Monthly archive

September 2020

CLASS 2A FRIDAY FLASHBACK

in Roundups

WEEK 5: Heart of Texas squads in seven-team districts open battle for postseason berths as Bosqueville, Hamilton post big wins

With Class 2A, Division I’s seventh-ranked Crawford Pirates idle as District 7-2A, DI competition began, the Bosqueville Bulldogs, Hamilton Bulldogs and Tolar Rattlers posted big wins to open league play last Friday night, setting up what could be a wild ride featuring seven Heart of Texas region teams.

Likewise, the Bruceville-Eddy Eagles watched as District 12-2A, DI opened last Friday, highlighted by the Hearne Eagles slipping past the previously state-ranked Holland Hornets, 21-20, while the Thorndale Bulldogs pounded the Moody Bearcats, 44-16.

In Class 2A, DII, the top-ranked Mart Panthers and the up-and-coming Meridian Yellowjackets enjoyed open dates before opening district, while Winters blanked the Hico Tigers, 41-0, and Dawson shut out the Hubbard Jaguars, 55-0.

BOSQUEVILLE 31, RIO VISTA 21

RIO VISTA – Knocking off previously unbeaten Rio Vista, Luke Bradshaw and Hunter Henexson scored two touchdowns apiece to lead Bosqueville to a 31-21 road victory over the Eagles to open District 7-2A, DI competition last Friday night.

With running back Jay King led the Bulldogs (1-0 in district, 2-2 overall) with 181 yards rushing on 32 attempts, Bradshaw ran for two scores, while Henexson rushed for one touchdown and returned a fumble recovery for another score.

For Rio Vista (0-1, 4-1), sophomore quarterback Taylor Pritchett threw for one touchdown and ran for another while completing 11 of 25 passes for 200 yards and rushing for 69 more. Senior Brent Hoffman led the Eagles with 80 yards rushing and a touchdown, while senior Anthony Perez hauled in a 20-yard scoring strike.

HAMILTON 70, ITASCA 14

HAMILTON – Scoring early and often, the Hamilton Bulldogs mauled the Itasca Wampus Cats, 70-14, in a District 7-2A, DI opener last Friday night.

The Bulldogs (1-0, 3-2) jumped out to a 28-0 first quarter lead and did not let up in the second, taking an overwhelming 56-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.

TOLAR 50, VALLEY MILLS 7

TOLAR – Led by quarterback Jackson LeCluyse, the Tolar Rattlers scored 50 unanswered points in a dominating 50-7 victory over the Valley Mills Eagles in a District 7-2A, DI opener last Friday night.

After scoring first, Valley Mills (0-1, 2-3) suffered critical turnovers, and the Rattlers (1-0, 1-4) struck and capitalized to post its first win of the season.

CHILTON 6, KERENS 0

KERENS – Gearing up to face the top-ranked and defending state-champion Mart Panthers in the District 10-2A, DII opener this week, the Chilton Pirates blanked the Kerens Bobcats, 6-0, in a non-district defensive struggle on the road last Friday night.

Led by Ruben Andrade and Olgario Vasquez, the Chilton defense came up with four turnovers while holding Kerens to only 134 yards of total offense. Andrade led the Pirates with 13 tackles, while Vasquez picked off a pass and collected five takedowns.

Chilton quarterback McKellar Cook threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Brian Davis for all the points the Pirates needed to win. Chilton (3-2) controlled the ball and the clock with a strong running game, led by Vasquez with 170 yards rushing, followed by Cook with 100.

DAWSON 55, HUBBARD 0

DAWSON – Led by senior Bodey Martinex and sophomore Payton McCormack with 13 tackles each, the Dawson Bulldogs totally dominated the Hubbard Jaguars, 55-0, in non-district clash last Friday night.

After opening the season with three straight convincing wins under new head coach Roger Masters, Hubbard (3-1) proved no match for Dawson.

Once again this season, THE SPORTS BUZZ provides award-winning coverage of the 2020 Texas high school football season, focusing on Class 3A, 2A and 1A schools in the 10-county Heart of Texas region — which includes Bosque, Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, Hill, Hood, Johnson, McLennan and Somervell counties.

Within the Heart of Texas region, THE SPORTS BUZZ covers 15 Class 2A schools spread out across six districts in two divisions. Be sure to check back every week for the Friday Flashback and the Class 2A Gridiron Grades featuring district standings, scores and upcoming matchups for all 15 Class 2A teams from the Heart of Texas.

Photos by WENDY OROZCO & SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CLASS 3A FRIDAY FLASHBACK

in Roundups

WEEK 5: Defending state champion Grandview returns from COVID week off to open district with a resounding 56-13 victory over previous unbeaten Maypearl

Shaking off the week off due to COVID-19 precautions, the Class 3A, Division I state champion and second-ranked Grandview Zebras took their frustrations out on previously unbeaten Maypearl with an overwhelming 56-13 thrashing in the District 7-3A, Division I opener.

In District 11-3A, DI, the McGregor Bulldogs outscored the Rockdale Tigers, 49-40, while the Lorena Leopards knocked Little-River-Academy from the unbeaten ranks with a 41-27 victory.

In a battle between two state-ranked teams in Class 3A, DII, the Franklin Lions roared past previously unbeaten Lexington, 49-14, in the District 13-3A, DII opener. Looking for their seventh straight trip to the postseason, the Clifton Cubs outlasted the bigger Riesel Indians, 36-19, in another District 13-3A,DII opener last Friday night at Cub Stadium.

As THE SPORTS BUZZ Game Of The Week, be sure to watch the video highlights of the Riesel at Clifton game here: https://www.facebook.com/SCrossCreative/videos/330895471458377/, or watch Clifton head coach Chuck Caniford’s post-game interview on THE SPORTS BUZZ On The Air here: https://www.facebook.com/SCrossCreative/videos/3375828969178351/.

GRANDVIEW 56, MAYPEARL 13

GRANDVIEW – In a clash of unbeaten teams in the District 7-3A, DI opener, the defending state champion and second-ranked Grandview Zebras left no room for doubt as they crushed the surprising Maypearl Panthers, 56-13, last Friday night.

After getting an unexpected week off due to COVID-19 precautions, Grandview never missed a beat. The Zebras (1-0 in district, 4-0 overall) jumped out to a 21-7 first quarter lead, then buried the Panthers (0-1, 4-1) with a 28-point second quarter.

MCGREGOR 49, ROCKDALE 40

MCGREGOR – By holding off a furious fourth quarter rally, the surprising McGregor Bulldogs established themselves one of the teams to beat in the stout District 11-3A, DI with a wild 49-40 victory over the Rockdale Tigers last Friday night.

After McGregor (1-0, 3-2) built a commanding 49-20 advantage, Rockdale (0-1, 2-3) scored 20 unanswered points to take the outcome of the game down to the wire.

Bulldog senior quarterback VeAndre McDaniel threw four touchdown passes and ran for another while junior running back Chad Lorenz piled up 161 yards on 29 carries for a score.

Rockdale countered with junior quarterback Kobe Mitchell throwing four touchdown passes, connecting with senior receiver KeSean Raven for three scores.

WHITNEY 36, DALLAS OAK CLIFF LIFE 21

DALLAS – Junior quarterback Garrett Peacock passed for two touchdowns and rushed for two more as the Whitney Wildcats snapped a two-game losing streak with a 36-21 victory over Dallas Oak Cliff Life in their District 3A, DI opener last Friday night.

Relying heavily on the passing game, Peacock completed 20 of 28 passes for 258 yards while rushing for 45 more. Wildcat junior running back Jordan Newton ran for 57 yards and a score.

On the flip side, Whitney (1-0, 2-3) came up with four turnovers against Oak Cliff Life (0-1, 0-3), picking off a pass and recovering three fumbles. Junior Joseph Delgado led the Wildcats with eight tackles and an interception, followed by senior Sahmar Mitchell, Jr. with six takedowns.

LORENA 41, LITTLE RIVER-ACADEMY 27

LORENA — Junior running back Reed Michna rushed for 201 yards and two touchdowns while senior quarterback Ben Smedshammer tossed two scoring strikes as the Lorena Leopards overcame a deficit late in the third quarter to pull away for a 41-27 victory over the previously unbeaten Little River-Academy Bumblebees last Friday night.

Moving down from Class 4A this season, the Leopards ran for 307 yards on the ground on 37 carries as sophomore Cayden Madkins and Smedshammer contributed rushing scores. Throwing for 140 yards, Smedshammer connected with senior Carter McCray Lewis and junior Cason Pitts on scoring strikes.

CLIFTON 36, RIESEL 19

CLIFTON – Refusing to succumb to a discernible size disadvantage, the determined Clifton Cubs battled through a hard-fought first half to wear down the Riesel Indians on their way to a convincing 36-19 District 13-3A, Division II opening victory Friday night at Cub Stadium.

After the breakthrough win last week in the final non-district game against perennial powerhouse Tenaha, the Cubs kept the momentum going into district as five different Clifton players scored behind a balanced and diversified offensive attack.

Managing to cling to an 8-6 lead going into intermission, the Cubs (1-0, 2-3) survived a defensive struggle in the first half. But Clifton hit on some big pass plays early, then appeared to wear down the Indians in the second half, piling up 225 yards on 48 attempts and three scores.

Defensively, sophomore Larrett Thomas led Clifton with seven tackles and an interception, followed by senior Devin Byrd with six takedowns and a pickoff.

COMANCHE 14, CISCO 7

COMANCHE – In a non-district defensive struggle, the undefeated Comanche Indians fought to a 14-0 first half lead then held on in the fourth quarter to knock off the Cisco Loboes, 14-7, at home last Friday night.

Senior running back Logan Wilkerson scored both touchdowns for the Indians (5-0) while grinding out 51 tough yards on 14 carries. Junior quarterback Hudson Welch completed seven of 11 passes for 119 yards, connecting with senior receiver Taelon Sorrells three times for 75 yards. Junior running back Luke Wilson led the Indians on the ground with 66 yards on nine carries.

Comanche used four Cisco turnovers, three interceptions and a fumble, to keep the Loboes out of the endzone until the fourth quarter when junior running back Dawson Hearne scored. Sophomore quarterback Hunter Long finished as the game’s leading rusher with 128 yards on 21 attempts.

Defensively, senior Harrison Kolb led Comanche with 25 tackles, followed by senior Cash Cook with 14, while senior Blanton Gunter picked off two passes.

Once again this season, THE SPORTS BUZZ provides award-winning coverage of the 2020 Texas high school football season, focusing on Class 3A, 2A and 1A schools in the 10-county Heart of Texas region — which includes Bosque, Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, Hill, Hood, Johnson, McLennan and Somervell counties.

Within the Heart of Texas region, THE SPORTS BUZZ covers nine Class 3A schools spread out across four districts in two divisions. Be sure to check back every week for our Friday Night Flashback roundups, district standings, scores and upcoming matchups for all nine Class 3A teams in the area.

Photos by DAVID HARDING & SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

REACHING FOR NEW HEIGHTS

in Volleyball

Fighting to compete in a tough district, the young Clifton Lady Cubs wrap up first round playing host to 14-ranked Troy

CLIFTON — With only one senior on the squad, the youthful Clifton Lady Cub volleyball team has struggled to find the winning ingredients playing in the tough District 17-3A. Losing some hard fought matches and facing a couple of state-ranked teams in district, the Lady Cubs face a steep hill to climb to reach their goal of making the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

As they close out the first round of district competition Tuesday, the Lady Cubs (1-5 in district, 5-9 overall) will host the 14th-ranked Troy Lady Trojans (5-1, 14-2) in the Clifton High School Gymnasium. Snapping a five-match losing streak, Clifton swept past the Riesel Lady Indians in straight sets, 25-20, 25-19, 25-19, at home last Friday.

“The girls played good against Riesel,” Clifton volleyball second-year head coach Paige Poth said. “We ran a good offense and played solid defense. I think we have done well overall this first round. We know the adjustments we have to make going into the second round, and speeding up our game is the number one priority.”

Although Clifton finished their non-district schedule with a winning record, the 2020-22 UIL realignment left District 17-3A tough once again. By closing out the non-district schedule with a hard-fought but impressive straight set victory over Class 4A Hillsboro, 25-23, 25-20, 25-15, Poth felt the Lady Cubs were ready.

“We were still working out the little things to be prepared for district games,” Poth said. “Against Hillsboro, the girls did a great job working together and getting the win in three. It was a good game to get us ready for West.”

Opening district on the road at West Sept. 8, the Lady Cubs worked hard and competed well, but came up short as the Lady Trojans pulled out the win in straight sets, 25-21, 25-13, 25-23.

“It was a good match between us and West,” Poth said. “We had leads in both set 1 and 3. We struggled to close the set each time and forced too many errors within a rotation a few times. But they worked hard and overall played good.”

Against the 15th-ranked and league-leading Lorena Lady Leopards (6-0, 12-2), the Lady Cubs saw how high they needed to set the bar as Lorena swept to a convincing 25-17, 25-8, 25-16 victory.

On the heels of the lopsided loss to Lorena, the Lady Cubs dropped a heartbreaker to the Whitney Lady Wildcats, winning the first set, 25-19, before letting three straight hard-fought sets slip away, 25-20, 25-22, 28-26, to lose the match on the road. The disappointing loss to Whitney set up back-to-back losses to McGregor, 25-14, 25-12, 25-17, and at Grandview, 27-25, 25-12, 25-17, before snapping the five-game skid against Riesel.

Armed with a host of talented underclassmen gaining experience in 2019, the Lady Cubs did not realize their dream of making the Class 3A, Division II playoffs for the first time in years. But Poth laid the foundation for the future, and the Lady Cubs made their presence known despite playing in the tough District 17-3A boasting three state-ranked teams throughout the season.

“After setting the tone last year, my returners came in and said this is really what they wanted again,” Poth said. “So we have picked up from there and everyone else joined in. It was nice that those girls stepped up, and it has helped us a lot.

“Making the playoffs is a huge goal for this season, but we are just taking it one game at a time. We have a game plan, every game is a chance to execute that game plan and do what we need to do to compete in district.”

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

BUILDING ON MOMENTUM

in Football

Heading into District 13-3A, DII on a positive note, the Clifton Cubs open with a determined 36-19 victory over the Riesel Indians

CLIFTON — The power of momentum should not be underestimated. And once you build it, you want to maintain it. But while it can be an elusive force of nature, determination can take control over it. And with that, one must accept personal responsibility for creating momentum or breaking it.

Refusing to succumb to a discernible size disadvantage, the determined Clifton Cubs battled through a hard-fought first half to wear down the Riesel Indians on their way to a convincing 36-19 District 13-3A, Division II opening victory Friday night at Cub Stadium.

After the breakthrough win last week in the final non-district game against perennial powerhouse Tenaha, the Cubs kept the momentum going into district as a team with five different Clifton players scoring behind a balanced and diversified offensive attack.

“It’s always good to start the district schedule with a win,” Clifton football head coach Chuck Caniford said. “Every game carries the same weight in district, but starting 1-0 gives you a little room to breathe and not feel like your back is against the wall. 

“I was proud of the kids’ effort on Friday night. We played really well defensively again and were able to build on some things offensively that we got going the week before.”

Managing to cling to an 8-6 lead going into intermission, the Cubs (1-0 in district, 2-3 overall) survived a defensive struggle in the first half. But with the exception of a couple of big plays, the Clifton defense bottled up the Riesel offensive attack throughout the game. And most importantly, the Cubs came up with four turnovers, picking off three passes and recovering a fumble.

“We’ve played really good defense all year long and that continued on Friday night,” Caniford said. “They have some kids that create some serious matchup problems, and our coaches did a great job of trying to minimize those advantages. 

“We were able to create turnovers again this week, which is huge. For the second straight week, we won the turnover battle. And when you do that, you have a really good chance to be successful.”

Sophomore Larrett Thomas led Clifton with seven tackles and an interception, followed by senior Devin Byrd with six takedowns and a pickoff. Junior Will Simmons had two tackles for losses, sophomore Makail Brandenberger collected two sacks, senior Elias Tebo recovered a fumble and junior Luis Rodriguez pulled down an interception.

On the other side of the ball, Riesel consistently penetrated into the Clifton offensive backfield to disrupt things in the first half. But the Cubs countered by hitting on some big pass plays early, then appeared to wear down the Indians in the second half.

“We struggled moving their defensive front in the first half,” Caniford said. “They have some really good size, and it took us a while to get them worn down. But we were able to hit some big plays in the passing game, which gave us a chance to move the football.  I thought Luis Rodriguez and Tyler Anderson had big nights for us offensively.”

With Riesel corralling the Cub ground game, freshman quarterback Riley Finney went to the air, connecting with Rodriguez on a 37-yard scoring strike for the game’s first points. Finney later hit Anderson for a 56-yard gain with a shoestring tackle becoming the only thing preventing another touchdown.

But in the second half, Clifton began to pound away on the ground behind the punishing running of sophomore Joe Taylor, who finished with 71 yards and a score. Finney used speed and wiggle to pick up 69 rushing yards on 14 carries, while Byrd and Anderson ran for touchdowns as the Cubs piled up 225 yards on 48 attempts.

“Once we got to the second half, we were able to get things going on the ground a little more,” Caniford said.  “I think that is not unusual with our style of offense. We’ve scored 60 points in the fourth quarter in the last two games, and I think that is a product of wearing our opponent down and then hitting big plays.”

Finney completed nine of 17 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns, also hooking up with Tebo on a three-yard scoring toss in the third quarter following a blocked punt deep in Indian territory.

But the win over Riesel (0-1, 2-3) simply represents the beginning of Clifton’s tough battle in a stacked seven-team district for one of four playoff berths. At the midway point of the season, sixth-ranked Franklin (1-0, 2-2), seventh-ranked Lexington (0-1, 3-1) and undefeated Buffalo (1-0, 5-0) stand at the top of the district with Rogers (0-1, 1-4) and Florence (0-0, 0-4) waiting in the wings.

“Every week is going to be a battle, and every week matters at this point,” Caniford said. “We always tell our kids that the most important game is the next one, and that is definitely true in this district. We could put our team in a really good position if we can find a way to get another win this week.”

Execution provides the foundation for momentum. And during the last two weeks, the Clifton Cubs have been getting it done on both sides of the ball.

Photos by DAVID HARDING

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

GRIDIRON SCOREBOARD: WEEK 5

in Football

Heart of Texas high school football scores

FINAL UPDATE: 5:00 p.m., Saturday, September 26, 2020

Here are the FINAL scores for all of the Class 3A, 2A and 1A Texas high school football games played in Week 5 around the Heart of Texas region.

On location for three games this weekend, THE SPORTS BUZZ provides award-winning coverage of the 2020 Texas high school football season every week, focusing on Class 3A, 2A and 1A schools in the 10-county Heart of Texas region — which includes Bosque, Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, Hill, Hood, Johnson, McLennan and Somervell counties.

Be sure to check in with THE SPORTS BUZZ every Friday night for the complete scoreboard from games across the Heart of Texas region.

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

BREAKING ON THROUGH TO THE WINNING SIDE

in Football

Class 3A, DII Clifton carries momentum of wild win over Tenaha into District 13-3A, DII opener against Riesel

CLIFTON — For the Class 3A, Division II Clifton Cubs, that pivotal breakthrough moment could not have come at a better time.

After appearing to be on the brink of returning to their winning ways in each of the first three weeks of the season against bigger schools, the Cubs put it all together in dramatic fashion last Friday night in a thrilling 43-26 come-from-behind win over the perennial tough Tenaha Tigers, snapping a three-game losing streak in their final non-district game.

Hoping to carry that momentum into District 13-3A, DII competition, the Cubs (1-3) move into the most important part of the regular season by hosting the Riesel Indians (2-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cub Stadium.

“The first win of the year is always the hardest to get, and it gets harder the longer it takes to get it,” Clifton head coach Chuck Caniford said. “You start pressing trying to do too much, and that’s usually when mistakes happen. I thought our guys showed a lot of poise on Friday night. And hopefully, we will build on that momentum this week.”

Producing the best offensive performance of the season, the Cubs became explosive on the ground and through the air against Tenaha, particularly in the fourth quarter when Clifton put up 29 points. With freshman quarterback Riley Finney at the helm, the Cubs piled up a season-high 358 yards of total offense as sophomore Joe Taylor rushing for a season-best 101 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.

“I really felt like we were very close the previous couple of weeks,” Caniford said. “Early in the year, turnovers stopped us, and then it was penalty. We won the turnover battle and only had two penalties against Tenaha, and that allowed us to be successful.

“We’ve been doing a lot of good things, so if we can minimize those types of drive killers, we can continue to be effective on offense.”

After adjusting to the Tenaha speed on display early in the game, the Cub defense stepped up and practically shut down the Tigers in the second half. And as good as the defense has been all season, that might have been the best games of the season. Led by senior Devin Byrd with 12 tackles, the Cubs came up with five fumble recoveries.

“I thought the kids did a really good job of adjusting to the speed in the second quarter,” Caniford said. “And our coaches did a nice job of making adjustments that allowed our kids to play fast. When we play fast, we have the ability to be a very strong defense against anyone we play.”

Now, it’s time for the Cubs to turn their attention to a tough slate of district games, beginning with the Riesel Indians.

Coming off a playoff appearance in 2019, Riesel has nine offensive and eight defensive starters returning. After opening the season with back-to-back home victories over Marlin, 38-14, and Hamilton, 39-14, the Indians had dropped two straight road games at Clyde, 52-14, and at Bosqueville, 52-26.

“Riesel has good size on both sides of the ball,” Caniford said. “We just have to continue to build on what we’ve been doing. If we can execute well and minimize mistakes, we will have an opportunity to be successful.”

Photos by DAVID HARDING

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

GRIDIRON MATCHUPS: WEEK 5

in Football

Several teams in the Heart of Texas move into district play as action under the Friday night lights becomes prime time

With four weeks of the 2020 Texas high school football season in the books for smaller classification schools, a sampling of teams from across the Heart of Texas region move into district competition, while others look to fine tune as they wrap up non-district games.

In Class 3A, Division I, defending state champion and second-ranked Grandview returns to action to open District 7-3A, DI competition with a showdown of unbeaten teams as the Zebras (3-0) host the surprising Maypearl Panthers (4-0).

District 13-3A, DII features several intriguing openers due to the league consisting of mostly new teams unknown to each other as Clifton (1-3) hosts Riesel (2-2), Rogers (1-3) visits Buffalo (4-0), and Lexington (3-0) plays at Franklin (1-2).

In Class 2A, DI, the seventh-ranked Crawford Pirates (4-0) draw the open date for the District 7-2A, DI openers as the surprising Rio Vista Eagles (4-0) host Bosqueville (2-2) in the marquee game of the week, while top dogs Hearne (2-0) and Holland (3-1) open District 12-2A, DI with an early showdown.

Although district play has not arrived yet for six-man football,  some interesting matchups fill a full slate of Class 1A games as defending state champion and 12th-ranked Blum (2-1) hosts sixth-ranked May (3-1), Penelope (4-0) travels to Evant (1-0), and Abbott (4-0) visits Iredell (1-1).

Once again this season, THE SPORTS BUZZ provides award-winning coverage of the 2020 Texas high school football season, focusing on Class 3A, 2A and 1A schools in the 10-county Heart of Texas region — which includes Bosque, Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, Hill, Hood, Johnson, McLennan and Somervell counties.

Be sure to check in with THE SPORTS BUZZ every week to find the complete schedule for teams from the Heart of Texas region. And be sure to tune late Friday for our as-soon-as-they-become-final updated scoreboard.

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CLASS 1A GRIDIRON GRADES: Week 4

in Roundups

Jonesboro remains undefeated to head up the class for talented six-man squads across the Heart of Texas as COVID-19 continues to threaten programs

While a host of Class 1A, Division I teams remained undefeated through the first four weeks of the season, the cream began to rise to the top in Class 1A, DII across the Heart of Texas region.

Class 1A, Division I’s undefeated Jonesboro dropped down four spots in the state rankings despite a convincing 53-18 victory over Blum. But on the other hand, Class 1A, DII’s sixth-ranked Strawn stayed put by blanking Gorman, 45-0, last Friday night.

Class 1A football often gets lost in the shadows of the big 11-man schools. But with the staggered start to the 2020 Texas high school football season, the Heart of Texas area continues to feature a host of marquee matchups as the season moves into Week 5 under the Friday night lights.

But unfortunately, the coronavirus COVID-19 strikes continues to strike in some of these small towns, having a debilitating effect. In fact, several teams stand on the brink of cancelling their entire seasons due to the pandemic.

JONESBORO 53, BLUM 18

JONESBORO — Five different players found their way into the end zone as the state-ranked Jonesboro Eagles remained undefeated with dominating 53-18 victory at home over the defending state chamion Blum Bobcats last Friday night.

Opening the game with 24 unanswered points, the Eagles (4-0) featured a balanced attack by scoring four touchdowns on the ground and two more through the air. Senior Wade Foote and junior Nat Hilliker caught touchdown passes, while Kaleb Sanders rushed for two scores and senior Brandon Nemelka and junior Manuel Torres ran for touchdowns as well.

Although Jonesboro enjoyed a commanding 32-6 advantage at intermission, the Eagles could not put the defending state champion Bobcats away with the 45-point mercy rule in the second half.

The perennial contender took down the reigning champs in one of the state’s top six-man matchups of the week.

ABBOTT 56, FW THESA 8

ABBOTT – Senior Kadyn Johnson ran for six touchdowns and threw for another as the Abbott Panthers remained undefeated with a resounding 56-8 victory at home over Fort Worth THESA last Friday night.

With 253 yards rushing, Kadyn Johnson provided all the offense the Panthers needed, accounting for all but 42 yards of Abbott’s total offensive output, also connecting with Keaton Pustejovsky on a nine-yard touchdown pass.

Defensively, Kane Klaus led the Panthers with 18 tackles and a recovered fumble for a score, followed by Kadyn Johnson with 11 takedowns and sophomore Karson Johnson with 10.

WALNUT SPRINGS 65, AVALON 54

WALNUT SPRINGS – Continuing to establish its young squad as a legitimate playoff contender, the Class 1A, DII Walnut Springs Hornets surprised the Class 1A, DI Avalon Eagles, 65-54, last Friday night as freshman quarterback Bryan Chavez tossed three touchdown passes and freshman Diego Muniz scored three times.

“I thought our kids rose to the occasion being 33-point underdogs,” Walnut Springs head coach Lonnie Flippen. “We are still learning to play as a team, but we are becoming much more confident in the roles they are expected to play. Everyone is contributing to the overall team effort.”

Featuring a balanced attack, the Hornets (3-1) scored four times through the air and another five times with its diversified ground attack, led by junior Corey Hargrove and Muniz with two touchdowns each.

Chavez spread the ball around through the air, connecting with junior Jordan Onterveros, senior Christian Aguilar and Muniz on scoring strikes.

Defensively, Bryan Chavez led the Hornets with 12 tackles, followed by Abraham Lares with 11, while Aguilar and Hargrove contributed eight takedowns apiece. “We played against a great spread back last night who was very difficult to defend,” Flippen said. “But we forced a couple of turnovers and took advantage of those mistakes to pick up our third win of the year.”

IREDELL 49, BUCKHOLTS 46

BUCKHOLTS — Despite trailing 40-28 at halftime, the Iredell Dragons used a 21-point fourth quarter to rally for a thrilling 49-46 road victory over the Buckholts Badgers last Friday night.

With Iredell (1-1) leading 28-22 in the second quarter, the Badgers (0-3) scored 18 unanswered points to take a 12-point advantage into the locker room at halftime.

Then trailing 46-34 in the fourth quarter, the Dragons responded  with two late touchdowns, converting a one-point run and a two-point kick to walk away with the win.

MORGAN 59, LINGLEVILLE 12

MORGAN — Senior Derik Davenport threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead the Morgan Eagles to an overwhelming 59-12 home victory over the Lingleville Cardinals last Friday night.

With seven different Eagles scoring touchdowns, Morgan not only spread the ball around but did so using a balanced offensive attack, piling up 182 yards in the ground and 146 yards through the air in just one half of play, ending the game at halftime with the 45-point mercy rule.

“It was a mosquito-infested night, but the Eagles offense continued to put points on the scoreboard,” Morgan head coach Edward Aviles said. “The Eagles were able to spread the football around and make some adjustments at the beginning of the second quarter to keep the Cardinals from scoring.”

While Derik Davenport accounted for four scores, junior Manuel Muniz produced three touchdowns, throwing for one, running for one and catching a 75-yard scoring strike from junior Gerardo Monroy. Sophomore Adrian Vera-Rico broke off a 30-yard touchdown run and caught a 45-yard scoring toss from Muniz.

With Morgan scoring quickly and often, sophomore Dathen Davenports caught a two-yard scoring pass, senior Ivan Alvarez turned the corner for a 37-yard touchdown run, sophomore Cason Sims hauled in a 12-yard scoring strike, and sophomore Tony Conner pulled down a 12-yard touchdown toss as well.

Defensively, Muniz and sophomore Keylan Watts led the Eagles with six tackles apiece, followed by Monroy with five, while Derik Davenport collected four tackles with a forced fumble and a 65-yard interception return, and freshman Mark Anthony Garcia came up with two fumble recoveries.

CRANFILLS GAP at LOMETA, CCD.

With two players testing positive for the coronavirus COVID-19 last week, the defending district champion Cranfills Gap Lions were forced to cancel their trip to Lometa last week. And due to pandemic protocols, the Lions’ non-district game at Cherokee this week remains in doubt.

“We ended up having to cancel Thursday morning due to two positive COVID tests from two players,” Cranfills Gap head coach Adam Carroll said. “I was tested earlier in the week, and it came back negative. The team had to go into quarantine, and according to protocols can get tested Monday. If negative, they can return to school and practice.

“Those that tested positive will be out 14 days, then be tested again. We are hopeful to have a game next Friday, but we will see. It’s a tough situation, but we knew it might be a possibility.”

Once again this season, THE SPORTS BUZZ provides award-winning coverage of the 2020 Texas high school football season, focusing on Class 3A, 2A and 1A schools in the 10-county Heart of Texas region — which includes Bosque, Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, Hill, Hood, Johnson, McLennan and Somervell counties.

Within the Heart of Texas region, THE SPORTS BUZZ covers 21 Class 1A-Six-Man schools spread out across eight districts in two divisions. Be sure to check back every Sunday for the Class 1A Gridiron Grades and Friday Night Flashback featuring district standings, scores and upcoming matchups for all 21 Class 1A teams from the Heart of Texas.

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CLASS 2A GRIDIRON GRADES: Week 4

in Roundups

Crawford surges into Class 2A, DI Top 10 poll after swatting state-ranked Holland; 2A, DII’s top-ranked Mart declaws 3A, DI Whitney

With the pollsters finally taking notice, the Class 2A, Division I Crawford Pirates surged from among the unranked into the No. 7 spot in the state rankings by swatting the previously 10th-ranked Holland Hornets, 13-8, last Friday night.

And leaving no doubt just how lethal they can be, the Class 2A, Division II’s top-ranked Mart Panthers declawed the Class 3A, DI Whitney Wildcats, 32-7, making another statement that they stand poised to pounce on their fourth straight state title this season.

But the Heart of Texas region has plenty of teams playing like legitimate postseason contenders. The surprising Rio Vista Eagles remained undefeated with a resounding 62-0 thrashing of Tioga, while the Class 2A, DII Hubbard Jaguars remained undefeated by outlasting Meridian, 34-9, to snap the Yellowjackets’ two-game winning streak.

CRAWFORD 13, HOLLAND 8

CRAWFORD — Despite enjoying a 13-0 advantage at halftime, the Crawford Pirates needed a late defensive stand to hold off the 10th-ranked Holland Hornets, 13-8, Friday night at Pirate Stadium.

Knocking Holland (3-1) from the undefeated ranks, Pirate defensive back Luke Torbert intercepted a deflected Hornet pass with less than two minutes remains, and Crawford ran out the clock for the win.

While the Pirates (4-0) remained undefeated and climbed into the state’s top 10 poll, Holland saw their 21-game winning streak dating back to 2018 snapped.

Although Crawford carried a 13-0 lead into the fourth quarter, Hornet quarterback Ayden Tomasek connected with wide receiver Ashton Morris for a 26-yard gain before scoring on a six-yard touchdown run and adding the two-point conversion.

Crawford running back Garrett Pearson put the Pirates up by two scores in the second quarter on a 76-yard touchdown run after quarterback Tanner Merenda broke the scoreless tie with a 29-yard touchdown pass.

BOSQUEVILLE 52, RIESEL 26

BOSQUEVILLE – Bosqueville quarterback Luke Bradshaw passed for five touchdowns and ran for another as the Bulldogs rolled over Riesel, 52-26, Friday night at Bulldogs Stadium.

As Bosqueville (1-2) jumped out to a commanding first half lead, Bradshaw completed 15 of 23 passes for 295 yards and ran for another 68 yards. Running back Jay King led the Bulldogs on the ground with 121 rushing yards.

Although Riesel (2-2) finally got on the scoreboard late in the second quarter when quarterback Dakota Davis connected with tight end Will McClintock for a 26-yard scoring strike, the Indians put Kyson Dieterich at the helm in the second half. Dieterich produced two touchdowns, passing for 141 yards and rushing for 74 more, but it proved to be too little, too late.

ITASCA 39, RANGER 6

ITASCA – After getting an unexpected week off when their road game at Santo was canceled last week due to COVID-19 precautions, the Itasca Wampus Cats returned to the field for their homecoming game against Ranger last Friday night. And in the process, the Wampus Cats (1-1) gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about with a 39-6 victory over Ranger (0-3) in their final non-district game.

HAMILTON at BANGS, ccd.

RIESEL – Although the Hamilton Bulldogs refused to let COVID-19 deny them the chance to take the field last Friday night when Bangs cancelled the game due to pandemic protocol. But for Hamilton, there still proved to be a price to pay.

Last Thursday, Hamilton ISD’s Twitter feed stated that “All football games against Bangs are canceled this week. We look forward to starting district play next week against Itasca.”

But the Hamilton Bulldogs decided not to stand pat and scheduled a last-minute matchup with Jewett Leon at Riesel last Friday night. But the Cougars (3-1) handed Hamilton (2-2) a surprising 40-22 loss.

HUBBARD 34, MERIDIAN 9

HUBBARD – Despite another notable defensive performance, the short-handed Meridian Yellowjackets could not produce any points as the undefeated Hubbard Jaguars wore down the visitors to run away with a 34-9 victory last Friday night.

Giving the Jaguars (3-0) all they could handle in the first half, the Jacket defense scored on a safety and senior defensive end Teagan Smith scooped up a fumble and returned it 50 yard for the score to trail 12-9 at halftime.

“The defense played great once again,” Meridian second-year head coach Wade Morton said. “The first half, they were lights out. They scored on a safety and on a scoop and score.”

Defensively, Teagan and senior Victor Orozco led the Jackets 12 tackles apiece, followed by senior Anthony Gonzalez with 11 and sophomore Gage Edwards with eight.

“We have a lot of players getting some valuable experience before we go into district play. Experience isn’t what happens to you, but how you deal with what happens to you. We’ll get to see some great film on things we need to improve on. I’ve always believed you learn more from a loss than a win. We’ll be better.”

With senior quarterback Dylan Poole out with an injury, the Jackets (2-2) reshuffled the deck in their final non-district game and produced only 137 yards of total offense. Sophomore Michael Crawford led Meridian with 64 yards rushing on 14 carries, followed by Gonzalez with 49 yards rushing and three receptions for six yards.

“With Dylan out and getting healthy for district play, we got to see Brayden Wehmeyer and what he could do,” Morton said. “He’s a freshman and has a great head on his shoulders. We trust him completely and back him 100 percent. He’ll only get better, and the future looks great.

“Hubbard was the first team that mixed up their defensive fronts, going from an odd to an even front. We did the best we could do and always will. Hubbard knew we were limited and took advantage of it. I give them all the credit, they did a great job.”

Fortunately for the Jackets, they have an open date in the schedule to get healthy before opening District 8-2A, DII play Oct. 2.

“The open date is going to pay off and allow us to get healthy,” Morton said. “It will also allow us to clean up some things we need to clean up.”

MART 32, WHITNEY 7

MART – Leaving no doubt just how lethal they can be, the Class 2A, Division II’s top-ranked Mart Panthers declawed the Class 3A, DI Whitney Wildcats, 32-7, making another statement that they stand poised to pounce on their fourth straight state title this season.

After battling to a 7-7 tie in the first quarter, Mart (4-0) ran away from the Wildcats (1-3) as senior quarterback Roddrell Freeman threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores.

Freeman completed eight of 13 passes for 140 yards and rushed for 86 yards on 17 carries. Junior Kei’Shawn Clater caught four passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns, while junior running back Klyderion Campbell rushed for 54 yards and a score.

CHILTON 58, AXTELL 14

CHILTON – Sophomore Daylon Ford scored four touchdowns while junior quarterback McKeller Cook scored twice and converted five two-point conversions to lead Chilton (2-2) over the winless Axtell Longhorns (0-4), 58-14, at home last Friday night.

Once again this season, THE SPORTS BUZZ provides award-winning coverage of the 2020 Texas high school football season, focusing on Class 3A, 2A and 1A schools in the 10-county Heart of Texas region — which includes Bosque, Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, Hill, Hood, Johnson, McLennan and Somervell counties.

Within the Heart of Texas region, THE SPORTS BUZZ covers 15 Class 2A schools spread out across six districts in two divisions. Be sure to check back every week for the Friday Night Flashback and the Class 2A Gridiron Grades featuring district standings, scores and upcoming matchups for all 15 Class 2A teams from the Heart of Texas.

Photos by WENDY OROZCO & SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CLASS 3A GRIDIRON GRADES: Week 4

in Roundups

COVID-19 derails defending state champion Grandview’s showdown with Glen Rose; Clifton claims first win with wild 4th quarter rally

After winning the Class 3A, Division I state championship in 2019 and opening this season with three straight wins, the only thing that could derail the second-ranked Grandview Zebras proved to be the novel coronavirus COVID-19, wiping out the much-anticipated clash with the Class 4A, DII Glen Rose Tigers last Friday night.

On the flip side, the Lorena Leopards were back in action as their Week 3 game at the Gatesville Hornets was cancelled due to pandemic concerns due to “a positive COVID-19 test for one of our players.” And the Leopards came back with a vengeance, shredding Madisonville, 56-25.

Re-emerging as a legitimate playoff contender after opening the season by losing three straight to larger schools, Class 3A, DII’s pre-season 21st-ranked team the Clifton Cubs scored 29 fourth quarter points to post a come-from-behind 43-26 victory over Class 2A, DII perennial powerhouse Tenaha last Friday night at Cub Stadium.

As THE SPORTS BUZZ Game Of The Week, be sure to watch the video highlights of the Clifton vs. Tenaha game here: https://www.facebook.com/SCrossCreative/videos/627033031329205/, or watch Clifton head coach Chuck Caniford’s post-game interview with THE SPORTS BUZZ On The Air here: https://www.facebook.com/SCrossCreative/videos/2677020795907433/.

WEST 35, ROGERS 29

WEST — After losing their season opener, the Class 3A, DI West Trojans won their third straight by clipping the Class 3A, DII Rogers Eagles, 35-29, last Friday night as senior running back Trey Janek rushed for four touchdowns at Trojan Stadium.

Despite West (3-1) enjoying a 21-9 halftime advantage, Rogers (1-3) rallied in the third quarter to take a 22-21 lead when Eagle Brandon Kosel scored on a one-yard run. The Trojans responded to recapture the lead as Janek scored on a 41-yard touchdown romp late in the third quarter.

Rogers came right back in the fourth as RJ Cook scored his second rushing touchdown of the game and Julian Lashbrook nailed the extra point to put the Eagles up by one, 29-28. But once again, West responded as Janek ripped off a 32-yard scoring scamper for the game-winner.

MCGREGOR 41, ARLINGTON OAKRIDGE 23

ARLINGTON – Junior running back Chad Lorenz scored four touchdowns while senior quarterback VeAndre McDaniel threw for two scores and ran for another to lead the McGregor Bulldogs in a hard-fought 41-25 road victory over Arlington Oakridge last Friday night.

Clinging to a 28-23 lead going to the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs (2-2) put the Oakridge Owls away for 13 unanswered points. Lorenz rushed for 200 yards and three scores as well as hauling in a 22-yard touchdown pass. McDaniel complete 14 of 20 passes for 172 yards and rushed for 42 yards on 10 carries.

LORENA 56, MADISONVILLE 25

LORENA — After getting shutdown by COVID-19 just hours before game time last week, the Lorena Leopards came leaping back into action with a resounding 56-25 victory over the Madisonville Mustangs at home last Friday night.

After taking a 29-17 lead before intermission, Lorena scored 27 unanswered points in the second half to put the game out of reach. Junior running back Reed Michna led the Leopards with 114 yards rushing and four touchdowns followed by sophomore Karen Taylor with 107 yards and two scores as Lorena piled up 331 yards on the ground.

But the Leopards balanced their offensive attack as senior quarterback Ben Smedshammer completed nine of 15 passes for 178 yards while rushing for 79 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Jadon Porter finished as Lorena’s leading receiver with two catches for 101 yards.

Within the Heart of Texas region, THE SPORTS BUZZ covers nine Class 3A schools spread out across four districts in two divisions. Be sure to check back every week for our Friday Night Flashback roundups, district standings, scores and upcoming matchups for all nine Class 3A teams in the area.

Photos by DAVID HARDING & SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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