Tag: Area football

BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Hamlin defense leads Pipers to 27-7 win at Anson

ANSON — A shootout may have been anticipated, but a trench war was what the spectators received Friday when the visiting Hamlin Pied Pipers opened the season with a 27-7 win over Anson at Tiger Stadium. 

Jackson Sepeda rushed for 90 yards and two scores and Braydin Warner rushed for 93 and another score to lead Hamlin (1-0), which never trailed in 2019’s first Big Country Preps Game of the Week. 

Anson, which was led by Drew Hagler’s 223 yards in total offense and one rushing TD, dropped to 0-1.

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EVAN REN: Games worth traveling to in 2019

Got the truck started yet?

Ready to jump on one of those farm-to-market roads to watch high school football into the late hours on a Friday night?

You’re not alone.

And, as tradition would have it, I tip my cap to those of you who will be hitting the trails each week in search of pigskin. My salute: a preseason menu of sorts.

Each week for the next 11 weeks, Big Country Preps will be searching for its Game of the Week, and we’re already looking ahead. We now present our preliminary list of Big Country Games worth traveling for, but keep in mind: the following list is subject to change as surprises and disappointments emerge.

And as we all know … surprises and disappointments always emerge.

So, without further delay, here is our list of Big Country games worth traveling for in 2019.

I’ll see you on the road.

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STEPHENVILLE TEAM PREVIEW: Yellowjackets hoping to avoid the medical tent

STEPHENVILLE — Rebuild or reload? 

When it comes to perennial power Stephenville, the latter is generally true. But in a season that features a coaching change and 30 lettermen to replace while playing in one of Texas’ toughest 4A districts, the Yellow Jackets may need time to regroup. 

Not to say Stephenville won’t be good. The ‘Jackets have two capable quarterbacks in Kade Renfro (100-186, 1,808, 16 TDs) and Cole Stanley (38-96, 720 yards, five TDs). They have an All-Big Country Preps caliber linebacker in Quinton Walker (100 tackles, 6.5 sacks) with a solid defensive line in front of him. 

They do, however, have considerable talent to replace as first-year coach Sterling Doty takes over the program. 

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FEATURE: Jim Ned’s Kimmel, Hayes among area’s best linebackers

TUSCOLA — There is perhaps no position in football that is more associated with aggression and toughness than that of linebacker. 

And with Jim Ned Indians working hard to shed their reputation as a basketball school in recent years, perhaps nothing illustrates their success in that endeavor more than their linebacking corps. 

Jim Ned, which enters the the 2019 season with legitimate district title hopes, has some of the best linebacking in the Big Country at any level. 

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JIM NED TEAM PREVIEW: Indians ready for dangerous district

TUCSOLA — With the exception of the days when Colt McCoy stood in the pocket at Jim Ned, the Indians have seldom been seen as a Region I threat in football. 

Until now. 

For those who haven’t noticed, the Indians are in the midst of a culture change. It started under former coach Jerod Womack and progressed even further last year under current mentor Matt Fanning.  Facing a monstrous schedule, the Indians posted a second straight 9-3 record last year, earning  a playoff spot in what has been rated as the second most difficult 3A district in Texas. 

Coming off their best two-year run in 15 years, the Indians enter the 2019 campaign with excellent numbers and a chance at both a district title and deep playoff run. 

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FEATURE: Eastland’s got a secret — quality receiving and rushing

                Alex Gonzales

EASTLAND — Behind every great quarterback is a quality group of skill personnel that enables him to achieve his full potential. 

In Eastland, where much of the preseason writing is focused on standout quarterback Behren Morton, a secret has been inadvertently created by the media. 

The Mavericks are loaded at the skill spots.

“Actually, we need to back up a year,” Eastland coach James Morton said. “The reason Behren has gotten the attention he has gotten is because of those skill guys and they’re all back for another year. 

“A quarterback is only as good as his skill guys. … I think Behren would be the first guy to tell you that.” 

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EASTLAND TEAM PREVIEW: Mavericks counting on both lines to develop

EASTLAND — Most preseason conversations regarding the 2019 Eastland Mavericks will center around highly touted quarterback Behren Morton. 

That’s understandable, given that the 6-2 junior is already receiving more Division I collegiate interest than most players could ever dream of. 

The son of Eastland coach James Morton earned that attention with 2,664 yards passing last year as a sophomore, hitting 203 of 315 passes with 18 TDs to only two picks.

The quarterback spot, however, won’t be what determines how far the Mavericks get in 2019. That, in the view of its coach, will be the performance of guys in the trenches. 

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FEATURE: Smallish McKay has learned to channel his aggression

BRECKENRIDGE — At 5-9 and 195 pounds, Breckenridge senior offensive lineman Zane McKay is easy to underestimate.

And that’s just the way he likes it. 

McKay, who may be among the smallest offensive tackles in the Big Country, has found compensation within the reaches of his own heart. In the process, he has come to exemplify the sort of grit the Breckenridge team has counted on under coach Casey Hubble in recent years. 

“It’s something that we’ve tried to hang our hat on since we’ve been here,” Hubble said of McKay’s tough style of play. “Breckenridge has tough kids. We always try to play the game extremely physical and Zane encompasses that.” 

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BRECKENRIDGE TEAM PREVIEW: Buckaroos ready to face the gauntlet

BRECKENRIDGE —If piling up impressive records is the lone criteria for success, then Casey Hubble’s Breckenridge Buckaroos aren’t a blip on the radar. 

If consistently peaking at the right time and qualifying for the playoffs is the top priority, then Hubble has yet to fail during his five seasons in Breck.   

Hubble has posted a modest 28-31 overall record at BHS, which is misleading if one takes into consideration the level of difficulty he chooses for his non-district schedule.  But the Bucks are 17-9 in district play during that time, with five straight postseason appearances, a district title and a regional semifinal appearance. 

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FEATURE: Early’s Smithson a small, but determined target

EARLY — At only 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, Early receiver Timmy Smithson doesn’t cast an imposing shadow. In fact, some may say he barely casts a shadow at all. 

That is, until one looks at his résumé. 

Smithson, who earned all-state honors as a junior last season, accomplished this feat despite getting extra defensive attention while playing in one of the most difficult 3A districts in Texas. 

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FEATURE: Tough, knowledgeable, versatile — that’s Comanche’s Conine

COMANCHE — At 5-foot-10 and 280 pounds, Comanche offensive lineman Jeron Conine isn’t someone you’d associate with the quarterback position. 

Yet for a time in the eighth grade and his freshman season in high school, that is the position Conine played before the natural progression of things steered him up front. For those who know him, it comes as no surprise that the senior spent time behind center, given his athleticism and knowledge of the Comanche’s wing-T offense.

He is now a key element in the Comanche attack as a senior lineman on a junior-dominated team. He will not only be leaned upon for leadership, but for expertise in the scheme itself. 

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COMANCHE TEAM PREVIEW: Rebuilding or reloading? Indians hope its the latter

COMANCHE — After six successful years at the helm at Comanche, coach Stephen Hermesmeyer may be facing the single biggest test his program has seen since his arrival there in 2013. 

With three straight district titles under his belt, Hermesmeyer returns only three starters on both sides of the ball this year among 11 lettermen, 

This is the second straight year the Indians have had absorb a large graduating class — virtually depleting them of varsity experience. It is at this point, however, where the foundation of the program can be tested. 

Are the Indians capable of enduring a difficult non-district schedule with a junior-heavy roster, then capturing a seventh-straight playoff berth?   

Put simply, rebuild or reload? 

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FEATURE: Backfield tandem of Callahan and Nichols carrying on Cisco tradition

CISCO — Though they have diversified in recent years, the I-based Cisco Loboes are still known for a straight-ahead approach when it comes to moving the chains. 

At this they’ve been quite successful, posting a 192-40 overall mark since coach Brent West’s arrival 2002, with five trips to state championship games and a title in 2013. 

While generally fielding a team worthy of top-10 consideration, Cisco’s upper-tier teams have almost always possessed three key elements: an excellent offensive line, an effective blocker at fullback and a capable tailback. 

Entering the 2019 season, an untested offensive line will still have to prove itself, but the two other pieces of the puzzle appear to be in place with tailback Stanley Callahan and fullback Cam Nichols. 

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CISCO TEAM PREVIEW: Loboes must reload to answer two big district challenges

CISCO — The sun will rise in the east, a compass will point north and the Cisco Loboes will win a district title in football. 

Most truisms stay the same forever, until we apply them to pigskin.

Perennial power Cisco, which hasn’t lost a district game since 2010, will face two difficult challenges to keep that streak alive this season in difficult road games at Ballanger (Sept. 27) and Anson (Nov. 1). Both clubs are expected to dramatically improve, both games are on grass surfaces (away from Cisco’s customary turf) and both clubs are armed with dangerous quarterbacks. 

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FEATURE: Ballinger’s Nunez ready to follow up on huge junior season

BALLINGER — Edgar Nunez wasn’t exactly a household name throughout the Big Country as he entered his junior season last year.

Having endured all the growing pains expected of a varsity sophomore in 2017 when he replaced his injured brother (Javier) at quarterback, he was an unknown commodity. 

It didn’t take long for that to change. 

Not only did Nunez have a breakout season last year, but he earned All-West Texas and All-Big Country Preps honors in the process — leaving the fans, his coaches, the area and even himself a bit surprised. 

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FEATURE: C-City’s Thompson Twins hope to bring new wave of success

 COLORADO CITY — For those old enough to remember, hearing someone mention “The Thompson Twins” conjures up memories of a popular British new wave group from the 1980s. The stage name was a falsehood, with no actual twins in the band. 

Some 35 years later, the Colorado City Wolves have their own pair of Thompsons — Alex and Zach — but there’s nothing fictitious about them. 

The 17-year-old twins are so identical, that Colorado City coach Dan Gainey had to develop his own method for differentiating them.

“The only way I can tell them apart is by which girlfriend they’re with,” Gainey said. “And I’m not really sure if they haven’t tricked them from time to time.” 

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FEATURE: Stamford’s Ronnie Casey talks Bulldog football with Evan Ren

STAMFORD — Since taking over Wayne Hutchinson’s highly successful Stamford program in 2014, coach Ronnie Casey has seen his share of winning.

But in taking over at SHS, Casey not only had a tough act to follow, but was setting himself up for comparisons that could be considered  unfair.

Casey now visits with Big Country Preps sportswriter Evan Ren to discuss his tenure at Stamford, what it has been like, and what he anticipates in the future.  

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STAMFORD TEAM PREVIEW: Line play to dictate how far Bulldogs get

STAMFORD — While few are doubting that the Stamford Bulldogs will field another winner in 2019, the question of how good they will be is largely up in the air. 

Yes, Stamford was 10-2 a year ago, pushing two rounds deep into the playoffs and yes, they set a number of offensive records in doing so. 

But a large number of the players who helped the high-flying Bulldogs to an eye-popping campaign last season, have been handed their diplomas. It is now the task of coach Ronnie Casey to replace standouts such as quarterback Peyton Bevel and receiver Trace Edwards with just 10 lettermen to start with. 

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FEATURE: Albany coach Denney Faith talks about the 300-win milestone

Denney Faith addresses his team during a 2019 playoff game

ALBANY —It will be among the top stories in the Big Country during the upcoming high school football season, and it won’t lack for attention. 

Television, radio, newspapers and websites will descend upon Albany to ask long-time coach Denney Faith about the 300-win milestone that he is poised to reach with just one more win. 

Faith, however, could do without all of the fuss. Talking about the milestone, which he narrowly missed during last year’s 9-6 campaign, is something he’d prefer talking about post-season, or better still, post-retirement.  

Nonetheless, Faith (299-101-4) agreed to speak about the approaching 300 mark and all that entails in this Q&A with  BigCountryPreps sportswriter Evan Ren . 

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ALBANY TEAM PREVIEW: Lions sporting deep, talented roster

ALBANY — If ever a tale of two seasons was told in Albany, 2018 would have been the year. 

Having suffered through its first 0-5 start since the mid 1950s, the Lions awakened heading into district, reeling off five straight wins, including a victory over a favored Hamlin team. AHS went on to knock off four straight teams in postseason play, including Hamlin again before falling in the 2A DII state semis to Gruver. 

The question heading into 2019 is, can the Lions carry their late-season momentum into this year? 

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FEATURE: Hamlin’s Austin “The Beast” Lozano a force to be reckoned with

HAMLIN — To some degree, dunking a basketball is a measure of athletic prowess.  But when you’re 6-foot-1 and weigh 299 pounds, having the ability to “jam” borders on unbelievable. 

Hamlin defensive lineman Austin “The Beast” Lozano realized this, so he had himself videotaped throwing it down. The display encapsulates the amount of explosive power the senior brings to the table — power that the Hamlin coaching staff plans to take full advantage of this season.    

Just where the 17-year-old will line up and how often, is still in the planning stages as the Hamlin staff tries to figure how to minimize the attention he’ll be getting from the opposition. 

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HAMLIN TEAM PREVIEW: Lucas’ Pied Pipers are loaded

                  Braydin Warner

HAMLIN — If his 95-39 record through 12 seasons at Hamlin doesn’t say it loud enough, coach Russell Lucas has built one of the most consistent football programs in the Big Country. 

So when chats at the water cooler include the topic of Lucas having his best team ever this year, that’s significant. 

And make no mistake, those preseason conversations are common.  

Why shouldn’t they be?

The Pipers return seven offensive and nine defensive starters among 14 lettermen from a 12-2 team.

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FEATURE: Haskell’s Wright consistently does what’s right

HASKELL — If one were to envision what a West Texas high school football player is all about, certain character traits may come to mind. 

Hard-working. Coachable. Respectful. Disciplined. And perhaps first and foremost, resistant to adversity — not unlike the traits exhibited by Haskell senior Caleb Wright, who was selected for this feature by the HHS coach staff for the very reasons just listed. 

Wright, who will contend for valedictorian honors, isn’t a large player. He stands in at 5-10 and weighs 180 pounds. He isn’t slow, but he won’t create a sonic boom either, checking in with a 40 time of 4.9. 

Put simply, he’s not going to be playing at USC after graduation. But pound-for-pound, one would be hard-pressed to find a player who gets more miles per genetic gallon. 

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FEATURE: Martinez to bring slashback look to Roscoe

ROSCOE — In the mid 1990s, former Pittsburgh Steeler Kordell Stewart inspired the name of a new combo position in the NFL, known as the “slashback.” 

It was a simplified way of describing the QB/WR/RB role he played while helping the Steelers reach the Super Bowl in 1996. 

Some 23 years and equal number of tax brackets away from Stewart, the Roscoe Plowboys are about unleash their own scaled-down version of the slash in Junior Martinez. 

Only in the case of Martinez, there’s a few extra slashes to include QB/WR/RB/W/DB/P/PR/KR.

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ROSCOE TEAM PREVIEW: Plowboys will live or die with up-tempo attack

ROSCOE — If the Roscoe football team isn’t successful in 2019, it won’t be due to a lack of aggression.

The Plowboys, for better or worse, will remain in full-blown attack mode this season, throwing the football in their up-tempo scheme to utilize a solid group of skill personnel.

Will the approach be enough to compensate for youthful offensive and defensive lines? Roscoe intends to find out by spreading the field and keeping its foot on the gas.

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FEATURE: Cisco boys motivated by football disappointment

CISCO — Had things evolved the way many expected, the Cisco Loboes would have been playing for a state football championship this week. Or at the very least, only be a week or two removed from dragging the basketballs out of the equipment room. 

It didn’t work out that way. 

Entering the football playoffs with a 9-0 record and perhaps its best team in four years, Brent West’s perennial powerhouse fell as a 24-point favorite to a 6-4 Spearman team in the bi-district round. 

A minus-six turnover ratio and an injury to standout running back Stanley Callahan were the primary culprits in the 33-29 upset, which sent shock waves throughout the Big Country. 

It also put Cisco in a situation in which it seldom finds itself: preparing for basketball in mid-November.

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DANIEL YOUNGBLOOD: Work never done for hungry Brock Eagles

With the success the Brock Eagles have experienced since starting up their football program eight years ago, the creeping nature of complacency is a natural and constant threat.

When you’ve only once in six varsity seasons lost as many as three games in a year— and you just happened to end that campaign in a state title game — it can be hard not to take that level of achievement for granted.

But if coach Chad Worrell and his Eagles have been spoiled by their success, they have a funny way of showing it.

In fact, talking to Worrell and his players about this year’s run, which has them set to face Malakoff in a state semifinal game at 4 p.m. Friday in Frisco, you might conclude they were the Rocky Balboa in this story — toppling one celebrated opponent after another on the way to their ultimate goal.

If you’ve ever wondered how this program has accomplished what it has in such a short period of time and continues year after to year to be great, it’s in that focus and hunger that you’ll find the answer. 

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Late TD drive lifts Brock over Shallowater in instant classic (photo gallery and box included)

SWEETWATER — The Brock offense isn’t designed to strike quickly, but the Eagles showed Thursday they can when they need to.

Trailing Shallowater 21-17 with less than two minutes remaining in the game, coach Chad Worrell’s team drove 59 yards in 92 seconds, scoring on a 1-yard pass from Takota Taylor to Zakk Young with five seconds remaining to claim the Region I-3A Division I championship with a thrilling 23-21 win.

The final touchdown capped a back-and-forth affair that saw the lead change hands on five occasions, including three times in the final quarter.

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De Leon’s Yeager out to end stellar high school career on right note

When it comes to pure production, few quarterbacks in Texas high school football history can match Kevin Yeager’s achievements.

The De Leon standout has been torching defenses from his quarterback spot for four years now, and he’s piled up stats in the process that have him in or approaching the top 10 on career leaderboards for a number of passing categories.

But it’s not climbing those lists that fuel Yeager’s drive to extend his senior season. Instead, it’s something far more personal.

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Sudden stardom: Brock’s blue chip TE Cupp hopes to finish wild ride with title

A four-star tight end prospect with an offer list “in the 20s,” Brock senior Baylor Cupp is a well-known name in recruiting circles.

It hasn’t always been that way, however.

In fact, Cupp, who is now ranked as the No. 1 tight end nationally by 247sports.com and holds offers from two of the four teams in this year’s College Football Playoff, wasn’t even sure he’d be playing Division I football after high school this time last year. But a single offer from Kansas in January started a deluge of attention that would only be quelled by his commitment to Texas A&M in April.

That meteoric rise, which saw Cupp climb from the No. 467 prospect in the nation to No. 20 in 10 month’s time, put him on the wish lists of many of college football’s most successful coaches and on fan boards from coast to coast. But it hasn’t changed who he is or the goals he has for his remaining time in Brock.

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Yeager, De Leon rout Riesel to earn rematch with San Saba

WHITNEY — Senior quarterback Kevin Yeager passed for three touchdowns and ran for three more to lead De Leon to a 44-21 win over Riesel on Friday and earn a rematch with district mate San Saba in the Region II-2A Division I championship game.

Riesel, which lost starting quarterback Steven Searcy in the early in the second quarter, trailed 13-0 at that point and never got closer than two scores after Yeager’s second of three TD passes made it 27-13 at halftime.

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Comanche bows out to Gunter in Region II-3A DII semis

SPRINGTOWN — The Comanche Indians saw their season come to an end one game shy of the Region II-3A Division II finals, falling 53-14 to Gunter in a region semifinal matchup at Porcupine Stadium.

The Tigers (13-0) raced out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead and extended their advantage to 36-7 by halftime in advancing to face Holliday for the II-3A DII crown.

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Hamlin pulls off stunner, upsets Wellington 21-18

IOWA PARK — The blueprint for any major upset typically includes three things: a fast start, a few breaks and gut check when momentum inevitably turns in the direction of the favored team.

The Hamlin Pied Pipers (12-1) checked all boxes in their stunning 21-18 win over top-ranked Wellington on Thursday in a Region II-2A Division II semifinal matchup at Hawk Stadium.

Coach Russell Lucas’ squad drove 55 yards for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, led 13-0 at halftime thanks to a 99-yard fumble return and held off a Skyrocket rally over the final two quarters to extend its season with what may be biggest upset in Texas high school football this season.

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Leakey pulls away from Gorman to win IV-1A DI title

BRADY — Gorman held a 20-12 lead in the first quarter, but Leakey scored 42 unanswered points during the second and third quarters to defeat the Panthers 68-36 in the Region IV-1A Division I title game Friday.

With the victory, the Eagles advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 1975, when they played eight-man football.

The Panthers were led in defeat by running back Junior Madera with 130 yards rushing and Bryce Petree with 59 yards rushing.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 13)

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 (Week 13)”

Evan Ren’s Area Round Forecast (released early for Thanksgiving)

LAST WEEK: 31-6, .837   

SEASON TOTAL: 415-91, .820 

Normally our playoff forecast is released on Thursdays. But, in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, we’re pushing it out a day early. 

I don’t mind saying, it has been a good year for the column, picking at nearly 84 percent in Week 12 and holding at 82 percent on the year.

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Christoval scores late to edge Cross Plains again

ROSCOE — Playing a rematch of September’s 27-26 nondistrict classic, Cross Plains and Christoval’s Region II-2A Division II bi-district playoff Friday was expected to be a competitive one. In the end, the sequel may have been better than the original.

In a game that went back and forth for all four quarters, it was the Christoval Cougars (8-3) who secured a 40-34 victory on Brayden Wilcox’s 13-yard touchdown run with 1:17 left in the game.

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel (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 (Week 12)”

BCP Podcast No. 22: Evan, Daniel look ahead to football playoffs

The Regular season is over, and the high school football playoffs are here. In this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast, Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood take a look back at the most important games of Week 11 and ahead to the postseason, focusing on the Big Country’s biggest threats.

District 5-2A Division II: Week 11 Report

Memphis 39, Munday 14 — The Cyclones (3-6, 2-3) rode a 33-point first quarter to a lopsided win over Munday, ending the Moguls’ season at 0-10.

Memphis, which took the district’s fourth-playoff seed, snapped a three-game losing streak that had seen the Cyclones shut out by Wheeler (33-0) and Wellington (60-0).

Munday, which outscored Memphis 14-6 in the second half, got 125 yards rushing, 80 yards passing and two total touchdowns from Cameron Thornton in the loss.

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District 13-3A Division II: Week 11 Report

Sonora 47, Brady 12 — The Broncos (5-5, 3-2) locked up this district’s No. 3 playoff seed and dashed the Bulldogs’ postseason hopes with a dominating Week 11 performance.

Sonora, which closed the regular season on a three-game winning streak after losing five straight earlier in the year, outgained Brady 512-152, limiting coach Shay Easterwood’s squad (2-8, 1-4) to just 29 rushing yards on 25 carries.

Quarterback Wesley Dutton had a huge day for the Broncos, hitting five of five passes for 131 yards while rushing for a 130 yards and four touchdowns on just 12 carries. Brady, meanwhile, was paced by Marshall Schmitz with 55 yards and a score on five rushing attempts and Jack Marshall with two catches for 58 yards.

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District 4-3A Division I: Week 11 Report

Brock 77, Paradise 21 — The Eagles (9-1, 6-0) closed out the regular season with perhaps their most dominating effort of the year, building a 49-6 halftime lead on their way to a 56-point blowout.

Cash Jones (9-152, 2 TDs), Toby Morrison (10-149, 3 TDs) and Hunter Bramblett (10-134, 2 TDs) all had 100-yard rushing games as Brock piled up 573 of its 643 total yards on the ground. Paradise, meanwhile, gained 288 yards, most of which came in the second half.

Coach Chad Worrell’s team had already locked up the district’s No. 1 seed going into Friday’s game, but the victory closed out a perfect run through league play. The Eagles’ reward is a bi-district matchup against Breckenridge at 7 p.m. Thursday at Abilene’s Shotwell Stadium.

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