2008-08-31 00:00:00

Neil Robertson writes the Panhandle Blog aside from providing updates to the TPSN Friday Night Scoreboard.

12/18/09 Blog

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine’s 2009 pre-season prediction was to have Bushland winning District 1-2A and Daingerfield doing the same out northeast in District 17-2A. They also predicted that these two would meet in the Class 2A Division II State Championship game. Well, they aren’t called the “Bible” of Texas High School football for nothing! The 2009 Class 2A Division II State Championship game this Saturday night will truly match the two greatest 2A small schools in the state of Texas this year. That is the general consensus of all the sports writers, coaches, players and fans I’ve talked to this past week across Texas. Bushland (15-0) and defending 2A Division II State Champion Daingerfield (14-1) are the teams and this game Saturday night in Wichita Falls is destined to become an instant classic.

These two teams are quite different in many regards.

The Tigers hail from the town of Daingerfield in Morris County east of Dallas but closer to the Louisiana/Arkansas border. Daingerfield High opened in 1900 and started as a Class 4A school, then 3A and now 2A Division II. Daingerfield is demographically in population decline – an all too common victim of small rural Texas town-folk shift to the larger urban areas. Relatively close to the D/FW Metroplex but still too far away to be a bedroom community, Daingerfield may slip to Class 1A status in the 2010 UIL re-alignment or the next. Seven state championship games adorn the Tigers illustrious football history. Daingerfield has won the 1983 and 1985 Class 3A state football championships – narrowly missing the three-peat being defeated in the 1984 state title game by Medina Valley and losing their only other state title game to Newton in 1998. The Tigers also won the 1968 and 2008 Class 2A state football championships. The 1983 Daingerfield team was among the most dominant in Texas high school football history in any classification. That Tiger team scored 631 points while giving up only 8 the entire season. Of the 16 games won (the first Texas high school to win 16 games in a season), 14 were shutouts including the final 13 (the final seven of the regular season and all six playoff games, the only team in Texas high school football history to accomplish the latter feat).

The Bushland Falcons in only their fifth varsity football season are the new kids on the block. Bushland High School only opened in the fall of 2005. Prior to that, Bushland Middle School students matriculated to 5A high schools Amarillo Tascosa or Amarillo High. During a time when communities in West Texas and other rural regions like extreme east Texas where Daingerfield is located are trying to hold on and smaller schools are losing enrollment, Bushland swims against the tide. Its growth and expansion, seven miles west of Amarillo's Soncy Street city limits, is fueled by many who work in Amarillo but want a rural setting and small-town feel. Essentially, Bushland is the Amarillo Metropolitan area’s first bona-fide suburban bedroom community.

Falcon varsity football started out fielding its inaugural UIL varsity squad in 2006 without seniors and went 4-6. In 2007 they improved to 9-2, 2008 to 10-1 and in 2009 are undefeated going into their first-ever state football championship game. Needless to say head coach David Flowers has built from the ground up - an elite 2A football program in short order in a state renown for world-class high school football.

This week’s Harris Ratings have Daingerfield at #1 and Bushland #3 behind 2A Division I 2009 state champions #2 Pilot Point (15-0) who defeated Kirbyville last week for the crown. That is heady company and why this game will have the best small school 2A teams on the field for all the marbles come this Saturday at 6:00 PM. Daingerfield is playing in its seventh state title game going for their fifth championship. This is Bushland’s first trip to the big dance and the first Amarillo-metro team to play in a state football championship game since the 1948 Amarillo Sandies. Bushland, in fact, is the 22nd Panhandle area football team (11-man, 8-man or 6-man) to reach the championship game in University Interscholastic League history. They are the highest-scoring football team in Texas Panhandle history.

Key Match-Ups:
The no-huddle multiple-weapon spread offense of Bushland featuring pass-oriented offensive schemes with a few opportunistic draw plays thrown in against one of the most effective pass defense in 2A football are what to expect. Bushland averages 319.2 passing yards per game. Daingerfield rushes for 236 yards per game while throwing for 121. They average 41.9 points per game and have scored 629 points this season. Bushland, in the regular season alone, rushed for 1,527 yards, passed for 3,573 yards for 5,100 total yards of offense and scored 510 offensive points

Defense is the Tigers strong suit. Two Tiger defensemen were named to the Associated Press Sports Writers 2009 Class 2A First-Team Defense. Their opponents have averaged just 53.6 yards per game rushing and 84 passing for 137.6 overall. And they have allowed just 141 points, a 9.4 average. The Tigers returned 12 starters that include three all state players and 25 lettermen from last season’s state championship team.

Bushland: Brett Wilhelm – junior who was back-up to veteran senior starter Sawyer Cornelius, the Associated Press Sports Writers 2009 Class 2A Offensive Player of the Year until a playoff game last month when Cornelius was sidelined for the remainder of the season due to a non-throwing hand ligament injury. Wilhelm threw six touchdown passes in his first start, a 62-10 thrashing of Henrietta in a Region I semifinal. Wilhelm hit nine different receivers against Henrietta and enters Saturday's game with 1,237 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions. Wilhelm has also rushed 37 times for 209 yards and six touchdowns. Wilhelm has obviously stepped-in under extreme pressure and led the Falcons to the state title game with passing numbers per game rivaling that of Cornelius (threw for 3,239 yards and 44 touchdowns with only four interceptions during the regular season. He finished with more than 3,500 yards and 48 TDs before the injury). Against Callisburg in the semi-final game last Saturday Wilhelm’s passing numbers were 18-29-1 for 211 yards and 4 TDs and he rushed 11 times for 51 yards and a TD.

Daingerfield: Tyler Boyd – junior who led the Tigers to their 2008 state title as a sophomore. In 2008, Boyd was named an APSE Class 2A All-State Honorable Mention QB and had 2480 yards with 24 TDs passing and 850 yards 15 TDs rushing. In 2009, he is credited with 2,730 yards total offense. His season passing numbers thus far are 98-185-3 for 1,824 yards and 28 TDs. Boyd has run for 906 yards on 153 carries and scored 12 TDs. This guy is probably Division 1 collegiate material and already has the rapt attention of many Big 12 scouts with his senior year to go. Boyd was named District 17-2A’s overall MVP for 2009.

Running Backs:
Bushland: Mason Harris, Caleb McGuire & Garry Walsmith – seniors. Bushland springs the running game on opponents when they least expect it – in committed pass coverage (zone or man) when the Falcons shift to draw play schemes and drop into end run or pro power up the middle runs. They are just as effective drawing defensive backs into the box with play action pass scenarios though. While the Falcons have thrown for 4,788 yards, they've run for 2,655, or 177 per game, giving the Falcons a staggering average of 496.2 total yards per game. Bushland has six players with at least 200 rushing yards, including Mason Harris' 645 yards and six TDs.

Daingerfield: KoKo Smith – senior who has racked-up 1,556 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns. Smith is averaging 83.4 yards rushing per game and 7.8 points per game. As a junior in 2008, Smith was named District 17-2A Co-MVP with 1453 yards and 18 TDs rushing. Smith earned District 17-2A offensive MVP honors for 2009 for the second consecutive season. This guy is elusive on the edge and is likely gone for 6 if he beats the corner man yet he can hit the inside holes in pro power offensive sets with the best of them. He’ll be playing football on Saturdays at a Division I college campus near you next fall.

Bushland: Can shift receivers around with alacrity to complicate defensive assignments. One glimpse at the Falcons' receiving corps indicates that. Bushland has six receivers who, on the season, have between 26 and 45 receptions, seven with at least 14 balls. The go-to twins are — Crockett Gillmore and Michael Matthews. Gillmore is an imposing presence at 6-6, 230 pounds – already the prototypical NFL-caliber size receiver as a high school senior. On the season, he has 40 receptions, 22 are touchdowns. Gillmore averages 28.1 yards per catch, while Matthews averages 22.1. Matthews leads Bushland with 45 catches, 14 of which are for touchdowns. Bushland's pass route pattern is more short-to-intermediate than vertical. The Falcons do a good job of taking what the defense gives them. Bushland takes the occasional downfield shot when the secondary gives up the deep-route coverage when falling for the play action run defense – which the Falcons can. Michael Matthews – senior who is as prolific as a defensive back as he is a receiver and wing back. In last week’s semi-final game vs. Callisburg, Matthews rushed for 111 yards on 13 carries including the final decisive touchdown on an 17-yard carry late in the 4th quarter. He also jarred the ball loose as a defensive back on two key pass plays that would have given Callisburg 1st downs. He finished with 106 yards rushing, five tackles, two key 3rd down pass break-ups and two deflected passes. He finished the regular season in the top 5 leading receivers in the Panhandle Class 3A/2A region along with three other Falcon teammate receivers. Matthews was named to the 2009 APSE Class 2A All-State Football Second-Team Offense as a wide receiver. In 2008, Mathews, the second leading rusher behind then junior QB Sawyer Cornelius, ran for 606 yards and nine touchdowns. The double threat also caught four touchdowns. “He is a threat running or receiving,” Coach Flowers said.

Daingerfield: Chris Jones - senior has caught 26 passes for 576 yards and eight TDs. In 2008 as a junior, Jones was designated a TOP 20 Wide Receiver nationally by, he had 42 catches for 1045 yards receiving and 12 TDs along with 340 yards rushing and 16.2 yards per carry average with 6 TDs. He is a 4 star recruit. Mack Brown has a verbal from Jones to sign with the potentially newly-minted national champion Longhorns come February. Keyarris Garrett, also a senior, has 22 catches for 311 yards and eight TDs.

Offensive Line:
Bushland: Caleb Mendoza – senior, 5’11”, 210 pounds. In 2009, has 30 pancakes with no sacks allowed. He was named to the 2009 APSE Class 2A All-State Football First-Team Offense and graded 93. In 2008, Mendoza led the Falcon defense with 74 tackles, 42 assists, three sacks and two fumble recoveries on his way to being selected to all-district second team as a defensive linebacker.

Daingerfield: Shayvion Hatten – junior. Named to the 2009 APSE Class 2A All-State Football First-Team Offense.

Defensive Line:
Bushland: Crockett Gillmore – Defensive End, 6’5”, 220 pounds, senior. When he is not catching game-winning passes or rushing for 100+ yards per game, Gillmore has 88 tackles (20 solo), 9 sacks, 4 TFL, 3 pass breakups, 1 interception, was named the 2009 District 1-2A defensive MVP and named to the 2009 APSE Class 2A All-State Football First-Team Defense. Gillmore is going to play collegiate football on an athletic scholarship for Colorado State.

Daingerfield: Chris Robertson (defensive end) – senior. In 2009, has 69 tackles , 20 TFL and 6 sacks. Robertson was named to the 2009 APSE Class 2A All-State Football First-Team Defense.

Bushland: Brett Sickles, Garry Walsmith, Caleb McGuire

Daingerfield: Steve Edmond (middle) – 6’3”, 235 pounds, junior & Josh Evans, senior - This dooms-day duo has been the anchor of the Tiger defense all season. In 2008, Edmond as a sophomore had 61 tackles and 20 TFL. Evans 2008 numbers as a junior were staggering at 117 tackles. In 2009, Edmond has a 2009 running total of 171 tackles and 12.2 tackles per game average. 34 of those tackles were for losses, five sacks, four interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Both Edmond and Evans have been named to the 2009 APSE Class 2A All-State Football Second-Team Defense. Fellow linebacker Billy Walker is averaging 7.5 tackles per game this season. D'vonte Turner joins the defensive pass rush mix with Joe Lafayette, a linebacker/defensive back hybrid, with five sacks apiece. Scott Irvin, another hybrid player, has four sacks and is tied with Edmond for the team lead with 34 tackles for loss. Daingerfield forces the issue defensively rather than reading and reacting. The Tigers middle defensive players comprise a smash-mouth, all up your grill blitzing machine that will not cease. Edmond was District 17-2A’s 2009 defensive MVP. That quad pack of Daingerfield linebackers is going to be the toughest challenge the Bushland run/pass offense has met this season.

Defensive Backs:
Bushland: Michael Matthews – senior, Thomas Cleveland, Cameron Klienschimdt

Daingerfield: , Scott Irvin – senior – has 101 tackles, 23 TFL, 4 sacks, 3 fumbles recovered, 5 pass break-ups and 1 interception. Irvin was named to the 2009 APSE Class 2A All-State Football First-Team Defense. Pressuring the Falcon’s Wilhelm is a major focal point for the Tiger defense. Forcing Wilhelm to make quick decisions under duress can lead to turnovers. The Tiger secondary with players such as David Mims, Marcus Peters, Garrett Hughes (2009 APSE Class 2A All-State Football Honorable Mention Defensive Back) and Aaron Lewis have proven effective at shutting-down the deep and post routes as well as the middle post patters that Bushland likes to run all at once to confuse defensive secondary into misreads. Bushland must prepare for a Daingerfield defense that pressures from all angles – the pass-rush wealth spreads far and wide.

The Game: Bushland Falcons (15-0) vs. Daingerfield Tigers (14-1) for the Class 2A Division II state championship, 6 p.m. Saturday, December 19, 2009 at Wichita Falls Memorial Stadium.

12/15/09 Blog

And now there is but one. Of the three Panhandle teams still playing post-season football into the second weekend of December – a pair fell.

First, last Friday night Stratford fell to Albany 28-14 in a Class 1A Division II state semifinal in Wolfforth’s Tiger Stadium. Then Canadian lost to Goldthwaite 29-25 in the Class 1A Division I state championship game at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock Saturday night.

But, Bushland did fight to defeat Callisburg 42-34 in a Class 2A Division II state semifinal at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls last Saturday night.

The Bushland Falcons, a team and a high school that did not even exist less than a decade ago; will play for their first state championship. The Falcons will face Daingerfield for the title at Wichita Falls Memorial Stadium on at 5 p.m. Saturday. Daingerfield is the defending 2A state champion, while the Falcons are playing for the title in only their third post-season. Bushland will be the first Amarillo-metro team to play for a state football championship since the 1948 Amarillo High Sandies.

Stratford went into the 1A Division II semi-final game facing an Albany Lion team who had won their 14th consecutive game. The Lions sprinted to a 21-0 halftime lead – the highlight play being a 58-yard pass from Leif Johnston to Jason Brothers on their sixth offensive play late in the first quarter and a 46-yard interception return by Brothers on the third play of the second period. Albany's third end zone visit of the half was on a 3-yard pass from Johnston to running back Elijah Hudson punctuating an 11-play, 80-yard drive in response to Stratford’s punt.

Immediately in the second half, the Lions drove 71 yards in four plays after the kickoff to take a 28-0 lead on a 15-yard pass from Johnston to Hudson.

Stratford's offense began to respond strongly after that but the hole had been dug too deep at that point. The Elks were held to 101 yards total offense in the first half, including 55 rushing yards. In the second half they had 168 yards rushing as they wound up with 286 total yards and 17 first downs.

Albany, ranked No. 1 in the state much of the season, had 141 yards total offense in the first half, including 65 rushing. The Lions wound up with 284 total yards and 193 on the ground with 11 first downs.

Stratford did not reach the end zone until the fourth play of the 4th quarter as Klinton Keener ran 1 yard ending an eight-play, 68-yard drive off an Albany punt. Keener’s 44-yard run from the Elks 40 to the Lions 16 was the key play of the drive.

Early in the third period Bryce Cummings raced 45 yards from the Lions 46 to the 1 but fumbled the ball through the end zone for a touchback with 6:27 remaining in that quarter.

The Elks final score at the 1:42 mark in the 4th quarter came on a 10-yard run into the end zone by Keener capping a nine-play, 50-yard drive on Albany's single turnover of the night making the score 28-14 and final. Albany then ran out the remaining time following the kickoff.

The Elks reached the state semifinals seven times this decade and won three state titles. This was their 43rd playoff game of the decade and 49th since the 1999 season.

Saturday night in Lubbock, Canadian and Goldthwaite got off to a rather slow and inefficient first half of offense where defenses butted heads. Perhaps it was the spectacle of playing in the 59,000 seat capacity of Jones AT&T Stadium – the home of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Small-town Class 1A teams and fans perhaps were a bit awe-struck at the massiveness of it all. The second half got going rapidly and immediately in the third quarter with the Canadian offense hitting their stride as the Wildcats often looked like a team poised to three-peat.

Canadian’s last offensive stand started at their own 2-yard line with less than three minutes remaining. The Wildcat offense drove 55 yards, and on a 3rd down and 8, after what must have been eight seconds of scrambling around the backfield in search of an open Wildcat receiver, quarterback Brandon Robinson was intercepted by Kiefer Wilson virtually terminating Canadian's last ditch effort for a third straight state championship.

In the third quarter, Goldthwaite churned out a pair of touchdown passes of over 60 yards, Canadian blocked a punt and Wildcat QB Robinson rushed for two touchdowns - one a 46-yarder. At the end of the 3rd quarter, Goldthwaite led 27-19.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Robinson completed a 63-yard deep route pass to Jacob Ramirez who scored a touchdown and it was suddenly 27-25. On the ensuing two-point conversion attempt by the Wildcats to tie the game, Robinson 4-step dropped back to pass, was chased out of the pocket forcing him to toss a floater that Goldthwaite linebacker Hunter Melton picked off at the Goldthwaite 12 and ran all the way to the Canadian end zone, giving the Eagles the two points and a 29-25 lead. Canadian had also failed on a fake PAT attempt after Robinson's second score in the third quarter.

In the final minutes, Goldthwaite was in control and driving to Canadian's 17 when Wildcat defensive back Austen Covin intercepted Tyler Horton’s pass (passed for three touchdowns for Goldthwaite) at the 2 to set-up Canadian with one final last-minute come-from-behind drive to win it all.

On fourth-and-3 from his own 9, Robinson connected with Ramirez for 17 yards and a first down. After a couple of run plays, on the 3rd and 8 play, Goldthwaite’s Wilson intercepted Robinson with 1:23 left. The Eagle offense then was effective in running the clock out for the state championship.

Goldthwaite's Luis Arredondo's opening kickoff took a weird backward bounce and was spotted at Goldthwaite own 37-yard line leaving Canadian a short field to drive for the first score of the game. Five plays later, Bo Albin ran it in from the 8 yard line and the Wildcats led 6-0. The fake PAT attempt failed.Unfortunately, that was the highlight in the first half for Canadian's offense. The Wildcats gained only 74 yards and had only five first downs in the half.

The Eagles, on the other hand, had 233 yards in the first half. Five plays after an Albin fumble, Horton connected to Jonathon Williams for a 34-yard scoring pass to give Goldthwaite a 7-6 lead in the first quarter.

Canadian did many things to win, just not as many as Goldthwaite in the end.

Meanwhile, Saturday night in Wichita Falls, Bushland and Callisburg swapped momentum from one offensive series to the other. For the Falcons and Wildcats, it was a roller-coaster ride in the 2A Division II semi-final game. The Falcons seemed to possess the Big-Mo in the first quarter, the Wildcats stole it in the third quarter, but Bushland got it back in the final 12 minutes for the 42-34 Falcons victory before nearly 7,000 fans.

Bushland sprang to a 14-0 lead in rapid-fire succession in the first quarter. The Wildcats tied it by the beginning of the 2nd quarter. The Falcons got to the end zone two more times to lead 28-14 at half-time.

However, the Callisburg Wildcats come from District 10-2A and even finished third-place in their district behind 2A Division I state champion Pilot Point and Aubrey, a team that went three weeks in the playoffs. Point being, the Wildcats have been tempered with steel in the regular season and are not notorious for laying down when behind. That said, the Wildcats came out of the locker room in the third quarter and scored 20 unanswered points to go up 34-28 entering the fourth quarter.

Bushland had taken a 35-34 lead early in the final quarter thanks to a nine-play, 73-yard drive that followed Callisburg's final TD that had given them a 34-28 advantage.

Brett Wilhelm, the Falcon sophomore quarterback who had replaced injured senior starter Sawyer Cornelius just three weeks prior, completed passes of 16, 28 and 34 yards prior to completing an 8-yard scoring pass to Crockett Gillmore with 11:12 remaining. Cale Maupin's PAT gave the Falcons the lead going away.

Callisburg's next possession stalled after starting at the Falcons' 49 after a stunted Falcon kickoff plus a 15-yard personal foul against Bushland.

On third down, Falcon defensive back Michael Matthews immediately nailed Wildcat wide receiver Kevin Bartley on the 20-yard line breaking up a completion that had a Wildcats first down written on it.

Matthews is also the Falcon running back who rushed for 111 yards on 13 carries, ran for 12 yards and a key first down with just over five minutes to play on what proved to be the Falcons' game-clinching TD drive.

After two stalled offensive possessions by both teams the Falcons gained possession on downs at their 44 with 6:08 to play. The Falcons drove 56 yards in six plays. Matthews ran 12 yards for a first down to the Callisburg 37 then scored three plays later on a 17-yard run around the right side with 2:55 remaining.

The Wildcats moved for a pair of first downs to the Bushland 40, but with 1:34 to play Mason Harris intercepted a Bobby Doreman pass to seal the win. The Falcons ran out the clock four plays later.

Bushland, which had 492 yards total offense with 281 rushing and 211 through the air, will meet Daingerfield (14-1) for the 1A Division II State Championship back at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls at 5 p.m. Saturday December 19th. Daingerfield defeated Refugio 35-10 last Saturday in the other semi-final game.

The Falcons (14-0) are playing for the 2A Division II state title in only their third post-season playoff series.

More on the upcoming Bushland vs. Daingerfield 2A Division II State Championship game later this week.

12/8/09 Blog

And now there remain a trio of Panhandle teams still playing into December.

The Canadian Wildcats (12-1) will play for their 14th consecutive post season win and third consecutive state championship versus Goldthwaite (14-0) in the Class 1A Division I State Championship Saturday at 5:00 PM at Texas Tech’s Jones Stadium in Lubbock. If Canadian threepeats it will become the first Panhandle area school do so since the Amarillo High Sandies did from 1934-36. Going into Saturday’s 1A Division II state final, Canadian is ranked #1 and Goldthwaite #3 in the Harris poll. Canadian reached the final by handling a one-dimensional Haskell run offense 42-7 last Saturday afternoon at Canyon’s Kimbrough Memorial Stadium. Wildcat senior quarterback Brandon Robinson had another field day passing for 233 yards on 19 completions of 28 attempts and no interceptions. Wildcat running back Bo Albin was Canadian’s leading rusher with 110 yards on just seven carries. The Canadian offense, as usual, was balanced on run/pass efficiency that their total offense was well over twice that of Haskell - 547 yards to Haskell’s 209.

The Goldthwaite Eagles offensive leader is junior running back Jonathan Williams who has 1,411 rushing yards on 130 carries and 14 touchdowns coming into this Saturday’s state championship game. The Wildcat defense will face yet another run-oriented offense in the finals. Canadian’s 4-3 defense has been exceedingly effective in shutting down veer and option run schemes this post-season.

The Panhandle’s other remaining post-season teams are the 2A Division II Bushland Falcons (14-0) and Canadian’s fellow District 1-1A member, the Stratford Elks (11-2) of 1A Division II . Both the Falcons and the Elks will play in their respective classes State Semifinal games this weekend. Bushland meets Gainsville Callisburg (12-2) 6 PM Saturday at Wichita Falls’ Memorial Stadium. Stratford is matched with Harris Poll #4 Albany (14-0) 7 PM Friday at Wolfforth’s Tiger Stadium. Bushland is #1 and Stratford #6 in their respective classifications going into the state semi-final round.

Bushland features possibly the most prolific and well-balanced offense in all of class 2A this season. After senior Falcon quarterback Sawyer Cornelius ended his high school career a couple of weeks ago to a fracture in his non-throwing hand, backup QB Brett Wilhelm, who last week versus a strong Crane pass defense, passed for 214 yards and ten completions on 17 attempts. Bushland, despite a turnover-heavy state quarterfinal game on both sides of the ball, defeated #9 Crane 35-28. Look for Bushland to spread the ball around evenly among a trio of receivers led by Crockett Gillmore and Michael Matthews. Falcon defensive back Thomas Cleveland has team season-leading interception and pass defense stats going into the semi-final round.

Stratford’s 20-degree quarterfinal game last Friday night versus New Deal at Dick Bivins Stadium in Amarillo was prolific with turnovers. The Elks had the ball on the ground nine separate times losing four to turnovers. Eddie Metcalf’s Elks did manage a 38-28 win over the Lions and advance to meet Albany in the semifinal round this Friday which will be the Elks 43rd post-season game since the 2000 season.

Of the three Panhandle team playoff games this weekend, The Stratford vs. Albany 1A Division II semifinal should prove to be the most evenly-matched. The Albany Lions at #4 in the Harris Poll in 2009 won their 27th District Championship, finished with their 10th undefeated regular season, won at least 10 games in a season for the 16th time and are in post-season play for the 36th time.

In other Panhandle area high school sports news, Amarillo ISD has named Amarillo High head football coach Brad Thiessen as its new district Athletic Director starting in January. Tex Nolan, the long-time AD at AISD will take official retirement and the search for a new Sandie head football coach will start in January under Thiessen’s direction.

Also, here is a shout-out to Brian Black, AKA “Amarillo Fats”, a long-time and valued member of the Panhandle high school football media and master prognosticator and statistician. Brian, feel better soon my friend. We all missed you in the Kimbrough press box at last Saturday’s Canadian play-off game.

Hopefully, by next week, we will be celebrating Canadian’s third straight state championship and have two other teams in state final games. Stay tuned.

12/1/09 Blog

And then there were four.

Of the seven Panhandle/South Plains 11-man teams still alive in this post-season going into last weekend, four remain in the hunt going into December. Two of these remaining teams face one another this weekend so – at best – three teams from this part of Texas will make it to the second week of December play.

In the 4A Division II Regional round, Big Spring was eliminated by Everman 49-18 and fellow District 4-4A Hereford ended its season to Aledo 35-13. In the Class 3A Division II Regional round, River Road came to the end of their unpredicted and school record setting postseason run falling to undefeated Brady 43-34.

Of the teams still alive, three are from the Panhandle (Bushland, Stratford, Canadian) and one hails from the South Plains (New Deal).

The Class 2A Division II Bushland Falcons (13-0) easily defeated Henrietta 62-10 and will face Crane (12-1) in the state quarterfinal round Friday December 4th at 7:00 PM in Tiger Stadium in Wolfforth.

The Class 1A Division I Canadian Wildcats (11-1) dispatched of Olton 55-7 at Dick Bivins Stadium last weekend and have Haskell (9-4) to contend with in the state semifinals Saturday December 5th at 2:00 PM in Canyon’s Kimbrough Memorial Stadium.

In Class 1A Division II regional action, Stratford beat Springlake-Earth 56-20 and New Deal ended Sunray’s season 32-28. Stratford (10-2) and New Deal (13-0) are matched in the state quarterfinals this Friday December 4th at 7:00 PM in Amarillo’s Dick Bivins Stadium.

Weather conditions at Kimbrough, Bivins and Tiger stadiums are forecast for cold December temperatures in the upper 30s yet no frozen precipitation - classic Panhandle late-round football playoff weather.

Highlight game of the week:

The River Road Wildcats (9-4), playing in the state quarterfinal round for the first time in school history, ran into an undefeated Brady team that could run the ball better than the Wildcats, finally.

River Road trailed 22-14 to open the second half and opened the 3rd quarter with a fumble by Brady quarterback Mackenzie Hirt. River Road linebacker Mikey Tatum returned the loose ball 17 yards for a touchdown. The Wildcat 2-point-conversion failed yet River Road was poised for yet another improbable upset of a favored foe at 22-20. However, Brady came back on offense proving why they are undefeated on a 10-play, 74-yard touchdown offensive drive to extend their lead 29-20. The Brady Bulldogs turned right around and made River Road punt on their following series. In short order, Bulldog Seth Bozeman ran 38 yards for a score that made it 36-20. After that, sixteen points proved a bit too much even for the miracle River Road team to overcome. Brady's run game accumulated 385 yards rushing. Bozeman led the way with 131 yards on only seven carries, and three other runners had at least 50 yards.

River Road wasted little time in setting-up their dominating ground attack on their initial offensive series. The Wildcats went 80 yards on 14 plays, 13 of which were runs, as junior Chris Perez capped it by going in from a yard out for a 7-0 lead.

Brady immediately matched that on a 65-yard drive as Jake Long scored from a yard out to tie it at 7-7. A forced punt on River Road's next offensive series and Brady, on a single play, was in the end zone again as Hirt kept the ball on an option and raced 81 yards for a TD and a 15-7 lead. River Road got even again at 15-14 when Sheldyn Van Winkle scrambled out of pocket with great pass protection eventually connecting to Kristian Askins for a 38-yard touchdown. But on the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Brady's Seth Bozeman broke loose for a 51-yard run, setting up a 4-yard run by Andrew Brooks to make it 22-14.

River Road was predicted in pre-season by many publications to finish third or forth in District 1-2A and not make the play-offs. Nowhere is Wildcat junior running back Chris Perez mentioned in pre-season predictions. He finished the regular season with 101 carries for 1,119 yards and 16 touchdowns and a team total 3,258 yards rushing – by far the highest in the Panhandle area. And he has his entire senior season ahead of him.

River Road played five state-ranked teams this season and held their own each time:

#9 Canadian.....35 River Road.....25

#3 Bushland – did not allow a lop-sided defeat by this potential 2A state championship team to get them down…won on either side of this game.

# 7 Muleshoe – defeated the defending 2A state champions in bi-district play-off

# 24 Littlefield – defeated in area play-off

# 18 Brady and undefeated – the Road only lost by 9 points in the school’s first-ever regional playoff round that hardly anybody predicted they would still be playing in.

Coach Bryan Welps and the River Road Wildcats, my hat is off to you for an outstanding year of football.

11/24/09 Blog

Wildcats are prolific on the High Plains of the Panhandle. The Canadian Wildcats unrelenting march to another 1A state title continues unabated while the Wildcats of River Road advance to the 2A state quarterfinals for the first time in school history.

In what was billed as the greatest match-up in 1A Division I play-offs thus far, Canadian (1-1A) and Wellington (4-1A) met at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium last Friday night in front of 6,600 traveling fans. This area round game between an unbeaten Wellington team and one-loss Canadian got off to a quick start when Wildcat return man Parris Robinson ran the opening kickoff back 90 yards for Canadian's first of seven touchdowns. Then Wellington’s quarterback Westin Williams scored the first of two rushing touchdowns on a 12-yard run. Canadian quarterback Brandon Robinson then dominated the remainder of the game with four quarterback-keeper touchdown runs. The final 48-31 score was the result of dueling quarterbacks in a pass/rush shootout. Wellington’s leading rusher Williams carried 21 times for 196 yards and was 15-28-3 for 252 yards passing. Canadian’s Robinson led Wildcat rushing with 18 carries for 231 yards and passed 10-19-1 for 114 yards.

1A Division II play-off teams on the Panhandle/South Plains continue to advance. All four Region 1 regional-round brackets are represented by two Panhandle teams and a pair of South Plains teams: Stratford (1-1A) and Sunray (1-1A) from the north with New Deal (6-1A) and Springlake-Earth (5-1A) hailing from the south. Stratford's Bryce Cummings scored on a 4-yard run with 31 seconds to play, and teammate Edgar Guerrero intercepted a pass in the end zone to end the game as the Elks got past Clarendon, 28-20, in a Class 1A Division II area playoff game Friday night in Pampa.

Colton Wilson, the Sunray Bobcat running back ran-up 166 rushing yards on 21 carries and scored a 46-yard touchdown to lead the Bobcats past Wheeler, 20-14 in the Class 1A Division II area championship Friday night at Dick Bivins Stadium. "There's not enough adjectives to describe what Colton did tonight and means to this team," Sunray head coach James McAlister said. "Colton's a great running back and one of those kids that runs hard on every play." Wilson produced 89 of his 166 yards in the first half and his single touchdown placing Sunray ahead, 7-0 by halftime. "I give all the credit to my line and our fullbacks," Wilson said. "They opened the holes and allowed our offense to execute better in the second half." The Bobcats scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground, and capitalized on a Wheeler fumble in the fourth quarter for the final score that sealed the victory. Sunray and Wheeler, both run-oriented teams, combined for 386 rushing yards on 77 plays. Wilson, Ty Dooley and Talon Dooley finished with 36 carries for 309 yards for Sunray. Sunray quarterback Talon Dooley connected to Zane Hartman in the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown, putting the Bobcats ahead, 14-7 with 2:09 left in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Talon Dooley on a two play drive increased Sunray's lead to 20-7, sprinting 66 yards on the spread option. Sunray advances to the third round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season and the first under McAlister. Wheeler finished the season with an 8-3 record.

River Road’s improbable post-season run continues. Last week the underdog Wildcats stunned defending state champion Muleshoe in bi-district. This week they defeated the Littlefield Wildcats 34-28 in a Class 2A Division I area-round thriller at Greg Sherwood Memorial Stadium in Plainview. For the first time in school history, Coach Bryan Welps has a River Road team in the quarterfinal round. River Road snapped the ball 68 times in the game, 64 in the “Wildcat.” – appropriate offensive formation for this team. All of River Road’s 416 total yards came on the ground as tailback Chris Perez, who took the snaps in the vintage single-wing formation, carried 31 times for 226 yards and a touchdown while running back Gavin Jimenez added 115 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. “The ‘Wildcat’ is a good package, and Chris Perez is amazing back there reading it,” River Road coach Welps said. “We tried to get more guys going one way because a team like Littlefield will wear you out like that. The guys up front blocked it.” River Road is so run-oriented that a third back, Trent Crich scored his team’s first two touchdowns on runs of 47 and 2 yards for a total of 5 carries and 65 yards. River Road quarterback Sheldyn Van Winkle only passed three times for zero receptions and one interception. Conversely, Littlefield’s quarterback Tracy Huseman led a passing game plan with 8-17-1 for 155 yards. His final game-ending Hail Mary pass that would have tied the game was batted down in the end zone. River Road scored all but six of its points in the first half and came out blazing on the ground. River Road ran on 33 of its 36 total offensive plays and led 28-14 by halftime.

In Class 2A Division I, the Bushland Falcons advance to the third round of the playoffs with a 44-7 defeat of Post. The Falcons are undefeated at 12-0. Bushland quarterback Sawyer Cornelius passed for “only” 7 of 11 and 78 yards. He’s racked-up similar numbers in the first quarter of previous games. The Falcons won this game on a ground attack evenly balanced among teammates Michael Matthews (7-88 and 3 touchdowns), Mason Harris (9-55, 1 TD), Tate Rhodes (4-38 and 1 TD), Cornelius (7-16) and Caleb McGuire (3-11). Falcon kick-off return man Thomas Cleveland scored Bushland’s first touchdown on a 91-yard return early in the 1st quarter.

As well-represented the Panhandle/South Plains/Permian Basin is in Class 1A and 2A play-off brackets, Class 3A through 5A in Region I have only two teams remaining: District 4-4A Big Spring and Hereford. 2-5A Odessa and Odessa Permian both exited post-season play last weekend in the area round of Class 5A Division I to Arlington teams. 4-4A Wolfforth Frenship lost to El Paso Chapin in Class 4A Division I area action. This is the first time the Tigers have ever lost to an El Paso team during the area round of the playoffs.

That leaves fellow District 4-4A teams Hereford and Big Spring as the lone representatives of the Panhandle/South Plains/Permian Basin/Concho Valley region advancing to the regional-round in all Class 5A to Class 3-A play-off brackets. Hereford’s 45-13 victory against El Paso Parkland at the Mustang Bowl in Andrews has the Whitefaces matched with Aledo in a regional semifinal at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Midland's Grande Communications Stadium. Hereford accumulated 604 yards total offense and dominated on defense, surrendering only 219 yards and eight first downs.

"The feeling we have is that we're not too overly elated with the way we played," Hereford Head Coach Don DeLozier said. "We turned the ball over too many times, but it's a playoff win." Hereford managed only a 17-13 halftime lead. The best news was quarterback Parker Bridwell showed no ill effects from a right knee injury as he threw for 354 yards and two touchdowns, doing most of his damage in the first half. DeLozier had said Bridwell's status was day to day during the week, but when push came to shove, the senior quarterback wouldn't be denied.

"I'm just pleased that our team came out on top. There's nothing like another playoff win," said Bridwell, who completed 24-of-40 in just more than three quarters. "I practiced Thursday without any pain, so I knew I was good to go."

In the first half, Hereford had five trips inside the red zone, including four inside the 10-yard line and squandered several scoring opportunities in turning the ball over on downs and a Bridwell interception.

The El Paso Parkland Matadors scored first, sparked by a 60-yard run by Mike Davis. Two plays later, quarterback Carlos Maldonado snuck in for a 7-0 lead. Hereford scored on the next possession, going 80 yards on 11 plays to tie the game as the Herd converted on a fourth-and-goal with Bridwell throwing a 6-yard score to Christian Garza. The Herd took the lead for good at 14-13 on a 24-yard scoring pass from Bridwell to Zack Lopez.

In the second half, a stingy Herd defense and running confirmed the win. The Whitefaces ran for 233 yards, as junior Daymien Garcia had a game-high 139 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, and while Davis had 118 yards on 15 carries. "I think there's no doubt that's the strength of our team the last six weeks," DeLozier said of his defense. "They give the offense a chance by giving them the ball so often."

If this post-season has another power district besides District 1-1A, it has to be District 4-4A. The current membership of 4-4A is a unique blend of West Texas “Big Country” Abilene Cooper, Concho Valley’s Big Spring and San Angelo Lakeview, the South Plains Wolfforth Frenship and the Panhandle’s Hereford and Plainview. Talk about geographic diversity and far-flung travel schedules! This district has turned into a perennial play-off power house strapped together in the 2008 biennial realignment from remnants of the former “Little Southwest Conference” and geographically-isolated West Texas communities and schools that didn’t quite fit into the UIL’s concept of neighboring contiguous Class 4A districts. Yet, District 4-4A will advance three of its four original play-off teams to the regional-round this week. Three of four teams from one district conducting practice drills on Thanksgiving Day – now that is a power district. And Region 1 has two districts matching that description! District 1-1A's Stratford, Canadian and Sunray are all three still hard at it into the regional-round.

Way to go District 1-1A and District 4-4A – play deep into December boys!

* - Some quotes taken from Amarillo Globe News

11/18/09 Blog

On the Panhandle, there are no 5A-3A classification playoff teams remaining north of Plainview except for 4-4A Hereford. Herd junior defensive back Ryan Martinez made sure those eyes stayed focus. Martinez intercepted a pass late in the second half with the outcome of the game hanging in the balance and his 68-yard return set up a short touchdown drive paving the way to Hereford's 41-9 Class 4A Division II bi-district win over Pampa at Dick Bivins Stadium.

Both Odessa 5-A schools, Permian and High, advance to the area round after beating El Paso teams in bi-district. Midland Lee was eliminated.

However, bi-district round was brutal in eliminating Amarillo and Canyon ISD schools. Amarillo (2-5A), Palo Duro (3-4A), Borger and Dumas were all knocked out.

Class 2A and 1A Panhandle and South Plains schools remain solid going into the area round.

In 2-A - River Road and Littlefield won and will face each other Friday 7:30 PM in Plainview for area in 2A Division I. Bushland and Post won bi-district and meet Friday at 7:30 PM on Lowrey Field’s turf in the 2A Division II area round. Sawyer Cornelius, Falcon quarterback, threw for 224 yards and four touchdowns, ran for another touchdown, and kicked six extra points in Bushland's first playoff victory, a 48-6 bi-district win against Floydada.

Zack Fair, Friona running back, ran for 92 yards and a touchdown, had 74 yards receiving on three catches, including a touchdown, and returned an interception for another score in Friona's 44-7 bi-district win against Sanford-Fritch. Friona meets #14 Crane Friday at 7:30 PM in Denver City for the area round.

The match-up of the state and quite possibly the season in 1A will pit #9 Canadian with one loss against #1 one-loss Wellington for the area crown. This game has state championship credentials and deep-December ramifications early on in 1A, Division I. Kimbrough Stadium in Canyon will be host at 7:00 PM Friday.

In 1A, Division II, #10 Stratford and #24 Clarendon meet up at Pampa’s Harvester Field Friday at 7:30 PM. Johnny Gaines, Clarendon quarterback, threw two early touchdown passes, including a 46-yarder, to help Clarendon build a big enough lead to hold off Nazareth, 25-18, in a bi-district win. Sunray vs. #19 Wheeler and #5 New Deal vs. Iraan round out the 1A area round up here. Terry Menefield, Wheeler’s running back, ran for 189 yards on 16 carries, including four touchdowns, in Wheeler's 43-14 bi-district win against White Deer.

Performance of the Week:
The River Road Wildcats pulled off the biggest victory in Class 2A, defeating the defending state champion and #7-ranked Muleshoe Mules, 25-21 in the Division II bi-district round of the playoffs Friday the 13th at Greg Sherwood Memorial Stadium in Plainview.

River Road junior wide receiver Kristian Askins, who was held without a catch until 2:26 remaining in the fourth quarter, helped River Road clinch its first playoff victory since 1998, when former head coach Craig Shores guided the Wildcats' program.

Trailing 21-18 with 2:26 left in the game, River Road senior quarterback Sheldyn Van Winkle connected with Askins for a 31-yard touchdown and Holt Owen converted the extra-point to put the Wildcats ahead, 25-21.

"I can't explain what really was going through my mind on that play," said Askins on his game-winning catch. "This is a phenomenal win and one that all of us will remember for the rest of our lives."

On the game-winning drive, River Road recovered the onside kick and traveled 51 yards in six plays to regain the lead.

River Road's shining moment snapped a 25-game winning streak for the Muleshoe Mules, dating back to last year's Class 2A state championship run. Muleshoe went 15-0 in 2008 and entered Friday's showdown with a perfect 10-0 record.

The Mules overcame a 12-0 halftime deficit and led 21-12 with 5:47 remaining in the game, before River Road regained its composure and never-say-die attitude.

The win over Muleshoe places River Road in the area round of the playoffs next week against the winner of Littlefield and Alpine.

River Road finally broke Muleshoe's scoring spree with Van Winkle tossing a 9-yard touchdown pass to Price with 3:20 remaining in the game.

Two touchdown runs of 3 and 8 yards by Juan Sanchez helped put Muleshoe ahead 21-12 with 5:47 left to play in the game. Perez finished the game with 110 yards on 16 carries.

Area/Regional Round Playoff Pairings – Panhandle/South Plains/Permian Basin
Region I
Odessa Permian (8-3) vs. Arlington Martin (7-4), 1 p.m. Saturday, Abilene's Shotwell Stadium
Odessa (9-2) vs. Arlington (9-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Odessa's Ratliff Stadium

Region I
EP Coronado (11-0) vs. Abilene (10-0), noon Saturday, Midland's Grande Communications Stadium

Region I
EP Chapin (9-2) vs. Wolfforth Frenship (7-4), 5 p.m. Saturday, EP's Irvin Memorial Stadium

Region I
EP Irvin (6-5) vs. Big Spring (9-2), 3 p.m. Saturday, Pecos

Region I
Abilene Wylie (9-1) vs. Andrews (5-6), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Midland's Grande Communications Stadium

Region I
Graham (10-1) vs. Monahans (11-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Sweetwater
Brownwood (9-2) vs. Seminole (8-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday, San Angelo Stadium

Region I
Amarillo River Road (8-3) vs. Littlefield (10-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Plainview

Region I
Bushland (11-0) vs. Post (8-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Lubbock's Lowrey Field
Friona (8-3) vs. Crane (10-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Denver City

Region I
Canadian (9-1) vs. Wellington (10-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Canyon's Kimbrough Stadium

Region I
Stratford (8-2) vs. Clarendon (8-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Pampa
Springlake-Earth (10-1) vs. Seagraves (10-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Wolfforth
Sunray (8-2) vs. Wheeler (10-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Amarillo's Bivins Stadium
New Deal (11-0) vs. Iraan (9-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Seminole

Region I
Follett (9-1) vs. Petersburg (11-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Childress
Meadow (10-1) vs. Valley (7-2), 4 p.m. Friday, Plainview

Region I
Motley County (8-3) vs. Guthrie (6-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Paducah Chillicothe (6-4) vs. Miami (10-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Silverton

11/10/09 Blog

The regular season ended from Perryton to San Angelo with a few dramatic playoff-deciding games along with many crowning achievements.

In 2-5A, Amarillo’s Sandie defense set the stage to have their potent offense lay pavement at Lowrey Field leading to yet another win over the Lubbock Westerners for the 36th consecutive time, 52-7 last Thursday night. Amarillo is 6 for 7 since mid-September closing out the regular season. For the record, Lubbock High (2-8, 2-7), has not won versus Amarillo High since 1973. Heath Herrington rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns for AHS (8-2, 7-2 in District 2-5A), which will play El Paso Montwood in bidistrict. After the game, Montwood won a coin flip with AHS for home-field advantage. The Sandies and Montwood meet Friday Nov. 13th at Socorro Sports Complex in El Paso at 5:00 PM CST.

Undefeated in District 2-5A, the Odessa Bronchos allowed Midland Lee to defeat them with more motivation on both sides of the line of scrimmage and delivered a 21-14 upset in the regular-season finale for both teams at Midland’s Grande Communications Stadium last Friday. The Rebels (6-4, 6-3) played themselves into the final District 2-5A playoff seed with the win. Rebel quarterback Jace Edwards rushed 22 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns. Odessa High (8-2 overall, 8-1 district) saw an eight-game winning streak snapped with the loss. Odessa gets ready for a bi-district playoff game on Friday November 13th against El Paso Franklin in the Sun Bowl in El Paso.

Odessa Permian smothered Midland High’s final moment scoring drive to clinch a 35-31 victory that eliminated the Bulldogs from playoff contention. On fourth-and-12 at the Permian 48, Midland quarterback Jack Bolger rifled a screen pass into the flat to Tyler Middleton and on yards after catch scrambled up the right sideline right into a Panther wall of defense at the 2:05 mark in the 4th quarter. No first down – game over – season over for Midland.

In 3-4A final round action, Palo Duro's district-leading prolific running back Ty Hicks rushed for three touchdowns, two for more than 60 yards, in the Dons' 35-13 district win against the Pampa Harvesters (2-8, 2-3), who still earned a playoff berth despite the loss Friday night at home on Harvester Field. Palo Duro (4-6, 3-2), which already had clinched a playoff berth, out gained the Harvesters, 530 to 315 in total yards.

A 4-4A game determining outright possession of second place, a stingy Hereford defense stifled a normally prolific Big Spring offense. The Whitefaces win secured their number 1 seed in 4A Division II. Only posting two yards rushing, Hereford forced three turnovers. A stunt play late in the 4th quarter provided the winning edge on a 19-yard touchdown pass from receiver Jonathan Davis to Hereford quarterback Parker Bridwell.

In 1-2A, Amarillo River Road ended a decade void from postseason play, using four touchdowns by running back Chris Perez to post a 32-14 victory against Sanford-Fritch in a district finale last Friday night at home. River Road will represent 1-2A in Division I of the Class 2A playoffs.

2-A and 1-A teams were scoring machines last Friday night. The regular season on the Panhandle ended with no less than five 11-man teams scoring 60 points in wins. Bushland, Sunray, Canadian, Vega and Wheeler all posted at least 60 points. Bushland, Vega and Wheeler shut out their opponents and all but Vega are headed for post-season play.


Region I Bi-District
EP El Dorado (8-2) vs. Odessa Permian (7-3), 1 p.m. Saturday, El Paso's Socorro ISD Student Activities Complex
EP Franklin (7-3) vs. Odessa (8-2), 8 p.m. Friday, El Paso's Sun Bowl

Region I Bi-district
EP Montwood (7-3) vs. Amarillo (8-2), 5 p.m. Saturday, El Paso's Socorro ISD Student Activities Complex
EP Coronado (10-0) vs. Midland Lee (6-4), 7 p.m. Friday, Midland's Grande Communications Stadium
Abilene (9-0) vs. Arlington Lamar (6-4), 6 p.m. Friday, Cowboys Stadium

Region I Bi-District
Amarillo Palo Duro (4-6) vs. Wolfforth Frenship (6-4), 1 p.m. Saturday, Wolfforth
Dumas (4-6) vs. Abilene Cooper (7-3), 2 p.m. Saturday, Lubbock's Lowrey Field

Region I Bi-district
Canyon (8-2) vs. Big Spring (8-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Lubbock's Lowrey Field Pampa (2-8) vs. Hereford (9-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Amarillo's Bivins Stadium

Lubbock Estacado (6-4), vs. Abilene Wylie (8-1), 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Midland's Grande Communications Stadium

Borger (7-3) vs. Graham (9-1), 4:30 p.m. Friday at Lubbock's Jones Stadium
Monahans (10-0) vs. Pecos (5-5), 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Odessa's Ratliff Stadium
Dalhart vs. Brownwood (8-2), 8 p.m. Friday at Lubbock's Jones Stadium

Amarillo River Road (7-3), vs. Muleshoe (10-0), TBD Friday at Plainview
Littlefield (9-1), vs. Alpine (9-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Odessa's Ratliff Stadium

Bushland (10-0), vs. Floydada (4-6), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Canyon's Kimbrough Memorial Stadium
Post (7-3), vs. Sonora (7-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Sweetwater
Sanford-Fritch (5-5), vs. Friona (7-3), TBD
Idalou (7-3), vs. Crane (9-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Seminole

Canadian (9-1), bye
Bovina (8-2) vs. Wellington (9-1), 7 p.m. Thursday at Canyon's Kimbrough Memorial Stadium
Sudan (5-5), vs. Olton (8-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wolfforth

Stratford (8-2), bye
Nazareth (6-4) vs. Clarendon (7-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Amarillo Highland Park
Springlake-Earth (9-1), vs. Hale Center (7-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Shallowater
Seagraves (9-1), vs. McCamey (2-8), 2 p.m. Saturday at Midland's Grande Communications Stadium
Sunray (8-2), bye
White Deer (4-6) vs. Wheeler (9-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Canadian
Farwell (3-2) vs. New Deal (10-0), 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Wolfforth
Plains (8-2) vs. Iraan (8-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Andrews

Division I
Region I Bi-District
Follett (W1, 9-1), bye
Ropes (R4, 7-3) vs. Petersburg (W3, 10-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Eagle Stadium, Roosevelt
Meadow (W4, 9-1) vs. Whitharral (R3, 8-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Whiteface HS
Valley (R1, 7-2, bye

Region II Bi-District
Throckmorton (W5, 10-0), bye
Fort Davis (R8, 9-1) vs. Ira (W7, 9-0), TBA
Garden City (W8, 9-1) vs. Spur (R7, 6-4), TBA
Crowell (R5, 8-2), bye

Division II
Region I Bi-District
Lefors (W1, 9-1) vs. District 2 runner up, TBA
Guthrie (R4, 6-3), bye
Chillicothe (W4, 6-4), bye
Miami (R1, 9-1) vs. District 2 winner, TBA

Region II Bi-District
Dawson (W5, 9-1) vs. Sands (R6, 9-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Klondike HS
Sierra Blanca (R8, 1-9), bye
Balmorhea (W8, 7-2), bye
Loop (R5, 7-3) vs. Borden County (W6, 10-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday, O’Donnell HS

11/4/09 Blog

All information compiled from Amarillo Globe-News capsules: Lee Passmore and Les Giles.

District 2-5A:
Current Standings
1. Odessa High 8-0 8-1
2. Amarillo High 6-2 7-2
3. Odessa Permian 6-2 6-3
4. Midland High 5-3 5-4
5. Midland Lee 5-3 5-4
6. Tascosa 3-5 4-5
7. Coronado 2-6 3-6
8. Lubbock High 2-6 2-7
9. Monterey 2-6 3-6
10. SA Central 1-7 1-8
Who's In: Odessa High, Amarillo High.
Who's Out: Tascosa, Coronado, Lubbock High, Monterey, and Central.
Most Likely Scenario: The drama will play out in the Permian Basin where one of the Midland or Odessa teams who made the playoffs last season will be eliminated. If there's a three-way tie between Permian, Midland High and Lee, then Lee would be eliminated on the basis of positive-negative points since at minus-six, the Rebels are at the lowest point right now. However, if Midland High beats Permian by more than 15 points, that would eliminate Permian. The winner of the Midland High-Permian game will make the playoffs, and only Midland High will definitely be eliminated with a loss.

District 3-4A:
Current Standings
1. Canyon 4-0 7-2
2. Palo Duro 2-2 3-6
3. Pampa 2-2 2-7

4. Dumas 2-2 3-6 5. Randall 1-3 1-8
6. Caprock 1-3 4-5
Who's In: Canyon, Palo Duro, and Pampa.
Who's Out: Caprock.
Most Likely Scenario: The only sure thing is that Canyon will be the district champion, Palo Duro and Pampa will make the playoffs, and that Dumas will make the playoffs if it beats Randall. To make the playoffs, Randall needs to win by at least 12 points. There will be a district meeting Wednesday to double check all tiebreaking formulas.

District 4-4A:
Current Standings
1. Abilene Cooper 4-0 6-3
2. Hereford 3-1 8-1
3. Big Spring 3-1 8-1
4. SA Lake View 1-3 2-7
5. Frenship 1-3 5-4
6. Plainview 0-4 2-7
Who's In: Abilene Cooper, Hereford, and Big Spring.
Who's Out: Plainview.
Most Likely Scenario: There's only one: The winner of the Frenship-San Angelo Lake View game will claim the district's fourth playoff seed. Hereford and Big Spring are playing for the No. 1 seed in Division II, and the winner will share the district title if Cooper loses. Cooper is the No. 1 seed in Division 1.

District 1-3A:
Current Standings
Borger 4-0 7-2
Estacado 3-1 5-4
Perryton 2-2 6-3
Dalhart 2-2 5-4
Lubbock Cooper 1-3 2-7
Levelland 0-4 1-8
Who's In: Borger and Lubbock Estacado.
Who's Out: Lubbock Cooper and Levelland.
Most Likely Scenario: Borger can win the district title outright by beating Estacado. The winner of the Perryton at Dalhart game will make the playoffs, while the loser is out. Estacado will be the Division I representative, while Borger will be the No. 1 seed in Division II. The winner between Perryton and Dalhart will be the No. 2 seed in Division II.

District 1-2A:
Current Standings
Bushland 4-0 9-0
Sanford-Fritch 3-1 5-4
River Road 2-2 6-3
Panhandle 2-2 5-4
Spearman 1-3 3-6
Highland Park 0-4 1-8
Who's In: Bushland.
Who's Out: Highland Park.
Most Likely Scenario: Bushland has clinched its second straight district title. The remaining two playoff berths are up for grabs in the final regular season games. If Sanford-Fritch defeats River Road the Eagles are in and will be the No. 1 seed in Division II. If River Road wins and Panhandle defeats Spearman, there will be a three-way tie for second place between Sanford-Fritch, River Road and Panhandle at 3-2. Because each team defeated the other in district play, the league's tie-breaking system will be used to determine the two playoff teams. In that scenario, River Road and Sanford-Fritch are in the best position to advance to postseason play. However, if Sanford-Fritch defeats River Road and Spearman defeats Panhandle, there will be a three-way tie for third place between the Wildcats, Lynx and Panthers at 2-3, and the tie-breaking system will be used to determine the final playoff team.

District 2-2A:
Current Standings
Muleshoe 4-0 9-0
Friona 4-0 7-2
Floydada 2-2 3-6
Childress 1-3 3-6
Dimmitt 1-3 1-8
Tulia 0-4 0-9
Who's In: Muleshoe and Friona.
Who's Out: Tulia.
Most Likely Scenario: Muleshoe and Friona are in the playoffs and will meet Friday night for the outright district title. Muleshoe will be the Division I representative, while Friona will be the No. 1 seed in Division II. Floydada makes the playoffs with a win against Dimmitt and would be the No. 2 seed in Division II. However, if Dimmitt beats Floydada there will be a three-way tie for the final playoff berth between Floydada, Childress and Dimmitt at 2-3. In that case, the district's tie-breaking system will be used to determine the final playoff team.

District 1-1A:
Current Standings
Canadian 4-0 8-1
Stratford 3-1 7-2
Sunray 2-2 7-2
West Texas 2-2 4-5
Gruver 1-3 2-7
Booker 0-4 2-7
Who's In: Canadian.
Who's Out: Booker.
Most Likely Scenario: Canadian can win the outright district title with a victory against Gruver. The Wildcats are in the playoffs and will be the Division I representative. Stratford gets in with a victory against West Texas High and Sunray is in with a win against Booker. However, if WT beats Stratford and Sunray beats Booker, there will be a three-way tie for second place between Stratford, Sunray and WT, and the district's tie-breaking formula will be needed to determine the two remaining playoff berths. Sunray can still get in by losing if it ties with WT and Gruver at 2-3, because the Bobcats have beaten both teams.

District 3-1A:
Current Standings
Nazareth 4-0 5-4
White Deer 3-1 4-5
Bovina 3-1 7-2
Boys Ranch 2-2 5-4
Vega 0-4 1-8
Claude 0-4 0-9
Who's In: Nazareth, White Deer and Bovina.
Who's Out: Boys Ranch, Vega and Claude.
Most Likely Scenario: Nazareth can win the district title outright with a win against Boys Ranch. The Swifts have already beaten White Deer and Bovina, so they will be the No. 1 seed in Division II, while White Deer will be the No. 2 seed. Bovina goes in as the Division I representative.

District 4-1A:
Current Standings
Wellington 4-0 9-0
Wheeler 3-1 8-1
Clarendon 3-1 7-2
Memphis 1-3 3-6
Quanah 1-3 2-7
Shamrock 0-4 0-9
Who's In: Wellington, Wheeler and Clarendon.
Who's Out: Memphis, Quanah and Shamrock.
Most Likely Scenario: Wellington can win the district title outright by beating Clarendon. The Skyrockets will be the Division I representative. Wheeler, which has defeated Clarendon, will be the No. 1 seed in Division II, while the Broncos are the No. 2 seed.

District 5-1A:
Current Standings
Springlake-Earth 4-0 8-1
Sudan 3-1 4-5
Farwell 3-2 5-5
Smyer 2-2 4-5
Morton 1-3 1-8
Anton 0-5 0-10
Who's In: Springlake-Earth.
Who's Out: Anton and Morton.
Most Likely Scenario: Springlake-Earth wins the district title outright with a win against Morton. If Smyer beats Sudan, then there will be a three-way tie for second place between Sudan, Farwell and Smyer at 3-2, and the district's tie-breaking system will be needed to determine two playoff teams. If Sudan defeats Smyer, then the Hornets and Farwell are in. Sudan will be the Division I representative if it makes the playoffs, but if it doesn't, then Farwell would be in Division I. Springlake-Earth is assured of being the No. 1 seed in Division II.

Six-Man Division I, District 1:
Current Standings
Follett 3-0 8-1
Valley 2-1 7-2
Happy 2-1 8-1
Fort Elliott 1-2 2-7
McLean 0-4 2-8
Who's In: Nobody.
Who's Out: Fort Elliott and McLean.
Most Likely Scenario: Follett captures the outright district title if it defeats Happy. If that happens, Valley also will make the playoffs no matter what it does against Fort Elliott because the Patriots have already defeated Happy. Happy must defeat Follett by 24 points or more in order to force a coin flip for the two playoff berths. If the Cowboys win, but by fewer than 24 points, then Follett and Valley advance and Happy stays home.

Six-Man Division II, District 1:
Current Standings
Lefors 4-0 9-1
Groom 2-1 6-2
Miami 2-1 8-1
Hedley 0-3 2-7
Samnorwood 0-3 3-5
Who's In: Lefors.
Who's Out: Hedley and Samnorwood.
Most Likely Scenario: Lefors has clinched the outright district title and the No. 1 seed. The winner of the Miami at Groom game on Friday advances to the playoffs, while the loser is done.

Six-Man Division II, District 2:
Current Standings
Amherst 3-1 5-5
Motley County 2-1 5-3
Silverton 2-1 3-6
Lazbuddie 1-2 2-7
Cotton Center 0-3 1-8
Who's In: Amherst.
Who's Out: Cotton Center.
Most Likely Scenario: For Silverton to make the playoffs, the Owls have to beat Cotton Center while Motley County loses to Lazbuddie.

11/3/09 Blog

With one week remaining in the regular season, week 9 on the Panhandle/South Plains/Permian Basin settled many district championships while also creating additional ties for play-off contenders. Week 10 is going to be a roll of the dice for many teams on the brink of post-season berths.

Here is what is known from last Thursday and Friday night’s games:

District 2-5A has a champion in Odessa High after beating cross-PetroPlex rival Midland High 28-21 at Grande Communications Stadium that clinched the school’s first outright district crown since 1964. The clincher play had to be the second sack of the night of Midland High quarterback Jack Bolger, by OHS defensive end Dejion Rangel, on a fourth-and-12 play from the OHS 46. Odessa High running back Ronnie Marquez rushed 23 times for 175 yards. Fullback Ivan Subia adding 76 more on nine carries. Quarterback Derrick Teegarden rushed for 58 yards and one touchdown and passed for 93 yards and two other scores, both to wide receiver Gabriel Rodriguez. The Bronchos (8-0, 8-1) close out the regular season Friday again visiting Grande versus Midland Lee. Midland High (5-4, 5-3) needs to defeat Permian Friday at Ratliff to sustain any hope of making the playoffs.

Amarillo High’s (7-2, 6-2 in district) district-leading defense made critical roadblocks on Midland Lee's final two possessions Friday night at home in Dick Bivins to win 27-20 and crawl to the second play-off seed in district 2-5A. Midland Lee won the ground game by a 332-253 margin, yet the Sandie defense was able to capitalize on Lee offensive blunders and churn out points on those turnovers. That and the fact that Lee quarterback Jace Edwards missed the entire second half due to a concussion, added to an overall game plan the Sandies executed with precision. Neither defense lived up - or down - to its billing in the first half. Amarillo High, which entered the game with the top defense in the district, gave up 188 yards in the first half as Edwards ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns to give Lee a 14-10 halftime lead. Lee (5-4, 5-3) stifled the normally prolific Sandie running back Heath Herrington (who passed the 1,000-yard barrier for the season) to 70 yards on 21 carries, requiring Amarillo to tweak their offensive tactics at half-time. The result – the second half Sandie offense focused heavily on quarterback J.C. Casas, who completed 10-of-12 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown in the second half, as Amarillo High scored on the first two possessions of the second half to go up 20-14. "We went in at halftime and the coaches told us we needed to score three times to win," said Casas, who finished 16-of-26 for 162 yards. "We noticed that (the Rebels) were trying to shut down the slants inside so we began working it to the outside receivers." Around the 6 minute mark left on the clock, the Rebels scored their only second half points, finishing off a nine-play, 68-yard drive on a 1-yard run by Austin Jumper. But, since Amarillo blocked the Rebel extra point, the score was tied at 20-20. The Sandie offense, on the ensuing series, drove 71 yards in five plays, and Casas was 4-for-4 for 64 yards, featuring a 25-yard completion to Haeden Henderson and a 31-yard pass to Nolan David. Casas capped the series of f on a 4-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Koller to go ahead 27-20 with 4:19 remaining. Lee’s final offensive series earned a first down at the Amarillo High 28-yard line. A false start and then Sandie defensive end Tommy Glover spiked the ball out of Lee backup quarterback Adrian Horton’s hands on his drop back to pass, and Conner Jacob pounced on it at the Amarillo High 38 with 2:32 left.

The remaining play-off scenarios in district 2-5A are many and varied. Suffice it to say Tascosa, after losing to Permian 21-13 at Ratliff Friday, all three Lubbock 5A schools and San Angelo Central are out of the post-season hunt mathematically prior to week 10.

District 3-4A’s newly-crowned champion, the Canyon Eagles (4-0, 7-2) easily defeated cross-town rival Canyon Randall 48-24. Canyon senior running back Blake Boyer ran for a career-high 234 yards on 18 carries with three touchdowns Friday at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium. A year ago, Randall clinched the District 3-4A championship with a victory against the Eagles. "After losing that game to Randall in 2008, we made a commitment when we walked off the field to reclaim the district title," Eagles head coach Blake Bryant said. "I'm so proud of these kids right now. They've worked hard all season long, and it's really paying off down the stretch." Going into the final week of the regular season, Canyon has set themselves at least two losses ahead of their nearest district opponents Dumas, Palo Duro and Pampa all tied at 2-2 each in district play. This Friday Pampa hosts Palo Duro at home in Harvester Field – the winner getting a post-season berth as does Dumas if the Demons can dispatch Randall at home. Last place Caprock faces district champ Canyon at home to end their season win or lose.

In district 4-4A, the top three play-off seeds were locked up in week 9. Abilene Cooper (4-0, 6-3), Big Spring (3-1, 8-1) and Hereford (3-1, 8-1) are all going to be playing in the bi-district round come November 13th-14th. San Angelo Lakeview hosts Frenship Friday night to see who will earn the final play-off slot with a 2-3 district record. The winner of this week’s Big Spring at Hereford game will claim at least the second post-season seed and possibly the district crown if undefeated in district play Cooper fails to beat last place Plainview (0-4, 2-7) at home.

District 1-3A has Borger and Lubbock Estacado in as post-season players. Dalhart hosts Perryton, each 2-2 in district, for the third seed while Borger hosts Estacado for the district championship.

District 1-2A has the Bushland Falcons atop and state-ranked at #3 as they routed River Road 48-14 to claim the outright district crown last Friday at home. Their season-to-date scoring margin is 460-75. Dave Campbell’s Texas Football says, “If you're looking for a DI title favorite, look no further. But keep in mind -- this squad could still go DII pending Week 10's results. Talk about a power shift!” Sawyer Cornelius, the very talented Falcon quarterback orchestrated a multi-weapon offense producing 555 yards of total yardage making a steadfast Wildcat defense unable to key on any one Falcon player. Cornelius, in the first half alone, led his potent Falcon offense to a 34-7 lead having completed passes or handed off on running plays to 15 different teammates. The Falcon offensive line gave Cornelius ample time to go through his progressions on most plays. His passing was accurate all game, completing 23-of-29 passes for 379 yards and four touchdowns - a deuce to 6-foot-6 wide receiver Crockett Gillmore - furthering one of the marquee quarterback season records in Texas for 2009: 39 touchdowns with only three interceptions. An unyielding Falcon offense made capital of River Road miscues digging a scoring trench in the second quarter by scoring on a Cornelius 24-yard pass to lightning fast running back Michael Matthews, and then on a deuce of red zone touchdown rushes by Tate Rhodes and Caleb McGuire. Cornelius and Bushland 2nd string quarterback Bret Wilhelm connected via air to 12 different receivers, Gillmore completing five passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Added touchdown passes were completed to Matthews and Cameron Kleinschmidt (who also intercepted a pass). The remaining post-season seeds in this district will be determined this week with Sanford-Fritch, Panhandle and River Road in the hunt.

District 2-2A has yet another undefeated (4-0, 9-0) and state-ranked team, #8, at the top – the perennial state-championship contender Muleshoe Mules. Muleshoe and Friona (4-0, 7-2) have secured post-season berths as the Mules host Friona this week for the outright district championship. Floydada, Childress and Dimmit are all in contention for post-season seeds depending on the outcome of the final district match-ups. If Floydada can beat Dimmit on the road they will slip into the third seed at 3-2 in district. Childress is going to automatically finish district play at 2-3 since their final opponent, Tulia, cancelled football operations after week 1 of district play and has forfeited the remainder of their schedule. Additionally, Tulia Hornet head coach Eric Wilson resigned effective October 27th after twelve seasons there. The future of Tulia Hornet football is in limbo as of right now.

District 1-1A has #9 Canadian and #10 Stratford, both defending 1A state champions (Division I & Division II respectively) into the post-season. Sunray (2-2, 7-2), coming off a 34-28 overtime loss to Canadian looks good to advance to the post-season as the third seed if they can handle last place Booker (0-4, 2-7) to close out their district schedule on the road.

District 3-1A and the Nazareth Swifts (4-0, 5-4) along with White Deer (3-1, 4-5) and Bovina (3-1, 7-2) are all into the post-season. Locked going into the last week of district play, the only mystery of post-season will be who ends up district champion, the #2 and #3 seed.

District 4-1A also is a lock for the post-season going into week 10. Undefeated leader and new #1-ranked Wellington (4-0, 8-0), #19 Wheeler (3-1, 8-1) and #23 Clarendon (3-1, 7-2) are first-third respectively in district heading into the final week of regular season play. The Wellington at Clarendon game this week could result, if Clarendon capitalizes on their home field advantage coupled with a major upset in Shamrock defeating Wheeler on the road, in a three-way tie for first place at 4-1 in district. The district champion, #2 and #3 seed and Division I & Division II slots still hinge on this final week’s play.

District 6-1A has undefeated #5-ranked New Deal (4-0, 9-0) riding into the post-season with 2nd place Olton (3-1, 7-2). Hale Center (2-2, 6-3) hosts Lockney (2-2, 4-5) this Friday night for the final post-season seed in this district.

Here is how Dave Campbell’s Texas Football pollsters describe the Panhandle-heavy 1-A:

“Let's all take a moment to welcome our new No. 1 team -- the Wellington Skyrockets. It's exceedingly rare for us to drop an undefeated team (Quinlan Boles -9-0; 4-0) out of our rankings' top spot, but Wellington's success on the season -- and its pair of wins over ranked opponents (Clarendon and Wheeler) -- has made it a consensus favorite to reach a DI title game. But, of course, to do that, it would need to get through Canadian, a two-time champ that survived an overtime affair with district mate Sunray this weekend. Together, Wellington's district (3-1A) and Canadian's district (1-1A) gives us six ranked teams, nearly 25 percent of the grand total. That's quite a claim.”

10/26/09 Blog

These are the 11-man Panhandle/South Plains/Permian Basin teams which secured post-season berths in week 7: Odessa (2-5A), Borger (1-3A), Bushland (1-2A), Muleshoe & Friona (2-2A), Littlefield (3-2A), Nazareth (3-1A), Wheeler and Wellington (4-1A).

Last Friday a handful of quarterbacks led all of their teams atop their respective districts and clinched playoffs berths in select districts while setting themselves apart by outstanding game performances across the Panhandle, South Plains, Permian Basin and West Texas regions.

Odessa Bronchos quarterback Derrick Teegarden rushed for 169 yards and passed for 153 more in a 30-13 home field win over Amarillo. Odessa improved to 7-1 overall and 7-0 in District 2-5A play as they continue in the district lead and clinch the first post-season slot. The last time the Bronchos advanced to the playoffs in consecutive years was 1947 (state finalist) and 1948 (state quarter-finalist) following their one and only state championship season in 1946. Going into the final two weeks of regular season play, district 2-5A now has a four-way tie for second place at 5-2 between Amarillo, Midland, Midland Lee and Odessa Permian. The Tascosa Rebels, having started district play with two consecutive wins versus Lubbock Monterey and Amarillo has lost four of their last five. The Rebels late rally last Friday at home against Midland ended in a 21-18 loss and all but out of post-season contention at 3-4 facing a 5-2 Permian team at Ratliff Stadium this coming Friday.

The Canyon Eagles (6-2, 3-0) keep rolling in District 3-4A as they dispatched with the Palo Duro Dons 35-21 at home. Eagle running back Blake Boyer rushed for three touchdowns as quarterback Conner Moore aired it out for two more. Ty Hicks, the Dons prolific running back rushed for the majority of 300 yards on three touchdowns. This was Hicks third consecutive game rushing for over 200 yards. Seth Parr’s Caprock Longhorns faced Canyon Randall in the 4:30 PM game of a double-header at Dick Bivins Stadium (Tascosa vs. Midland was the 8:00 PM night cap). The Longhorns led 25-0 at halftime, matched Randall with one touchdown apiece in the third quarter but almost lost the game in the fourth as Randall scored fourteen points to the Rock’s 3, Final score 35-21 in favor of Caprock. Longhorn QB Gerardo Ruiz was prolific 14-25-1 for 175 yards passing as running back Jamar Johnson rushed 19 times for 111 total yards - 90 yards on 12 carries and four touchdowns in the first half alone. Johnson currently leads all Panhandle 4A in season rushing yards of 935 on 116 carries and 16 touchdowns.

In District 4-4A, undefeated Big Spring finally got beat. Abilene Cooper knocked them off 21-18 to take sole possession of first place (5-3, 3-0). Big Spring (7-1, 2-1) is now in a two-way tie for second with Hereford. This district race could get interesting as Hereford travels to Big Spring for at least sole possession of second place and perhaps for the district title if Cooper falls to Frenship in Wolfforth this week or hosting Plainview at Ratliff to close out the regular season on November 6th.

Moving to District 1-3A action, Borger’s Trent Kirklin was 11-18-1 for 90 yards in the air capping off a 21-point first quarter scoring spree with a 6-yard TD pass capping a 13-play 66-yard drive. Rusty Purser, first year Borger Bulldog head coach has his team at 6-2, 3-0 and leading District 1-3A with the district’s first play-off clinch. Borger is much improved over recent seasons after winning only two games in 2008.

Even though District 2-3A is just outside of my coverage area, I can not resist commenting on one particular game from that district. Last Friday night in Brownwood’s Gordon Wood Stadium before a sell-out homecoming crowd, the Brownwood Lions hosted the Graham Steers. Graham came in undefeated overall at 7-0 and 2-0 in district. Brownwood at 5-2, 1-1. Actually, Abilene Wylie at 6-0, 3-0 is the team to beat in this district. So, why was the Brownwood vs. Graham game a big enough deal to attract Fox Sports Southwest “DQ Game of the Week” coverage? Well, it had to do with this father/son factor: Brad McCoy is head coach of Graham and his son Case McCoy is the starting quarterback for the Steers. Brownwood’s first year head coach is Bob Shipley and his son is starting wide receiver Jaxon Shipley. Sound familiar? Brad McCoy and Bob Shipley were college roommates and football teammates at Abilene Christian 30 years ago. Their oldest sons, Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley, currently are pass-and-catch teammates for the No. 3-ranked Texas Longhorns not far down Highway 183 in Austin. As you may know, Colt and Jordan grew up together, played against one another in high school football a few years back as their dads coached at Jim Ned high school in Tuscola, Texas (the McCoy pair) and Burnet, Texas (the Shipley father/son tandem).From what I’ve heard, this game believed its own press and became an instant classic. Jaxon Shipley caught eight passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns from under-the-radar Lion QB Vance McShan, Brownwood’s third quarterback to start this season because of injuries. McShan put on his own show to match that of his infamous namesake mirror on the opposite sideline completing 20-of-26 passes for 385 yards and two scores. Graham’s Case McCoy turned things around following a relatively unproductive (for a Texas high school QB named McCoy) first half and ended passing for 25-of-40 and 392 yards on four touchdowns. Case is a verbal commit for Mack Brown and the University of Texas as is Jaxon. In true little brother form – these two combined on opposing offensive squads to stage fourth-quarter rallies for the ages. McCoy’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Conner Higgins with two seconds left appeared as if it would send the back-and-forth encounter into overtime. But Brownwood’s Derek Longoria hurdled the Graham offensive line on the extra-point attempt, got a hand up and deflected Carl Baker’s kick to secure a one-point victory for the Lions. Brownwood edged Graham 28-27 and pulled even with them at 2-1 in district play and tied for second-place behind first-place Wylie (7-0, 3-0). Graham hosts Wylie this Friday as Brownwood travels to third-place Sweetwater. The arrival of younger brother passing/receiving tandem McCoy/Shipley, version 2.0 to the 40 Acres in Austin should prove to be interesting and almost timed perfectly. With the departure of older brothers Colt and Jordan to high-dollar rookie contracts in the NFL next year, Mack Brown and UT Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis might just decide to red-shirt both Case and Jaxon just as their elders were. That would give former Lake Travis and current true freshman Longhorn QB Garret Gilbert two or three full seasons to drive the UT offense while mentoring Case beneath him on the depth chart. Most scouts consider Case McCoy to be an even more accurate and powerful passer than his elder sibling Colt. If that is indeed the case, Mack may just have recruited his way into a couple or three more national championships before he hands the reins over to Will Muschamp.

2A Panhandle teams still have a trio of undefeated: Bushland ((1-2A), Muleshoe (2-2A) and Littlefield (3-2A). Sawyer Cornelius, the Bushland Falcon’s quarterback, had an all-around great performance against District 1-2A rival Panhandle. In a 63-8 win. He passed for 354 yards completing 21 passes on two touchdowns – mostly to Falcon wide receiver Michael Matthews (111 yards receiving). On the ground, Cornelius ran in two touchdowns capping his personal scoring with eight extra point kicks. Cornelius’ season statistics thus far are 112-181-3 for 1,943 yards and 27 touchdowns. The Falcons came in ranked No. 3 and remain perfect at 8-0, 3-0 and lock-up the first play-off slot in district with two weeks remaining. Coach Flowers has his team poised for another deep run into the post-season.

Jared Skipworth, District 2-2A Muleshoe’s quarterback has had big shoes to fill this season. Wes Wood came close to matching former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell’s single season touchdown record last season in route to a Class 2A Division I state championship. Wood ended up just three touchdown passes shy of Graham Harrell's state record. The Texas Tech quarterback passed for 67 touchdowns at Ennis in 2003. Skipworth‘s QB stats through week 7 are 90-172-7 for 1,479 yards and 14 TDs.

Among 1-A districts, six Panhandle/South Plains teams remain undefeated – all leading their respective districts going into week 8. Canadian (1-1A), No. 7-ranked and defending 1A Division II state champion continues to roll after last week’s defeat of defending 1A Division I champion and district foe Stratford. Quarterback Brandon Robinson continues his prolific season against Booker with a 69-0 shutout. Robinson passed for 13-18 for 202 yards and five touchdowns. Canadian scored five times in the first quarter alone. Booker had minus-20 yards rushing total. Nazareth (3-1) beat White Deer 20-12 and leads their district at 3-0. Wheeler and Wellington share first place in District 4-1A at 3-0 each in district play and undefeated overall as well. That will change this week when Wellington hosts Wheeler Friday night for the outright district lead going into the final week of the regular season.

10/19/09 Blog

The most amazing game on the Panhandle this week had to be Canyon Randall’s 16-point come-from-behind stunner in the last 2:30 of a 3-4A game against Amarillo Palo Duro, the matinee of a double-header at Dick Bivins Stadium. Randall Raider quarterback Hunter Alford seemed at times to will the ball down the field in two consecutive offensive series -- the last initiated off an onside kick recovery by Raider Aaron Whited with 2:37 remaining to set up the nine-play, 54-yard game-winning drive. On that series Alford, a junior who threw for 251 yards, was going for it on fourth-and-15 at the 30-yard line and evaded a potential game-ending sack. Alford pulled a Houdini spin move as he splayed a pass to a miracle catch by Norton inside the Palo Duro 10 for a first down. Burning through a set of downs, Alford connected to his reliable connection - receiver Brett Scheve - nine catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns - on a 4-yard out route for the final TD of the game with four seconds remaining. Raiders 35, Palo Duro 36. First year Randall coach Bryan Wood had already decided on the previous Randall TD – where they went for a 2-point-conversion – to go for it again if they scored another TD. With four seconds on the clock - trailing by one. The PAT quarterback keeper run by Alford capped an amazing 37-36 District 3-4A win against Palo. It was Randall’s first victory of the season, pulling the Raiders into a four-way tie for 2nd place in District 3-4A at 1-1 with Palo Duro, Pampa and Dumas. Canyon leads the district at 2-0 after beating Pampa at home 30-18.

District 4-4A’s big story is Big Spring. State-ranked at #8 and undefeated at 2-0 in district, 7-0 overall. Plainview proved to be not much of a roadblock in Big Spring’s 49-12 win. This Friday features the decisive district match-up in this district thus far as second place Abilene Cooper (2-0/4-3) hosts Big Spring at Shotwell. The Hereford Whitefaces (1-1/6-1) edged Frenship 20-17 and now share 3rd place with San Angelo Lakeview. Those two meet this Friday in San Angelo to settle the tie.

In district 2-5A, Odessa continues to lead as the only undefeated team into week 8 with a 35-25 win over Lubbock Monterey. Amarillo has claimed sole possession of second place with a road win against Midland – the clincher was a 42-yard field goal by Sandie kicker Austin Sasser for a 23-20 win. Thursday night, Tascosa and Lubbock Coronado got district weekly action going at Dick Bivins. The Rebels came out flat and stayed that way all evening as the Mustangs dispatched them 27-7. Tascosa is now behind the ball in 4th place at 3-3 with stiff competition still ahead – albeit mostly on their home field. Midland High, Midland Lee and Odessa Permian are now in a three-way tie for 3rd place at 4-2. The three Lubbock 5A schools and San Angelo Central round out the bottom half of the district.

District 1-3A is led by the Borger Bulldogs under first-year coach Rusty Purser. The new regime has the Bulldogs leading the district at 2-0/5-2 –- a remarkable turnaround from last season’s total of two wins. Perryton, Dalhart, Lubbock Cooper and Lubbock Estacado are all tied for second place at 1-1 wile Levelland is in last at 0-2.

In 2-A districts on the Panhandle and South Plains, Bushland (2-0/7-0) in 1-2A seems capable of running the table if their 62-7 dispatching of Spearman last Friday is any indication. State-ranked at #3, Coach Flowers has the Falcons poised to move up and play deep into December. Muleshoe, a former district foe of Bushland, has District 2-2A under control -- also undefeated at 2-0/7-0. Muleshoe got a free win last week when their scheduled opponent Tulia (0-2/0-7) forfeited due to a player flu epidemic. Littlefield (4-0/6-1) leads District 3-2A and remains undefeated in district play as they took out Idalou 35-16 last week. Shallowater (2-2/5-2), tied with Idalou and Denver City for 2nd place, meets Littlefield next.

1A teams on the Panhandle continue to populate the 1A state polls. In 1-1A action last Friday, defending 1A Division I & II state champions met: Canadian and Stratford came in tied for the 1-1A lead. The anticipated match-up did not disappoint, putting on a seesaw show for first place in District 1-1A. Canadian's Bo Albin scored from 1 yard out with 31 seconds remaining to seal the win before 3,500 fans in Stratford's Sam Bass Stadium. Canadian – 35, Stratford – 28. Stratford came in to this game ranked #9 and Canadian #10. Sunray beat Gruver 35-12, improving to 1-1/6-1 and should climb back up the statewide polls from #19. In District 3-1A, White Deer and Nazareth remain both at 2-0/3-4 and tied for the lead. White Deer shutout Claude 60-0 while Nazareth edged Vega 14-7. White Deer hosts Nazareth this Friday for the outright district lead. #2-ranked Wellington (2-0/6-0) remains in a three-way tie for the lead in District 4-1A with equally undefeated #24-ranked Wheeler and #18-ranked Clarendon. Last Friday, each of these district leaders scored wins over winless district foes Shamrock, Memphis and Quanah respectively. Wheeler hosts Clarendon this Friday for potential sole possession of the lead if Wellington should fall to next to last place Quanah – not likely. In District 6-1A, the #6-ranked New Deal Lions (2-0/7-0), who have lost just one district game since 2004, continue to roll over their district opponents. Last Friday: New Deal – 49 Lockney – 0. Look for New Deal to move into the statewide top 5 this week.

10/12/09 Blog

While 2-5A, a 10-team league, has been at district play since early September, district play got underway in the 4A-1A classifications only this week. Thursday and Friday night action on the Panhandle and South Plains made for a full slate of games.

5A: Tascosa and Amarillo both won on Thursday night against Lubbock schools. Odessa just keeps winning and remains in the district lead. The Sandies staged a strong defensive front in dispatching Lubbock Monterey 21-6 at home advancing to 4-1 in district – tied with Midland High. Those two are scheduled to play next week for outright possession of at least second place. Odessa High is undefeated and continues to lead the district alone.

The Tascosa Rebels, visiting Lowrey Field, returned with a must-win victory over Lubbock High, 28-12, to remain competitive in district after dropping their last two games. Ken Plunk’s effective Rebel pass offense improves to 3-2 placing them in a three-way tie for fourth in 2-5A.

Lubbock Coronado could not find the fix for the Midland Bulldogs defense at Lowrey Field Friday, taking advantage of the Mustangs’ turnovers early to take a 17-3 lead at halftime. Midland’s two game-changing offensive plays to start the 3rd quarter put an insurmountable lead in the way of the Mustangs subsequent efforts to overcome an initial 14-point deficit. Midland took the win going away, 38-23.

Midland (4-2, 4-1) senior wide receiver Antwan Goodley pulled-off consecutive kick returns for touchdowns early in the 3rd quarter. Goodley weaved past a porous Coronado kick coverage team on the opening kick of the second half, going 84 yards in 13 seconds to put Midland up 24-3. Coronado scored its initial touchdown on a 13-yard pass from Rick Henderson to Brandon Valderaz on a 70-yard drive.

Midland immediately responded as running back Tyler Middleton pulled off the Bulldog bread & butter play - catch a short bubble pass and make a play/option move for long yardage – gained 79 yards for a TD and a 31-10 Bulldog advantage.

Coronado (2-4, 1-4) responded on a big play as well - 45-yard pass from QB Henderson to Kale Dudding. But, on the ensuing Midland offensive series – Goodley lived up to his rep – weaving through defenders and finding the seam for a 78-yard return to TD land. At this point it was 38-16 with 2:52 to go in the third quarter. Goodley finished with 162 return yards and 229 yards of total offense for the Bulldogs.

When the Mustangs got a solid kick return to start in Midland territory, they fumbled near the Midland 23-yard line and watched the Bulldogs drive 77 yards to take a 14-3 lead.

Coronado head coach Butch Henderson said the Mustangs need to find some rhythm over the next two weeks.

Midland head coach Craig Yenzer earned his 100th career victory and his 57th with the Bulldogs. His first win at Midland, 50th win at Midland and 100th career win have all been at the expense of Lubbock Coronado.

The Permian Panthers - with the perfect storm of rushing by DeAnthony Fay and an air assault by Steven Pipes – scored points across the spectrum in their 38-29 win against Midland Lee. A triangulated game plan by Pipes, Fay and receiver Talon Smith, the Panthers (3-3, 3-2 District 2-5A) racked up 262 yards on the ground and 250 yards passing.

The Odessa High Bronchos’ first play from scrimmage at home versus San Angelo Central Friday night in Ratliff Stadium hit pay dirt. Senior QB Derrick Teegarden’s pass to wide receiver Gabriel Rodriguez off a post route completed for 94 yards and a quick 6. The Broncho barrage of scoring was underway and did not ease up. Ronnie Marquez, the Odessa running back, was prolific as usual, scoring three times. Teegarden, Johnny Campos and Ivan Subia piled-on TDs in the ground attack. When it was over, a 47-7 route over winless Central, Odessa remains by themselves in the lead of 2-5A at 5-0. Central has now lost 19 consecutive games dating back to the 2007 season.

3-4A: Parr Bowl III at Dick Bivins Stadium Friday night lived up to the hype (Palo Duro coach and father Steve, Caprock coach and son Seth). This was one of those classic offensive shoot-outs where the stat sheets fill-up rapidly. These two teams combined for 1,200 yards-plus total offense. Palo Duro had TWO running backs eclipse the 300 yards-plus mark. Juniors Denzel Everhart rushed for 321 yards and Ty Hicks runs for 304. Is that an all-time Texas 11-man high school football state record? Meanwhile, Caprock's Jamar Johnson rushed for 196 yards and four touchdowns as Caprock quarterback Gerardo Ruiz threw for 304 yards and two scores. Good game! Palo Duro – 55 Caprock – 42

These teams entered this Thursday game winless, but for about 24 hours, the Harvesters were alone atop District 3-4A. The Harvesters overcame a 13-0 deficit by leaning on quarterback Alex Clendening, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for two. Pampa's Kendrick Alexander ran for 158 yards, while Randall's Bryce Ballard had 103. Pampa 35, Randall 23.

4-4A: In competitive terms, this District 4-4A opener lived up to its billing. Hereford, though, lost three fumbles. Quarterback Parker Bridwell turned the ball over deep in Hereford territory on back-to-back possessions of the second half, leading to a pair of Cooper scores. Cooper's Davon Riddick ran for 115 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Abilene Cooper 20 Hereford 14.

3A: All three area teams in 1-3A got off to good starts in district play, opening with victories against Lubbock-area schools. Perryton beat Lubbock Estacado, 22-10, Dalhart defeated Lubbock Cooper, 36-15, and Borger routed Levelland, 36-0. At least one of those schools will suffer its first district loss this week as Borger travels to Dalhart.

2A: Who Can Stop Bushland?: The best hope Sanford-Fritch could have had against the No. 2 Falcons in a District 1-2A opener was perhaps the Falcons would be rusty after an open week. Fat chance. Bushland dominated from the outset, rolling to a 49-0 victory. Quarterback Sawyer Cornelius completed 19-of-30 for 412 yards and five touchdowns, and Michael Matthews had six catches for 167 yards and three scores. While Bushland piled up 572 yards total offense, the Eagles were held to 175 yards.

In a District 1-2A opener, the 20-point-underdog Panhandle Panthers overcame a nine-point deficit in the second half to defeat River Road. Despite five turnovers and being out gained by 150 yards, Panhandle was aided by a fluke bounce on a kickoff that led to the decisive touchdown. Panhandle 40, River Road 37.

1-1A: In a District 1-1A opener, defending state champion Stratford made a statement by winning on the road. Stratford limited Sunray to 242 yards total offense, while Bryce Cummings ran for 122 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. Klinton Keener caught a touchdown pass and ran for a score for the Elks. Stratford 21, Sunray 15.

3-1A: Defense prevailed in this District 3-1A opener as the Bucks scored twice in the second half while shutting down Vega. The teams combined for only 424 yards total offense. White Deer 14, Vega 6.

6-Man: Whole Lott Of Production -- it would be difficult to find many players who contributed more than Keenan Lott did in Lefors' 75-50 victory against Samnorwood in a Six-Man Division II District 1 opener. Lott threw for five touchdowns, ran for one, caught a TD pass, returned a kickoff for a score and returned an interception for a score.

10/5/09 Blog

After week 5, there is a three level-standing in a 10-team field now: One undefeated at the top, three tied for second, two evened at third and then the rest.

Odessa and Permian faced-off at Ratliff Stadium Friday night in a classic cross-town rivalry. OHS worked their defense to success in achieving a 26-7 victory. Their win advances the Bronchos to 4-1 overall and 4-0 in district play, alone in first place. It also snaps a three-game winning streak by the Permian Panthers in the series. Odessa remains undefeated at 4-0 atop the district by themselves.

Amarillo High racked-up 27 first quarter points in their path to a 33-6 handling of San Angelo Central on the road Friday night. Heath Herrington led Amarillo High (4-1, 3-1 District 2-5A) with 104 rushing and the win, while the Sandies took advantage of three San Angelo Central (0-5, 0-4) interceptions and three lost fumbles. The key turnover - Chase Wolfe’s 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the first quarter. Dalton Koller caught the Sandies’ first touchdown pass. He led the team with 64 receiving yards and ran for 25 more yards.

Massive third quarter scoring by Midland High delivered a 27-19 win over Lubbock Monterey at Grande Communications Stadium Friday night. Behind 13-6 at the half following Sam Teague hitting Arrius Holleman for two first-half touchdown passes, the Bulldogs (3-2, 3-1 District 2-5A) rolled-on to score 21 points in the third quarter. Jack Bolger connected on a 65-yard TD pass to Antwan Goodley at the top of the third quarter. Tyler Middleton advanced the score on a 54-yard rushing touchdown middle of the 3rd. Teague then plowed in on a short yardage TD run following Ricardo Flores returning a Monterey fumble deep in the red zone to vault Midland High in the lead for keepers.

At Dick Bivins Stadium in Amarillo Friday night – the Rebels skirmished. In a closely-contested offensive shoot-out - one of those classic games where the last team to score wins – the Midland Lee Rebels prevailed over the Tascosa Rebels. Lee’s QB Jace Edwards just edged-out quarterback Dalton Brooks in a shootout to give Midland Lee a 35-32 win over Tascosa. Edwards accumulated 175 yards passing along with two touchdowns as he rushed for 116 yards on two QB-keeper TDs. Austin Jumper added 126 rushing yards and a touchdown on the scorecard for Lee (3-2, 3-1). On Tascosa’s offensive side, Brooks aired-out the ball for 155 rushing yards and two touchdowns and 151 passing yards and another touchdown.

"Their quarterback played a great game, and our quarterback played a great game," Tascosa coach Ken Plunk said. "(The Lee Rebels) are a good team, and Coach (James) Morton did a better job of getting his team ready to play in two weeks than I did."

"I knew that (the Tascosa Rebels) were very explosive offensively, but I thought we were jelling better, especially with our offensive line," Lee Coach James Morton said. "That was the key to the game."

Tascosa, after racking up wins in their first two district games, retreats to 2-2 in 2-5A (3-2 overall), while Lee moves up to 3-1 in 2-5A and a three-way tie for second in district.

Outside of 2-5A, most Panhandle/South Plains teams were idle this week in anticipation of district play starting next week. Here are the capsules:

Arbor Christian 14, Vega 12
In the area's most defensive-oriented match up, Arbor scored the decisive TD on a 37-yard pass from Nathan Melugin to Tyler Puschman with less than two minutes left. Puschman also intercepted a pass at the 18-yard line during the final seconds. Vega out gained Arbor 324-217 in total offense as Brady Harwell ran for 217 yards and two scores.

River Road 30, Olton 21
The Wildcats are 4-1 for the first time in 15 years. The game was tied 15-15 before River Road scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, clinching it when Corben Reid returned an interception 18 yards for a TD. The Wildcats ran for 249 yards as three ball-carriers surpassed 60 yards each. The previously unbeaten Mustangs managed 257 yards of offense.

Valley 60, Paducah 52
Valley improved to 5-1 behind Jacob Hancock, who ran for 205 yards and five touchdowns on 25 carries and also kicked four extra points. The teams combined for 817 yards of offense.

Midland Christian 35, Caprock 31
Thursday night, with help from turnovers, the Mustangs rallied from a 10-point third-quarter deficit to offset the Longhorns' Jamar Johnson, who ran for two scores and caught two touchdown passes while compiling 270 yards total offense. Two Midland Christian rushers reached 100 yards.

- partially compiled from Amarillo-Globe News capsules -

10/1/09 Blog

2-5A: In only the second season of the newly-aligned District 2-5A, parity seems to have settled in. Starting with Amarillo’s 20-0 at halftime come from behind 38-26 win over Odessa Permian two weeks ago and coming off a bye week, district 2-5A enters week 5 with undefeated Odessa (3-0) alone at the top with a five-way tie for second place among Tascosa, Amarillo, Odessa Permian, Midland Lee and Midland - all at 2-1 in district play.

Week 5 in 2-5A features some great match-ups: the cross-town rivalry of undefeated Odessa vs. 1-loss Permian. Permian lately has entered this game leading the district – the Mojo has much to prove after their road loss to Amarillo and an offensive line well light of last season’s 300 pound average per player. The Panther’s returning head coach Gary Gaines can return Permian to their 1989 state championship form if anyone can – it may not be this year however.

The skirmish of the Rebels – Tascosa vs. Lee - will take place in Dick Bivins Stadium this Friday. Tascosa finally gets to be the home team – in week 5. Granted, week 0 and week 2 were played in their home stadium – but Tascosa was white jersey, east grandstand teams in both. This week, Tascosa’s homecoming, the Tascosa Rebels will be in all-black for the first time since 2004. Against Midland Lee, Tascosa appears to have many commonalities. Both James Morton of Lee and Ken Plunk of Tascosa are new to their respective teams this season, both stand at 2-1 going into this Friday and both have team total offenses that are mid-range in district at the 1300 combined yards mark. Where they differ – Lee’s total offense is 2/3 rushing while Tascosa’s is 2/3 passing.

Amarillo makes that ridiculously long road trip to San Angelo Central this week – approaching 350 miles or over one-half distance to Austin from Amarillo. Every year, either Central, Tascosa or Amarillo has to make that trek – the Sandies have the short straw this season. Put it this way – if Austin teams had to do that road trip annually – they’d be traveling as far north as Snyder from the Capitol City – for a district game! Again, I join the chorus of Panhandle journalists petitioning the UIL to rethink 2-5A alignment along travel time/distance factors come February 2010 realignment.

If Lubbock Monterey can knock off Midland this week, a tall order taking into account Midland’s district-leading total offense and passing yardage going into week 5 that will make 2-5A a free-for-all with teams within a game of one another 7 ways out of 10 teams. Buckle up 2-5A fans, it’s just getting started and we are yet a week away from mid-season!

3-4A: Amarillo Caprock under Coach Seth Parr is 3-1 going into week 5 for the 2nd consecutive season. Last time that happened – 1972 and 1973. The Rock faces their toughest opponent this Thursday night at home vs. Midland Christian – joining UIL league competition from TAPPS league recently. According to my Permian Basin sources, Midland Christian was the Odessa Permian of TAPPS during the 2004-2007 era – meaning almost unbeatable in district, area and regional levels.

Seth Parr told me today that Midland Christian, he thinks, is comparable on a 4A level to a school such as Wolfforth Frenship – meaning darn good... Caprock’s not-so-secret weapon – senior running back Jamar Johnson – leading 3-4A/4-4A in rushing with 456 yards on 56 carries and 9 TDs.

4-4A: Hereford QB Parker Bridwell is, for the 2nd time this season, the Amarillo Globe-News 5A/4A Player of the Week. He completed 14-of-23 passes for 191 yards and three TDs in 42-15 win against Canyon Randall last week. All of 4-4A, save Pampa vs. Plainview, are open this week. Hereford must hear the thunder of Big Spring on their heels though. They are both tied atop 4-4A at 5-0 with district play looming and Big Spring just getting better every week as they shut out Sweetwater 48-0 last week.

1-3A: The Perryton Rangers seem to be running away with the district at 4-1 in non-district play thus far. Borger and Dalhart, each at 3-2, could still bring competition to leagues play. Stand by for district results.

1-2A/2-2A: Bushland Falcon football, in 1-2A, is again undefeated into week 5. Muleshoe, even without last year’s QB, Wes Wood, is 5-0 again at the week 5 mark. If these two teams were in the same district, that would be, by far, the most powerhouse 2A league in the state. Personally, I like saving that match-up for the post-season.

1-1A/3-1A/4-1A: Dave Campbell’s Texas Football loves 1A football in the Texas Panhandle. Just look at their Top 25 Weekly Poll of 1A teams from last week: #2-Wellington (4-1A); #10-Stratford (1-1A); #11- Canadian (1-1A); #13-Sunray (1-1A); #20-Clarendon (4-1A).

District 1-1A has three, yes, three Top 15 state-ranked teams according to DCTF Top 25 – and that is just a 6-member district!

Most 1A districts are open this week save for a few remaining non-district games to be played. Starting in week 6 – when district play begins, look for district 1-1A to host a marquee match-up every week.

9/14/09 Blog

The big cross-town rivalry Friday in Amarillo lived up to the hype. Tascosa Rebels vs. Amarillo Sandies, the annual right of passage for high school in the Amarillo ISD, was all about last Friday night at Dick Bivins Stadium. In excess of 15,000 fans showed up and the Rebs and Sandstorm put on some smash-mouth tackle football display surely to become an instant classic.

Both teams, at 2-0 in the young season, met for the 53rd time and the energy was intense from the coin-toss on. Tascosa stepped out early with a 64-yard laser pass from QB Dalton Brooks to WR Will Smith, the first time a Sandie opponent had crossed the goal line this season. The middle quarters went back and forth with the ebb and flow of the capacity crowd’s high-voltage cheering. The Sandies new QB, J.C. Casas, made good on his rookie campaign late in the 4th quarter with a QB sneak and 2-point-conversion to Heath Herrington drawing the difference to 3. The Rebels recovered the ensuing on-sides kick to retain possession till the end. Standout player was Rebel QB Dalton Brooks with 220 in the air and 85 of his own on the ground.

Rebel coach Ken Plunk, in his first year at Tascosa, ended a 3-year Amarillo wining streak in this series. The Rebels now possess the sole lead of first place in District 2-5A going into week 3 on the road against Odessa.

Bushland, No. 3 in 2A, continued their winning ways. The Falcons dispatched a 2-0 Borger team on the road, 52-7. Bushland QB Sawyer Cornelius, before the bands marched, racked up 341 yards in the air to the tune of 5 TDs.

Amarillo Caprock got a win in week two on the road against San Angelo Lakeview by 38-21. It was a long road trip but worth it for Longhorn RB Jamar Johnson, who rushed for 255 yards and 4 TDs. Caprock stays competitive in 3-4A with this much-needed win.

In district 2-5A, week 3 will be where the rubber meets the road for Amarillo schools. The Sandies host Odessa Permian Friday while undefeated district leader Tascosa travels the long road to the intimidating confines of Ratliff Field in pursuit of Odessa and a 4-0 mark.

8/31/09 Blog

If week 0 non-district game results are any indicator of how District 2-5A conference results will unfold, then the “north” schools are doing fine for a change. Last Friday night Amarillo rolled over non-district foe Canyon Randall (3-4) 56-0, including the first TD of the 2-5A season when Sandie Dalton Koller returned the opening kick-off for 93 yards. Meanwhile Amarillo Tascosa battled cross-town non-district rival Amarillo Palo Duro (3-4A) in an offensive shootout. The overtime game featured one breakout play after another with eight touchdowns of 23 yards or longer and a kickoff return for a TD. The Rebels finally held the Dons out of field goal range after regulation for a 37-34 win to start off first year coach Ken Plunk’s era at Rebel Land.

Also on Friday - Lubbock Coronado dispatched El Paso Franklin 22-19 while Lubbock Monterey edged Plainview (4-4A) 14-6. Lubbock High, the third 2-5A member of the South Plains was handled by an impressive cross-town Frenship team 52-13. Copperas Cove handled San Angelo Central 65-6. The Cove seems to be on a roll again this season. The Midland loss to Rockwell 31-26 paired with Odessa losing to El Paso Montwood 20-13 left the “northies” sitting pretty late Friday night.

Going into Saturday’s 2-5A non-district play, both Amarillo and two of Lubbock’s members were 1-0 and leading the district in a 4-way tie. Rather unexpedidly, the afternoon Grande Communications Stadium score of Colleyville Heritage 52, Midland Lee 20 capped off by the nightcap game Duncanville 33, Odessa Permian 14 at the Alamodome in San Antonio has 2-5A, at least temporarily, in a topsy-turvy scenario from most pre-season polls going into week 1 and district play.

Will this northern school winning trend continue into 2-5A district play?

Elsewhere, 1-2A Bushland, ranked #3 pre-season, lived up to the hype by dispatching Lubbock Cooper 48-9 Friday night. The Falcons racked-up 48 unanswered points well into the 2nd half. Falcon QB Sawyer Cornelius passed for 183 yards and three TDs wile rushing for a fourth one.

District 1-1A is going to be competitive again this season if week one is any indicator. Stratford, Canadian, Sunray and Booker all won by lop-sided scores in week 0.

Later this week: more on 3-4A, 4-4A, the 2A and 1A Panhandle districts.

8/27/09 Blog
High school two-a-day drills on the Panhandle and South Plains are completed -- someone hydrate me.

All four Amarillo schools started fall camp on Monday, August 10th, since according to UIL regulations since they all held spring training. The norm this year was 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. practice sessions since most of the coaching staff was busy with in-service days as teachers during the morning hours.

Full-pad, full-speed controlled scrimmages for Amarillo schools were held Friday, August 21st at Dick Bivins Stadium. Amarillo High (2-5A) scrimmaged Amarillo Palo Duro (3-4A) from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM in 95 degree heat on Field Turf. J.C. Casas (6’0”, 175) emerged from spring drills and fall two-a-days as starting quarterback for the Sandies. Seniors Dalton Carter and Nick Wheeler return to bookend the Amarillo offensive line as starters. Haeden Henderson, Dalton Koller and Will Bryant -- all seniors and returning lettermen -- will define the Amarillo air attack. On defense, NG James Castleman (6’4”, 255) returns to lead the Sandies. As a junior, Castleman is a solid Division I recruit. Palo Duro’s offense is looking swift under senior quarterback Jaren Grayson (5’10”, 160), who was the JV QB in 2008 but moved up to the Dons varsity mid-season and immediately displayed his speed. Defensively, senior Rene Flores (6’0”, 205) will be a three-year starter and anchors the defensive line at Monster. Palo Duro needs to avoid a repeat of last year’s season-starting seven-game losing streak with only 13 lettermen returning.

Tascosa (2-5A) scrimmaged Plainview (4-4A) at 7:00 PM on the 21st under cooler playing conditions. Senior Dalton Brooks (5’9”, 175) returns as starting QB for the Rebel offense as a three-year letterman. After missing spring practice due to his Rebel baseball team making it deep into the playoffs, Brooks spent the summer attending multiple football clinics as a wide receiver. He wants to present himself to college scouts as a wide out. He also captained the Rebel 7-on-7 squad at QB. Brooks has adjusted quickly to taking snaps under center after least year’s shot-gun spread offense. New Rebel coach Ken Plunk is looking to the run in a more balanced ground/air offensive strategy this year. Brooks’ key targets at receiver are seniors Toby Dennis (6’3”, 175), Will Smith (5’11”, 175) and Quinton Travis ((5’9”, 165). Smith will also start at strong safety and will return kick-offs and punts. As a returning starter earning his 3rd letter, Smith has added significant muscle mass since last season. Look for him to emerge as a key playmaker this year.

Coaching Changes:
This off-season has been highlighted by massive coaching changes across the Panhandle & south Plains extending into the Permian Basin. On March 26th, Andy Cavalier resigned as head coach of the Pampa Harvesters (3-4A) after three seasons and headed to 2A Eastland as linebackers/quarterbacks assistant coach. In turn, Heath Parker decided to return to his former head coaching role at Pampa after four seasons heading the Amarillo-Tascosa program. Parker is a 1990 graduate of Pampa High and a native son. Amarillo ISD then hired Ken Plunk away from Canyon Randall to fill the Tascosa coaching vacancy. Canyon ISD followed by hiring Bryan Wood away from Sunray (1-1A) to fill the Randall helm. Sunray hired James McAlister away from 1A Center Point. Got that? Good, now let’s move to Lubbock!

James Morton has left Lubbock Monterey (2-5A) after a lengthy and prolific tenure and is now installed as head coach at the Midland Lee (2-5A) Rebels. Lubbock ISD Athletic Director Gary Gaines was persuaded to leave his post there and return to his former head coaching position at Odessa Permian. As we all perhaps recall, Gaines (46-7-1 .861) coached at Permian from 1986 to 1989, taking the 1989 Panther team to a 12-0 record and the UIL 5A state championship and mythical national championship that season. Former Permian coach Darren Allman was hired by Austin Westlake on February 25th after four years at Odessa Permian, his alma mater. Allman, 38-11 at Permian, replaced Derek Long, who retired in January. OK, that is almost it.

In January, Mark Manley was out as Childress (2-2A) head coach, followed, in February, by Cody Chisum (first high school head coaching job). On March 23rd, Tim Anuszkiewicz resigned as head football coach and athletic director at Borger (1-3A), followed, on April 9th, by former Floydada coach Rusty Purser being named head coach/AD. And finally, in May, former Willis assistant coach Coby Emery was named head coach at Nazareth (3-1A).

Best coaching move for a coach from 2-5A:
Darren Allman from Odessa Permian to Austin Westlake. It must have been hard to depart a 12-1, playoff contending Permian program that Dave Campbell’s Texas Football has ranked pre-season at No. 6 in 5A, for No. 19-ranked Westlake. However, Eanes ISD always has been and probably always will be a single high school district. The middle school football programs from 7th grade on are under direct supervision of the Westlake football head coach’s regimen and playbook. Guys play with each other as teammates for six solid years. Also, there is the consideration that the Westlake Chaparrals are potentially a 5A state powerhouse on the rise determined to return to their 1990s perennial state championship playoff days. And, while Odessa, Texas is a nice enough town to live in and raise a family, I have lived in Westlake Hills, Texas (basically southwest Austin) and my son Rhett attended Westlake High and played, as a sophomore, for the Chaps on the Ron Schroeder-coached, Drew Brees-quarterbacked 1996 5A state championship team. The per capita household income of Westlake Hills is high -- very high. Translation -- generous bonus schedule for the head football coach. I still own a home in Westlake Hills situated on the cliffs overlooking Lake Austin even though I live in Amarillo currently. I like Westlake Hills that much. What is not to like? I’m sure Allman is lovin’ life in his new neighborhood right about now as well. Oh, and then there is the matter of the 6-figure annual salary contract that Allman signed last winter. And the fact that Allman is situated right in the backyard of the University of Texas football program -- and Mack Brown loves to recruit Westlake players and coaches.

Best coaching move for a high school in 2-5A: Kenneth Plunk from Canyon Randall to Amarillo Tascosa. Although Heath Parker was well-liked by the Amarillo Tascosa booster club, popular with his players and had a decent win-loss record during his four-year tenure as head coach of the Rebels from 2005-2008 (he took the Rebels to their first play-off win since 1968), he is a Pampa native and a 1990 alumni of Pampa High who played under former Harvester coaching legend Dennis Cavalier (Parker was both teammates and coaching staff with both his sons). Parker succeeded the late Cavalier as Harvester head coach in 2003-2004 prior to his move to Tascosa and led his squads to consecutive post-season berths. Pampa is Heath Parker’s hometown – plain and simple. Ken Plunk comes off two consecutive seasons (2007-2008) leading Canyon Randall to District 3-4A championships and respectable post-season play. Plunk brings his back-to-basics, snap-under-center running game/short pass route play book to a Rebel team raised on a relatively complex playbook, no-huddle pass-happy strategy, and shotgun formation spread offense of the Parker era. The Rebels are ripe for a change of offensive regime -- particularly since they are entering their second season in a newly-aligned district with ten members containing Permian Basin teams possessing both distinct physical size and athletic ability advantages. As an added bonus – the Plunk era at Tascosa will embark with a “Back to Black” theme. The white helmets of the Parker era are gone, replaced by metallic black (almost dark slate gray) headgear accentuated with black facemasks – a tradition dating back to Tascosa’s inaugural season in 1958.

Amarillo's Tascosa's program change includes cosmetic factors.

On a personal note, this blogger’s former Sam Houston Junior High and Tascosa High School (both Amarillo ISD) head football coach from 1972-1977, David Cottrell, has come out of retirement this fall to coach the offensive line at my alma mater. Cottrell started his coaching career in 1970 as my 7th grade football coach at Sam Houston Junior High, moved up to Tascosa High with my 9th grade class in 1975 and served on the Rebel coaching staff for the next 18 seasons. He held head coaching jobs at Perryton and West Texas before retiring in Amarillo earlier this decade. Coach Cottrell is a great old-school coach with today’s cutting-edge football knowledge. My life-long nickname “T-Bone” was Coach Cottrell’s concept way back in the fall of 1972 when I was a 5-foot-6, 125 pound 7th grade football player. Welcome back Coach -- it’s great to see you back on the gridiron.

Week 0 Preview (All games at 7:30 PM CDT unless noted):

Friday, August 28:
Lubbock Coronado vs. El Paso Franklin – 7:00 PM – Lowrey Field
Lubbock Monterey @ Plainview
Lubbock High @ Wolfforth Frenship
Odessa @ El Paso Montwood
Amarillo Tascosa @ Amarillo Palo Duro – Dick Bivins Stadium
Midland vs. Rockwall – Grande Communications Stadium
San Angelo Central @ Copperas Cove
Amarillo High @ Canyon Randall – Kimbrough Memorial Stadium

Saturday, August 29:
Odessa Permian @ Duncanville – Alamodome – San Antonio, TX

District 2-5A opens the 2009 season with singular non-conference games August 28-29 in week 0. This 10-team district’s second season starts district play almost immediately with week one, September 3-4.

The Amarillo Globe-News 2009 “Pigskin Preview” edition, out August 27th, has the following pre-season predictions:

District 2-5A:
1. Odessa High
2. Odessa Permian
3. Midland High
4. Amarillo High
5. Midland Lee
6. Amarillo Tascosa
7. Lubbock Monterey
8. Lubbock Coronado
9. Lubbock High
10. San Angelo Central

District 3-4A:
1. Canyon Randall
2. Amarillo Palo Duro
3. Canyon High
4. Dumas High
5. Pampa High
6. Amarillo Caprock

District 4-4A:
1. Wolfforth Frenship
2. Abilene Cooper
3. Big Spring
4. Hereford
5. San Angelo Lake View
6. Plainview

12/10/08 Blog
Going into the state semifinal and state final weekend, four teams ranging from 2A to 6-man are still alive and playing high school football deep into December. Sure, the perennial 5A & 4A big school powerhouses of Region I like Odessa Permian, Midland, Abilene Cooper and Wylie and Wolfforth Frenship all fared well into the regional and quarterfinal rounds this year. But when Region I champs met Region II victors in the upper classifications, the D/FW Metroplex, East Texas and northern I-35 corridor big schools all emerged.

Not so from 2A down to 6-man -- the Panhandle and South Plains schools of Region I are represented at the UIL State Semifinal and Final rounds this coming weekend with strength in numbers and a lot of potential historical records on the line.

Allow my good friend and press box colleague Lance Lahnert, Sports Editor of the Amarillo Globe-News, to tell you the story in his own words:

History on the horizon?
Panhandle & South Plains areas could have four state football champions
By Lance Lahnert

The Amarillo and Lubbock areas known as the Panhandle and South Plains respectively may be an afterthought when it comes to University Interscholastic League travel concerns for district play, but small-school football in the area is opening eyes statewide.

That could change during the next two weekends. Four area teams remain alive in their quests for state championships after an impressive weekend in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

On Saturday, Muleshoe in Class 2A Division I, Canadian in Class 1A Division I and Follett in Six-Man Division I will play for state championships. Stratford also will be in action Saturday, meeting Albany in the Class 1A Division II semifinals.

The last time the area saw such power on the football field during the same season was in 1975 when Childress (Class 2A), Groom (Class B) and Follett (Eight-Man) played in state championship games.

This year's finalists hope for better results. All three of the area's 1975 finalists lost.

A look at possibly a historic day:

• Undefeated Muleshoe, coached by David Wood, will play Kirbyville at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Gopher-Warrior Bowl in Grand Prairie for the 2A Division I state crown - the Mules' first appearance in a final. Also, Muleshoe quarterback Wes Wood will make a bid to become the all-time state leader in touchdown passes in a single season. He has 61; the record is 67 by Texas Tech star Graham Harrell, who played at Ennis.

• Canadian, coached by Kyle Lynch, is averaging 62 points per game in its three 1A Division I playoff victories, the latest a 68-27 smothering of Quinlan Boles in a semifinal at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls. Canadian returns to same site at 2 p.m. Saturday to face Mart in the final. Canadian, which won the 2A Division II title last year, can join Amarillo High and Dumas as the only area schools to win consecutive state football titles. AHS won three in a row (1934-36), and Dumas won two straight (1961-62).
• Stratford and coach Eddie Metcalf look to continue their decade of dominance against Albany at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lubbock's Lowrey Field in the 1A Division II semifinals. The Elks won state titles in 2000, 2005 and was a runner-up in 2004.

Should District 1-1A rivals Stratford and Canadian win state titles, it would mark the first time in Class 1A history -- and third time in all classifications -- two teams from the same district won state championships in the same year.

• The Follett Panthers and coach John York appear in the school's third state title game at 7 p.m. Saturday against Strawn in Six-Man Division I. Follett won the 1974 Eight-Man title and was a runner-up in Eight-Man in 1975. Follett is the northern-most school in Texas.

• Two area football teams have won consecutive state championships. Amarillo High won three straight from 1934-36, and Dumas won back-to-back titles in 1961-62. Canadian could repeat as a state champion Saturday. Never before in UIL football history, dating to 1920, has two teams from the area won state championships in the same year.

11/27/08 Blog
From the top, here is a customized capsule pairing of the remaining teams in the UIL playoffs from the Panhandle/South Plains/Permian Basin area of UIL Region I going into this weekend’s regional round of the playoffs:
5A DI – #4 Odessa Permian (12-0) vs. #3 Allen (11-1) - 11/28 @ 4pm – Irving - Texas Stadium
4A DI – #22 Abilene Cooper (8-4) vs. Denton Guyer (10-2) - 11/29 @ 7:30pm - Aledo
4A DI - #8 Wolfforth Frenship (12-0) vs. Denton Ryan (9-3) - 11/28 @ 7pm – Lubbock – Lowrey
4A D2 – Big Spring (8-4) vs. #3 Everman (12-0) - 11/28 @ TBD – Abilene – Shotwell Stadium
3A DI – #4 Abilene Wylie (10-2) vs. #3 China Spring (12-0) - 11/29 @ 1pm - Aledo
3A D2 – Monahans (10-2) vs. #7 Bridgeport (12-0) - 11/28 @ 6pm - Sweetwater
3A D2 – #17 Sweetwater (10-2) vs. #1 Liberty Hill (12-0) - 11/29 @ 5:30pm - Brownwood
2A DI – #4 Muleshoe (12-0) vs. #5 Clyde (11-1) – 11/28 @ 7:30 pm - Wolfforth – Tiger Stadium
2A D2 – #16 Idalou (11-1) vs. Brady (11-1) - 11/29 @ 2pm – Midland - Grande Communications
2A D2 - Lubbock Roosevelt (8-4) vs. #7 Cisco (11-1) - 11/29 @ 7:30pm - Sweetwater
1A DI – #6 Canadian (11-1) vs. Stanton (7-5) - 11/28 @ 2pm – Plainview – Sherwood Stadium
1A D2 – #2 Stratford (11-1) vs. #19 Sundown (10-2) - 11/28 @ 7:30pm – Plainview – Sherwood
1A D2 – Sunray (8-4) vs. #11Iraan (12-0) - 11/29 @ 4pm – Lubbock - Lowery Field
6M DI – Meadow (10-2) vs. #9 Follett (9-2) - 11/28 @ 5pm – Amarillo - River Road Stadium 1A
6M D2 – #9 Lefors (9-2) vs. Silverton (7-4) - 11/28 @ 8pm – Amarillo – River Road Stadium

5A: Arlington High - 28 Odessa High - 27
The Odessa High Broncos fairly had their way offensively in the first half of play against Arlington High last Saturday night in Abilene’s Shotwell Stadium. Odessa coming in at 9-2 was making its first appearance in the area round since 1997 and it looked like they were facing a depleted Arlington Colts team. The Colts were without running backs Jamal Nero and Kurtis Green, along with wide receiver Dixon Kent and one of the starting linebackers. Odessa stopped themselves twice inside the Arlington 20 in the first half. Odessa really had to throw the ball, but quarterback Derrick Teegarden did just enough to keep the second- and third-level of defense for the Colts honest. Arlington High quarterback Matt Joeckel's second-quarter touchdown pass gave him 27 on the season, setting an Arlington city single-season mark. He also did a nice job on the scoring drive on three consecutive option plays for 35 yards.

At the half: Odessa – 20, Arlington – 7

Then the second half happened. Arlington came roaring back with three touchdowns to Odessa’s one. At 8:19 in the 3rd quarter, the Arlington Colts got right back into the game when running back Trey James went over the right side from the 9 for the touchdown. At the 3:39 in the third quarter, Odessa answered right back, taking nearly five minutes off the clock with a 9-play drive, all on the ground. Bradley Marquez found the end zone for the second time on an 8-yard run over the left side, carrying three tacklers into the end zone. At 9:48 in the fourth quarter, Arlington quarterback Matt Joeckel capped a 14-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown run over the right side.

Then, the backbreaker – with 28 seconds left to play -- Arlington wide receiver Miles Onyegbule raced around the back of the end zone to catch a 9-yard touchdown pass for the go-ahead score making it 28-27 Travis Austin, Odessa’s senior place kicker, already had kicked field goals from 33 and 38 yards in the first half, but was kicking into the wind on the final play of the Broncos' season. His 33 yard attempt sailed wide left as regulation ended and the Broncos season came to an improbable close.

"We should never have put you in that position," Odessa assistant coach Jet Carriker said afterward to Austin. "You did an amazing job for us this year and in your career and you keep your head up."

Permian Odessa just keeps on rolling over opponents. After thrashing Burleson in the area round by 56-21, the #4 Panthers look to be on a collision course with two higher ranked teams this week and next - #4 Allen in the regional round this Friday afternoon in Texas Stadium. Possibly next weekend in the quarterfinals - the Mojo, assuming they survive Allen and Trinity takes care of unranked Arlington this week - will collide with #1 Euless Trinity in the quarterfinal round of 5A Division 1. Sherard Ray, the senior running back for Permian, now has 1976 yards rushing on 212 carries averaging 164.7 rushing yards per game and 16 touchdowns going into this week’s game vs. Allen.

Wolfforth Frenship, at 12-0 looks to be on a rendezvous trajectory with #22 Abilene Cooper at 8-4 in the quarterfinal round of 4A Division 1 if both teams can slip past the Denton pair of Guyer & Ryan respectively this weekend.

Abilene Wylie (10-2) takes on #3 China Spring (12-0) this Saturday at 1:00 PM in Aledo for the 3A Division 1 Region 1 championship. This should prove to be the 4A game of the week in both D1 and D2.

Sweetwater (10-2) takes on #1 Liberty Hill (12-0) this Saturday at 5:30pm in Brownwood for the 3A Division 2 Region 1 title. Liberty Hill rushed for 402 yards, with senior running back Ryan Fickel scoring twice in their 31-7 win over Vernon in last week’s area round. Ryan gained 95 yards and his brother, Braden Fickel added 57. The Fickel brothers are anything but fickeled when it comes to racking up yards on the ground.

Muleshoe (12-0) and #5 Clyde (11-1) meet-up this Friday at 7:30 pm in Wolfforth Frenship Stadium outside of Lubbock for a much-anticipated playoff game. 2A aficionados in the Panhandle/South Plains have been looking forward to this play-off possibility all year. Clyde, coming off a decisive 35-0 victory over Tuscola Jim Ned (UT’s Colt McCoy’s alma-mater) last week looks poised to put up with Muleshoe quarterback Wes Woods prolific air game. Woods is positioned to possibly tie or break Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell’s UIL state touchdown pass single season record of 67 set with Ennis in 2004. After passing for16-28-0–271against Littlefield last week, Woods has 56 TD passes this season going into the game with Clyde.

Cisco (11-1) meets Lubbock Roosevelt on Saturday at 7:30pm in Sweetwater. Roosevelt is now 8-4 and in a stunning 21-20 area round upset of a highly-favored Childress team last week is rather unexpected here in the regional final round of 2A-Division 2 playoffs. Roosevelt moves past the area round for the first time in the school’s 37-year history.

Idalou meets Brady Saturday at 2pm in the grand and expansively modern Grande Communications Stadium in Midland (their press box in creature comforts is second only to Amarillo’s Dick Bivins Stadium for West Texas high school gridirons – writer’s opinion). Idalou, coming off a of Friona has a true offensive weapon in QB Tanner Cook. On the first play of the game last week, Cook broke out for a 56-yard touchdown run up the Friona sideline.

“That’s a good way to start off any game with a play like that,” Idalou coach Johnny Taylor said. “I thought Tanner ran the ball well. He’s slowly getting well and that’s going to help us a bunch as we keep going in the playoffs.”

Cook finished with 149 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. The Wildcats offensive line opened huge holes for the backs, leading to a total of 307 rushing yards.

Thankfully, #2 Stratford and #6 Canadian are in different divisions so that they will not cancel each other out in a regional final match-up. Realistically, the Panhandle could have two 1A state championship teams this year in Stratford and Canadian – ironically both from the same district 1-1A. Thank goodness for UIL’s decision to create D1 and D2 in the early 1990s playoffs.

Also, #9 Follett (D1) and #9 Lefors (D2) could stand a reasonable chance of bringing home a state championship trophy to the Panhandle in the same 6-Man category – thanks to divisional segregation based on enrollment. Unusually, both these teams will play in a double-header this Saturday in Amarillo – not Dick Bivins Stadium – but River Road Stadium. I think the logic on AISD’s part is that River Road is better-equipped to shrink their field to a 6-Man format than Amarillo’s Dick Bivins is. Last year at this time Amarillo ISD hosted a 6-Man regional play-off game between Motley County and another team I can’t recall at Dick Bivins Stadium. It snowed and the FieldTurf was slick and icy and the temporary goal posts and sideline markers were not visible enough or something to that effect. Nevertheless, these 6-Man games will be hosted by Amarillo-River Road ISD and not Amarillo ISD for whatever reason.

On a personal note, if Texas beats Texas A&M and Texas Tech beats Baylor and Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State – as is greatly expected - Texas deserves to be ahead of Oklahoma in this weekend’s BCS poll and go to the Big 12 Championship game on December 6th to face Missouri for the Big 12 title – for this singular fact alone – 48-38 on 10/11/08! Red Raiders, I love you also – what a magical season. If you also benefit from Oklahoma losing to Oklahoma State in this weekend’s Bedlam Series, more power to you. So, there you are – I am split in my allegiance between Texas and Texas Tech. Here is the main point. I am a blogger for Dave Campbell’s TEXAS Football and NOT Dave Campbell’s Oklahoma Football. Nuf’ said.

11/11/08 Blog
Week 10, the final of the UIL regular season, playoff contenders in the Panhandle/South Plains/Permian Basin saw long-shots realized, last-minute heroics dashed and long-awaited post-season goals realized.

In the newly-realigned 10-team district 2-5A, the four playoff seeds were decided going into week 10 of district play. All Permian Basin – All The Time could be the motto in 2-5A for 2008. Odessa Permian takes the district championship at 9-0, 10-0 by beating district runner-up Midland 28-21. Odessa High is the 3rd seed while Midland Lee takes the final playoff slot. The two Odessa teams are in big-school Division I with the Midland pair will play in Division II.

In fact, the old 2-5A schools (3 Lubbock ISD high schools: Coronado, Monterey, Lubbock, 2 Amarillo ISD high schools: Tascosa & Amarillo and San Angelo Central) went 25-0 vs the Permian Basin new members of the Newly-realigned 2-5A this regular season. This season marks the first time since 1973 that neither a Lubbock nor an Amarillo school has made it to the playoffs in UIL’s highest classification.

Strangely, 3-4A Amarillo Palo Duro had to lose to 3-4A Pampa last Friday afternoon (last Friday 4:00 PM kick-off in Amarillo) in order for 3-4A Amarillo Caprock to make it to the play-offs (would be 1st time since 1975) after Caprock lost 35-34 last Thursday night to 3-4A Canyon (Coach Parr decided to go for the win with a failed 2-point-conversion rather than kick the PAT and go into overtime).

That Caprock loss set up last Friday’s scenario where Caprock's Coach Seth Parr HAD to hope his father Coach Steve Parr and his Palo Duro Dons lost to Pampa! Very Shakespearian tragedy in nature if you ask me. Well, the Palo Duro Dons rolled over the Pampa Harvesters 58-34 putting the Dons in the 4-A Division I play-offs after going 0-7 in non-district play. The Dons reward for going 3-2 in district play – a first round pairing with the 4-4A district champion #8 Wolfforth Frenship (5-0, 10-0). The Dons edge? They play before a home field crowd this Thursday night at Dick Bivins Stadium. Caprock will have to wait yet another year, their 34th, for a play-off berth.

Quite possibly the best Panhandle/South Plains round-one class 1-A Division I playoff game this year or any other year plays-out this Friday at 7:00 PM in Canyon’s Kimbrough Memorial Stadium. The District 1-2A champion #11 Bushland Falcons (5-0, 10-0) meet the District 2-2A #4 Muleshoe Mules (5-0, 10-0) in what could prove a quarterback shoot-out for the ages. The Falcons in only their third varsity season will be facing a Mule team led by prolific senior QB Wes Wood. Wood’s 53 touchdown passes have him one shy of tying the area record of Kirk Saul of Valley in 1986. Realistically, Woods could approach the all-state UIL single season TD pass record held by Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell (64 at Ennis HS in 2004) if Muleshoe goes deep into the playoffs. Further south, another potentially great South Plains area 2A round one pairing is between Littlefield (10-0) and Kermit (10-0) this Friday in Monahans.

In Class 1A, the two District 1-1A powerhouses #2 Stratford (5-0, 9-1) and #6 Canadian (4-1, 9-1 & 2007 2-A state champion) finish 1 and 2 in district and both have first-round byes. The big news out of District 3-1 is that the Boys Ranch Roughriders (3-2, 6-4) finally earn a playoff berth - their first post-season game in the program’s history dating back to 1963. The Roughriders face a strong bi-district opponent - District 4-1A champions Wellington (5-0, 10-0) 8 PM Friday at Amarillo’s Dick Bivins Stadium.

Friday Rewind – a recap of the final week of regular season top games on the Panhandle Amarillo Globe-News

Nazareth 26 Boys Ranch 7
The Swifts dominated the game, but the Roughriders joined them in the playoffs because of White Deer's victory against Bovina. Boys Ranch, headed to the postseason for the first time, will face unbeaten Wellington in the bi-district round.

Vega 38, Claude 6
The Longhorns ended a 20-year playoff drought with their victory. They finished the regular season 5-5 overall and 3-2 in District 3-1A and will face Clarendon in the bi-district playoffs.

Canyon 35, Caprock 34
Caprock was a two-point conversion away from its first playoff trip since 1975, but Daniel Sommers was stopped at the goal line during the final minute. The Longhorns recovered an onside kick after the conversion attempt failed but didn't have anytime timeouts left.

Bushland 44, Highland Park 0
The Falcons completed their first undefeated season. Thomas Cleveland returned the opening kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown and returned an interception 15 yards for a score. Bushland, ranked 10th, will face fourth-ranked Muleshoe, also undefeated, in the bi-district playoffs.

Quanah 28, Memphis 27
The Cyclones had a chance to win late but were stopped on a two-point conversion attempt. Quanah's Tevin Mitchell ran for 317 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. Mitchell has 2,100 rushing yards.

Valley 53, Fort Elliott 6
The Patriots completed their undefeated run through Six-Man Division I District I led by Jacob Hancock's 107 yards and two touchdowns on only three carries. Hancock also returned a kickoff for a touchdown after the Cougars' only touchdown.

Quick Hits from the Amarillo Globe-News

  • Dons keep rolling: A month ago, it seemed impossible for Palo Duro to make the playoffs. After losing their first seven games, the Dons won three consecutive District 3-4A games, including Friday's 58-34 victory against Pampa, and earned a berth. PD had not scored more than 27 points in any of its previous nine games.
  • Within reach: Muleshoe quarterback Wes Wood's 53 touchdown passes put him one away from tying the area record set by Kirk Saul of Valley in 1986.
  • Decades of dominance: Amarillo High's winning streak against Lubbock High resembles that of the Harlem Globetrotters against the Washington Generals. The Sandies have won 35 straight against the Westerners dating to 1975. AHS beat Lubbock High, 49-0, on Friday in the season finale for both teams.
  • Spread showdown: Two spread offenses met, with Canadian defeating Gruver, 60-26. Canadian scored at least twice in each quarter as the teams combined for 945 yards total offense.
  • Skyrockets' defense flies: Wellington's defense took over in the Skyrockets' 38-16 victory against Clarendon for the District 4-1A championship. The unit forced nine fumbles, recovering four, and picked off a pass in holding the Broncos to 9 yards passing. Clarendon rushed for 234 yards.
  • Go-to guy: During Childress' 30-9 victory against Tulia, Kyler Fairchild was 6-of-11 passing for 121 yards, with all six completions to Creede Breeding. None of the completions went for touchdowns, but Fairchild rushed for 7- and 3-yard touchdowns.

10/28/08 Blog
Get this: 702 yards of total offense -- by one team. The Bronchos of Odessa rushed for 462 and junior QB Derrick Teegardin passed for 240 more against the Amarillo Sandies during the Friday matinee of a double-header at Dick Bivins Stadium.

By beating Amarillo 55-31, Odessa clinches a 2-5A playoff berth – its first in over a decade. Teegardin set the following Odessa High all-time records: career passing and single season passing yards at 1,777 with two weeks left in the regular season.

Odessa’s sophomore running back Bradley Marquez rushed in his dart-and-cut style with blazing open-field speed to rack up 143 yards and surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the season.

The other Marquez rusher – Ronnie (no relation) – added his 110 yards on the ground. All said, Odessa had three players with 100-plus yards rushing. With this loss, Amarillo must win their two remaining district games to remain in play for the post season. That road continues as Amarillo (3-4, 4-4) visits Midland Lee (5-2, 5-3) at Grande Communications Stadium this Friday.

Midland Lee eliminated Lubbock Monterey from playoff contention in a 41-14 win, as did Midland High to Amarillo Tascosa in a 38-32 win. Tascosa’s schedule remains difficult as they host unbeaten #4 Odessa Permian and their Mojo on Halloween.

Lubbock High (1-6, 1-7) survived the battle of the no-wins, 22-20 over San Angelo Central (0-7, 0-8) last Friday.

Going into week 9, 2-5A is all but sewn-up with Permian, Midland and Odessa having clinched the top three playoff seeds. Midland Lee at 5-2 in district can clinch the remaining seed with a win at home against Amarillo High this week.

Amarillo Palo Duro finally won their first game of the season against Canyon, 16-14, with a 44-yard field goal as time expired. Dons’ senior kicker Alfredo Chavez brought in the last-second win capping off an emotional week for Palo Duro.

Earlier last week, veteran Palo Duro coach Steve Parr’s mother passed away in Dalhart, so the Dons' first win of the season was for “Mamma Parr” and creates a wide-open playoff scenario in district 3-4A with Canyon Randall and Dumas undefeated at 3-0 each in district.

Amarillo Caprock, Canyon and the Dons are tied in second place at 1-2 with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

District 1-1A remains the most competitive of the small school district in the Panhandle. Canadian, state-ranked #6, bounced back after last week's first season loss to Stratford. The Wildcats' defense dominated Booker 61-8 by allowing minus-19 yards rushing while the offense created 480 total yards. Wildcat senior QB Clay Cockrell rushed 29 yards scoring four TDs on just five touches.

Stratford, state-ranked #2, remains undefeated in district at 3-0 by shutting-out Gruver 40-0.

10/23/08 Blog
OK, week 7 going into week 8 on the Panhandle/South Plains/Permian Basin - man, that is a lot of real estate to cover, huh? And I am just the blogger covering it who minimizes travel to road games outside Amarillo. Think about the 5A teams that have to travel from Amarillo to San Angelo and back - 542 miles roundtrip - all on the same Friday. Oh yeah, and playing 48 minutes of full-contact tackle football in between. Add to that a nine game district schedule starting in week 1. It is hard out here in the north forty of Texas high school football.

In 2-5A, the south rose again. The south teams in this 10-team district that is. The Amarillo Sandies (3-3, 4-3) lost a heart-breaker last Friday night at home in the friendly confines of Dick Bivins. Midland High came back; literally, in the last 2 minutes to score three times unanswered and sent what looked like a lock for Amarillo into double overtime. Midland prevailed 53-49. OUCH! Now head coach Brian Thiessan Sandies must, I repeat, must- run the table in their three remaining district games. This week, they host Odessa (5-1, 6-1) in a 4PM matinee of a double-header at Bivins. On October 31st, the Sandies travel four plus hours to take on Midland Lee (4-2, 4-3) at Grande Communications Stadium. Finally, they finish the season hosting as yet winless Lubbock High (0-6, 0-7). Drop one of these games and it is over with for the Amarillo ISD 5A teams since the Tascosa Rebels are already mathematically eliminated from post season play at 1-5, 2-5 after losing to Lubbock Coronado 52-24 in Lubbock last Friday.

In fact, Lubbock Coronado, the only other “old 2-5A”team still poised to make the 4-team post-season seed out this district - they travel to Odessa Ratliff Stadium to take on the Permian Panthers (6-0, 7-0) who Dave Campbell’s Texas Football/State Farm Top 25 Poll has at #4 in Texas 2-5A this week. Realistically, it looks as if the new teams from Midland and Odessa will clinch all four 2-5A playoff seeds this Friday night - with two weeks remaining in the regular season district schedule.

Stratford Elks are the victors in the most-anticipated 1A match-up this season. The Elks took it to the Canadian Wildcats in their own home last Friday night to take sole possession of first place in 1-1A - undefeated in district at 2-0 and 6-1 overall. Canadian, 2007 2-A State Champions, are still in the 1-1A playoff mix. Stratford and Canadian swap spots at #2 and #6 respectively in this weeks DCTF/State Farm Top 25 1-A poll.

Just a reminder to my readers and Texas Panhandle Sports Network (TPSN - High School Scoreboard listeners - each week I announce the Dave Campbell's Texas Football/State Farm Top 25 Poll Panhandle/South Plains/Permian Basin ranked teams at the top of the show - 10:10 PM CT every Friday night. Don't forget to find out how your favorite teams have done by listening to the TPSN High School Scoreboard hosted by Nick Long and Adam Cox. You can hear the scoreboard on KGNC 710 AM in Amarillo, KRBL 105.7 FM in Lubbock, KKYN 106.9 FM in Plainview, KEYE 96.1 FM in Perryton, KLSR 105.3 FM in Memphis. Each Friday night beginning at 10pm.

Also you can listen to the TPSN High School Scoreboard in its entirity (if the TPSN featured high school game radio coverage preempts the 10:00 PM start time) on a streamed internet audio feed via RealAudio at the TPSN flagship radio station web site:

Quick Hits:
Courtesy of the Amarillo Globe-News
• Small-school giants: The Canadian-Stratford game featured two of the most successful teams in the area. Canadian has gone 87-22 during the past decade, while Stratford has gone 91-18. The win was the Elks' second in three years against the Wildcats.
• Defensive shuffle: Dumas coach Mike Burt has changed the look of his defense for each opponent, and the tactic has paid off. The Demons, who have won five in a row, put steady pressure on Caprock QB Ckyler Artis, sacking him eight times. Dumas picked off Artis' first pass, and with 9:23 to play, Eric Whitfield picked off one.
• Mules keep rolling: Muleshoe's Wes Wood continued his impressive season, tossing seven touchdown passes against Tulia in a 58-0 win. Wood was 17-of-25 for 296 yards. The Mules held Tulia to 41 yards of offense, including minus 32 yards rushing.
• Freshman phenom: District 3-4A coaches who hadn't heard of Alexio Phothisene likely took note of the Dumas freshman after he totaled 93 yards on 11 touches against Caprock. He ran 39 yards for a touchdown and caught a 37-yard touchdown pass.
• Carrying the load: Sunray called 54 rushing plays in its 40-24 District 1-1A victory against Gruver, and 42 of the carries were by Colton Wilson for 227 yards and four touchdowns.
• Backfield bruisers: Clarendon used strong performances from two running backs to beat Quanah, 62-7. Alton Gaines had 217 yards and three touchdowns, while Mike Crump rushed for 122 yards and one touchdown. The Broncos are 6-1 overall and 2-0 in District 2-1A.

Friday Night Rewind
A recap of last week's top games on the Panhandle/South Plains Courtesy of the Amarillo Globe-News

Midland High 53, AHS 49 (2OT)
The Sandies had a 14-point lead with about four minutes left, but two interceptions set up touchdowns that sent the District 2-5A game to overtime. The Sandies got a touchdown and a field goal in overtime, but Midland High scored touchdowns on both of its overtime possessions. The teams combined for 1,043 yards of total offense.

Stratford 17, Canadian 7
The Elks picked off three passes, recovered two fumbles and held No. 1 Canadian to one touchdown - on a punt return. Canadian had averaged about 300 yards passing per game, but Brandon Robinson was held to 6-of-26 for 95 yards, and the Wildcats' 19-game winning streak was snapped.

Panhandle 27, Sanford-Fritch 24
The Panthers were out gained by 172 yards but rallied from a 24-10 third-quarter deficit. Panhandle's Matt Smith threw touchdown passes of 80 yards to Michael Sternburg and of 3 yards to Cho Sherwood. Smith finished 10-of-19 passing for 143 yards.

Boys Ranch 14, Bovina 13
The Roughriders moved one step closer to their first playoff appearance. Victor Landeros scored on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter, and Jansen Timmons scored a two-point conversion to give the Roughriders their fifth win and improved their District 3-1A record to 2-0.

Canyon 33, Pampa 28
Blake Boyer put Canyon up 26-7 with a 2-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. The Harvesters rallied as Alex Clendenning threw two touchdown passes to Heath Skinner and one to Jeremy Maxwell. Taylor Medrano's TD run gave the Eagles a 33-14 lead in the fourth quarter. A pass intended for a wide-open Skinner during the final minute was slightly overthrown.

Randall 17, Palo Duro 10 (OT)
Palo Duro's Alfredo Chavez booted a 47-yard field goal to force overtime Thursday. The Raiders went ahead on Mark Glawe's 25-yard pass to Warren Maxwell on their first overtime possession, then denied the Dons pass completions and kept PD winless.

10/16/08 Blog
Following up on Jake Shaw’s blog observation that the ten-team District 2-5A may have all Odessa/Midland playoffs teams at regular season’s end – that scenario is looking more likely every week. Last week district play opened across all classifications except for 2-5A which seems to have been playing district games since mid-summer…actually it has just been since week one.

The one northern team in 2-5A which is looking like a playoff contender in 2-5A now: Amarillo High. By pulling off an upset win over Lubbock Monterey 30-19 at the matinee game of a double-header in Lubbock’s Lowrey Field last Friday, the Sandies are now tied for the crucial fourth place with Midland Lee.

That wins places the Sandies 3-2 in district play going into this week’s game hosting Midland High (5-0). The Odessa Permian Panthers continue unbeaten (5-0) after dispensing with Midland Lee last Friday by 35-17. It will be a game of the undefeated vs. one of the no-win teams in district 2-5A when Lubbock High (0-5) hosts the Permian Panthers this week.

Amarillo Caprock, in District 3-4A, keeps marking-up wins despite low pre-season expectations. Last week, the son finally beat the father as Seth Parr’s Longhorns came away winners over Steve Parr’s Amarillo Palo Duro Dons 31-14.

If Seth Parr’s Longhorns can pull out yet another win in Dumas this Friday night, they will be assured one of the district playoff slots. Not since 1975 has Caprock entered post-season play.

Finally, the 1-1A game of the season takes place this Friday as Canadian hosts Stratford. Both teams are 1-0 in district play with Canadian undefeated overall and Stratford’s with only one loss. The Dave Campbell’s Texas Football/State Farm Top 25 poll has Canadian at #2 and Stratford #6 going into this highly anticipated game. This game may provide a preview of the 1A state championship team.

Last Friday Night scores from the Panhandle/South Plains region:
Amarillo High 30, Lubbock Monterey 19
The Sandies helped their playoff chances by stifling the Monterey wishbone offense, holding the Plainsmen to 224 yards rushing, 13 first downs and one touchdown. Monterey's Trey CdeBaca kicked four field goals.

Panhandle 28, River Road 21
The Panthers remain undefeated at 6-0 by holding off a second-half surge by the Wildcats. Austin Sinclair scored touchdowns on runs of 85 and 68 yards for Panhandle, which led 28-0 after one quarter.

Randall 28, Pampa 14
The Raiders began defense of their District 3-4A crown behind Mark Glawe, who passed for 209 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a score.

Valley 30, Follett 28
The Patriots' Jacob Hancock took a short pass from Isaac Smith and weaved through traffic for a 53-yard touchdown as time expired. The Panthers led 24-6 in the third quarter.

Spearman 15, Highland Park 12
The Hornets had more yards (280-263), but the Lynx won the District 1-2A opener on Kegan Garnett's 10-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion run in the fourth quarter.

Groom 33, Hedley 26
The Tigers scored 21 fourth-quarter points to hold off the Owls in a Six-Man Division II District 1 opener. Taylor Fields had six carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns for Groom.

10/10/08 Blog
Last weekend was particularly light on games due to UIL scheduling open weeks for the majority of 3A-1A districts in the Panhandle/South Plains region. However, 2-5A was back in full district-play mode. Odessa Permian dominated Odessa High 54-20 in the annual cross-town rivalry. The Mojo remains the only undefeated 2-5A team in district and is looking more and more like district champs and the Division I UIL playoff #1 seed every week.

Amarillo High pulled off a come-from-behind upset of San Angelo Central by scoring three times in the final minutes of that game.

Week 5 Summary:
Amarillo High 28, S.A. Central 16
It took a three-touchdown outburst during a span of 3 minutes, 11 seconds late in the fourth quarter for the Sandies to pull out a win. Marcus Stockton ran for the first and threw a pass to Brent Tiffany for the second, and Thomas Fraser scored the third on a 6-yard run.

Midland Lee 38, Tascosa 20
In a battle of Rebels, Lee put together five unanswered scoring drives. Tascosa trailed by seven at halftime, but Lee's running game dominated in the second half.

Plainview 26, Pampa 25
The recent tough luck for area kickers continued Friday. Pampa drove to the 1-yard line with 25 seconds remaining, but an 18-yard field-goal attempt went wide left to give the Bulldogs their second victory.

Paducah 38, Valley 28
With Valley leading 12-8, Paducah went on a 30-point scoring streak. Paducah's David Smart scored three touchdowns, including a 55-yard interception return. Jacob Hancock led Valley with 213 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries.

Happy 28, Lefors 27
In what seems to be a trend in the area lately, Lefors fell short with a missed 2-point conversion after its final touchdown. Happy improved to 4-1 behind Randy Eudley's 130 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries.

Tulia 27, Spearman 19
Tulia waited until homecoming to collect its first victory. Darren McCaslin ran for 174 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. The Hornets held the Lynx to 150 total yards and six first downs.

This week in 3-4A, the annual father/son game between Coach Seth Parr of Amarillo Caprock (the son) and Steve Parr of Amarillo Palo Duro (the father) takes place at Dick Bivins Stadium Friday. Caprock comes in at 3-2 overall with Palo Duro winless at 0-5.

The defending 2A state champion Canadian Wildcats continues their domination of District 1-1A at 5-0. They open district play hosting West Texas High (3-2) this week. Many area 4A and 5A coaching staff who have scouted a Canadian game remark that the Wildcats are so smooth and dominating that speculation as to whether this team could successfully compete at the 4A/5A level has been offered up. They are THAT good.

Fox Sports Net will be at Thursday’s Tascosa-Lubbock High District 2-5A football game at Dick Bivins Stadium with the FSN Road Tour.

The Road Tour, in its first year, will give fans a chance to watch highlights, play games, enter contests and win prizes. One highlight of the Road Tour is the chance for aspiring broadcasters to record a video that will give contestants a chance to win $1,000 and an on-air talent contract with FSN.

Several hours prior to kickoff, the Road Tour will set up at the stadium and will remain until halftime.

Its next stop will be Friday at Amarillo High's road game against Lubbock Monterey at Lowrey Field.

9/30/08 Blog
Remember this name – Wes Wood. He is the senior starting quarterback for the 2-2A Muleshoe Mules and he is setting the 2A gridiron on fire early on going into an idle week. Woods was an all-district receiver his junior year. He replaces 2007 QB Garrett Riley in his freshman season at Texas Tech. Most recently, against the Borger Bulldogs (1-3A), Wood completed 25-of-40 passes for 443 yards and six touchdowns in a 51-7 win. Wood has 28 TD passes on the season. Seems like when you talk Muleshoe, you talk Wood. Wes's cousin, senior RB Lane ran for 104 yards against Borger last week and the Mules head coach is David Wood, father and uncle to Wes and Lane – now in his 13th season at Muleshoe. The Mules previously defeated 2A top-ranked #2 Crane by 22 points. The Mules are 5-0 now and move up five slots to # 5 this week in the Texas Football/State Farm Class 2A Top 25 Rankings.

Last week, all of 2-5A was idle. This week, the marque match-up will be Odessa Permian versus Odessa High at Ratliff Stadium Friday night. Both the Panthers and the Broncos come in undefeated at 4-0 overall and 3-0 in district tied for first place. The winner of this storied cross-town rivalry will earn sole possession of first place in district 2-5A and be the odds-on favorite to finish district play as champions. Derrick Teagarden, senior QB for Odessa is coming off a junior year having passed for 1,258 yards and rushing for 486 more. The Permian offensive line, averaging over 300 pounds as a high school team, is anchored by Garrett Porter: “The Human Eclipse” is 6feet, 6 inches and weighs 300 pounds. Try rushing past this University of Texas verbal commitment.

Most of the 3-4A and 4-4A teams have an open week except for Pampa, Canyon and Caprock. The Caprock Longhorns under second-year coach Seth Parr are off to their best start in over a decade at 3-1 overall – tied for the district 3-4A lead with Canyon. Senior Longhorn QB, Ckyler Artis at 5-10 and 204 pounds looks more like a line backer but can scramble out of the pocket and rush for first down yardage with the best of them. Artis, a south paw pass thrower, has become known as the “Hefty Lefty” amongst Amarillo-area sports writers.

In 1-A action on the Panhandle and South Plains, defending 2A state champions Canadian continues to dominate their new classification. The Wildcats defeated Perryton last week 45-10 to improve to 5-0 on their season and remain at #2 behind Maude in the Texas Football/State Farm Class 1A Top 25 Rankings. Wellington leads district 4-1A at 5-0 after defeating formerly 1A state-ranked White Deer 46-6 and debuts at #23 this week in the Texas Football/State Farm Class 1A Top 25 Rankings.

9/16/08 Blog
Looking back on Week 2 high school football on the Panhandle/South Plains from a Monday morning quarterback perspective is quite simple – the pre-season favorites in almost every classification won.

The 50th golden anniversary rivalry game of the cross-town opponents Amarillo High Sandies and Amarillo Tascosa Rebels drew almost 15,000 fans to Dick Bivins Stadium last Friday evening. Against a backdrop of the annual Amarillo Tri-State Fair neon carnival midway (shown above) and a brand new second-generation FieldTurf playing surface, the Rebels got off to a great start, scoring twice and leading 14-0 mid-way through the 2nd quarter.

The remaining nine minutes of the first half were all Sand Storm however – 26 unanswered points. Tascosa launched a 4th quarter rally, taking a scoring advantage off of turnovers -- but it was not enough. The Sandies prevailed 40-27.

The 67 total points scored set an all-time record in the 53 game series dating back to 1958.

Elsewhere in 2-5A, the Permian Basin boys took care of the Lubbock and San Angelo boys across the board. The Mojo of Permian Odessa visited Lowrey Field as Lubbock Monterey hosted the Panthers – final result: Permian over Monterey 49-7. The Panthers are again ranked #5 statewide in 5-A on the Dave Campbell's Texas Football/State Farm Top 25 poll. This Friday, Amarillo will visit Ratliff Stadium in Odessa to become the latest district opponent to try and knock-off the Permian stampede to take 2-5A outright.

Midland Lee, coming off an upset loss to Midland last week, hosted Lubbock at Grande Communications Stadium prevailing 49-21 and pulling even in district play at 1-1/1-2 overall. Lee visits 1-1 in district Lubbock Coronado this week.

Odessa High hosted Lubbock Coronado in a closely-matched game producing a close final score of Odessa - 49 Coronado – 42. Odessa is rather surprisingly now 3-0 overall and 2-0 in district play – tied for the District 2-5A lead with cross-town rival Permian. These two meet Friday October 3rd at Ratliff Stadium in a cross-town rivalry with district championship implications on the line this year.

Midland traveled to San Angelo to dispatch Central by 27-6.

It's a long way from north Amarillo to Snyder...especially the late Friday night return trip after a 2 point 3rd overtime period loss...just ask the Dons of Amarillo Palo Duro. The Dons place-kicker missed field goal attempts at the end of regulation and the second OT period that would have won it. The final score – a 2-point conversion after TD by Snyder in the third overtime sealed the deal 22-20. The 0-3 Dons host Hereford this Thursday night at Amarillo's Dick Bivins Stadium.

The road trip from Pampa to Big Spring is also long. The Pampa Harvesters will attest to that after losing to Big Spring High 43-21. However, that was Pampa's first loss of the season as they remain tied for second place in district with Canyon Randall at 2-1 overall The Harvesters visit Perryton (1-3A) this Friday night in a traditional cross-region rivalry.

The long road trip from Canyon to Seminole paid off for the Eagles as they continue their introduction to 4A football – up from 3A – with winning ways.

After squeaking by Seminole 20-19 saved by a late 4th quarter interception, the Eagles are idle this week before taking on 3-A state-ranked #25 Abilene Wylie on Friday September 26th.

Warren Maxwell, a 6-2, 185 pound senior WR-DB of the Canyon Randall Raiders delivered three key plays en route to the Raiders non-district victory over the Perryton Rangers (1-3A) at home in Kimbrough Memorial Stadium last Friday night. Maxwell - on the 12 yard line - single tackled Perryton WR Octavio Palma after catching a 72-yard TD-bound pass. Right after that, Maxwell returned a kick-off 96 yards to score Randall's first TD. Later on, Maxwell capped his performance off with a 71-yard TD reception. Randall - 28 Perryton - 17 . Randall is 2-1 and tied with Pampa for second place in 3-4A. This Friday, the Raiders meet reality and a true gut-check on the road vs Wolfforth Frenship (4-4A) in a non-district game. #15 4A state-ranked Frenship beat a #23 3A state-ranked Abilene Wylie last Friday and remains undefeated at 3-0.

Dumas traveled to Hereford (4-4A) and pulled off a relative upset 30-28. Scoring 14 points in the third quarter, the Dumas Demons held off a fourth quarter surge by Hereford to prevail and pick up their first win of the season.

On Saturday afternoon at a sun-splashed Dick Bivins Stadium, the Amarillo Caprock Longhorns hosted San Angelo Lakeview (4-4A). Longhorn senior QB Ckyler Artis was accurate on the majority of his pass attempts. But Longhorn receivers either mishandled the ball or were inaccurate on pass routes resulting in only 26 completions out of 44 and three picks by the Lakeview defense. Lakeview prevailed 35-28 despite a late 4th quarter game-tying comeback attempt by Caprock. Caprock is now 1-1 on the season and hosts Dalhart (1-3A) in another Saturday 1:00 PM game at Dick Bivins Stadium this coming weekend.

District 1-2A/2-2A:
Bushland and Panhandle are both 3-0 and tied for the District 1-2A lead going into week three. However, a strong 3-0 1-1A Stratford visits Bushland this week.

Muleshoe leads District 2-2A at 3-0 by rolling over Lubbock Cooper (1-3A) 53-19 last week. Childress is in second place in district at 2-1 by beating Dalhart (1-3A) 20-14 in a thriller overtime game last Friday night.

District 1-1A/3-1A/4-1A:
For the second consecutive week, the Texas Football/State Farm Class 1A Top 25 Rankings have the Canadian Wildcats ans Stratford Elks of District 1-1A in the #2 and #3 slots respectively. 2nd place Sunray at 2-1 on the season moves up one slot to #9 after defeating Vega (3-1A) 58-6. Both Canadian and Stratford added to their win columns last week – Canadian rolled over Woodward, OK 54-16 to get to 3-0 and Stratford knocked-off Spearman (1-2A) 42-14 to achieve 3-0 status overall. Again, Friday October 17th in Canadian's Wildcat Stadium, these two 1A powerhouses meet. This game will probably determine the 1-1A crown and #1 or #2 1A state ranking heading to the playoffs. Look for both the Wildcats and the Elks to still be playing 1A ball well into December.

District 3-1A White Deer lost to Clarendon 42-12 last Friday thus dropping from the Texas Football/State Farm Class 1A Top 25 Rankings. White Deer now is in a four-way tie atop District 3-1A with Nazareth, Boys Ranch and Bovina at 1-2 overall making this one of the weaker 1A district in the state leading into week three of play despite Nazareth remaining in the 1A Top 25 poll at #21 (down from #12).

In District 4-1A, Clarendon premiers at #25 in the Texas Football/State Farm Class 1A Top 25 Rankings this week after beating 3-1A White Deer 42-12. Clarendon, Wellington and Wheeler are tied at 3-0 overall atop this district.

9/11/08 Blog
District 2-5A
Week one and District 2-5A is already playing a district schedule. With the newly-realigned ten team district, week 0 was the warm-up – from here on out, every game counts for play-off berths. The early district leaders are Texas Football/State Farm Class 5A -ranked #5 Odessa Permian with a Friday night domination of San Angelo Central 46-14, Lubbock Coronado, sans last year's QB phenomenon Austin Zouzalik – prevailed at home base Lowrey Field over Amarillo 36-28, Lubbock Monterey capitalized on Amarillo Tascosa mistakes to score 21 unanswered points Friday at Dick Bivins Stadium 21-14, Midland shocked favored Midland Lee 20-13 in OT at Grande Communications Stadium and Odessa High routed Lubbock High 30-0 to kick things off Thursday night.

In a ten-team district, rivalry games are going to be played early and often this season starting this coming Friday as Amarillo meets Tascosa for the 50th consecutive time in this cross-town Amarillo grudge match. The loser will be 0-2 in district and in a hole perhaps not escapable for playoff aspirations.

The Mojo of Permian and Midland look to be early favorites to dominate in 2-5A. If Lee can get back on track and the Lubbock Monterey and Coronado squads continue their winning styles – look for the southern end of this district to emerge post-season.

District 3-4A/4-4A
The surprise here is Amarillo Caprock under second-year head coach Seth Parr. The Longhorns went to Borger and pulled out a convincing season-opening win over the Bulldogs 28-7. This marks the first season-opening win for Caprock in over ten years.

Amarillo Palo Duro had to travel way out to El Paso to get beat by non-district opponent Coronado 21-3. After a week 0 loss to Tascosa, the Dons find themselves 0-2 heading into Week 2.

Abilene Cooper handled Fort Worth Boswell 42-21 to be tied with Texas Football/State Farm Class 4A #15 Wolfforth Frenship 2-0 atop District 4-4A.

Pampa, Canyon Randall, Canyon High and Caprock all registered a W this past week making District 3-4A top-heavy with three undefeated teams heading into Week 2 – and district play has yet to begin.

District 1-3A
The Snyder vs Lubbock Cooper game scheduled for last Friday night was postponed until October 3 due to the fatal auto accident involving the senior twins of Cooper deputy superintendent Thom Vines.

Dalhart sailed past Guymon, OK 41-14 to claim an outright lead in district at 2-0.

District 1-2A/2-2A/3-2A
Bushland and Panhandle both win again and sit tied atop 1-2A at 2-0.

In 2-2A, Muleshoe scored 63 points to Portales, NM 35 and remains the only unbeaten team in 2-2A.

3-2A has four unbeaten teams in Idalou, Littlefield, Denver City and Slayton

District 1-1A/3-1A/4-1A/6-1A
These four 1-A districts in the Panhandle/South Plains region account for the most state-ranked teams in north Texas by Dave Campbell's Texas Football by far. When one speaks of Panhandle football and state rankings – 1A seems to be where the rubber meets the road.

The Canadian Wildcats, defending 2007 2A state champions, have been realigned by UIL down to District 1-1A for 2008 and have not stopped their winning ways. The Canadian win over Abernathy 41-20 was the Fox Sports Southwest DQ Game of the Week. Canadian and Stratford sit atop 1-1A at 2-0 with Gruver in third at 1-0. DCTF ranks Canadian #2 statewide up from #3. Stratford, after beating Sundown 44-10 moves up 6 slots to #3. Sunray, after a 28-21 loss to 2A Sanford-Fritch, falls 3 slots to #10 in the DCTF 1A poll. October 17th, the Wildcats play the Stratford Elks in a classic Panhandle rivalry perhaps for the 1-1A title and statewide dominance in 1A.

District 3-1A has gotten off to a non-district schedule noted for parity. White Deer, the Nazareth Swifts and Boys Ranch all are 1-1. Naz is #12 and White Deer #24 in the DCTF 1A poll.

Four 2-0 teams lead District 4-1A: Memphis, Clarendon, Wellington and Wheeler. None are state-ranked in 1A by DCTF. This should change once district play starts.

District 6-1A features two I-27 neighbors – New Deal and Hale Center – both just north of Lubbock and tied at 2-0 going into week 2. New Deal faces a rebounding 3-1A Nazareth Swift team (1-1) this week with Hale Center idle.

Again, new this season, I will be contributing a 2-minute Dave Campbell Texas Football weekly report on TPSN Friday Night Scoreboard hosted by Nick Long and Adam Cox. My segment each week will feature the Panhandle/South Plains/Permian Basin teams state ranked by Texas Football/State Farm for that week. You can hear the TPSN Friday Night Scoreboard on KGNC 710 AM in Amarillo, KRBL 105.7 FM in Lubbock, KKYN 106.9 FM in Plainview, KEYE 96.1 FM in Perryton, KLSR 105.3 FM in Memphis. Each Friday night beginning at 10pm. The DCTF Report is slotted for 10:10 PM every Friday night - so please listen in.

8/31/08 Blog
The 2008 season on the Panhandle and South Plains will have new match-ups in district play. UIL realignment created a new super district in 2-5A with nine teams - Odessa, Odessa Permian, Midland and Midland Lee now play in the same district as the 5A Lubbock and Amarillo high schools and San Angelo Central. Look for new rivalries to emerge between the Permian Basin, Lubbock and Amarillo teams.

Mind you, Odessa Permian is ranked #5 statewide in the Dave Campbell Texas Football Pre-Season poll.

In 3-4A, Canyon moves up to from 3A to join cross-town rival Canyon Randall as district rivals now. Hereford moves to 4-4A and must play the likes of Abilene Cooper and Frenship in district.

New this season, I will be contributing a 2-minute Dave Campbell Texas Football weekly report on TPSN Friday Night Scoreboard hosted by Nick Long and Adam Cox. My segment each week will feature the Panhandle/South Plains/Permian Basin teams state ranked by DCTF for that week. You can hear the scoreboard on KGNC 710 AM in Amarillo, KRBL 105.7 FM in Lubbock, KKYN 106.9 FM in Plainview, KEYE 96.1 FM in Perryton, KLSR 105.3 FM in Memphis. Each Friday night beginning at 10pm. The DCTF Report is slotted for 10:10 PM every Friday night -- so please listen in.

Week 0 highlights:
Amarillo Tascosa (2-5A) opened with a 21-16 win over Amarillo Palo Duro (3-4A) Thursday night at Amarillo’s Dick Bivins Stadium. Tascosa QB Dalton Brooks and Palo Duro QB Jeron Grayson -- both first-time starters as juniors -- equally showed great potential for a productive season.

Tascosa Rebel senior running back Tanner Dennis produced for the Rebs on both sides of the ball with a rushing touchdown and a key fourth down and goal stop and a pick at defensive back.

Friday night at Dick Bivins, Amarillo (2-5A) opened against Canyon Randall (3-4A) in what has come to be known in its fourth season as the perennial “Battle of Bell Street,” coined after a major thoroughfare in Amarillo on which both high schools reside. After a first-ever upset last year by Randall and first year coach Ken Plunk, the Sandies of Amarillo were out for revenge and prevailed 35-13.

Amarillo’s running game produced 382 yards, mainly by senior running back Thomas Fraser.

Pre-season state-ranked #5 Odessa Permian (2-5A) took on Duncanville at a neutral site -- Abilene’s Shotwell Stadium Friday evening. In their season opener, Permian led 21-7 at the half. Duncanville came back in the fourth quarter scoring a pair of TDs, yet the Mojo held them off to deliver victory #1 of their 2008 campaign by 28-22. Permian should move up in the DCTF state poll from #5 on this opening win and seriously contend for a 5A state championship out of realigned 9-team District 2-5A which stretches as far north as Amarillo to San Angelo in the south.

Odessa High (2-5A) prevailed over El Paso Montwood 42-14 Friday night, while Lubbock Monterey (2-5A) shut out Plainview (4-4A) 26-0 Friday night to go 1-0 and keep pace in highly competitive District 2-5A.

Lubbock Coronado (2-5A) defeated El Paso Franklin 49-28 to arrive at Week 1 with a 1-0 record as well.

Midland High (2-5A) lost to DeSoto 48-28 on at a rainy Grande Communication Stadium Friday night to kick-off the ASCO Football Madness opening weekend.

Then, on Saturday night, the Rockwall Yellow Jackets came into Grande Communications stadium and upset Midland Lee (2-5A) 15-14 in their home opener and other top-billed match-up of the ASCO Football Madness. The loss was due largely to offensive mistakes by the Lee Rebels.

“The Rebels were their own worst enemy, more so than Rockwall,” Lee coach Randy Quisenberry said. “That’s the thing that makes it hard to stomach. It’s one thing to get physically whipped, say ‘you know what, this was a good football team. They deserved to beat us.’ But, I don’t know that I can honestly look myself in the mirror and say that’s what happened.”

San Angelo Central (2-5A) was soundly shut-out by Copperas Cove 56-0 Friday night.

Week 0 in 2-5A produced six district-team wins out of nine games played, with the greatest upset loss coming to Midland Lee.

I’ll provide coverage for 4-A, 3-A, 2-a and 1-A starting Week 1.

By the way, Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell put up over 550 yards passing Saturday night at the Jones Stadium home opener en route to beating Eastern Washington. Can you say Heisman Trophy short list?

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