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STAMFORD — In the end, it was precisely what many people expected: A low-scoring game between a Class 2A softball powerhouse with an ace pitcher and a solid Class 5A club believed by most to be capable of doing some postseason damage.
The final: Stamford 2, Wylie 1 in nine rather quick innings which saw pitchers Citlaly Gutierrez (SHS) and Reese Farrar of Wylie make short work of their opposition.
Laylonna Applin tripled and scored on a throwing error with no outs in the bottom of the ninth to end it for Stamford (17-4), which saw Gutierrez spin a four-hitter through nine innings of work. The University of Texas-bound junior allowed no earned runs, walked one and struck out 16 to help SHS leapfrog three classifications for a difficult win.
Wylie (12-7) was led by Kaylin Samulde, who singled and scored WHS’ lone run on a fourth-inning passed ball.
STAMFORD — Breckenridge baseball coach Kevin Bartley Jr., is quite open about who his hero is. It is the man who taught him more about baseball and life in general, than anyone else — his father, Stamford baseball coach Kevin Bartley Sr.
In fact, Junior can scarcely approach the topic of his father’s influence without getting emotional. Nonetheless, he welcomes the public into it with an annual meeting against SHS on the diamond — a game that brings both fun and a high level of family competitiveness into the limelight. Some 60 miles and a full generation may separate the two, but the fear of competing with one another does not.
Breckenridge travelled to Stamford on Friday, falling to the Bulldogs 5-1 at Wendeborn Field. There were plenty of smiles on both sides as action got underway. Not so much as Breckenridge boarded the team bus to go home.
At the end of the day, both of these clubs want to win — family ties or no family ties.
BRECKENRIDGE — Even while holding a late lead in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s 2A bi-district matchup with Windthorst, Stamford girls basketball coach Missy Dutchover remained in attack mode.
She never asked her Lady Bulldogs to slow tempo in order to protect the lead. If the shot was there, Stamford continued to fire away.
The approach paid off with a 52-40 win at the Breckenridge ISD Fine Arts Center, with Tylee Joe Bevel leading the way with a game-high 19 points for SHS (16-6). Laylonna Applin added 10 points and Citlaly Gutierrez finished with seven to help lift the Lady Bulldogs, who will advance to face the Hico-Hamilton winner in the area round.
Day 6 of Big Country Preps’ 2020 Photo Tour is in the books, and two more days of shooting remain from practice fields across the area.
Here are a few of the images and videos collected Friday from Stamford, Hawley, Brady and Brownwood.
Football is fast approaching, and we at BigCountryPreps.com are committed to bringing you the information you need to prepare for your favorite team’s season.
We’ll be releasing our Big Country Preps Preseason Football Preview, the most comprehensive look at the upcoming Big Country football season anywhere, on Friday, Aug. 14. But you won’t have to wait until then to sate your gridiron appetite.
Leading up to the first day of fall football practice on Aug. 3, we’ll be spotlighting each 11-man team in the area and posing some of the key questions they’ll face in 2019 as part of our “Countdown to Two-a-Days” series.
After featuring Hawley on Sunday, we stay in District 3-2A Division I with the Stamford Bulldogs. On Tuesday, we will take a look at the Cisco Loboes, followed by the Coleman Bluecats on Wednesday.
STAMFORD — It is a common tale in high school basketball circles that a move-in of extraordinary height and skill is about to enroll at your campus.
Such rumors have been circulating for decades at schools all over the country and are generally met with skepticism and/or laughter when they finally reach a coach’s office.
Every now and then, however, the rumors prove to be legit.
That was the case in Stamford last spring, with the offseason arrival of senior 6-foot-10 post Austin Brewer, who transferred from Wylie when his father, Will, took the job as the Stamford ISD Superintendent.
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.
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.
STAMFORD — Some people know, the instant they pick up a softball and try to throw it underhand, that they can be good at it. And those watching with a keen eye for talent recognize it at the exact same time.
In fastpitch parlance, they are what is known as a natural — someone who can perform this difficult task as though it were an afterthought.
The Big Country is currently being introduced to one of these rarities in Stamford freshman Citlaly Gutierrez, with results that are making area coaches shake their heads in disbelief.
STAMFORD — Entering Thursday’s District 7-2A matchup at Stamford, Haskell coach Eric Simmons knew that his team no margin for error.
Facing Stamford freshman sensation Citlaly Gutierrez (24-0-1) who had already struck out more than 300 hitters on the season, the Maidens had to be nearly perfect.
They fell just short, losing 2-1 in a well-pitched, well-played game by both teams.
STAMFORD — At age 47, Stamford boys basketball coach Dean Edwards has already reached a coaching milestone that most people his profession never approach.
With last week’s 79-35 win over Cross Plains, Edwards notched his 400th career victory, giving him an average of 20 victories per season over a 20-year career.
To put those numbers into perspective, if Edwards were to continue winning at his present pace until age 67, he would top the ultra-rare 800-win plateau, putting him in elite company.
Many of those who follow girls basketball in the Big Country are acutely aware of the highly successful program in Haskell and of its dominance in District 8-2A.
Haskell, however, may soon have some highly competitive company within the confines of its own league — perhaps as early as next year.
Burgeoning programs in Albany (17-8, 5-1 District 8-2A) and Stamford (20-9, 4-2) have not only taken significant steps forward this year, but have done so with sophomore-heavy rosters that, with typical progression, could improve dramatically over the next two seasons.
The two teams will meet in the opening game of Friday’s girls-boys doubleheader in Albany, in what could be viewed as a glimpse into the future of Big Country Class 2A girls basketball. In the present, however, a No. 2 playoff seed is the prize both young teams are after.
FEATURED SCHOOLS: Albany, Anson, Baird, Breckenridge, Brock, Brownwood, Clyde, Coahoma, Colorado City, Comanche, Cross Plains, Dublin, Eastland, Forsan, Hamlin, Haskell, Jim Ned, Merkel, Snyder, Stamford, Stephenville, Wall and Winters.
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CLYDE — After seeing Stamford quarterback Peyton Bevel dissect the De Leon defense with state records of 789 passing yards and 12 passing touchdowns last week, Clyde knew it was going to need a nearly perfect game to slow him down.
Consider that done.
Clyde ran just 50 plays to Stamford’s 68, but CHS kept the ball on the ground and dominated the time of possession in taking a 21-13 win at Bulldog Stadium in both teams nondistrict finale.
STAMFORD — Three months ago, Stamford assistant football coach John Ward was a prisoner inside his own body.
Struck down by a rare autoimmune disorder known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Ward was almost completely paralyzed, with slight movement in his fingers and toes only.
It nearly cost him his life.
He doesn’t always do things as scripted, but one thing is for certain: Stamford senior quarterback Peyton Bevel will have a major impact on the direction of a game as long as he’s on the field.
Thus far, that impact has been overwhelmingly positive, as evidenced by his helping the Bulldogs to a 10-3 mark last year and a trip to the Region I-2A Division I semifinals. Along the way, he produced more than 2,200 yards in total offense, accounted for 26 touchdowns as a replacement for the injured Noah Horn and helped Stamford to come-from-behind wins over Anson, Hawley and Sundown.
A significant portion of that came through improvisation, though at times, it was difficult for his coaching staff to watch.
Whether or not coach Ronnie Casey’s Stamford Bulldogs have numbers in their favor depends on one’s perspective.
On the one hand, the Bulldogs have just five starters coming back on both sides of the football from a 10-3 team. So improvement on last year’s product appears difficult.
On the other hand, Stamford has a whopping 20 lettermen back, plus some varsity newcomers from a deceivingly good junior varsity team that saw its three losses come to Brock by one, to Wylie by three and to a high-powered Post team.
For 13 years, former Stamford and Cooper assistant Webb Murphy viewed coaching as his calling in life. A couple of years after leaving that profession, he’s discovered a new calling as the Big Country West area rep for the Big Country Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Murphy, who still holds a deep respect for the coaching profession and those who pursue it, took some time this week to talk to Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about his role with the FCA and how the organization has changed his life and the life of many others.
Also in this episode of the BCP Podcast, Evan and Daniel discuss the geographical boundaries of the Big Country and share their philosophy on expanding the area’s traditional borders to include a number of “new” programs.
Those interested in learning more about the FCA or how to get involved with the organization can reach out to Murphy through the following social media platforms: