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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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Crockett secures third place in 9-3A (VIDEO)

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Kickoff ReturnPHOTO COURTESY OF LARRY LAMB Trinity’s Marquavian Jaramillo returns the opening kickoff against Crockett Friday night.

By Larry Lamb

The Crockett Bulldogs can breathe a little easier heading into the first round of the state football playoffs.

Coach Jimmy Thompson’s crew took care of business in their District 9-3A DI finale by dominating the visiting Trinity Tigers 39-0 Friday night to secure the third place seed.

Crockett plays District 10-3A runner-up Anahuac in bi-district while fourth-place Trinity faces No. 8 ranked East Chambers, the District 10-3A champion.

The Crockett-Anahuac matchup will be played Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in Woodville’s Eagle Stadium.

In other key district matchups Friday, Coldspring defeated Diboll 20-12 to capture the District 9-3A title and will play Woodville Thursday night in Crockett’s Driskell Stadium at 7 p.m. Woodville defeated Anahuac 27-22 but Anahuac took second based on a tiebreaker.

Crockett’s first touchdown against Trinity was courtesy of the defense.

A pick-six by sophomore Zandric Anderson on Trinity’s fourth play got the ball rolling and kicker Antonio Cruz put the Bulldogs up 7-0 with 10:51 in the first quarter.

Anderson foiled Trinity’s second possession when he recovered a fumble at the Tiger 35. The Bulldogs scored three plays later on a 36-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Jadyn Collins to senior Ty White. Cruz, who was perfect on extra points, made it 14-0 at the 8:58 mark.

After an interception by Keshun Easterling near midfield, the Bulldogs drove to the Tiger 12 before coughing up the ball.

Pick SixPHOTO BY LARRY LAMB Crockett’s Zandric Anderson returns an interception for a touchdown against Trinity in a showdown for third place in District 9-3A DI Friday night.

Unable to move the ball, Trinity was forced to punt and a high snap sailed out of the end zone for a safety to give Crockett a 16-0 lead with 4:16 left in the first quarter.

Another interception by Easterling set up Crockett’s next touchdown. The junior snared the pass and returned it to the Tiger 48, but a penalty moved the Bulldogs back to their 35 yard line. Collins hit White for a 15-yard gain and found Randy Jones on a pinpoint 44-yard touchdown pass two plays later. The PAT put Crockett up 23-0 at the 11:00 mark in the second quarter.

Crockett only had to travel 22 yards for its next touchdown after forcing Trinity to punt from the 10 yard line. Dennis Simmons picked up 18 yards to set up a four-yard blast by Easterling for a 30-0 lead at the 8:51 mark.

Late in the first half Trinity reached the Bulldog 27 yard line on the running of junior fullback Andrew Crabtree before turning the ball over on downs.

Crockett marched down the field but was unable to punch the ball in before fumbling at the Tiger 5 with :42 left in the half.

After Jones returned the second half kickoff to the Crockett 17, the quick-striking Bulldogs extended their lead when Easterling took it to the house on an 83-yard run on first down just 21 seconds into the third quarter.

Another high snap on a Trinity punt resulted in a safety that put Crockett up 39-0 with 7:46 to go in the third quarter.

Crockett attempted an unsuccessful field goal from the 29 yard line on its next series.

Trinity mounted a deep threat in the fourth quarter behind the running of Crabtree but ran out of steam at the 9 yard line.

Crockett will also host a Class 4A bi-district game between Jasper and China Spring on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

 

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Lovelady Volleyball

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Lovelady VolleyballThe Lovelady Lady Lions volleyball team had reason to smile Tuesday night after defeating Groveton to clinch the District 23-2Achampionshipwith a 10-2 record. School officials say this is Lovelady’s first district volleyball title since 1968. Team members are Jacy Stubblefield (0), Courtney Spoerle (7), Rylee Biedryzki (1), Morgan Womack (8), Shyanne Pipkin(2), Macie LaRue (9), Rajanae Polhamus (3), Bailee Albinus (11), Makenna Pierce(5), Katie Thompson (12), Haven Prager (8) and Kylie Pugh (13). They are pictured with head coach Emily McLaughlin and assistant coaches Jordyn Hester and Andee Little. (Courtesy photo)

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Lovelady outlasts West Sabine

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LoveladyFootball Lovelady DefenseLovelady’s Joel Pomeroy (12) and Carter Murray (75) put pressure on the West Sabine quarterback Friday night in Pineland. Photo by Lawanna Monk

By Lawanna Monk

HOUSTON COUNTY - A 100-mile-plus trip to Pineland was worth it for the Lovelady Lions and their fans Friday night.

The Lions fended off the West Sabine Tigers 44-34 for their second straight district victory.

After West Sabine made it a four-point game late in the third quarter, the Lions put the game away with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Lovelady started its first series with good field position after Joel Pomeroy covered the kickoff on the Lion 49.

Shaun Easterling took the ball on first down and reeled off a 34-yard run behind the offensive line manned by Matthew McFarland, Caleb Larkin, Jaxson Reeves, Mikey Montemayor and Carter Murray.

Three plays later Easterling capped the drive and Eric Anderson ran the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead with 10:41 in the first quarter.

Lovelady’s onside kick failed to go the required distance, so West Sabine took over on the Lion 43 and scored five plays later on a short pass. An extra point kick failed, leaving the Lions with an 8-6 lead with 9:02 left.

The Lions went up 16-6 with an 11-play, 77-yard drive after Keivon Skinner downed the Tigers’ kickoff at the 23 yard line.

Easterling carried five times, dragging defenders behind him on several plays. The drive also included a four-yard carry by quarterback Slade Murray and a nine-yarder by Conner Martinez. Easterling scored from four yards out with 3:14 left in the first quarter and Martinez ran the conversion.

West Sabine took advantage of a momentum swing and scored two unanswered touchdowns to go in front by four early in the second quarter.

Late in the first quarter West Sabine recovered a fumble at the Lion 25 and cashed in two plays later on a quarterback keeper. The Tigers threw for two points to close the gap to 16-14 with :06 left in the opening period.

West Sabine took the lead, 20-16, with 7:39 left in the second quarter after taking over at the Tiger 17 on a punt. The Tigers drove down the field and scored from three yards out but were unsuccessful on the conversion.

The Lions regained the momentum with back-to-back touchdowns before halftime.

A fair catch by Pomeroy on the kickoff set up Lovelady’s offense at the Lion 38. Except for two short runs by Martinez and Murray, Easterling accounted for most of the yardage on the seven-play drive and scored on a 35-yard run. Martinez ran for the conversion to give the Lions a 24-20 edge at the 4:20 mark.

After forcing a Tiger punt that went out of bounds at the Lion 43, Easterling picked up four on first down and then Murray connected with Skinner on a 53-yard touchdown strike. Easterling’s two-point conversion run gave the Lions a 32-20 lead at the 2:16 mark in the first half.

The Lions weren’t able to breathe easy for long, though.

After kicking off to the Tiger 28, West Sabine marched down the field and scored five plays later on a six-yard pass and then threw for the conversion to make it a four-point game, 32-28, with :24 left in the half.

A crucial fourth-down stop by the Lion defense at the 10 yard line shifted the momentum back to Lovelady. Moore had several tackles while Martinez and Murray helped keep the pressure on the Tigers until they ran out of steam.

The Lions then drove 90 yards down the field on five carries by Easterling, four by Slade Murray and three by Eric Anderson. Martinez capped the 13-play drive on a four-yard run and a two-point conversion was unsuccessful but Lovelady was up 38-28 with 1:19 to go in the third.

Refusing to go away quietly, the Tigers roared back on their next possession and struck quickly on a two-play drive. After being stopped for a two-yard loss on first down, West Sabine took it the distance from 67 yards out on the next play. The conversion failed, leaving the Lions with a 38-34 lead with :28 left in the third.

Lovelady started its next possession at its 40 yard line after the kickoff and put together an eight-play scoring drive.

The Lions drove down the field on five carries by Easterling, a seven-yarder by Murray and a 15-yarder by Anderson.

With the ball inside the 10, Easterling took it rest of the way for the Lions’ final touchdown midway through the fourth quarter that sealed a 44-34 victory.

This week Lovelady (2-1, 3-4) hosts Mt. Enterprise (1-2, 1-6), which fell to Tenaha 49-0 last week.

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