Tag: Jim Ned Indians

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Young aces continue grind despite COVID-19 shutdown

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.

After flashing ace potential as freshmen in 2019, Jim Ned’s Tate Yardley, Anson’s Trevor Miller and Winters’ J.P. Killough had big things planned for their respective sophomore campaigns.

The three hurlers, part of a young crop of Big Country pitching standouts that also includes fellow sophomores Brooks Gay of Wylie and Snyder’s Derek Dominguez, were hoping to take the next step in their development and further cement their places among the area’s top arms.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent suspension/cancellation of all spring sport seasons by the University Interscholastic League limited their mound time to a handful of early-season outings. But it hasn’t kept them from continuing their pursuit of excellence.

All three have remained active in their training through the shutdown, viewing this period as little more as a speed bump on the way to their ever-increasing goals.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Fanning talks about the spring he expected and dealing with COVID frustration

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.

Jim Ned football coach Matt Fanning is not only at the helm of one of the area’s fastest-growing football programs, but he’s also directing an overall athletic program that is on the rise. 

That comes with a downside, courtesy of COVID-19.

The Indians’ rapid ascent has made the program a point of interest for those paying attention throughout the area — creating a high potential for frustration on the part of Fanning whose hands have been tied by the pandemic.

Nonetheless, Fanning, who will carry a 16-7 mark into his third football season this fall, has managed to keep an even keel with a very simple approach. He now visits with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren to talk about the spring that might have been in Tuscola and how he’s kept his cool while prepping for the fall. 

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Young Jim Ned Indians look ahead to brighter future

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.

With the way his team was playing at the time of the COVID-19 shutdown, Jim Ned baseball coach Ryan Lewis has every right be disappointed by the the abrupt and premature end to the Indians’ 2020 season.

Holding a 6-2 record with close losses to top-10 teams from Breckenridge (5-4) and Wall (5-3), Jim Ned was well on its way to building on the 20-10 mark and area-round playoff finish it achieved in 2019.

But rather than let that fact push him toward bitterness, Lewis has chosen to take a different — and perhaps surprising — posture. One of gratitude.

With no seniors on this year’s roster, the former Abilene High baseball coach was spared the types of heart-wrenching conversations many of his coaching friends have had to have with their veteran players. And though the Indians will never know just how good they might have been had this season continued uninterrupted, the horizon before them is every bit as bright as the one coronavirus put in the rearview.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Jim Ned softballers, new coach felt Lady Indians were turning corner

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.

Aside from winning, first-year Jim Ned softball coach Erica Jones is well known for her over-the-top enthusiasm and her efforts to bring her teams into the same mindset.

Most recently, Jones, who has had successful stints at Clyde and Anson that included deep playoff runs at CHS, seemed on the verge of a breakthrough in Tuscola. That is, before the COVID-19 outbreak forced the UIL to suspend all athletic activity statewide.

She is now sitting things out with every other coach in Texas, hoping to hear that an all-clear has been given, allowing her and her players to return to work. But for Jones, who isn’t bashful about wearing her emotions on her sleeve, talking about the effect the crisis is having on her team brings her to tears.

“Once our basketball players came in, all the pieces to the puzzle were in place,” said Jones, who had guided Jim Ned program to a 10-5 mark at the time of the lockdown. “We weren’t very many games in (to the season) but we were rolling.”

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FEATURE: Former Jim Ned standout Meagan Mitchell trying to right the De Leon ship

DE LEON — While her married name of Meagan Mitchell may not ring a bell to Big Country hoops fans, her maiden name, Meagan O’Dell, will be remembered by many who were paying attention. 

Mitchell, a former all-state selection at Jim Ned who went on to play collegiately at Tarleton State, was one of the top players in Tuscola under former coach Jim Avery, which included a trip to state in 2012, where she made the all-tournament team. 

Now at age 25, Mitchell finds herself rebuilding a long-struggling De Leon team, using the same principles she learned under Avery and under former Tarleton State coach Ronnie Hearne. 

It took a little while, but those concepts are beginning to catch on at DHS, and it’s translating into wins.

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District 3-3A Division I: Week 10 Report

Eastland 42, Clyde 27 Behren Morton was 22 of 36 for 288 yards and four scores as Eastland recovered from its first loss of the year (at Wall on Oct.

Bonilla

25) with a big win over Clyde. 

Anthony Bonilla was Morton’s favorite target, hauling in seven catches for 142 yards and a score. He also rushed eight times for 69 yards and two more touchdowns as the Mavericks improved to 8-1 overall and 3-1 in district play. 

Dylan Neuman led Clyde (6-3, 2-2) with 231 yards passing, including a 37-yard TD pass to Jax Roam in the fourth quarter.

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District 3-3A Division I: Week 7 Report

Dickey

Wall 35, Clyde 7  In a high-profile game between the district favorite and perhaps the most-improved team in the league, the Hawks got the better of the upstart Bulldogs. 

Mason Fuchs threw for 79 yards, rushed for 23 and threw one TD pass to lead Wall (6-0, 1-0), tallied 222 rushing yards via committee. 

Leading 14-0 at the break, third-ranked Hawks blew the game open with a 5-yard TD run by Cinch Dickey at the 7:30 mark and a 17-yard TD jaunt by Chase Rios at 0:53. 

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District 3-3A Division I: Week 4 Report

Jim Ned 28, Mason 19 — The Indians (4-0) passed their most difficult test of the early season in workmanlike fashion.

Harwell

Trailing 6-0 early on, the Jim Ned gained a permanent upper hand with three straight touchdowns — the first of which came at the 0:16 mark of the first quarter on a 1-yard run by Riley Perry. 

Perry added a 3-yard TD with 4:08 left in the half before a 65-yard punt return by Jamin Harwell put the Indians up by three scores with 9:07 left in the third quarter. 

Continue reading “District 3-3A Division I: Week 4 Report”

District 3-3A Division I: Week 1 Report

Wall 47 , Mason 7 — Mason’s 40-game home winning streak was ended in a resounding way by the Hawks, who dominated from start to finish in a Thursday night game televised by Fox Sports Southwest. 

Wall (1-0) pounded out 353 yards rushing and Mason Fuchs threw two first-half TD passes in what was a largely unexpected rout. 

The Hawks limited Mason to just 111 yards in total offense, including 84 yards rushing on 40 carries.  

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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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GAME STORY: Clyde takes 5-3A district championship with 5-3 win over Jim Ned

TUSCOLA — The Clyde baseball team clinched its fourth consecutive district championship with a 5-3 win over Jim Ned on Monday night in District 5-3A play.

Riley Rice went 6.2 innings and allowed three runs while scattering four hits. Rice also struck out eight and walked three as he outdueled Jim Ned freshman Tate Yardley.

Yardley went 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits while striking out four. He walked one and hit four others.

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned falls to Idalou in overtime heartbreaker (box score, video & photo gallery w/35 images included)

PLAINVIEW — Missed opportunities. Missed free throws. Turnovers. 

It may take a while for the sting of Friday’s 41-36 overtime loss to Idalou in a Region I-3A semifinal to finally subside for the Jim Ned Lady Indians, who staged an improbable comeback at Wayland Baptist University, only to see their season slip away in the end. 

Shaylee Stovall scored game-high 22 points to pace Idalou (31-5), which squares off with Wall (31-1) in the Region I-3A title game at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned escapes Early upset bid (box score, two videos & photo gallery included)

COLEMAN — Cruising along with a comfortable 37-25 lead after three quarters in Monday’s 3A bi-district game with Early, the Jim Ned Indians were poised to advance into the area round. 

There was just one problem: The Early Longhorns. 

Staging a furious rally through the final quarter, Early opened the period with a 10-0 run to cut the gap to 37-35 with 17 seconds to play, only to see Jim Ned escape the upset with a 39-35 win at Coleman High School.  

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Wylie girls weather early storm to earn win at Jim Ned

TUSCOLA — The Jim Ned girls basketball team couldn’t have asked for a better start to its nondistrict game against Wylie on Tuesday. But when momentum shifted in the Lady Bulldogs’ direction late in the first quarter, it never came back in a 54-47 loss for the home-standing Lady Indians.

Coach Hunter Cooley’s squad raced out to a 10-3 lead in the first 2½ minutes and stretched it to 19-8 by the 2:03 mark of the first quarter. But the Lady Bulldogs closed the period on an 11-0 run, getting a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 19-all heading into the second.

Wylie (6-3) then outscored Jim Ned 30-19 over the next two quarters to take control and held off a late run in the fourth to return to Abilene with the fifth victory in its last six games.

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BCP Podcast No. 10: Al Pickett joins guys to talk “Brother’s Keeper” movie, more

Al Pickett
Al Pickett

In his more than 30 years as a part of Abilene’s sports scene, Al Pickett has done a little bit of everything. In addition to serving as the sports editor of the Abilene Reporter-News for 15 years, Pickett has been the play-by-play voice for numerous local high school and college teams, hosted his own radio show, “Let’s Talk Sports,” and authored five books about sports in Abilene and Texas.

Pickett, who is both the founder and a member of the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame, took some time this week to talk about his career in sports journalism, seeing his book “Brother’s Keeper” being made into a feature film and what his future holds on this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood discuss the situations each of the area’s seven 11-man coaches taking over new programs face in 2018.

Matt Fanning accepts big challenge at Jim Ned

One of the easiest situations for a new football coach to find himself in, is to sign on with a program that has nothing to prove because nobody cares, and nothing to lose because it’s never won.

This would be a place where success is so far in the distant past that people scarcely remember it.

Then there’s the task that first-year Jim Ned coach Matt Fanning has accepted. Taking over for the highly successful Jerod Womack, who resigned to become AD at Stephenville, Fanning inherits a team on the upswing, and with it, a healthy mount of expectations.

Continue reading “Matt Fanning accepts big challenge at Jim Ned”

Jim Ned Indians banking on big numbers in 2018

Any time a Class 3A team has 15 of 22 starters and 25 lettermen returning from a 9-3 football team it can count itself as one of the fortunate.

The 2018 Jim Ned Indians qualify and the timing could be viewed as an exclamation point at a program where a dramatic turnaround has taken place.

Jim Ned, which posted seven straight losing campaigns from 2010-16, has developed a winning attitude while cultivating its talent. And an influx of new varsity players from an unbeaten JV team serve as an added bonus.

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BCP Podcast No. 7: Evan, Dan talk football with Wichita Falls’ Zach Duncan

Zach Duncan

Like Big Country Preps co-founders Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood, Wichita Falls Time Record News area writer Zach Duncan has been covering high school sports in his market for a long time.

Entering his 15th football season with the Wichita Falls newspaper, Duncan has seen more great games than he can count and worked with some outstanding coaches and players. This week, he took some time to share some his favorite football stories and talk shop with Evan and Daniel.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss District 3-3A Division I and District 7-2A Division II — two all-area leagues that should be competitive from top to bottom.