Tag: Area football

BIG COUNTRY PREPS GAME OF THE WEEK: Clyde, Early meet in important District 3-3A DI matchup

LAST WEEK: 32-2, .941
OVERALL: 282-64, .815

With two straight weeks of hitting over 90 percent on my picks, I’m feeling ready for the home stretch. But our Big Country Preps Game of the Week and at least three other area games, are virtual tossups. So keeping this pace up will be a challenge.

Our spotlight game: Clyde (3-4, 2-0) facing Early (4-3, 1-1) in a game that in the end, may decide the No. 3 playoff seed.

But this game offers a bit more than that.

The Early Longhorns haven’t reached the playoffs since 2008 — 12 straight years of sitting at home in late November. But a win here would nearly lock up a playoff spot, assuming the Longhorns defeat winless San Angelo TLCA on Oct. 30. 

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BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Indians top Wall 28-8 behind Wishert, stout defense

TUSCOLA — If anyone doubted that Jim Ned’s Xavier Wishert is one of the premier running backs in the Big Country, he furnished 211 yards worth of proof in Friday’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week. 

Scoring three of Jim Ned’s four touchdowns in a 28-8 win over perennial power Wall, Wishert was the primary weapon in an Indian attack that scratched out 324 total yards.

The Jim Ned defense took much of the spotlight as well, limiting Wall’s vaunted option game to 222 total yards (all on the ground) to lift the Indians (5-1, 2-0 District 3-3A DI), who are now in the district driver’s seat. It was the fifth straight victory for Jim Ned since a season-opening loss to Ballinger.

Wall (4-3, 1-1) was led by Dominic Garcia, with 100 yards on 20 carries. 

Continue reading “BCP GAME OF THE WEEK: Indians top Wall 28-8 behind Wishert, stout defense”

District 4-3A Div. II Week 3 Report: Bulldogs rout Eldorado, stay unbeaten

Coahoma 59, Eldorado 34 — Brysen Kerby rushed for 254 yards and five scores as Coahoma improved to 3-0 in dominating fashion. 

CHS rushed for 408 yards as a team to stay unbeaten, but was efficient through the air as well. Kolt Redden was 9 of 15 through the air for 94 yards and one score.

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FEATURE: Motivated Coahoma moving the football via committee without standout Schneider

COAHOMA — After losing 18 lettermen to graduation, including seven offensive and six defensive starters from last year’s 9-3 team, the preseason prospects for Coahoma football weren’t exactly off the charts coming into 2020. 

It was, afterall, the Bulldogs’ best season in more than 15 years and the bulk of that club’s experienced players had just been handed their diplomas. 

Add the fact that one of the graduates was standout quarterback/linebacker Zack Schneider (1,598 yards rushing 20 TDs; 1,293 yards passing, 15 TDs, 63 tackles) and most prognosticators viewed Coahoma as a fringe playoff candidate that was likely to be rebuilding this year. 

Thus far, the Bulldogs are making the “experts” look rather silly — posting wins over archrival Forsan (15-13) and Miles (49-0) with a balanced offense, a physical defense and more players touching the football than one may have thought possible from CHS a year ago.  

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District 4-3A Div. II Week 2 Report: Coahoma remains unbeaten with road win at Miles

Coahoma 49, Miles 0 — Brysen Kerby rushed for 136 yards and two scores and Kolt Redden passed for 156 yards and two more TDs to lead Coahoma to an easy win at Miles. 

The Bulldogs (2-0) raced out to a 36-0 halftime lead before coasting home. Miles dropped to 0-2 with the loss.

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District 3-2A Div. I Week 2 Report: Anson remains unbeaten with second straight road win

Anson 38, Coleman 14 — The Tigers had a big offensive night, charting 432 total yards, including 248 on the ground to improve to 2-0. 

Anson led 19-14 at the break, but put the game away with 19 unanswered points in the second half.  It was their second straight win on the road to open this season.

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District 2-3A Div. II Week 2 Report: Ballinger holds off stubborn Breckenridge

Ballinger 13, Breckenridge 0 — Ballinger struggled to overcome a stout Breckenridge defense, but two first-half touchdowns were enough to improve to 2-0. 

Garrett Dixon supplied the game-winner at the 9:41 mark of the first quarter on a 4-yard run. He later found the end zone from 30 yards out at the 10:11 mark of the second quarter. 

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Evan Ren’s top area games to travel to in 2020

Every year, for the past several years, I have looked ahead at the season schedule to create a menu of sorts — a menu for Big Country football connoisseurs to choose some Friday night pigskin in the area. 

History has proven that this isn’t an exact science, and the further out we go from Week 1, the more difficult this endeavor becomes. Nonetheless, I cannot resist a peek at my crystal ball — smudged as it may be.  

I must emphasize, that the entire list you’re about to read is subject to change. This is not a concrete list of Big Country Preps Games of the Week. It’s closer to an educated guess, contingent upon about 10,000 different variables. 

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Highly productive Cisco spring halted for first-year football coach

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.

New Cisco football coach Kevin Stennett.

As if it weren’t tough enough for first-year Cisco football coach Kevin Stennett, he now has to sit patiently, waiting to be given the green light to get his players back into their offseason program. 

Since the COVID-19 lockdown imposed by the University Interscholastic League in March and subsequent cancellation of all spring sporting events announced last month, the man chosen to replace Big Country legend Brent West is stuck with his feet in UIL concrete until further notice. 

As one can imagine, he’s chomping at the bit. 

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Price forced to put football and promising spring on back burner

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.

For much of his career, 39-year-old Daniel Price had been patiently waiting to get his shot. 

He had long wished to be the man on the headset, manning the sidelines in crucial situations and leading a football program of his very own.

In February, he was given that opportunity when Early ISD named him to replace athletic director and head football coach Blake Sandford, who resigned in December.

All the pieces were in place. All that was needed was to develop a plan and implement it.

Then it happened — a statewide lockdown of all high school spring sports implemented in by the University Interscholastic League in March as a safety measure against the COVID-19 outbreak. 

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EVAN REN: Big Country Preps Top 10 Stories for 2019

It’s never easy picking the top 10 stories of the year for the Big Country Preps coverage area. 

Stretching from Forsan in the west to Brock in the east and from San Saba in the south to Munday in the north, there are literally thousands of athletes producing countless stories to choose from. 

Pairing all of that down to just 10 examples forces one to leave out several notable options on a yearly basis. The upside of all this is that the area is never short on quality stories to reflect on. 

So as we say goodbye to the year 2019, we salute those local athletes and coaches who produced yet another memorable year for the entire area. 

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top stories from last year, in descending order:

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BCP Podcast No. 74: Evan, Daniel talk state football semifinals and area hoops

In this episode, Daniel and partner Evan Ren discuss last week’s playoff football results, this week’s state semifinal matchups involving area squads and some Big Country hoops. 

Continue to check back at BigCountryPreps.com each Wednesday night at 7 p.m. when Evan and Dan discuss the current happenings in Big Country High School sports — often with an interesting sports figure from around the area.

You can also peruse our BCP Podcast archive, which features dozens of our previous shows with prominent coaches and Big Country media fixtures. 

Inquiries regarding these podcasts may be directed to Evan Ren at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com. 

If you have a suggested topic of conversation or a recommended guest, don’t hesitate to contact us! 

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BCP PLAYOFF FORECAST: Six Big Country teams reach December

LAST WEEK: 8-2, .800

SEASON TOTAL: 483-92, .840

With the overall size of the Big Country encompassing more than 75 communities, one thing is nearly always certain: Somebody in a group that big is going to be good enough to make a run a state championship. 

And sure enough, heading into December, no fewer than six teams in the Big Country Preps coverage area are still alive on the road to Arlington. 

Brock, Hawley, San Saba and Hamlin have all pushed to the regional championship round in their respective classifications in 11-man, while Strawn and Blackwell have reached the state semifinals in six-man.

The task of forecasting it all falls on me, and we’re at the stage where getting it right is a real challenge. 

This column is having one of its best seasons ever on pick accuracy, consistently hitting at more than 80 percent on a weekly basis and currently holding at 84 percent on the year.  So we shall see. 

Here’s a look at this week’s games: 

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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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