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Lamar Cardinals sign Lovelady lineman

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IMG 0907COURTESY PHOTO Lovelady senior Carter Murray signs a National Letter of Intent to play football with Lamar University in Beaumont during a ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 16 in the LHS gym.

By Larry Lamb

Lamar University landed a big man to bolster its offensive line with the signing of Lovelady senior Carter Murray during a ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 16 in the LHS gym.

Murray was one of five offensive linemen Lamar signed to National Letters of Intent on Early Signing Day.

The 6-3, 290-pound tackle was a four-year starter for the Lions on both sides of the ball.

Kilgore College, Sam Houston State and Rice University also had their eyes on Murray. “None were as interested in me as Lamar. They kept in contact with me, their coaches are really good and the facilities are nice. I just liked everything about it,” he explained.

“A whole new coaching staff came in last December. Coach (Dane) Morgan was previously at San Diego State and always had a good record there, so I feel like it’s going to be a good ride,” said the future Cardinal. “I’m excited about what’s next.”

Carter, son of David and Michelle Murray, hasn’t decided on a major. “I plan to get the basics done first and then decide on what I’ll major in,” he said.

Murray’s senior football season was cut short by meniscus surgery which sidelined him after the regular season. “I missed the two playoff games because if I had waited and not had the surgery I wouldn’t have been ready for baseball,” said Murray, who is a standout player for the Lions baseball team. “I’m ready for baseball.”

“I really grew up playing baseball but football kind of just fell into me. I knew I could go to the next level and play football, so I started to take that seriously and work hard at it,” he continued.

Murray said the most memorable football game was his during freshman season when the Lions defeated Alto 22-20 in bi-district. “Being a freshman starter in my first playoff game made it special and it was probably the best game that we’ve ever played as a team. The atmosphere was amazing. There’s no other feeling like that.”

Lovelady athletic director/head football coach Will Kirchhoff said, “He’s an exceptional young man, a great football player and an even better person.”

The coach continued, “I’ve watched him grow from freshman year all the way to where he is now so I feel like he’s one of my own. He’s going to carry all the things I’ve seen him grow into and keep growing in the next level, so we’re really excited about seeing where he’s going.”

In addition to Murray’s obvious physical changes, Kirchhoff noted, “His biggest change has been the mentality and the leadership that he brings to the table. Every single play is important to him on both sides of the football. He’s had such an impact on our program in changing the way that we play football, which is physical hard-nose offense running the football down your throat. He’s been a big piece of that puzzle. Basing your offense around a right tackle is rare but when you’ve got one as good as Carter it’s something that you can do.”

As a junior Murray received honorable mention All-East Texas and All-State. At the Texas Top 100 combine last year, Murray was named as the top five offensive linemen in Classes 1A through 6A.

Murray was District 11-2A DII Lineman of the Year this past season and is a likely to be a repeat as All-State honoree when the 2020 selections are announced.

“Carter was one of those kids that everyone in the district always asked me whether he’s graduated yet because he’s dominated this district for the last four years on both sides of the ball. I hate to see him go but I’m excited to see where he’s going. If he carries that Lovelady work ethic to the next level he’ll do just fine,” said Kirchhoff.

“To be as successful as he has been is just a testament to his character and all the work that he’s put in because year after year he just keeps getting better,” added Kirchhoff.

Murray has played every position on the offensive line.

“That’s a testament to how high his football IQ is and that’s his big attribute. No matter where you plug him in he understands the big picture and can handle those jobs. That’s a huge thing that Lamar’s going to get out of him. No matter where they put him he’s going to be able to execute at a high level and he’s going to understand exactly what’s going on,” said Kirchhoff.

“Lamar noticed on film how he picks up different schemes, no matter what defenses throw at him. He not only can get his job done but he can make sure everyone on the O-line is in their right place and he does a great job directing those guys. But for football IQ and physicality, Lamar got a gem I assure you,” summed up Kirchhoff.

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Bulldogs knock down 12 treys in blasting Elkhart

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IMG 0767LARRY LAMB | HCC Crockett’s Delvin Walker launches one of his seven three-pointers against Elkhart in the district opener.

By Larry Lamb

You’d never know the Crockett Bulldogs had only played two games before their district opener.

The Bulldogs swooshed in 12 three-point shots as they raced past Elkhart 86-39 Tuesday, Dec. 15 at The Hop in Crockett.

“This was only our third game with probably just 15 practices,” said Bulldog head coach Jordan Caldwell, noting that Elkhart had played eight games and came in with a 4-4 record.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 25-10 first quarter lead and increased it to 50-29 by halftime. Outscoring the Elks 18-9 in the last two quarters, Crockett carried a 68-28 lead into the final period.

The Bulldogs put on a three-point shooting clinic behind junior Delvin Walker, who buried seven from behind the arc. Jadyn Collins drained two while Tayshawn Simon, Ty White and Ja’Lyne Carruthers each nailed a trey for a team total of 12.

Walker finished with 25 points to pace the Bulldogs. White tossed in 13 points, all in the first half, while Keshun Easterling and Jadyn Collins booked 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Rounding out the scoring were Chris Purvis with eight, Courtney Byrd six, Carruthers four and Simon three. Carlester Nealy, Bre’Dron Tucker and Jalen Patton chipped in two apiece.

Elkhart sophomore Cale Starr pumped in five treys and accounted for 28 of the Elks’ 39 points.

“I’m very satisfied with the way we played tonight. As a unit everybody did good. Elkhart played a heck of a game,” Caldwell continued.

He said individual standouts were Delvin Walker with his seven three-pointers, point guard Ty White and guard Tayshawn Simon. “Delvin’s only a junior so his future playing basketball is very bright,” added Caldwell.

Caldwell noted the Bulldogs only practiced once before their 56-36 season opener loss New Waverly.

“Hats off to New Waverly. They’re a great team,” said Caldwell, noting that New Waverly has earned a spot in the state polls. New Waverly (9-1) was ranked No. 14 in the TABC poll issued Dec. 21. Crockett was ranked No. 7 in early polls but has since dropped out.

“We’re still learning. We’re obviously young but we have a lot of players who came back. I think we definitely have the potential to go far,” said Caldwell.

The Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0) closed out pre-holiday action by beating district rival Groesbeck 87-46 on Dec.18.

Before resuming district play Jan. 5 at Buffalo, Crockett will travel to Pollok Central Dec. 29 and host a varsity home game Dec. 31 at noon against the East Texas Archers, a team comprised of homeschool students in the Lovelady area.

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Crockett boys edge Madisonville in home debut

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IMG 0570LARRY LAMB | HCC Madisonville’s Casey Holliday (4) tries to wrestle the ball away from Crockett’s Chris Purvis-Torres during a non-district game Tuesday, Dec. 8 at The Hop. The Bulldogs won 48-44 to even their record at 1-1.

By Larry Lamb

Crockett and Madisonville’s hardwood reunion after a two-year hiatus exceeded fans’ expectations.

The Bulldogs fended off the class 4A Mustangs in the closing minutes to win their home opener 48-44 Tuesday, Dec. 8 at The Hop.

Madisonville had an early 9-7 lead but never led again as Crockett went ahead 15-11 at the end of the first quarter.

The Mustangs got within a point several times over the next three quarters, but Crockett led 24-19 at the break and 35-31 at the end of three.

After Madisonville opened the fourth with a bucket to make it a two-point game, Delvin Walker heaved in a three-pointer and Jadyn Collins canned a bucket to put Crockett up 40-33 with 6:27 left.

After the Mustangs cut it to five, Walker slammed down a dunk to put Crockett up 42-35 with 5:15 to go.

Back-to-back buckets by Madisonville made it a three-point game before Tayshawn Simon swooshed in a trey to give the Bulldogs some breathing room with a 45-39 lead at the 3:30 mark.

The Mustangs refused to go away quietly, scoring two straight buckets and a free throw to get within a point, 45-44, with 2:41 left.

After several scoreless possessions by both teams, Walker went back to the hole with :30 left to give Crockett a three-point cushion. Simon went to the line with :18 left and hit the front end of a one-and-one for a 48-44 lead.

Madisonville missed the front end of a one-and-one with :13 left but got the rebound and put up an errant shot that was knocked out of bounds. The Bulldogs inbounded with :11 left and ran out the clock.

Six Bulldogs scored, but none were able to crack double figures. Collins (1 trey), Simon (2 treys) and Walker (1 trey) scored nine apiece. Chris Purvis-Torres had eight, Tyvondrick White seven (1 trey) and Courtney Byrd rounded out the scoring with six.

Madisonville’s Casey Holliday was the only double-digit scorer for either team with 16.

This was only the second game for the Bulldogs while the Mustangs had already played six games.

After starting their district schedule against Elkhart and Groesbeck before the holiday break, the Bulldogs will sandwich in a pair of non-district games with Pollok Central on the road Tuesday, Dec. 29 and East Texas Archers of Lovelady at home on Dec. 31. The Archers team is comprised of home school athletes in the area.

Crockett gets back to district action Jan. 5 at Buffalo.

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Lovelady girls open hoop season with victory (VIDEO)

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Lovelady CoachLARRY LAMB | HCC Lovelady girls basketball coach Kollyn McWhinney gives instructions to players during their season opener against Crockett.

By Larry Lamb

Lovelady’s girls basketball season got off to a winning start under new head coach Kollyn McWhinney against county rival Crockett, 58-27, on the road Tuesday, Nov. 10.

The Lady Lions led 14-6 after a quarter, 26-12 at halftime and 37-19 at the end of three.

Macie LaRue had the hot hand in the middle quarters when she scored 13 of her 17 points (1 trey) to pace Lovelady’s offense.

Shyanne Pipkin, a returning all-district second-team honoree, scored 11 (1 trey) and Kortney Bynum rounded out double figures with 10.

Aaliyah Jones canned 6, while Morgan Womack, Haley Davidson and Shelby Pugh scored four apiece. Rojanae Polhamus, a returning all-district first-teamer, tossed in 2.

Crockett’s scoring was led by Quenisha Henderson with 10 (1 trey). Tocarra Johnson had 7, Ty’Shonda Bell 4 and La’Kyriah Hamilton drained a 3-pointer. Keaton Crabtree, A’Naya Wooten and Ja’Kenya Tryon each had a free throw.

Before coming to Lovelady, McWhinney was head coach at Class 3A Marion High School for 16 seasons. She passed the 300-win milestone during the 2016-17 season and finished the 2019-2020 season with a total of 363 victories.

Lovelady CrockettGirlsBasketballLARRY LAMB | HCC Crockett’s Quenisha Henderson and Lovelady’s Haley Davidson scramble for a loose ball in a county rivalry matchup Tuesday, Nov. 10 at The Hop in Crockett.

After finishing third in the district last season, the Lady Lions beat Cayuga in bi-district and then knocked off a highly ranked Marlin squad before being eliminated by Crawford in the third round.

Texas Basketball magazine’s prediction for District 20-2A is a repeat of last year. Grapeland (35-5, 12-0) is the projected champion, followed by Centerville (25-9, 10-2), Lovelady (25-12, 7-5) and Jewett Leon (12-9, 6-6). Slocum, Groveton and Latexo round out the district.

Lovelady opens district play Dec. 11 on the road against Groveton.

The Lady Bulldogs are playing catch-up after missing the first two weeks of practice due to Covid-19 quarantine.

Crockett begins its District 20-3A schedule Dec. 8 at home against Teague.

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Lovelady cruises past Evadale in bi-district (VIDEO)

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Lovelady FootballLAWANNA MONK Lovelady’s Shaun Easterling abruptly stops Evadale quarterback Chase Smith on a keeper during the Lions’ 50-12 bi-district victory Thursday, Nov. 12 at Cleveland High School. Photo courtesy of Justin Dobbins.

 
By Lawanna Monk

Lovelady Lions claimed the bi-district football championship with a convincing 50-12 victory over the Evadale Rebels Thursday, Nov. 12 at Cleveland High School’s Indian Stadium.

The Lions won’t have much time to relish their victory, however, as they must begin preparing for a showdown with undefeated and top-ranked Mart in the area round Friday, Nov. 20 at Caldwell High School’s Hornet Field. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Mart recorded a Covid-19 forfeit over Cumby in the first round.

Lovelady will carry a six-game win streak into the second round matchup.

The Lions led just 8-0 after a quarter but a three-touchdown flurry in the second quarter opened up a 30-6 halftime lead.

Lovelady scored with 5:13 left in the opening period on a seven-yard run by Keivon Skinner and two-point conversion run by Conner Martinez.

At the 8:35 mark in the second quarter Shaun Easterling took it seven yards for a touchdown run but a two-conversion failed.

Quarterback Slade Murray faked a handoff, rolled outside and took it to the house 60 yards with 6:41 in the second quarter. Easterling ran the conversion for a 22-0 lead.

The Lions went up 30-0 when Murray connected with Caleb Gilchrist on a 66-yard TD pass and Eric Anderson carried for the conversion with 2:29 to go in the half.

Evadale got on the scoreboard just before halftime on a pass from quarterback Chase Smith to Tom Boles.

Early in the third quarter Skinner reeled off a 40-yard scamper to set up a 16-yard TD run by Easterling. A conversion pass was intercepted in the end zone, holding the Lions’ lead at 36-6 at the 10:16 mark.

Lovelady went up 44-6 with :29 left in the third on a 19-yard run by Easterling and a conversion run by Eric Anderson.

In the fourth quarter the Lions increased their lead on a four-yard run by freshman Jordan Blackmon.

Evadale put together a 68-yard scoring drive late in the game.

Lovelady was in the same district with Evadale for two years before moving to its current district. The Lions won both matchups 46-18 in 2019 and 40-6 in 2018.

 

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