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  • ESD2 members elect new, continuing leaders

    IMG 7735ALTON PORTER | HCC Above, members of Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2, which supports and provides assistance to fire departments throughout the county, attended a monthly meeting in Crockett Thursday, Feb. 25, at which they elected officers to lead the district and its board of commissioners and at which they addressed other matters.

    By Alton Porter

    Members of Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 (ESD2) have elected new and continuing leaders for the district’s board of commissioners following the reappointment and appointment last month of two ESD2 commissioners by members of the county’s commissioners court.

    The ESD2 members elected the board’s officers at a meeting Thursday, Feb. 25.

    Promoted to the position of ESD2 president is William Money, who had been serving as an ESD2 commissioner and who replaces former president George Crowson Jr., who was not reappointed to the ESD2 board by the commissioners court members last month.

    Elected to serve as ESD2 vice president is Steve Hawkins, who was appointed by the members of the commissioners court last month to replace Crowson as a commissioner on the ESD2 board. Hawkins was welcomed aboard ESD2 by the district’s members who were present. As vice president, he replaces former VP Bobby Hutcherson, who was reappointed by the members of the county commissioners court last month to continue serving on the ESD2 board but who stepped down from the VP position at the Feb. 25 meeting.

    Peggy Patrick, who had been serving as secretary-treasurer was reelected as treasurer only upon her request, and board member Roy Langford was elected to replace her as secretary.

    During public comments, Crowson, the ESD2 previous president, addressed the emergency services district members who were present.

    “In my recollection, as far as I can recall, this is my 224 meeting with the ESD of a 14-year period,” Crowson said. “To the fire departments, I want to tell you it’s been a pleasure, a privilege and an honor to serve on your behalf. What you guys do—not only what you do, but the passion with which you do it—it leaves me in awe. It truly, truly does.”

    Crowson noted that county Precinct 3 Commissioner Gene Stokes, of the commissioners court, was present at the meeting and that “out of those 224 meetings which we spoke of, this is only the second time that we’ve had a commissioner at one of our meetings in 14 years. And I think I can speak for the whole organization and say, ‘Thank you for being here’.”

    Stokes responded to Crowson saying, “We appreciate your service.”

    The former ESD2 president continued, “I’m assuming I’m not on the board. No one has shown me the courtesy to tell me that I was not, but I kind of picked it up on the airwaves there.

    “To the board, what I want to remind you of, and I hope you will think about this in every decision you make, is you are an independent political subdivision of the state of Texas. You cannot be beholden or subservient to any individual, any special interest group, any group of people of any kind, including the commissioners court. If you are, all taxing democracies will fail.”

    Crowson added, “The only people you are beholden to are the people that pay this ESD tax. It has served me well. If you will remind yourself of that in every decision that you make, I think you will continue to be successful.

    “This ESD is tremendously successful, at least in my opinion—not because of me, but because of the involvement of people and the (county’s fire) departments themselves. I know it is financially in good shape. And I know that through Mr. Stokes and all you other board members, it will continue to do that.

    IMG 7725ALTON PORTER | HCC Former President George Crowson Jr., of the Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 (ESD2) Board of Commissioners, who was not reappointed to the ESD2 board earlier last month, addressed ESD2 members as he departed from the entity during a meeting in Crockett Thursday, Feb. 25.

    “It has been an honor and a privilege; I served at the pleasure of the commissioners court and it was no longer their pleasure. That’s perfectly fine; it is their option to do whichever they want to do.

    “I’ve enjoyed almost every moment of it. It’s been some moments that haven’t been so enjoyable, but that comes with the territory. But anyway, thank each of you for what you do.”

    After Crowson left the meeting, Money, the new ESD2 president, said, “He’s not here, but in my opinion from being on the other side of the table—he was on this side of the table—George has guided this board efficiently and diligently through a lot of stuff over the years, from helping get it started to getting it where it’s at.

    “And in my opinion, our directive change is none. We’re here to serve two priorities: the firefighters (of Houston County) and the taxpayers. And that is it. I may be the next one that goes after George, but that is how I look at it. … I will do my best to continue the direction of this board and keep it solid.”

    Among items requiring action, the ESD2 members voted to receive a $100 bid from Brijesh Patel, a member of the Kennard Independent School District Board of Trustees, to buy and remove, within 30 days, a building on the site on which they’re planning to have a fire station built in Ratcliff.

    The board members also had advertised via the Courier for bids for the laying of a six-inch-thick concrete slab for $16,000 for the planned fire station building, but none had been received. So, the ESD2 members decided to seek out a construction company to perform this project.

    In other business, they tabled action regarding a contract between ESD2 and the city of Crockett. “The city of Crockett wanted to redo their contract with the ESD…,” Patrick said.

    Money explained, “When we formed ESD2, Crockett opted out of the vote. Kennard voted to not be in the ESD because they didn’t want (to pay) the extra tax. So, we’ve got Crockett and Kennard that are not members of the ESD….

    “Crockett has basically the biggest fire department in the county—covers the most area, covers everybody else’s back. We call it the gray area. So, we contract with Crockett. We pay them $70,000 a year to cover that area. We provide some trucks for Crockett and provide them service and help.

    “So, Crockett covers the gray area and that works to try to keep the ISO, which is the insurance rate, in those areas down. So, we contract with Crockett to cover that area. Crockett FD’s budget is $500,000-plus a year and we add them an additional $70,000 plus trucks or whatever we can afford to help them with to cover that area. We upped the rate and renegotiated with them. And so, we’re getting a new contract set up with them.”

    Chief Jason Frizzell, of the Crockett Fire Department, said he had emailed the city’s attorney, who is reviewing and possibly making adjustments to the contract, and he was waiting to hear back from the lawyer.

  • Fisher declared re-elected as mayor

    2 Mayor Fisher 031621ALTON PORTER | HCC Crockett’s re-elected mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher presides over Monday’s council meeting.

    By Alton Porter

    CROCKETT – Dr. Ianthia Fisher has been declared re-elected as Crockett’s mayor in a city council resolution. She was unopposed in her bid to continue serving as the city’s elected leader, a position to which she was initially elected in 2019.

    Fisher is one of two candidates who originally filed to run for mayor in the city’s Saturday, May 1, election. However, the other candidate, James Jellum, withdrew from the race before ballots were printed, according to City Secretary Mitzi Thompson. Therefore, members of the city council voted to approve a document of certification of Fisher as an unopposed candidate for mayor, an at-large position, at a meeting on Monday, March 15.

    After approving the city certification of unopposed candidate for mayor, the councilmembers, in a related action, voted to approve a resolution authorizing cancelling the election of mayor in the scheduled May 1 election.

    The resolution also states that only one eligible candidate, Fisher, had filed to run for mayor and had not withdrawn by the Feb. 12 deadline “and hereby declares the unopposed candidate (Fisher) elected to office and shall be issued Certificate of Election following the time the election will be canvassed.”

    In another election-related matter, the councilmembers voted to approve a resolution, appointing election officials for the regular general election, setting the rate of pay for the election officials and the maximum number of election clerks for the polling places, and designating the early voting ballot board.

    Also, in preparation for the municipal election, the councilmembers approved designation of two deputy early voting clerks, who are “authorized to perform any duties which are assigned by me in the performance of conducting early voting,” wrote Thompson, who also is the early voting clerk, in the designation document.

    Council seats up for election in the May 1 election are those for City Precincts 1 and 2. Candidates for the Precinct 1 position are incumbent Butch Calvert, Gene Caldwell and Samantha Wiley. Precinct 2 seat candidates are incumbent Darrell Jones, Charles Clawson and Vicki Cox.

    On election day, polls for the councilmember elections will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Election day polling places are: Precinct 1, All Saints Episcopal Church Annex, 1301 E. Houston Ave.; and Precinct 2, Crockett Fire Station, 201 N. 6th St.

    Early voting by in-person appearance will be conducted at Crockett City Hall, 200 N. 5th St., April 19-23, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and April 26-27, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

    Applications for ballots by mail should be mailed to Mitzi Thompson, City Secretary, 200 N. 5th St., Crockett, Texas, 75835, and must be received in the secretary’s office no later than by the close of business Tuesday, April 20.

    In other business, the councilmembers voted to approve an ordinance, temporarily reducing the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph for motor vehicles being driven in either direction on State Loop 304 between State Highway 19 and SH 7, while much of that section of the loop is under construction.

    The councilmembers also discussed city facility operations and current COVID-19 measures. “Basically, what the city is doing is there are certain facilities that we do have control over,” said Fisher.

    “And as far as the city facilities, they’re going to remain pretty much stable, recognizing the CDC guidelines that they already have,” she added.

    There’s no limit on the size of gatherings “unless we run into a problem and they (users of city facilities) can’t ensure their safety,” Fisher said. “If it presents a problem where people were saying it was so congested, then we will have to readdress it and set a cap on it.

    “But right now, everyone that has basically used the facility—even for concerts—have been so mindful of being able to respect the safety of others. So, we haven’t had that problem; we don’t anticipate having that problem. But in case we do, we will be able to readdress it and be willing to put a cap (on gatherings at the facilities) if it has to be.”

    The mayor added, “But we are asking that you (users of the facilities) maintain the safety guidelines. Whatever your percentage should be, it should be in accordance with what you can do—staying within the guidelines.

    “And then the other part of it (the mayor and councilmembers approach) is that we did ask the city (staffers) to take into consideration the CDC guidelines. And even though the (former) mask mandate isn’t in effect anymore it is important that we still continue to protect ourselves to the best of our ability. And that’s a simple way with the basic guidelines: washing our hands, wearing masks, social distancing and those kinds of things.”

    Summer Fun Day planned

    During Police Chief Clayton Smith’s regular report, he said the police department is planning a Summer Fun Day event to be held Saturday, June 5, if allowed by COVID protocols and depending on what is going on at that time. “We haven’t been able to have a community event in a while because of Covid and everything going on,” said Smith.

    He noted, June 5 is during “the first weekend that the kids are out of school,” and added, plans are to have the event in Davy Crockett Memorial Park with waterslides, possibly around the splash pad, and event planners are “just trying to get all the kids out to have fun.”

  • Former NFL player, Crockett native drowns at Rayburn

    Pete Lammons trading card as a New York JetCOURTESY PHOTO Pete Lammons trading card as a New York Jet

    By Chris Edwards

    A man who drowned in Lake Sam Rayburn on Thursday was identified on Friday by authorities as that of Peter Spencer “Pete” Lammons, Jr., a 77-year-old Houston man who was once an NFL athlete.

    Lammons, who was reportedly an avid outdoorsman, was fishing in the Major League Fishing’s Toyota Tournament when the incident occurred on Thursday. According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, the drowning occurred near San Augustine Park, which is located on the east side of the lake, seven miles southwest of Pineland. The drowning in the second that has occurred in the region during this week. On Sunday, 18-year-old Richard Tyler Johnston, of Hemphill, drowned in Dam B.

    Texas Parks & Wildlife game wardens recovered his body by using sonar, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, according to a press release from Major League Fishing. The accident occurred when Lammons fell overboard at the dock while preparing to fish in the tournament, according to MLF.

    Lammons was a native of Crockett and played football for Jacksonville High School in the late 1950s and early ‘60s before he matriculated to the University of Texas in Austin and played as a Longhorn. He was drafted as an eighth-round pick by the New York Jets in the 1966 AFL draft, according to ESPN, where he played as a tight-end through 1971. He finished his career as one of the Green Bay Packers in 1972.

    Pete Lammons as UT Longhorn courtesy of UTPete Lammons as UT Longhorn courtesy of UT

    Lammons was a starting defensive player on the Jets’ Super Bowl III championship team, and he was also a part of the UT 1963 national championship team under legendary coach Darrell Royal.

    Lammons also played for another legendary coach, Bum Phillips, as a high school freshman. Phillips was then head coach at Jacksonville High School. Years later, the two men met again on the sidelines of the 1967 AFL All-Star Game.

    According to Lammons’s nephew Lance, his uncle had been fatigued from two recent stent surgeries and tripped as he was about to board the boat, fell into the lake and could not be saved.

    After his football career, Lammons was involved in real estate and horse racing. He was also a professional angler, and had competed in more than 50 of the MLF tournaments.

    On a story about Lammons’s death on the New York Jets’ official website, his nephew is quoted as saying that “Pete wanted Jacksonville to have his Super Bowl ring and his National Championship ring from the University of Texas.”

    Lammons also has a scholarship named in his honor for Jacksonville HS graduates.

  • Grapeland boys win playoff opener

    IMG 0874LARRY LAMB | HCC Besides putting on a three-point clinic, senior B. J. Lamb dazzled fans when he slammed the ball home during the Sandies’ 87-68 bi-district win over Frankston.

    By Larry Lamb

    “Lose-the-flip-win-the game.”

    That hashtag posted on social media became the battle cry for the Grapeland Sandies going into their bi-district game against Frankston on Saturday, Feb. 20.

    After plans to play the game at Rusk fell through due to weather-related issues, the two schools agreed on flipping for home-and-home.

    Frankston won the coin toss but home court advantage was not enough for the Indians to overcome the No. 3 ranked Sandies, who prevailed 87-68.

    The Sandies jumped out to an 11-2 lead but after Frankston cut the lead to two, the Sandies closed out the quarter with a 13-6 run.

    Led by senior B.J. Lamb’s five-of-five trey barrage, the Sandies pulled away to lead 29-20 at the end of the first.

    The Trinity Valley Community College football recruit dazzled fans when he stole the ball and raced down the floor for a slam dunk.

    Then Lamb drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to boost his first quarter total to 17 points and give the Sandies a nine-point lead.

    Although his family’s home was destroyed by fire earlier in the week, Lamb was able to overcome adversity and focus on the game.

    Lamb, who finished the night with seven treys, booked a game-high 33 points and 11 assists to attain double-double status.

    Frankston stayed close early in the second period but saw the Sandies rattle off a 21-5 run in the final five minutes of the half to pull away 54-32.

    After Grapeland took its biggest lead of 30 points early in the third, Frankston answered with a 13-2 flurry to get within 19.

    The Sandies answered with a big run, however, to push their lead out to 73-49 heading into the final period.

    The Indians stayed alive with another 13-2 run that whittled the gap down to 75-62 with 3:40 left.

    But Frankston’s hopes of a miracle finish evaporated with a 12-6 run by the Sandies down the stretch.

    Two other Sandies joined Lamb with double-doubles.

    Cadarian Wiley was right behind him with 32 points and 12 rebounds.

    Wiley scored six in the first quarter, 10 in the second and eight in each of the last two frames.

    Keizion Ashford buried three treys and tallied 12 points along with 10 assists.

    Riley Murchison contributed six points on a pair of treys, Omarian Wiley chipped in four and Michael Dancer had two.

    In an earlier bi-district game in the Frankston gym, top-ranked Martin’s Mill defeated Lovelady 90-41.

    Fans were already speculating about a possible third round clash pitting the Sandies and Martin’s Mill.

    Grapeland defeated Mart 74-44 in the area round and Martin’s Mill edged Rosebud-Lott 59-42 to set up a showdown in the regional quarterfinals Saturday, Feb. 27 in Frankston.

  • Grapeland eyes state crown

     MG 5696PHOTO BY MARSHA COOK Grapeland sophomore Riley Murchison drains one of his six 3-pointers over Schulenburg’s Keisean Johnson in the state semifinal Tuesday.

    By Larry Lamb

    The Grapeland Sandies are one win away from bringing home the school’s second boys basketball state championship.

    The Sandies (29-1) handled Schulenburg 74-60 in the state semifinal Tuesday night in Aldine ISD’s Campbell Center and advanced to the Class 2A championship game against Clarendon (24-4) Saturday in San Antonio. Tip-off is 10 a.m. in the Alamodome.

    Since winning the 1985 state crown, Grapeland has made tournament appearances in 1999, 2001, 2014 and 2017 but hasn’t been able to get past the semifinal round.

    Now that the 2021 Sandies have crashed through the semifinal barrier, the Clarendon Broncos are the last obstacle to the gold.

    Clarendon, located in the panhandle east of Amarillo, beat Lipan 68-47 in the state semifinal.

    This is Clarendon’s fifth appearance in the state tournament but the Broncos have never won a title.

    Both Grapeland and Clarendon reached the Final Four in 2017 and lost to Muenster. Muenster beat the Sandies 56-52 (OT) in the state semifinal and then knocked off Clarendon 73-45 in the championship game.

    In addition to a trip to state in 2010, Clarendon made two appearances in 1968 and 1969 as a class 1A school. Clarendon’s ’69 team fell to Kennard in the championship game.

    With the state crown on the line Saturday, Grapeland hopes to duplicate the first quarter offensive firestorm it unleashed against Schulenburg.

    Paced by Cadarian Wiley’s 11 points in the opening period, the Sandies raced out to a 26-6 lead.

    Schulenburg opened the second with a 7-0 run to slice the lead in half but saw Grapeland open up a 21-point edge. The Shorthorns were able to cut the lead to 45-29 at halftime.

    Schulenburg came out energized in the third and scored three unanswered baskets to make it a 10-point game.

    Wiley finally broke the scoring ice with a free throw at the 5:45 mark but two quick buckets by Schulenburg trimmed the gap to seven, 46-39.

    Senior B. J. Lamb and sophomore Riley Murchison took matters into their own hands and fueled a 17-2 run that put Grapeland back in control 63-41.

    The Sandies’ 17-point frenzy included four consecutive treys – one by Lamb and three by Murchison.

    Two late Schulenburg tallies made it 63-45 heading into the final period.

    The Shorthorns got within 11 with 2:00 left but hopes of a miracle comeback faded with a steal and back-to-back buckets by Lamb.

    Schulenburg scored its final point at the line with :55 left and seemed content to let the Sandies run out the clock.

    Wiley and Murchison, who drained six treys, each finished with 23 points. Murchison also made his presence known on defense with seven steals. Wiley had six steals and eight rebounds.

    Lamb swooshed in three treys and rounded out double figures with 17. Omarian Wiley chipped in seven and Keizion Ashford had four.

    Schulenburg senior Brycen Wilson capped his career with a game-high 30 points and senior Kenny King followed with 13.

  • Grapeland finishes season as state runner-up

     MG 6402COURTESY OF MARSHA COOK Grapeland’s Caderian Wiley battles for a loose ball against Clarendon in the UIL Class 2A Boys Basketball State Championship game Saturday in San Antonio. The Sandies battled to the bitter end but came up short 64-60.

    By Larry Lamb

    Grapeland High School’s overflowing display case is even more crowded now with the addition of the 2021 UIL Class 2A Boys Basketball State Runner-up trophy the Sandies brought home Saturday from San Antonio.

    The Sandies lost a hard-fought battle with the Clarendon Broncos, 64-60, in the championship game at the Alamodome.

    Despite falling behind by eight late in the game, the Sandies refused to throw in the towel.

    Trailing 54-46, with 5:59 left in the game, the Sandies went on a 14-5 run to slip in front 60-59 with :35 left.

    Clarendon tied it on a free throw with :24 left and converted a steal into a layup with :11 left to go ahead 62-60.

    The Broncos scored their final bucket with :04 after a turnover by the Sandies.

    Grapeland trailed 18-12 after a quarter but Clarendon opened up an eight-point lead early in the second.

    A layup by B.J. Lamb with :21 left in the half closed the gap to 30-26 at the break.

    “We hadn’t shot the ball particularly well. We did some things that were uncharacteristic of us and we were still right in the game. We talked to the guys at halftime about staying the course, continuing to work hard and continuing to play hard all the way through,” said Grapeland head coach Blake Doughty during a Zoom post-game press conference.

    An energized Grapeland crew started the second half with a 6-1 run to slip in front 32-31 at the 6:32 mark in the third.

    After Clarendon went in front 39-34, the lead changed hands several times.

    Three straight buckets by Keizion Ashford, Lamb and Omarian Wiley gave the Sandies a 44-41 lead -- their biggest since early in the first half -- with :36 left in the third.

    With :01 left in the third, Clarendon’s Donovan Thompson heaved up a three-pointer -- the only one by either team -- to put the Broncos up 47-46 heading into the fourth.

    Senior State All-Tourney honorees Lamb and Ashford led the Sandies’ scoring with 19 apiece. Lamb was 7 of 8 at the line.

    Wiley rounded out double figures with 13. Omarian Wiley had five while Riley Murchison and Michael Dancer chipped in two apiece.

    Clarendon’s Donovan, who led all scorers with 21, was named Championship Game MVP.

    “Obviously we’re disappointed. Everybody that gets to this point and doesn’t reach the top of the mountain is disappointed. But I’m so proud of these guys and the humans that they are. I’m so proud of the people that they are going to become as they move on from Grapeland High School. That’s really the important part of this and it’s hard to keep that in perspective all the time when you’re talking about the state final game. These guys mean the world to me. They’re great, great kids,” said Doughty.

    This was Grapeland’s sixth appearance in the “Big Dance” since the 1985 Sandies captured the state crown. Grapeland made subsequent trips to state in 1999, 2001, 2014 and 2017 but was unable to crash through the semi-final barrier until this year.

    Clarendon’s state championship is the first in school history after five previous tournament appearances.

    Praising his team’s resiliency, Doughty added, “These guys never quit. They never gave in. They never turned on each other and that part’s great. We got to the point at the end of the game and both of our senior guards (Lamb and Ashford) had fouled out. That part can make it difficult to close out and finish games,” said Doughty, whose team ended the year with a 29-2 record.

    Asked what Clarendon did to make it difficult for the Sandies, Doughty responded, “I thought they matched our athleticism and that’s something we don’t see all the time. But more than that, we just didn’t have a good day shooting the ball. We didn’t shoot the ball from the three, we didn’t shoot the ball well from the free throw line.”

    The Sandies rained a barrage of 11 treys in their semifinal victory over Schulenburg but went 0-of-8 from beyond the arc against Clarendon. They left 15 points at the charity stripe, hitting just 14 of 29.

    Clarendon (25-4) made just one of eight from beyond the arc and nailed 13 of 24 free throws.

    Doughty continued, “They’re good defensively and they’re active, but I think that’s got more to do with us than it does them.”

    with us than it does them.”

    Ashford and junior Cadarian Wiley joined Doughty for post-game interviews.

    “It’s been a good season because of the great teammates I have. It’s been an amazing season. We just came up short,” said Ashford.

    An emotional Wiley said, “I’m going to take this loss and we’re going to be back next year.”

  • Grapeland reaches Elite 8

     MG 5027MARSHA COOK PHOTO Grapeland’s Cadarian Wiley shoots over Gary defender Landon Woodfin during a regional semifinals matchup Tuesday night in Lufkin.

    By Larry Lamb

    After toppling No. 1 Martin’s Mill, the Grapeland Sandies added another notch on their belt by taking down No. 9 Gary 48-46 in the regional semifinals Tuesday in Lufkin.

    Grapeland’s win sets up a showdown between the No. 3 Sandies (27-1) and No. 4 LaPoynor (26-5) in the regional final Friday night at Fairfield High School.

    LaPoynor, which edged Big Sandy 53-50 in the regional semifinals, handed the Sandies their only loss, 61-56, back on Dec.12.

    The winner of the Grapeland-LaPoynor matchup advances to the state semifinal round March 8-9 with a ticket to the Class 2A State Championship in San Antonio on Saturday, March 13 up for grabs.

    Grapeland led by six three times in the final five minutes but could not put Gary away.

    The Sandies had a six-point lead with 1:50 left after Cadarian Wiley hit his third straight bucket.

    Gary answered with a deep trey and then hit one of two free throws to make it 47-45 with 46.8 seconds left.

    Grapeland’s B.J. Lamb went to the line for a one-and-one situation with 10.9 seconds left. He sank the front end but the second would not fall, holding the Sandies’ lead at 48-45.

    Trailing by three, Gary inbounded the ball and a foul on Cadarian Wiley sent the Bobcats to the line for two shots with 1.8 seconds left.

    Needing a miracle, the Bobcats’ only hope was to make the first free throw, intentionally miss the second, get the rebound and score.

    Landon Woodfin’s first attempt was good to make it 48-46. His second shot hit the rim and the Sandies collected the rebound as the buzzer sounded, setting off Grapeland’s victory celebration.

    Playing their preferred brand of run-and-gun style of basketball, the Sandies raced out to a 6-0 lead.

    After Gary slowed the tempo, the Bobcats were able to match Grapeland’s six points the rest of the first quarter but still trailed 12-6.

    Gary was within a point with 4:45 left in the second when the Sandies pulled away 21-15 on three unanswered buckets.

    The Bobcats drained a trey in the closing seconds of the half, capping a 10-2 run that put them on top 25-23 at the break.

    Seizing momentum in the third quarter, the Sandies went on a 10-2 run to take a 33-27 lead at the 4:00 mark.

    Gary scored back-to-back buckets to make it a two-point game with :25 left. In the closing seconds Mike Dancer heaved an errant trey but a rebound and put-back by Keizion Ashford at the buzzer pushed the Sandies’ lead to 35-31.

    Lamb went to the bench with four fouls at the 1:08 mark in the third and returned early in the fourth after Gary nailed a pair of free throws to get within two.

    Held to their lowest offensive output this season, the Sandies were led by Cadarian Wiley’s 18 points. Wiley scored eight of Grapeland’s 11 points in the second quarter and made three consecutive baskets in the fourth.

    Lamb, who scored his team’s only three-pointer of the night, recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds

    Keizion Ashford scored nine, Mike Dancer and Omarian Wiley chipped in two apiece, and Riley Murchison had one.

    Gary’s Ryan Ecker led a trio of double-digit scorers with 15. Landon Woodfin had 13 and Dakota Beckham finished with 11.

    Grapeland made 5 of 10 free throws and Gary hit 10 of 13.

    The Sandies came into the game riding momentum from an 81-75 upset of top-ranked Martin’s Mill Saturday afternoon in Frankston.

    The match-up featuring two of the state’s premier class 2A teams lived up to all the pre-game hype.

    Grapeland led by three after a quarter and outscored the Mustangs 26-18 in the second to open up an 11-point halftime lead.

    After Lamb hit two straight buckets to put the Sandies up 41-30, Mustang Carter Jones drilled a trey to make it an eight-point game with :10 left in the half.

    Lamb had an answer, however, when he heaved a 3-point buzzer-beater from half court to stretch the Sandies’ lead back to 44-33 at the break.

    Martin’s Mill came out sizzling in the third, hitting three treys in an 11-2 run to cut the lead to two, 46-44.

    A 9-2 run put Grapeland up 55-46 but the Mustangs tied it 61-61 on a deep trey in the waning seconds of the third.

    The game was tied at 67 early in the fourth when a put-back by Murchison ignited a 6-0 run that put the Sandies up 73-67.

    After their lead was cut to two, 77-75, the Sandies hit four clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

    Lamb, a Trinity Valley Community College football signee, led the Sandies with a triple-double of 22 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.

    Wiley booked 22 points and nine rebounds while Ashford rounded out double figures with 16 and led with five steals.

     

  • Groveton girls nip Lovelady for district track crown

    IMG 2689LARRY LAMB | HCC Groveton’s Ingrid Rojo took first in the 100 hurdles and second in the 300 hurdles at the District 20-2A Track Meet.

    By Larry Lamb

    A first place finish in the 1600-meter run and a third place showing in the 1600 relay lifted Groveton to the District 20-2A varsity girls track championship in the finals Friday, April 9 at Centerville High School’s Tiger Stadium.

    That strong finish by the Lady Indians in the last two events gave them a total of 167 points, putting them two points ahead of Lovelady (165) in the district team standings. Jewett Leon (137.5) finished a distant third, followed by Centerville (94.5), Latexo (20), Slocum (5) and Grapeland (0).

    The meet was scheduled to take two days, but inclement weather stretched competition into a third day.

    Field events, running prelims and 3200-meter races took place Monday. Athletes returned Thursday for the running finals at 6 p.m. and the meet was running on schedule until shortly after 7 o’clock when a 30-minute lightning delay was called. Subsequent threatening weather in the area forced the delay to be extended and eventually the remaining six events were postponed until Friday morning.

    The top four finishers in each event advanced to the area meet Thursday in Madisonville where they competed for a regional berth April 23-24 at Palestine Wildcats Stadium.

    Results of the district meet are as follows:

    District 20-2A Track Meet

    Monday, April 5 - Thursday, April 8 - Friday, April 9

    Varsity Girls

    Team Standings- 1, Groveton 167. 2, Lovelady 165. 3, Jewett Leon 137.5. 4, Centerville 94.5. 5, Latexo 20. 6, Slocum 5. 7, Grapeland 0.

    Running events

    100 dash – 1, Jacy Stubblefield, Lovelady, 12.78. 2, Anaya Bloodworth, Groveton, 13.28. 3, Charlee Biano, Latexo, 13.49. 4, Kortney Bynum, Lovelady, 13.55. 5, Kaitlyn Kirschner, Leon, 13.90. 5, Kameron Denman, Centerville, 13.90.

    200 dash – 1, Lauren Salley, Leon, 27.56. 2, Jacy Stubblefield, Lovelady, 27.87. 3, Keyonna Holley, Centerville, 27.93. 4, Maya Calvin, Leon, 28.84. 5, Emma Alexander, Groveton, 28.85. 6, Anaya Bloodworth, Groveton, 29.93.

    400 dash – 1, Lauren Salley, Leon, 1:03.11. 2, Madison Johnson, Leon, 1:04.90. 3, Kinsley Kornegay, Centerville, 1:07.49. 4, Tanaysha Cole, Groveton, 1:07.68. 5, Shyanne Pipkin, Lovelady, 1:07.75. 6, Josselyn Cruz, Groveton, 1:09.65.

    800 run – Madison Johnson, Leon, 2:36.46. 2, Rylie Croston, Centerville, 2:36.72. 3, Kaitlyn Bailey, Centerville, 2:36.96. 4, Kinsey Hardee, Centerville, 2:38.81. 5, Claire Stevens, Leon, 2:40.72. 6, Josselyn Cruz, Groveton, 2:43.86.

    1600 run – 1, Caitlyn Antley, Groveton, 6:06.61. 2, Claire Stevens, Leon, 6:08.36. 3, Isavel Bautista, Groveton, 6:18.34. 4, Abby Sarraf, Slocum, 6:19.68. 5, Skyler Shaw, Groveton, 6:22.27. 6, Shyanne Pipkin, Lovelady, 6:33.84.

    3200 run – 1. Claire Stevens, Leon, 13:14. 2, Caitlyn Antley, Groveton, 13:17. 3, Rylie Croston, Centerville, 13:19. 4. Kaitlyn Bailey, Centerville, 13:25. 5, Isavel Bautista, Groveton, 13:31. 6, Abby Sarraf, Slocum, 14:28.

    100 hurdles – 1, Ingrid Rojo, Groveton, 18.99. 2, Emma Carmicheal, Lovelady, 19.90. 3, Daisia Leonard, Groveton, 20.65. 4, Hanna Huffstuttler, Lovelady, 20.90. 5, Olivia Ice, Lovelady, 21.00.

    300 hurdles – 1, Scout Lovell, Lovelady, 51.34. 2, Ingrid Rojo, Groveton, 55.94. 3, Olivia Ice, Lovelady, 57.15. 3, Samantha Hobbs, Centerville, 57.15.

    5, Emma Carmicheal, Lovelady, 57.72. 6, Daisia Leonard, Groveton, 1:05.31

    4x100 – 1, Leon (Ramirez, Sitton, Oviedo, Calvin), 51.65. 2, Groveton (Kaylee McRory, Maicey Smith, Emma Alexander, Breanna McQueen), 52.00.

    1. Centerville (Keeton, Denman, Rivenbark, Holley), 52.97. 4, Lovelady (MaKenna Pierce, Bailee Albinus, Kortney Bynum, Aaliyah Jones), 53.88. 5, Latexo (Charlee Biano, Emily Bird, Shelby Eberts, Taylor Dise), 56.31.

    4x200 relay – 1, Leon (Ramirez, Sitton, Oviedo, Calvin), 1:50.18. 2, Groveton. (Breanna McQueen, Emma Alexander, Kaylee McRory, Maicey Smith), 1:51.56. 3, Lovelady (MaKenna Pierce, Bailee Albinus, Scout Lovell, Jacy Stubblefield), 1:53.49. 4, Latexo (Charlee Biano, Emily Bird, Shelby Eberts, Taylor Dise), 2:01.87.

    4x400 – 1, Leon (Salley, Johnson, Sitton, Oviedo), 4:18.12. 2, Centerville (Holley, Hardee, Kornegay, Kapchinsky), 4:24.25. 3, Groveton (Breanna McQueen, Caitlyn Antley, Kaylee McRory, Maicey Smith), 4:26.18.

    Field Events

    Long jump – 1, Jacy Stubblefield, Lovelady, 16-1 ¼. 2, Ciera Keeton, Centerville, 15-4. 3, Breanna McQueen, Groveton, 15-1 ¾. 4, Aaliyah Jones, Lovelady, 14-2 ¾. 5, Emily Bird, Latexo, 14-0. 6, Alexis Easterling, Groveton, 13’10.

    Shot put – 1, Jenny Kapchinski, Centerville, 32-2. 2, Canaan Dillard, Groveton, 31-6. 3, Stacy Rojo, Groveton, 27-10. 4, Magali Castillo, Lovelady, 27-8. 5. Hollie Seidel, Lovelady, 25-8. 6, Hannah Spurgeon, Groveton, 24-7.

    Discus – 1, Kylie Pugh, Lovelady, 88-1. 2, Magali Castillo, Lovelady, 86-8. 3, Stacey Rojo, Groveton, 86-7 ½. 4, Canann Dillard, Groveton, 84-7 ½. 5, Hannah Spurgeon, Groveton, 78-2 ½. 6, Danielle Glasgow, Lovelady, 74-9.

    Triple jump – 1, Makenna Pierce, Lovelady, 31-6 ½. 2, Maya Calvin, Leon, 31-5. 3, Kortney Bynum, Lovelady, 30-11. 4, Kaylee McRory, Groveton, 29-0 1/2. 5, Emma Alexander, Groveton, 28-7. 6, Daisia Leonard, Groveton, 27-9.

    High jump – 1, Shyanne Pipkin, Lovelady, 5-2. 2, Kieyn Smith, Groveton, 4-8. 3, Emily Sitton, Leon, 4-6.

    Pole Vault - Jacy Stubblefield, Lovelady, 9-6. 2, Kameron Negrete, Lovelady, 9-0. 3, Scout Lovell, Lovelady, 8-6. 4, Ingrid Rojo, Groveton, 6-6. 5, Kaitlyn Bailey, Centerville, 6-0.

  • Ham radio: hobbyists offer valuable service

    German amateur radio contest station 2017German amateur radio contest station 2017 Ptolusque, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

    By Chris Edwards

    HOUSTON COUNTY – Sometimes a hobby is more than just a way to pass the time (and spend money.) In the case of amateur radio operators (ham radio) the hobby is one that is more of a valuable service that can be a lifeline in times of need.

    Houston County has its own group of “ham” operators, the Houston County Amateur Radio Club. The club is affiliated with the Amateur Radio Relay League, which was founded in 1914. Through that affiliation, the club can help anyone who is interested in becoming a member get licensed to operate ham radios, and even work on them. There are currently three levels of certification for ham operators: technician, general and extra.

    The first level is the entry point into ham radio, and as to how long it takes a person to acquire the certifications, well, it just depends, according to Van L. Sims. Sims, who has been involved with ham radio since the 1970s, and serves as the club’s treasurer, said the main purpose of the certification tests is to learn the ins and outs of the different bands, or the frequency allocations.

    A ham radio station can be set up anywhere, such as in field or in one’s home. Club vice president Larry Small said “When all else goes down, if we’ve got a 12-vote battery, and some wire, we can talk anywhere.”

    Amateur radio operators have a basic, working knowledge of radio technology and pass examinations to operate on radio frequencies known as the “amateur bands,” which are allocated by the Federal Communications Commission for use by ham operators.

    Ham operators have been essential in times of disaster and are often unsung heroes. Sims noted that 5,000 hams provided all of the communication in the aftermath of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City. Hams also provided essential services after Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana in 2005.

    The Houston County club derives its operating expenses from fundraisers, and they have five each year, although their 2020 fundraising activities were curtailed by COVID. The club’s current big project is to convert one of its four repeaters to solar power. Sims said of the project that in a time of emergency, if there is a massive power outage, the ham operators will still be able to get essential communications across with solar power.

    Sims is quick to point out how grateful the club is to the late David Lamb. Lamb, who served as the county’s emergency management coordinator, was able to obtain a great deal of equipment for the club, including its bus.

    The club is also planning on installing a ham station in the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Randy Hargrove is a ham operator and serves as the club’s president.

    The club, whose call sign is WA5EC, meets at 7 p.m. on every second Tuesday of each month at the old National Guard Armory (EOC Building) which is located at the corner of Edministon Drive and Christy Lane near the Davy Crockett Park in Crockett. Anyone who has an interest can join the club, and dues are $15 per member, annually. It has a field day planned for Saturday, June 26, beginning around noon, at the Davy Crockett Park.

  • Henderson edges Crockett in bi-district soccer

    IMG 1859LARRY LAMB | HCC Crockett goalie Antonio Cruz makes a diving save against Henderson in a bi-district game on Thursday.

    By Larry Lamb

    The Crockett Bulldogs capped the regular season with five straight wins but couldn’t keep their streak going against the Henderson Lions in the first round of the class 4A state soccer playoffs.

    Henderson scored two second-half goals to beat the Bulldogs 2-0 in a bi-district matchup Thursday night at Hudson High School’s Hornet Field.

    The Bulldogs and Lions battled back and forth down the field for the first 40 minutes. At halftime, the game was locked in a 0-0 stalemate.

    Crockett continued to struggle with finding an offensive spark early in the second half while Henderson finally found the back of the net at the 32:04 mark. The Lions tacked on an insurance goal with 16:36 left.

    Bulldogs coach Gary Gutierrez praised junior goalie Antonio Cruz’s performance.

    “In my opinion he won man of the match. He kept us in the game for as long as he could and he made absolute incredible saves. He’s going to be an elite goal keeper if he really wants to. Luckily I’ll have him back next year,” said Gutierrez.

    Henderson, which finished second in its district, sits at 14-8-4 overall going into the second round against Paris.

    While seeing the season end is always heartbreaking – especially for the senior trio of Alex Orozco, Pablo Ayala and Salvador Lopez – Gutierrez says the Bulldogs can be proud of their accomplishments.

    “This is the best season the boys have ever played. This is the best they’ve ever done in the playoffs. The boys have made a huge improvement from last year and prior years, and even from the beginning of this season. This is the strongest team Crockett has ever had and it’s only going to get stronger,” said Gutierrez.

    Crockett finished third out of eight teams in District 16-4A with a 10-4 record and ended the season with a 14-9 mark.

    Palestine won the district championship, Livingston came in second and Diboll finished fourth behind Crockett.

    As expected, Palestine prevailed over Carthage 2-0 in the first round Thursday. Livingston takes on Center in bi-district Friday at Hudson. Diboll, the fourth place seed, faces Kilgore.

    Crockett, a relatively young program, is marking its fourth year of UIL sanctioned competition. The Bulldogs made the playoffs as the fourth place seed their first two seasons and were poised to earn a playoff berth last season when the UIL suspended competition due to the pandemic.

    Gutierrez noted that the Bulldogs’ district losses were to Palestine and Livingston, both 4A schools.

    “We only lost to two teams in district (Palestine and Livingston). We’re blowing teams out that in previous years had blown us out such as Hudson and Madisonville. In our last five games we have scored 18 goals and have only allowed three goals,” pointed out Gutierrez.

    “This is my first year here but I’d safely assume that we have scored more goals than this team has ever scored in a single season and allowed the least amount of goals. This team has won the most amount of games and has lost the least amount of games,” said Gutierrez.

  • Houston Countians urged to take broadband survey

    Broadband Graphic PixabayCOURTESY OF PIXABAY Broadband Graphic

    By Alton Porter

    An online survey is being conducted to determine the broadband internet needs of Houston County residents.

    The survey is being put forth by Connected Nation Texas, a localized division of a national nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding access to broadband. It was launched in January and will continue into May.

    County residents are encouraged to take the broadband survey.

    Involved in the Houston County Broadband Initiative is the county’s broadband committee, which is comprised of local community leaders from various sectors with a common mission of enhancing broadband access, adoption and use throughout the county for the benefit of local residents and businesses.

    With that goal, the committee is partnering with Connected Nation Texas and its “Connected Community” program to assess the present state of broadband in the county, establish a broadband planning process and address the county’s current and future broadband needs.

    According to survey coordinators, in order to perform an assessment of Houston County’s current broadband environment, the committee members are surveying local residents, businesses and other organizations across the county.

    Responses to the surveys will help them better understand the existing resources and capabilities available to support the access, adoption and use of broadband technology in residents’ homes and businesses.

    After a structured evaluation of this assessment is completed, the committee and other survey coordinators will be in a position to develop appropriate action plans and projects to effectively improve the county’s broadband environment.

    The results of the community broadband assessment and related surveys are planned to be shared with the public this summer, followed by additional work to develop a countywide action plan to address identified areas of need.

    County residents’ participation in the appropriate broadband survey and overall support of the committee’s efforts are seen as very important in developing an accurate assessment of broadband availability and related needs in the county.

    To take the survey as a resident, business owner or designated representative of some other organization, go online to https://www.myconnectedcommunity.org/houston-county/ and select the appropriate option.

    Readers of this article are asked to share this information with peers and to encourage others to take the appropriate broadband survey.

  • Houston County commissioners oppose being silenced

    IMG 7952ALTON PORTER | HCC Houston County Judge Jim Lovell and county commissioners court members met in person and remotely via Zoom Tuesday, March 23. Above, from left to right, are Gary Lovell, Willie Kitchen, Judge Lovell, Gene Stokes and Jimmy Henderson.

    By Alton Porter

    Houston County’s commissioners, like other local government officials across the state, have taken a stand opposing being silenced by state officials.

    The county officials adopted a resolution in opposition to Texas Senate Bills 10 and 234 and Texas House Bill 749, which they say introduce efforts to silence county officials. They took the action at a Houston County Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday morning, March 23.

    “SB 10 is a bill that’s being introduced (in the Texas Senate),” said County Judge Jim Lovell in presenting the resolution to the commissioners—as are SB 234 and HB 749. “They (state lawmakers) word it as taxpayer-funded lobbying.

    “But what it really is is we can’t join an association, such as Texas Association of Counties or County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, if they hire on their staff a lobbyist.”

    Judge Lovell added, “Not only that. We can’t go to Austin as commissioners court or sheriff or any other elected official to (voice our positions) if a bill comes up that concerns county government and we want to go and testify before a committee or talk to our legislator and the county pay for it.

    “So, this resolution is just a resolution saying that we oppose that bill.”

    County Auditor Melissa Jeter pointed out that SB 234 and HB 749 are Senate and House bills related to SB 10.

    The bills would “take your voice away from any unfunded mandates…,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Gene Stokes said.

    “They forgot about the First Amendment, didn’t they,” added Sheriff Randy Hargrove.

    Jeter noted, the Senate’s Local Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, is to hold a hearing on SB 10 Thursday morning, March 25. Persons who want to comment on the bill should contact the committee before the hearing.

    It is “a community censorship bill that would prohibit a city or county from spending public funds to influence the outcome of legislation,” according to an interpretation released by the Texas Municipal League (TML).

    “At the most basic level, S.B. 10 would prevent a city from hiring staff, contracting with lobbyists or other professional advocates, or joining associations like TML that engage in advocacy at the state capitol.

    “Specifically, the bill would provide: ‘The governing body of a county or municipality may not spend public money or provide compensation in any manner to directly or indirectly influence or attempt to influence the outcome of any legislation pending before the legislature.’”

    HB 749, also dubbed community censorship legislation by TML, “would: (1) prohibit a political subdivision from spending public funds to: (a) hire an individual required to register as a lobbyist for the purpose of lobbying a member of the Texas legislature; or (b) pay a nonprofit state association or organization that: (i) primarily represents political subdivisions; and (ii) hires or contracts with an individual required to register as a lobbyist.”

    In addition, TML representatives note, HB 749 would: “(2) provide that if a political subdivision engages in activity prohibited by (1), above, a taxpayer or resident of the political subdivision is entitled to injunctive relief to prevent any further prohibited activity or any further payments of public funds; and (3) provide that a taxpayer or resident who prevails in an action under (2), above, is entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs from the political subdivision.”

    SB 234 is a companion bill to HB 749.

    In other business, the commissioners voted to accept as information the resignation of Bobby Hutcherson from the Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 Board of Commissioners and to appoint Greg Brooks, of Belott, to replace Hutcherson on the ESD2 board. Hutcherson had served as vice president on the board.

    In another action, the commissioners approved the holding of a county event and display permit for a Houston County Welfare Board and Kalin’s Center program and the adoption of a proclamation designating April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Houston County.

    The program, promoting awareness of child abuse, will be held on the county courthouse steps April 9, beginning at 11 a.m., and the annual display of pinwheels and related items, intended to focus attention on such abuse, will remain on the courthouse grounds throughout the month.

    The commissioners approved participation in a right-of-way/utility project on State Highway 7 at the Trinity River with the Texas department of highways, by passing a motion authorizing the signing of an affidavit, an agreement to contribute right-of-way funds and a resolution authorizing Judge Lovell to execute an agreement to contribute funds to the state for proper development and construction of the state highway system.

    They voted to pass a motion on a request to approve a $1,000 donation from an anonymous donor to the Sheriff’s Office for Drug Awareness Resistance Education (DARE) expenses.

    The commissioners approved acceptance of a donation of $9,284 in road materials from an anonymous donor for Precinct 2.

    In another action related to the Sheriff’s Office, the commissioners approved a budget amendment request from the office for a vehicle replacement not to exceed $17,000.

    They voted to approve selecting which vehicles or departments are to be included to determine costs for a possible lease program with Enterprise Fleet Management.

    A motion to grant Piney Woods Fine Arts Association $1,000 from the county’s Hotel Occupancy Tax fund to help cover expenses for a Texas Tenors Concert scheduled Saturday, April 16, at the Crockett Civic Center carried on a vote taken by the commissioners.

    A proclamation, designating April as County Government Month in Houston County and setting April 29 as the date for a county employees picnic was adopted by the commissioners.

    Similarly, the commissioners adopted a proclamation designating April as Fair Housing Month.

    A motion declaring a 2005 Precinct 2 pickup truck as surplus and authorizing advertising for the sale of the vehicle passed on a vote by the commissioners.

    They approved District Clerk Carolyn Rains’ request for $100 for a change fund.

    The county’s former office of courthouse security was designated by the commissioners as additional space for Precinct 2 Constable Kenneth “Red” Smith, and they authorized the making of necessary budget amendments related to the matter.

    A motion to approve a contract with a company to haul and deliver road materials for Precincts 1 and 3 carried on a vote of the commissioners.

    They discussed a completed renovation project at the Precinct 2 road and bridge office building, located at 601 Cedar St., half of it which is being offered by Precinct 2 Commissioner Willie Kitchen to be used for other county purposes. The commissioners voted to reimburse the Precinct 2 road and bridge budget with $24,210 from the county’s general fund for expenses incurred by the renovation project so that they can be used to fund road and bridge projects. The commissioners approved making necessary budget amendments for this matter.

    They received as information a preservation/environmental testing report on the county courthouse presented by County Clerk Terri Meadows from G&H Environmental Consulting, LLC, and approved authorizing Judge Lovell to act on presented recommendations to make repairs to the courthouse.

    The commissioners voted to authorize Judge Lovell to negotiate a possible real estate purchase.

    And renewal of an insurance policy with Texas Association of Counties for property and mobile equipment was approved by the commissioners.

  • Houston County named to ‘Save Our Seniors’ initiative

    NEWS Vaccine 031721FILE PHOTO

    By Chris Edwards

    CROCKETT – Governor Greg Abbott announced today that Houston County is one of four East Texas counties added to the statewide “Save Our Seniors” initiative.

    The initiative was announced on March 1 by Abbott to ensure that more senior citizens are vaccinated throughout the state. Houston County senior citizens can receive their free shot at the Crockett Civic Center Thursday, March 18 and Friday, March 19.

    The vaccines, which will be administered by a military team, will be available from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. each of the two days. According to the Houston County Office of Emergency Management and Fire Marshal, the availability in the county of the vaccine as part of the initiative is the most recent plan to protect the county’s citizens. Five hundred doses of the Moderna vaccine will be available at the vaccination center.

    Anyone who is age 50 or older, along with members of the same household (21 and older) and/or caregivers is eligible for the vaccines on these dates. The availability has also been opened to employees of the education field.

    Other counties in the region that were added to this wave of the initiative are Trinity, Shelby and Hopkins. This is the third week, thus far, and there were previously 26 and 34 counties participating, respectively, each of the other two weeks. This week, in total, there are 28 Texas counties named to the initiative by the Texas Division of Emergency (TDEM), the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Texas Military Department (TMD.)

    “The continued expansion of our ‘Save Our Seniors’ initiative is protecting elderly Texans from COVID-19 and ramping up our vaccination efforts across the state,” Abbott said.

    For those who have questions regarding the vaccine or might need to schedule a home visit for a home-bound individual, they can call 936-544-7175, and registration is also available on-site. The Civic Center is located at 1100 Edmiston Drive in Crockett.

  • Judge Black issues peace bond warrants for Biden, Fauci

    ClydeBlack1FILE PHOTO Houston County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Clyde Black has issued peace bond warrants commanding that President Joe Biden and medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci be brought before him.

    By Alton Porter

    Houston County’s Precinct 1 justice of the peace has issued peace bond warrants commanding that President Joe Biden and his chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci be brought before him to answer to complaints brought by county residents.

    The warrants were issued Wednesday by JP Peace Clyde Black to “the sheriff or any constable of Houston County.”

    “You are commanded to take the body of Joseph Biden, Defendant,” states the warrant issued for the president, “and bring Defendant forthwith before me at the Justice of the Peace Office, in Houston County, Texas, then and there to answer a lawful complaint that Defendant has threatened and is about to commit against the person of John Doe-Multiple Citizens….”

    The warrant states Biden is about to commit offenses by “mandating allowed entry of illegal criminal immigrants; threatening illegal confiscation of personal firearms; endangering lives with mask mandates; ordering mandatory vaccinations; creating panic and fear with false pandemic numbers; creating danger with gender regulations in schools, against the laws of the State of Texas.”

    Biden was due in Texas today to see damage caused by the recent disastrous winter storms, visit food banks and to address other issues.

    The warrant for Fauci claims he has endangered lives—creating public fear and panic—and has engaged in policies denying medicine needed to fight disease and more.

    “In Texas, according to Chapter 7 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, the authority for peace bonds is given to the JP (justice of the peace) in all Texas counties to try to ensure the peace by protecting threatened people or people who feel threatened from violence or further violence or harm to them or their family or property,” Black told the Courier in explaining why he issued the warrants. “That’s the nature (of the warrants). I was just doing my job.”

    He added that we issued the warrants after “people came to me” expressing concerns about their safety and other matters. Those people “are looking for help and they’re concerned about everything from their personal health to the health of their family and their rights under the Constitution.”

    “And as judge,” Black said, “part of my duty and obligation to the people who elected me is to enforce the laws of the state of Texas. When people come to me with a complaint, if it’s something in my jurisdiction, I’m kind of obligated to do that. I was just doing my job that my constituents elected me to do and that I’m sworn in obligation to the Constitution.”

    Asked what he expects to happen next, now that the warrants have been issued, Black said, “I’ve been issuing warrants and giving them to law enforcement for 15 years now. I have the same expectation I do of a game warrant that I issued. I expect law enforcement to act on it.

    “When I issue a warrant, I take it to local law enforcement. After that, I have no further action with it until the warrant is served. I don’t know how the law enforcement agencies works. I’m not in law enforcement; I’m a judge.”

  • KISD trustees make mask wearing optional

    KISD supt img page wz0estCOURTESY PHOTO KISD Superintendent Malinda Lindsey

    By Alton Porter

    Like students, faculty members and staffers in other independent school districts across the state, those in Kennard now can choose whether or not to wear face coverings to school.

    Members of the Kennard Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a “mask or no mask requirement,” giving students and district personnel the options at a regular board meeting Monday, March 15.

    The trustees took the action in response to an executive order issued by Governor Greg Abbott March 2 and which took effect March 10, lifting his former statewide mask mandate and a change in health guidelines by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), according to KISD Superintendent Malinda Lindsey.

    “Our board approved the no mask requirement. However, it is optional. If a student or staff member wants to continue to wear their mask, they may do so. It is optional at this time.”

    Before Abbott issued the recent executive order, “TEA required us all to wear masks, based on the governor’s orders,” including his mask mandate executive order issued during the week of June 29 last year), Lindsey said.

    “And since he changed, TEA had changed their health guidelines. And it said that the only thing that the schools could do—the board had the local authority to change the mask requirement. We still have to continue to follow TEA’s public health guidance. But the only thing that we could change was the mask requirement. The school board had the authority to make that decision.”

    Among other actions taken at the meeting, the trustees approved a “missed school day waiver” to account for days missed by school employees during last month’s severe winter storms.

    “Due to the winter freeze in February, we had to ask TEA for waivers, due to not having electricity and those types of things,” the KISD superintendent said. “And we asked for waivers from Feb. 16-19 because that Monday (Feb. 15, when the first of the two storms created electrical power outage and water service loss problems), we were already out for a holiday.”

    The waiver eliminates the requirement that the staffers make up for those missed days, Lindsey said, adding, they will be paid as usual for those days.

    In other business, the KISD trustees voted to approve the district’s school calendar for the 2021-2022 school year and approved an Instructional Materials Recommendation Proclamation for 2021.

    A copy of the calendar is posted on the district’s website and Facebook page.

    About the instructional materials recommendation proclamation, Lindsey said, “This year is time to adopt new materials for pre-k, and we recommended to adopt Frog Street (one of several pre-kindergarten curriculums provided by an approved vendor included on a list provided by TEA),” and the recommendation was approved.

    “TEA provides a list of approved vendors for us to look at that they feel are appropriate and aligned with text,” Lindsey said. “And then, it’s up to the district to evaluate those on the list to make the best recommendation for their district.

    “It’s the curriculum that our teachers will use that are based on the pre-k guidelines. We currently use the program, but now it’s time to adopt our instructional coach. And our teachers did and evaluation process of three vendors and found that Frog Street they felt would be the best to meet the needs of our kids.”

    In another action, the trustees approved contracting with the Axley & Rode, LLP, certified public accounting firm, to serve as the district’s auditor for the 2021-2022 school and fiscal year.

    During reports by Principal Oscar Encarnacion and Assistant Principal Robin Stowe, it was noted that “we gave benchmarks last week,” said Lindsey. “And we just had a summary of our data to look at where we need to do some intervention prior to giving STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness).”

    Lindsey said Encarnacion and Stowe were to meet with teachers Thursday or Friday, March 18 or 19, “to go over that data and make individual student plans” for administering the test. She said the district is required by TEA to administer the test this school year, adding, “we have chosen this year to go all online 100% for testing.” Most of the test will be administered to students in late May, she said.

    Students in grades three through eight, will be given the tests, Lindsey said. “And then, you have your Algebra I, Biology, US History, English I and English II” high school classes that will be administered tests.

    During the meeting, student participants in this year’s Kennard High School one-act play cast and staff were recognized for their success in advancing to bi-district competition, which took place Monday, March 22.

    “We also recognized our basketball all-district students,” Lindsey said, adding, “and our coach, Cory Carden, was named district coach of the year. So, we were very proud of him.”

    After reconvening the open, public part of the meeting, following a closed, executive session, the trustees approved annual contracts for Principal Encarnacion and Assistant Principal Stowe; the resignation of former school nurse Diann Deckard; and routine requests for personnel employment, teacher contract renewal and proposed renewal, renewals for professional employees in non-certified positions and approval of at-will employees for 2021-2022, Lindsey said.

  • Lamar Cardinals sign Lovelady lineman

    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.

  • Latexo ISD trustees cancel May 1 election

    IMG 7903ALTON PORTER | HCC Director Chris Cravens, of Latexo High Schools Career and Technical Education program spoke to Latexo ISD trustees about activities CTE students currently are engaged in and plans that are being made to provide more opportunities for them in the future at a meeting Thursday, May 18.

    By Alton Porter

    Members of the Latexo Independent School District Board of Trustees have cancelled the district’s May 1 election as the two incumbent candidates who were seeking reelection in the scheduled election were unopposed in their bids to continue serving as trustees.

    The Latexo ISD trustees took the action during a board meeting Thursday, March 18, following a discussion in a closed, executive session.

    The two board positions up for election are Position 3, held by Vice President Bobbie Jo Frizzell, and Position 4, which is filled by Secretary Jeffrey Catoe.

    “In the school board election, nobody signed up (to run against Frizzell and Catoe), so we don’t need to have that,” Superintendent Michael Woodard told the trustees. “So, Ms. Bobbie Jo and Mr. Catoe are good for another three years—nothing to worry about. I just ask you guys to cancel that (election) because we don’t need it.”

    In other business in the open, public part of the meeting following the executive session, the trustees voted to approve a 2020-2021 Public Health Planning Guidance policy for face coverings for staff members and students in the district to be recommended as presented.

    Woodard said, the district’s recommended policy regarding the wearing of masks is being typed up and will soon be released. “We haven’t had anything in our district since Jan. 27,” the superintendent said. “So, we’re going to look at it (the district’s mask policy) and if anything happens, we’ll come back and … look at recommending it. We came back from spring break; we had no issues. Nobody’s sick….”

    Also, following the closed session, the trustees addressed personnel matters, approving 2021-2022 teachers contracts as presented, administrators’ contracts and acceptance of the resignation of a Chapter 21 employee who was a pre-kindergarten teacher.

    Woodard reminded the trustees of the second reading of the Texas Association of School Boards Policy Update 116 and that it will be placed before them for adoption at their next meeting.

    During district administrators’ reports, Director Chris Cravens, of Latexo High School’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, let the trustees “know what’s going on in the CTE world.”

    Cravens spoke to the trustees about agriculture and technology departments activities, the district’s health science program in which a clinical practicum program was implemented in December in partnership with Crockett Medical Center (CMC), and opportunities school staff members are planning for students.

    Ag students are building trailers, one of which they plan to be enter in competition at the Houston Livestock Show, Cravens said, adding, some of the students have their National Center for Construction Education and Research core certificates and others are ongoing with a “floral buddies” project, where they sell floral designs to faculty and staff members.

    Cravens said all plants in the school’s greenhouse were killed by the freezing temperatures, snow and ice of last month’s severe winter storms. He said efforts will be made to purchase some plants for the greenhouse if there are any available.

    “We were all set, before the snow hit, to sell plants to the community,” said Cravens. “And that was going to be another way to raise money with the community. Unfortunately, now that’s not going to happen. The only damage that I remember that was done in the greenhouse was one of the pipes burst. But, other than that, there was no real damage to the greenhouse, so we’re happy about that.”

    In the technology department, a student in the robotics class built a robot’s arm and other students have been engaged in other projects, Cravens said.

    Through the health science program’s clinical practicum program, three selected Latexo ISD senior students spend two days a week at CMC making clinical rounds and job shadowing licensed professionals in the medical center’s rural health clinic, specialty care clinic, emergency room, laboratory, pharmacy, radiology department, and cardio-respiratory and physical therapy departments.

    In addition, two of the students have had the opportunity to observe two surgeries that Dr. Clifton O’Meara, an orthopedic surgery specialist, have done, Cravens said.

    “Our time at the hospital ends at the end of this month because they’ve (the three students) done all of the rotations. Then, in April, we’re set up to go to Aurora Clinic, Crockett Clinic with (Dr. Christopher) Haeckler (a family medicine specialist) and (Dr. Richard J.) Kelly (also a family medicine specialist).

    “We’re already in Davy Crockett Drug. We’re going to be in (seven medical facilities, also including) Stovall & Holcomb (Group, LLP, the dental office of Dr. John M. Stovall and Dr. Joseph H. Holcomb). We’re going to be in the Crockett Eye Clinic (of Dr. John McCall and Dr. Colin Castleberry).”

    Cravens said 10 LHS junior students have said they are interested in participating in the program next year, when it might be expanded to last all year.

    CTE opportunities that are being planned for students include expanding the practicum/clinical program, possibly hooking up senior students who are receiving advanced welding training with Vulcraft and floral design students with a local florist, Cravens said.

    In the works is a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) program to be implemented in partnership with Grapeland Independent School District officials and under the auspices and direction of Angelina College staffers, who have expressed an interest in developing a HVAC program in Houston County, the Latexo ISD CTE director said.

    Latexo ISD would provide the facility for the HVAC program and Angelina College would provide up to $200,000 worth of equipment free of charge to the school district and would pay for the instructor. The program would require that 10 to 12 students be enrolled in it each year, Cravens said, adding, at the end of the program, the students would receive residential HVAC certificates.

    In addition, Cravens said he is hoping to implement a program that would provide basic electricity training for students interested in becoming electricians, provide climbing training for those who want to be linemen and instruct those who want to obtain commercial driver’s licenses.

    Also, efforts are being made to offer assistance to technology-minded students who want to obtain employee certification by Dell Computer company, Cravens said.

  • Latexo ISD trustees select initial bond construction scheme

    IMG 7762ALTON PORTER | HCC Board President Kelly Nicol, left, of the Latexo ISD Board of Trustees, and District Superintendent Michael Woodard spoke and heard comments from other board members about the district’s $5 million bond construction project and other matters at a special meeting of the trustees Thursday, March 4.

    By Alton Porter

    Latexo school trustees gathered for a special meeting at which they discussed plans for the construction of facilities as part of the school district’s $5 million bond construction project and addressed other matters.

    The Latexo Independent School District Board of Trustees called meeting was held Thursday, March 4.

    “We’re really excited moving forward with the bond construction,” Board President Kelly Nicol said in a statement summarizing that discussion after the meeting was adjourned. “We’ve settled on our placement of the buildings (on the district’s elementary and secondary school campuses). And I think we’re moving forward and looking forward to getting the architectural drawings to be able to start bidding out through the bidding process.”

    The bond project includes the planned construction of a multi-use, multi-faceted facility that will be used as a gymnasium and for the holding of community events, as well as other additions and upgrades to district buildings, including a new career and technical education (CTE) building and an elementary school cafeteria.

    Nicol said, so far, the district officials have not run into any problems or major issues in their construction planning process, adding, “I think we’ve pretty much decided on the location of the gym and CTE building, and also the cafeteria down in elementary. And things are just moving forward.

    “We will be using this 9.2 scheme (a version of a drawing prepared by Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong architects and delegated for the project), and we’ve decided where this building (the multi-purpose facility) is going to go and the CTE classrooms and locker rooms.”

    “And down here (on the elementary school campus), this will be the cafeteria,” the board president said, referring to portrait of the scheme. “And those are what we decided on tonight. Everything else is kind of down the road.

    “These (the gym and CTE facilities) are the main two buildings we needed to approve tonight.” He said the planned cafeteria will be attached to the back of the current gym on the elementary school campus.

    “This (construction of all the facilities in the bond project) has been something that our community’s needed for a long time,” Nicol said. “We’re moving forward—looking forward to it. I’m happy to be a part of getting it for them. The whole board is looking forward for the community to get what they’ve been wanting for a while.”

    The trustees voted to pass a motion to “approve scheme 9.2, with the location of the multi-purpose center,” along with the elementary cafeteria and CTE building, as presented.

    In related actions, the trustees approved payment of $4,900 for geotechnical engineering services and voted to authorize Superintendent Michael Woodard to look into another situation and possibly negotiate the cost in a contract with Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong and get the best price he can for a survey to be conducted on the district’s land, buildings and attached properties on both of the district’s campuses before designing the planned bond facilities. Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong representatives had offered to conduct the survey for $7,200.

    In other business, the trustees approved a missed school days waiver for 2020-2021, authorizing Woodard to go online to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) website and request approval of the waiver by the state so that the district doesn’t lose any state funding for employees for the days missed due to “the bad weather that we had” last month, the superintendent said.

    In a similar action, the trustees voted to approve a resolution “authorizing all employee pay for bad weather days.” This is to “make sure all employees get paid for the same days that they missed work,” Woodard said. “That’s for all employees to make sure they don’t miss any paycheck.”

    Woodard noted that the board’s regular meeting for this month is being moved to Thursday, March 18, beginning at 6 p.m. The meeting was originally scheduled for March 11, but “that’s our spring break,” Woodard said.

    Concerning “the mask situation across the state,” Woodard said, “As you all know, the governor came out (Tuesday, March 2) about no more masks and (opening the state) 100%, starting Wednesday (March 10).

    IMG 7758ALTON PORTER | HCC Members of the Latexo ISD board of trustees, above, discussed and approved a scheme for the location and plans for buildings to be constructed as part of the district’s $5 million bond project and acted on other matters at a March 4 special meeting.

    “We were waiting on TEA and UIL (University Interscholastic League) to say anything. So, what TEA did say: ‘The governing body, which is the school board, may modify or eliminate by formal action the above mask-related requirements.’

    “UIL came out and said pretty much the same thing. That, ‘Consistent with TEA guidance, School systems’ governing bodies may modify or eliminate mask-related requirements. Schools may determine spectator capacity and seating arrangements for UIL events.’ So, the mask can go away.”

    Woodard added, “The only thing that’s still in play is the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines with conract tracing…. We haven’t had any cases here in a month. I was the last one that got sick here.

    “So, say, if something happens now, if we do away with the masks, think about the sports or any kind of activity. If little Johnny gets Covid, we still got to do the quarantine until CDC changes their guidelines—still got to do quarantines, still got to do the tracing, all of that. And the shut-it-down could still happen if it went that far.

    “I have talked to the principals and they’re okay with doing away with the masks and putting it back on who wants to wear it can wear it. I talked to, of course, the coaches—Coach (Greg) Horn. He said, if that’s what does happen, then he’ll probably make his players still wear masks. That way, they’re covered in case something does happen.

    “If something does happen, then you’ve got to quarantine. They’re going to be out 10 or 14 days, until CDC changes what they have to do.

    “I think the governor caught everybody off guard when he made his announcement” lifting the statewide facemask mandate.

    Woodard said he recommends that those who want to wear a masks do so. He said the school district has no need to change anything it is currently doing, including continuing remote learning, an option being utilized by some students.

  • Lovelady baseballers keep rolling

    IMG 2520LARRY LAMB | HCC Grapeland’s Cooper Sheridan awaits a throw as Lovelady’s Brenton Crawford slides toward second for a successful steal in Friday’s district matchup.

    By Larry Lamb

    The Lovelady Lions rolled to 5-1 in District 21-2A baseball with back-to-back road wins over Latexo, 25-4, on Monday night and Grapeland, 15-0, on Friday morning.

    The Lions jumped on top of Latexo 8-0, but the Tigers made it interesting when they plated four runs in the bottom of the fourth to get back in the game and cut the lead to 8-4.

    A 17-run explosion by Lovelady in the top of the fifth inning put the game out of reach and the Tigers were unable to score in the bottom half to avoid the run-rule.

    Latexo took advantage of four Lovelady errors to push across four runs in the fourth. The first two batters reached on an error and scored on a double by Cameron Baker, who was later thrown out advancing to home. Malachi Reece singled, Kade Hauck reached on an error and Tyler Lumbreraz singled in a run to make it 8-3. Hauck advanced to third and scored on an error to cut Lovelady’s lead to 8-4 with one out.

    Lions starting moundsman E.J. Sandoval struck out the next batter and a pop-out ended the inning with Lumbreraz on third.

    Sandoval worked four innings, giving up four runs on four hits with six strikeouts and no walks.

    Lovelady reliever Matthew Wheeler sealed the win in the fifth, allowing one hit and no runs with one strikeout and no walks.

    Latexo’s Logan Ray pitched four innings, giving up eight hits, 11 runs (five earned) with two strikeouts and seven walks. Reece worked one inning and gave up five runs on four hits with five walks. Two other Tigers saw action on the hill and combined for nine runs and three hits.

    The Lions collected a total of 15 hits and walked 14 times while only striking out twice.

    Slade Murray had the big bat for the Lions with four hits and Brenton Crawford was right behind with three hits and four RBI. Jackson Reeves and Matthew Wheeler had two hits apiece.

    Against Grapeland, the Lions grabbed a 6-0 lead in the second and continued to pull away with two in the third, four in the fourth and three in the fifth to notch a run-rule victory.

    Lion batsmen collected 12 hits off three pitchers.

    Brenton Crawford went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and scored four runs.

    Slade Murray had three hits and four RBI, while Sandoval and Wheeler each hit a double and finished the day 2-for-3. Wheeler scored three runs. Jackson Reeves had a double and Larkin had a base hit.

    Winning pitcher Carter Murray gave up two hits, struck out eight and walked one in the five-inning shutout.

    Cooper Sheridan and Jacob Vaden collected Grapeland’s only hits off Murray.

    Cameron Navarette started on the mound for the Sandies and worked two innings. Peyton Prater pitched 1 1/3 innings and Jayce Elliott worked the final 1 2/3 innings.

  • Lovelady cruises past Evadale in bi-district (VIDEO)

    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.