout as the Bulldogs closed out their season Friday with a dominant 35-0 win over Plainview.

Unfortunately for Wylie, the win wasn’t enough to earn coach Clay Martin’s squad a playoff berth, as Rider’s win over Wichita Falls High forced a three-way tie for third where the tiebreaker rules eliminated the Bulldogs from the playoff race.

But the victory did allow WHS to end a tumultuous season on a high note at 4-6 overall and 2-3 in District 3-5A Division II play.

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Hawley tops Forsan, wins district

FORSAN — A game circled on the Big Country Preps calendar lived up to its billing on Friday as the Hawley Bearcats edged Forsan 24-21 in a winner-take-all district title game.

Austin Cumpton rushed for 124 yards and scored two touchddowns to lead Hawley (10-0, 5-0 District 3-2A DI) which will face San Saba in the opening round of the playoffs next week. 

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GAME STORY: Cooper punches playoff ticket with win over Crowley

The Cooper football team entered Friday night’s District 3-5A Division I game against Crowley knowing that anything other than a max points loss would put the Coogs in the postseason for the 15th consecutive season.

Mission accomplished.

Cooper held the ball for over 25 minutes on Friday night and beat the Eagles 28-13 at Shotwell Stadium, clinching the final playoff berth in the district.

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GAME STORY: Abilene High offense fires on all cylinders in rout of Central

With the regular season coming to a close for the Abilene High football team on Thursday night at Shotwell Stadium, Eagles running back Da’King Thomas only had one thing on his mind — erasing the memory of AHS’ last two matchups with San Angelo Central.

“I knew coming into the game that I wanted vengeance,” the standout senior said. “Sophomore year we lost, junior year we lost and I could not go out (my) senior year losing to them again. We came in on a mission, a real big mission, and we accomplished it.”

That mission for the Eagles was to secure their first win over the Bobcats since October 2015, and a big first half helped AHS do just that with a 49-14 victory to close out District 2-6A play.

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