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  • Centerville boys win 20-2A title, Groveton takes second

    IMG 2695Larry Lamb | HCC Lovelady’s Shaun Easterling took district titles in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles during the District 20-2A Track and Field Meet at Centerville recently.

    By Larry Lamb

    The Centerville Tigers hosted the District 20-2A track meet and claimed the varsity boys championship during competition that required an extra day to complete due to inclement weather.

    The Tigers racked up 181 points to claim the title by a comfortable margin over Groveton, which tallied 135.5 points. The Lovelady Lions were hot on the Indians’ heels with 134 points followed by Grapeland (66), Jewett Leon (46.5), Latexo (30) and Slocum (0.

    Field events, running prelims and 3200-meter races took place Monday, April 5 at Tiger Stadium. Athletes returned Thursday for the running finals at 6 p.m. but just over an hour into the session threatening weather prompted meet officials to call a 30-minute lightning delay. 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. The top four performers at area qualify for the Class 2A Region III meet April 23-24 at Palestine High School.

    Results of the district meet are as follows:

    District 20-2A Track Meet

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

    Varsity Boys

    Team Standings- 1, Centerville 181. 2, Groveton, 135.5. 3, Lovelady, 134. 4, Grapeland 66. 5, Jewett Leon 46.5. 6, Latexo 30. 7. Slocum 0.

    Running Events

    100 dash – B. J. Lamb, Grapeland, 10.94. 2, Kaden Dunn, Centerville, 11.10. 3, T. Cornett, Leon, 11.32. 4, Ashton Hargrove, Latexo, 11.47. 5, Phoenix Bowman, Groveton, 11.57. 6, D. Watson, Leon, 11.57.

    200 dash – 1, T. Cornett, Leon, 22.30. 2, Cadarian Wiley, Grapeland, 22.82. 3, Ashton Hargrove, Latexo, 22.83. 4, Andrew Newman, Centerville, 23.12. 5, D. Watson, Leon, 23.41. 6, Angel Villareal, Centerville, 23.50.

    400 dash - 1, Donivan Moehr, Centerville, 50.97. 2, Dillon Denman, Centerville, 54.68. 3, Haden Lee, Groveton, 54.78. 4, Jackson Jefferies, Lovelady, 54.90. 5, James Williams, Groveton, 56.68.6, Halston French, Centerville, 56.75.

    800 run – 1, Kasen Jeitz, Centerville, 1:59.18. 2, Joel Pomeroy, Lovelady, 2:11.61. 3, Haden Lee, Groveton, 2:13.62.4, Luke Carter, Centerville, 2:17.11. 5, Blake Patrick, Lovelady, 2:18.00. 6, Cyris Gray, Centerville, 2:18.02.

    1600 run – Logan Ray, Latexo, 5:16.11. 2, Jarrett Loftin, Groveton, 5:21.59. 3, Luke Carter, Centerville, 5:22.02. 4, Enrique Cruz, Centerville, 5:23.21. 5, Cyrus Gray, Centerville, 5:23.34. 6, Caden Alexander, Groveton, 5:26.56.

    3200 run – 1. Logan Ray, Latexo, 11:44. 2, Jarrett Loftin, Groveton, 11:52. 3, Cyris Gray, Centerville, 11:53. 4, Luke Carter, Centerville, 11:54. 5, Caden Alexander, Groveton, 12:07. 6, Enrique Cruz, Centerville, 12:12

    110 hurdles – 1, Shaun Easterling, Lovelady, 15.34. 2, Brett Wagnon, Centerville, 16.84. 3, Bradi Minter, Centerville, 18.15. 4, King Jones, Groveton, 18.56. 5, Ian Utz, Groveton, 19.18. 6, Tyler Stanford, Centerville, 19.46.

    300 hurdles – 1, Shaun Easterling, Lovelady, 42.28. 2, Brett Wagnon, Centerville, 42.37. 3, Karter Kornegay, Centerville, 43.75. 4, King Jones, Groveton, 45.37. 5, Tuff Reynolds, Groveton, 46.34. 6, Brandon Fry, Lovelady, 52.05.

    4x100 relay – Grapeland (Riley Murchison, Cadarian Wiley, Lekarian Smith, B.J. Lamb), 44.60. 2, Centerville (French, Newman, Kornegay, Moehr), 44.61. 3, Groveton (Phoenix Bowman, Byron Thomas, David Ayala, Malachi Stewart), 45.31. 4, Lovelady (Conner Martinez, Cole Harris, Slade Murray, Keivon Skinner), 45.85.

    4x200 relay – Leon (Leggett, Noey, Watson, Cornett), 1:34.99. 2, Groveton (Navid Pat, Bryon Thomas, David Ayala, Malachi Stewart), 1:36.88. 3, Centerville (Roberts, Newman, Villareal, White), 1:36.88. 4, Lovelady (Conner Martinez, Cole Harris, Slade Murray, Keivon Skinner), 1:37.12.

    4x400 relay – 1, Centerville (Jeitz, Denman, White, Moehr), 3:32.62. 2, Lovelady (Joel Pomeroy, Keivon Skinner, Shaun Easterling, Cole Harris), 3:36.84. 3, Groveton (David Ayala, Navid Pat, Chase Blair, Haden Lee), 3:47.52.

    Field Events

    Long Jump- 1, B.J. Lamb, Grapeland, 20-10 ¾. 2, Keivon Skinner, Lovelady, 19-6 ½. 3, T, Cornett, Leon, 19-5. 4, Halston French, Centerville, 18-5 ¼. 5, Andrew Newman, Centerville, 18-4 ¾. 6, James Williams, Groveton, 17-9 ¾.

    Shot put – 1, Tyler Allen, Groveton, 40-2. 2, Jabez Fills, Centerville, 38-2. 3, Levodrick Phillips, Centerville, 36-6. 4, Jason DeCluette, Grapeland, 35-10 ½. 5, B.J. Kelly, Centerville, 35-4. 6, Dayvian Skinner, Lovelady, 35-2 ½.

    Discus – 1, Eric Castillo, Lovelady, 112-4. 2, Shaun Easterling, Lovelady, 110-10 ½. 3, Tyler Allen, Groveton, 99-10 ½. 4, Jason DeCluette, Grapeland, 99-0. 5, Dayvian Skinner, Lovelady, 91-2 ½. 6, Holley Zantayl, Centerville, 90-2.

    Triple jump – 1, Riley Murchison, Grapeland, 39-0. 2, Slade Murray, Lovelady, 38-7. 3, Chase Blair, Groveton, 37-2 ½. 4, Navid Pat, Groveton, 37-1. 5, James Williams, Groveton, 36-11 ½. 6, T. Kirschner, Leon, 36-8.

    High jump – 1, Shaun Easterling, Lovelady, 5-10. 2, Keivon Skinner, Lovelady, 5’10. 3, Dillon Denman, Centerville, 5-8. 4, Malachi Stewart, Groveton, 5-8. 5, Chase Vycital, Groveton, 5-6.

    Pole vault – 1, Cole Harris. Lovelady, 11-6. 2, Dalton Chandler, Groveton, 10-0. 3, Haden Lee, Groveton, 9-0. 4, James Webb, Centerville, 8-6. 5, Jackson Jefferies, Lovelady, 8-6. 6, Brett Wagnon, Centerville, 8-6.

  • 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.

  • Groveton takes second at 20-2A district meet

    IMG 2644LARRY LAMB | HCC Groveton’s Haden Lee competes in the 800-meter run at the District 20-2A Track Meet in Centerville.

    By Larry Lamb
    Polk County Publishing

    CENTERVILLE — The Groveton Indians pulled off a second-place finish at the District 20-2A track meet, even though the competition required an extra day to complete due to inclement weather.

    Groveton tallied 135.5 points, just behind the Centerville Tigers, who racked up 181 points to claim the title. The Lovelady Lions were hot on the Indians’ heels with 134 points, followed by Grapeland (66), Jewett Leon (46.5), Latexo (30) and Slocum (0.

    Field events, running prelims and 3200-meter races took place April 5 at Tiger Stadium. Athletes returned Thursday for the running finals, but just over an hour into the session threatening weather prompted meet officials to call a 30-minute lightning delay. Subsequent threatening weather in the area forced the delay to be extended and eventually the remaining six events were postponed until Friday morning.

    District 20-2A Track Meet

    April 5-9

    Varsity Boys

    Team Standings: 1, Centerville 181. 2, Groveton, 135.5. 3, Lovelady, 134. 4, Grapeland 66. 5, Jewett Leon 46.5. 6, Latexo 30. 7. Slocum 0.

    100 dash

    Fifth, Phoenix Bowman, Groveton, 11.57.

    400 dash

    Fifth, James Williams, Groveton, 56.68.6, Halston French, Centerville, 56.75.

    1600 run

    Second, Jarrett Loftin, Groveton, 5:21.59; sixth, Caden Alexander, Groveton, 5:26.56.

    3200 run

    Second, Jarrett Loftin, Groveton, 11:52; fifth, Caden Alexander, Groveton, 12:07.

    110 hurdles

    Fourth, King Jones, Groveton, 18.56; fifth, Ian Utz, Groveton, 19.18.

    300 hurdles

    Fourth, King Jones, Groveton, 45.37. 5, Tuff Reynolds, Groveton, 46.34.

    4x100 relay

    Third, Groveton (Phoenix Bowman, Byron Thomas, David Ayala, Malachi Stewart), 45.31. 4.

    4x200 relay

    Second, Groveton (Navid Pat, Bryon Thomas, David Ayala, Malachi Stewart), 1:36.88.

    4x400 relay

    Third, Groveton (David Ayala, Navid Pat, Chase Blair, Haden Lee), 3:47.52.

    Long Jump

    Sixth, James Williams, Groveton, 17-9 ¾.

    Shot put

    First, Tyler Allen, Groveton, 40-2.

    Discus

    Third, Tyler Allen, Groveton, 99-10 ½.

    Triple jump

    Third, Chase Blair, Groveton, 37-2 ½; fourth, Navid Pat, Groveton, 37-1; fifth, James Williams, Groveton, 36-11 ½.

    High jump

    Fourth, Malachi Stewart, Groveton, 5-8; fifth, Chase Vycital, Groveton, 5-6.

    Pole vault

    Second, Dalton Chandler, Groveton, 10-0; third, Haden Lee, Groveton, 9-0.

  • 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.

  • 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.

     

  • Lovelady girls open hoop season with victory (VIDEO)

    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.

  • New homeschool hoops team building for the future

    IMG 1312LARRY LAMB | HCC East Texas Archers head coach Detrick Watts talks to players during a time-out against Crockett.

    By Larry Lamb

    Homeschool students in the Houston County area now have an opportunity to play on a basketball team close to home.

    The East Texas Archers, based in Lovelady, have already played 21 games during their inaugural season.

    “We’re a first-year homeschool boys team with all freshman and sophomore players. These are young kids ranging from age 13 to 16,” explained Jeff Rollo, who co-organized the program with Archers head coach Detrick Watts.

    “There’s nothing really in Deep East Texas for homeschool athletes,” said Rollo, noting that his children played for the Aggieland HomeSchool Panthers in College Station several years ago when they were homeschooled. “There are several homeschool teams in the Houston area but we wanted to provide an opportunity for homeschool kids in this area to play basketball without having to travel so far just to practice.”

    Playing a mixture of high school varsity teams, private schools and homeschool teams, the Archers have compiled a 10-11 record.

    The Archers haven’t backed away from playing powerhouse teams.

    The Archers took on the Crockett Bulldogs (6-2), a class 3A UIL squad, on Dec. 31 in the Hopkins Activity Center in Crockett. Although the Archers fell 76-44, Rollo says playing high-caliber teams like Crockett is going to pay off down the road. Two of the Archers’ earlier losses were to defending UIL Class 1A state champion LaPoynor and TAPPS 2A champion Alpha Omega Academy of Huntsville.

    After the Crockett game, the Archers fell to class 2A Normangee, 73-48, and then posted back-to-back wins over Aggieland HomeSchool, 67-53, and Still Creek Christian (Bryan), 48-30 .

    Earlier this season, the Archers notched impressive tournament wins over two private schools. They knocked off Rosehill Christian (Tomball), the sixth-ranked private school team, 54-46, and Bay Area Christian, 68-55, in back-to-back games. “Those were the two best games that we’ve played but since then we’ve lost about five in a row,” said Rollo.

    The Archers’ roster includes Jaedin Watts, Brycen Watts, Kaven Rollo, A.J. Frizzell, Ethan Jones, Trent Goodall, John Sullivan, Shayne Cox, Braden Kovar, Josh Nutt and Levi Smith. Players are from Lovelady as well as Latexo, College Station, Willis, Huntsville, Palestine and Trinity.

    “We have some varsity-caliber kids and then we have some that had never played. We have some with one or two years of experience,” said Rollo. “When we first started this we had three players and now we have a total of 11. Most of these kids did not know each other. Now they’re developing team chemistry and camaraderie.”

    Rollo explained that National Homeschool Basketball rules specify that students can play on a team if they live within a 100-mile radius, but they must be “true homeschool students” not enrolled in a public or private school.

    When the homeschool playoffs begin the Archers will compete in the 16-under division. Playoffs start with the district tournament in Houston, followed by regional in Duncanville, state in Round Rock and nationals in Springfield, Mo.
    Without the luxury of a home gym, the Archers are true road warriors.

    “We’re always the underdog, the away team. You’re not going to get any calls. You’re not going to get any love. Nobody knows who you are,” said Rollo. “I like to say that we’re homeschooled, but we’re homeless without a home gym.”

    Lack of consistency has been the main issue so far.

    “We see spurts. We’ve played pretty good basketball at times but it’s about consistency. We don’t have a lot of skilled players that you could put in and out, so you get worn down during a game. It’s all about trying to get better for the future,” he said.

    Homeschool teams are not restricted in the number of games they can play so the Archers are planning 45 to 50 games.

    “We still have a lot of basketball to be played. These are great kids, very respectful and we’re learning and growing. I explain it as a big brother-little brother situation. Little brother is going to take his licks early but then little brother is going to grow and get stronger. We schedule tough teams because we want a gauging stick. We want to play games that are tough and difficult. It’s only going to make us better,” Rollo said.

    Rollo, who coached the Lovelady High School girls program four years, said plans call for the addition of a girls program next year, eventually expanding to more age groups. Rollo will be the girls team head coach and Watts will assist.

    “We’re all in it together. We try to bring our knowledge, our passion and our love of the game,” he said.