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  • Lions playing for district title

    IMG 1437PHOTO BY JO’HANNAH PROCTOR Livingston running back Lynn Johnson (23) runs with several Little Cypress-Mauriceville defenders hanging on him trying to bring him down Friday night.

    By Brian Besch

    LIVINGSTON - The Livingston Lions ran their district record to 4-0 by defeating the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears 18-6 on Senior Night in Lion Stadium. The win sets up a District 10-4A Div. I showdown in Huffman for the final regular season game, as the Hargrave Falcons are also undefeated.

    For the first time since 1963 when Corky Cochran was taking handoffs, the Lions (7-2, 4-0) have won seven consecutive games in a season. It is an accomplishment for a school that had won just two games the three prior years combined. A win on the road Friday will have the school vaulting from worst to first.

    “The past two years have been rough,” senior linebacker Tanner Orn said after playing his final game at Lion Stadium. “My sophomore year, we were 0-10 and last year we went 2-8, so it kind of feels surreal right now, winning seven straight. We are going into the district championship undefeated and it really doesn't feel real. This is it for me. I'm playing out here 100% as long as I can. I just love football and I'm just trying to play.”

    Livingston was successful on the ground, led by junior Lynn “Tank” Johnson, who had 18 carries, 145 yards and two scores. Ja’Marri Green added 56 yards in 11 attempts. In all, the Lions ran for 238 yards.

    The story of the year for Livingston has been its defense. After holding the Bears to six points, they have now surrendered an average of 8.5 points per district game.

    Orn said a lot of the improvement for the defense is mental and emotional.

    “It is the attitude, 100%,” he said. “Everyone is in there playing for the person next to them, you know? In past years, it wasn't like that. Now it is. Everybody has the same goal.”

    The visiting Bears also performed well on the defensive side. The Lions were unable to convert many drives into points.

    “They played defense,” Livingston coach Finis Vanover said of LC-M. “They were well-prepared, they moved people around on the chessboard that we haven't seen moved to those spots. They attacked us and got physical and we didn't answer back a couple of times real good. We figured it out enough to put points on them.”

    Livingston scored on its first drive of the game, going 10 plays in six minutes and ending in a Damian Ruiz 1-yard sneak. A missed extra point had the team chasing two-point conversions the rest of the night.

    Much the same as the Lion offense saw early in the season, the Bears brought pressure from both ends to contain rollout passes and runs outside the tackles.

    “They brought two people, and then they put their big boys out wide that we haven't seen all year,” Vanover said. “We were in a bind and we didn't handle it well. We have to get that smoothed out. I am very disappointed in our red zone offense. We had two possessions before the half and came away with nothing. They stopped two two-point conversions and that is just unacceptable.

    “It is also a tribute to their defense. It's what I was afraid of all week. If they get juiced up and get rolling and get confident, they would make some big offensive plays. I didn't want those skill guys out there, because I knew they I would throw it all over the field. I didn't think they could run it on us. They have some playmakers and they can go the distance in a hurry like they showed.”

    The time they went the distance was in the third period on a 78-yard slant to Brendon Pollock, cutting the lead in half at 12-6.

    Before that, Johnson sprinted in from 16 yards with 1:53 to go in the first half, capping a 14-play drive to put the Lions up 12-0. The final score of the game had the junior tailback outrunning the defense again, this time in the third quarter on a counter for 59 yards.

    Friday will decide District 10-4A Div. I. The Hargrave Falcons are 9-0 on the season after taking down Vidor 15-13 on the road. Both teams enter the clash with 4-0 district marks.

    “It is what you play the sport for,” Vanover said. “It is what everybody talks about from Aug. 3 until now — playing for the championship. Everybody snickered and snarled about the old Livingston Lions and here we’re fixing to be two undefeated teams playing game 10 for the district championship. What more can you say about a group of boys that have stuck it out, believed and achieved like you are supposed to do?”

  • Lions restore their roar (GALLERY & VIDEO)

    IMG 2503PHOTOS COURTESY OF LINDA JACOBS AND JO'HANNA PROCTOR Livingston Lions celebrate their victory on Friday November 6, 2020 as they win the district championship.

     

     
    By Brian Besch

    HUFFMAN - From worst to first, or maybe more accurate, from the outhouse to the penthouse. After winning only two games over the past three years, Livingston football has won the District 10-4A Div. I championship.

    The Lions stunned the defending district champions on their home field, taking a 21-20 come-from-behind win Friday over Hargrave in Huffman. It is the first outright district championship for Livingston football since 1963.

    The Lions fell behind 20-7 when Falcon quarterback Luke Thomas powered his way in from eight yards out with 2:45 left in the third quarter.

    The Lions later answered with a Nigel Henderson interception that set the offense up at the Hargrave 15. Three plays later, freshman Ja’Marri Green took a sweep over the goal line from the three, cutting the lead to 20-14.

    With just 2:51 in the game, Livingston again needed just three plays to score. After a 5-yard run from Damian Ruiz, the quarterback then took to the air, completing a 40-yard pass to Julian Gardner. On the next play from the Falcon 30, Ruiz rolled right and threw back to his left, finding Green wide open. The young running back cut across the field, dodging defenders to help give Livingston the lead.

    On the next possession, sophomore Jontavian McNeal intercepted a pass to give Livingston the ball once more with under a minute to play. A first down from Green on third-and-five secured the win.

    Behind 6-0 at the half, Livingston head coach Finis Vanover said his team looked down in the locker room.

    “We sagged a little bit going into halftime and I told them, ‘It is like a morgue in here. We told you and told you that it wasn't going to be easy. These guys have been there for five or six consecutive years and they have beaten all comers, including us. They made fools out of us last year here and there were people dancing on our sidelines when we were 40 points down. There's only going to be one dance taking place here tonight, it is going to be when we win.’”

    Ruiz threw completions of 28, 6, 40 and 30 yards The first of those was a scoring strike to Chris Washington to put the Lions up 7-6 on the first drive of the third period.

    Washington is the only Lion to have played through the past four years. He began as a freshman and had only been a part of two wins before 2020.

    “Those four years were crazy,” the senior receiver said. “My (freshman and sophomore) year, we didn't win any games and coach Vanover told us to believe and that is what we kept doing. He told us keep believing and we are going to win and we are going to turn around the program. That's what we did. It has been a long, hard four years for me and I am just glad we came out with a win. It took a lot of hard work. I did my part and I did all

    I could. I just stuck it out. I didn't want to transfer and I didn't want to go anywhere. I stayed with my hometown and this is the outcome.”

    The coach said a big difference in the offense for the final two quarters was getting the running game in gear. Green provided much of that, going for 53 of his 69 yards in the second half.

    “We told our tailbacks, ‘If you didn't show up to play, get your tail on the bus and wait for us. We'll find somebody else that will run tough. Get busy running — and we did. (Coach) Seven (Armstrong) had some good talks with the offensive linemen about getting physical. They are the simplest defense (by scheme) that we played the entire year. Little Cypress (-Mauriceville, last week) was good, but these guys (Hargrave) are great.”

    The district champions will now face Tyler Chapel Hill 6 p.m. Saturday in the bi-district round of the playoffs at New Caney’s Texan Drive Stadium.

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  • Livingston advances to regional quarterfinals (VIDEO)

    Blake Compton BRIAN BESCH | PCE Blake Compton threw five innings of one-run ball Saturday for the win.

    By Brian Besch

    The Livingston Lions broke out the brooms Saturday at Grand Oaks High School, defeating Navasota 9-2 to end the area round in two games.

    "Every team is a good team and this is round two of the playoffs," Livingston coach Wade Halfmann said. "They earned their way here and so did we, and we were the better team this round. There were some ups and downs, but the bottom line is that our guys came to compete."

    The Lions are finding ways to get on base through walks or even a few batters taking some bruises when hit by a pitch. Though they only had eight hits, there were plenty of candidates to score their nine runs.

    "We don't care how (they reach base) and 90 feet is all that matters to us," Halfmann said. "We want to get the next guy up."

    That showed in the second inning, as the Lions took a 3-0 lead on just one base hit. Cooper Brown walked, Jacob Haynes was beaned, Jordan Huson grounded into a fielder's choice and Gage Morris was also hit by a pitch to load the bases. 

    When Tay McNeal was hit by a pitch, the third of the inning, a run scored. That brought up Damian Ruiz, who singled to bring in two.

    Halfmann said that going forward, his hope is that his pitchers can get ahead early in the count.
    Saturday's starter Blake Compton was around 100 pitches in five frames Saturday and Tyler Seek was pulled after six Friday because he had reached the pitch limit. 

    "We are getting a little too deep into counts, if I am to be picky," Halfmann said. "The fight that they show, when they are 2-0 or 3-0 to get right back in it, is amazing. That is a testament to them and the way that they want to fight."

    Compton worked out of trouble in the first inning, escaping from a bases-loaded jam with just one out unscathed. The only Rattler run off Compton would come in the third inning by way of sacrifice fly.
    Livingston scored two more runs in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings. The last Lion runs were off the bat of Ruiz, who slugged a two-run homer over the wall in left field. 

    Now in the regional quarterfinals, Livingston is set to face Bellville. They were winners in two of the three games over Hamshire-Fannett, with a 7-3 triumph to clinch. The Brahmas were champions of District 24-4A.

  • Livingston nips Onalaska (Video)

    Livingston Onalaska 12 15 2020

    By Brian Besch
    Photos by Brian Besch

    LIVINGSTON— The Livingston Lions escaped Tuesday with a narrow 59-55 home win over Onalaska. 

    With several lead changes in the final period, the Lions were able to hold off a surging Wildcat squad. Onalaska put up 20 points in the fourth quarter to keep the game in doubt until the last four seconds.

    “I'm proud of my kids, especially being down two starters,” Onalaska coach Nick Tyerman said. “To have this game and play as well as they did, I am so proud of them. When you look at the other side, they have the depth and we had five left. We had one get hurt and one foul out. It was a great game, but not what we want, because we always want to win the game. For our last competition before district starts Friday, I feel great.”

    Tyerman said Tuesday's game was one of the best that his team has played on the young season.

    “Probably close to it. There was good execution and good patience and a good all-around game on both sides of the ball, which I'm very proud of. I love how much we moved around on defense. We flew around to the ball and drew a lot of charges, we closed out hard and we made it tough for them to score. I think they really didn't start getting it inside until we started getting a little gassed there at the end.”

    Lion Chris Washington led all scores in the game with 23 points, Jontavian McNeal had nine and Willie Fagan had eight. For the Wildcats, Chase Fletcher led with 15 points and blocked several shots, Kevin Redden had 14 points and Ryan Kratz added a dozen. 

    Early on, the Wildcats held an 8-3 advantage before Livingston found their footing. A late 3-pointer put Onalaska up by one going into the second quarter. The Lions moved back in the front and remained there until the fourth quarter, holding leads of as large as 16 points.

    “We went to full-court man some and then we came back and just put pressure on the ball, and that got us back a little bit,” Livingston coach Calvin Phillips said. “Every game that we've had the last few ball games, we've kind of been behind. It is always us coming in on man-to-man defense, making a quick steal and going down to score to turn the game around.

    “I didn't think we guarded the ball very well. That was something I was a little afraid of going in — that the 3-ball was going to hurt us. We went out there with our hands down. The times that we got up there and got our hands up and guarded the ball, they didn't hit their shots. I thought that was the key. You can't take it away from them; they shoot the hell out of the 3-ball.”

    Perimeter shots were falling for the Wildcats, which always seems to be a little more important in Onalaska. Previous teams by the lake have lived on the 3-pointer, but Tyerman believes that is changing a bit this year.

    “This year, we've been more 50/50,” the Wildcat coach said. “They, for some reason, were playing more for our drive, and I think that is because the last few games we have been attacking more. That is what has been there. We are so known for our 3-point shooting that everyone wants to take that away. Now we've become a little more balanced and we're better at reading the defense, where we can see what they are going to give us today. We are taking advantage of it.”

    Down by eight going into the fourth quarter, the ‘Cats continued to work their way back into the contest. They took a one-point lead at 47-46 with 4:30 remaining. 

    With just 22 seconds to go, Onalaska’s Kratz hit a free throw that tied the game at 55. Fagan connected on a jumper in the lane to put the Lions back on top by two. After a defensive stand, Washington was fouled and made good on both of his free throws to put the game out of reach with four seconds on the clock.

    Though it was there at the end when the Lions needed it most, Phillips said he worries about his half-court offense because his team lacks patience at times.

    “We have to win off of our pressure defense, because if we don't, we are going to have a hard time. Everything has to be in transition getting layups off of steals and that type of stuff. If we get it going, it's going to be a little bit different.”

  • Livingston softball takes county bragging rights

    Pitcher Jaycee KnightonBRIAN BESCH | PCE Pitcher Jaycee Knighton allowed just two runs over seven innings in Livingston's win Friday over Onalaska.

    By Brian Besch

    Lady Lion softball took a one-run win 3-2 over neighboring Onalaska Friday at Livingston ISD’s softball complex.

    Down a run, Livingston scored once in the fourth to tie, with two more in the fifth to secure a lead they would not surrender.

    Onalaska opened a tight, scoreless game in the fourth when Kenadi Houser walked and stole second base. That allowed Madison Wilson to drive in the first of two RBIs on the night.

    Pitching for the Lady Cats was freshman Savannah Benningfield, who threw 4.1 innings, giving up three runs, two that were earned. She struck out three, walked three and gave up the same amount of runs. Madi Anderson relieved her, and finished out 1.2 innings, allowing just one hit.

    “I was very impressed with my kids tonight,” Onalaska coach David Brown said. “From where we were at last time we played them (an 11-3 loss on March 2), 3-2, I will take that. We made several errors last time that killed us early and just didn't recover.

    “The first pitcher that pitched the five innings is a freshman and she does a good job of controlling the plate and she did a good job tonight. They had a hard time waiting on her and if we can get our combination to work like that where she can pitch for five innings and then we come in with Madi and she be on, we’ll be fine.”

    Answering in the bottom half of that fourth inning, Livingston’s Jaycee Knighton walked, Carrie Parker singled and Baylee Yantes bunted and reached by error to load the bags. Raylee Gaston also put a ball in play that was not fielded cleanly and scored the tieing run.

    In the following frame, Janae Bland was hit by a pitch and stole second. Soon after, Knighton singled her home. Parker would then walk and Gaston got another run in, singling for a 3-1 advantage.

    Knighton was also effective on the mound, where she held Onalaska to two runs over seven innings for the win.

    “The girls are getting better,” Lady Lion coach Ruth Wright said. “We still have to take care of defense behind our pitchers. They are hitting their spots and doing a great job. We need to communicate before the ball is pitched and get a game plan of what we are supposed to do. I think it is a matter of getting more used to each other.

    “At the plate, we just need the reps. We need to realize that they are throwing to us and it doesn't mean that we have to hit their pitch — we can hit our pitch. We get in there and we are a little overanxious and decide that we are just going to swing instead of being patient, especially with runners in scoring position.”

    Onalaska would get one more run, as Wilson drove in Kierra Anstee in the sixth.

    “We took too many called third strikes, but they were hitting spots,” Brown said. “We've not played a really close ball game like that and I was hoping to get in one of those. Next Friday night, we play Hardin and they are going to have a good pitcher. We didn't hit the ball like we are capable of hitting it, but you are going to run into games like that.”

    In district, Livingston has dropped a game to a very good Liberty squad and had eight errors against Splendora in a two-run loss. They have, however, beaten Hardin-Jefferson 11-3 in a road contest.

    Now at 11-6-1 overall, Livingston will take on Hamshire-Fannett Tuesday. The 11-4 Lady Cats will host Anderson-Shiro in a district match Tuesday.

  • Livingston sweeps Silsbee

    IMG 6995BRIAN BESCH | PCE

    By Brian Besch

    Shutting down a late threat Saturday, Livingston Lion baseball advanced to the area round, after sweeping Silsbee in two games, 7-4 and 3-2.

    A grand slam from Blake Compton gave the Lions the lead for good in the contest Friday night.

    Saturday morning was a closer, low-scoring result that was in doubt until the final out was recorded.

    “They are a bunch of characters that just love to play for each other and we have to fight for ourselves,” Livingston coach Wade Halfmann said. “We have to find a way. You cannot win a game when you're not having fun, and we don't lack energy.”

    Tyler Seek started on the mound for Livingston, throwing a complete game in a gutsy performance.

    “You talk about somebody that wants to grind for his team,” Halfmann said. “He gets a nice base hit and gets stepped on and he gets injured.”



    The coach offered to pinch-hit for his pitcher, but Seek was more than willing to bat. Seek would later take a line drive off the ankle that would hobble him a bit more, but again he batted and again produced a base hit.

    A two-run homer in the fourth inning would be the only mistake that cost Seek runs. It tied the game at two each. It also didn’t seem to cut into Livingston momentum. The Lions played with a high energy all seven innings.

    "They were happy for those 10 seconds and that trip around the bases, because they didn't actually believe, in my opinion (they would win)," Halfmann said.

    Livingston had put up two runs in the inning before, starting with a single by Compton. Walker Findley sacrificed him to second and he would come home on an RBI-triple from Cooper Brown. On a Lane Huson sac fly, Brown would touch home plate.

    Jacob Haynes and Huson both took a base on balls in the fifth, and Gage Morris delivered the winning run on a single.

    The Tigers threatened in the final frame, with a one-out triple. However, Seek induced two ground balls to finish off the game and the series.

  • 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.

  • Lovelady honors its Lady Lions

    Lady Lions 051821The Lovelady Lady Lions are poised for domination in their division. PHOTO COURTESY OF LOVELADY ISD

    By Chris Edwards

    LOVELADY – The whole town of Lovelady is proud of the Lady Lions’ impressive run during this softball season, to say the least. The governing body of the town made it official last week with a resolution naming a day in honor of the team.

    “Lovelady Lions Day” was made official last Thursday, May 13, by Mayor Byron Shoemaker and the city council members. It honors the team, whose “undefeated district season…will forever be etched into the history of Lovelady,” as the text of the resolution states.

    The Lady Lions continue their journey to the state championship in the UIL Division 2A rankings with a sound defeat of the Joaquin Lady Rams in the Regional Quarterfinal round last weekend.

    The resolution names and celebrates the team members, along with the coaching staff, team manager and the Lovelady ISD Board of Trustees and administration.

    This season saw the first undefeated district season for the Lady Lions in the history of Lovelady ISD, which the resolution notes.

    Along with the faculty, staff and others who work with the team, the resolution notes that the “strong support of the multitudes of parents and fans who comprise the ‘Pride of the Mighty Lovelady Lions’” is a key factor in the team’s success.

    The Lady Lions are scheduled to play the Como-Pickton Lady Eagles in the semi-final round beginning Thursday at 7 p.m. in Whitehouse. A second game is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. and a third, if necessary, will follow at 7 p.m. Tickets are only available online at https://www.whitehousewildcats.com/HTtickets .

  • Lovelady Volleyball

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

  • 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.

  • Onalaska duo aims for top spots

    Onalaska Duo LARRY LAMB I HCC Onalaska seniors Brady Neuman (left) and William Boyce will compete in the Class 3A cross country meet Monday afternoon in Round Rock. Boyce is aiming for the state championship, while Neuman, the front-runner for OHS’s Class of 2021 Valedictorian, is aiming for his personal-best time.

    By Jason Chlapek

    ONALASKA – William Boyce and Brady Neuman have a few things in common.

    They’re both members of Onalaska High School’s Class of 2021, the OHS cross country program, OHS track and field program, and OHS FFA, to name a few. Speaking of cross country, both Boyce and Neuman will represent OHS at the state cross country meet Monday afternoon in Round Rock.

    Boyce and Neuman each want to be at the top of their field, but this is where things begin to differ. Boyce wants to be the top male runner in Class 3A and has plans on winning Monday’s race, but Neuman wants to be the top student in OHS’s 2021 senior class.

    “I’m currently ranked in the top of the class,” Neuman said.

    Neuman plans to go to Texas A&M and major in biomedical and become a physician. During district FFA competition on Nov. 12, Neuman and his ag issues team finished first and his public relations team finished second.

    Boyce also finished third in job interview at the district FFA competition. Onalaska finished second overall in district FFA, and the top two finishers in each category advanced to the area competition which took place Thursday.

    Neuman also won the FFA wildfire competition last month for the third year in a row. He earned a belt buckle and scholarship money.

    Neuman qualified for the state cross country meet by finishing as the eighth competitor not attached to a top-3 finishing team. The top three teams and top 10 individuals not attached to a top-3 team qualified for state.

    “This is my second trip to state,” Neuman said. “Last year we went as a team. If we hadn’t qualified as a team, I actually wouldn’t have advanced. I knew I had to run for my life this year if I was going to make it to state.”

    The Onalaska boys cross country team won its seventh consecutive district championship in October as well. Boyce and Neuman were the top finishers for the Wildcats in both the region and district meets.

    “The state course is my favorite course that I’ve run on,” Neuman said. “I’m going to show up and run my best race. I don’t go in there to race everybody else, I go in there to race myself. I worry about myself instead of the people around me or the people in front of me.”

    Boyce has one goal in mind Monday afternoon – first place. He is a three-time district champion and two-time region champion individually, and won both titles this year.

    “When I look at the Round Rock course, I think of Texas as a whole,” Boyce said. “There’s all sorts of terrain on that course. Each region has different soil textures. With Austin being smack-dab in the middle of Texas, I feel like you have all of Texas in one spot. The course itself has hills, sand, rocks, holes, ditches, everything. It’s definitely an all-terrain course and it represents Texas terrain.”

    Boyce plans to attend college on a track and field or cross country scholarship. He wants to become a teacher and coach with plans to enter into administration.

    Boyce believes the courses he and his teammates ran on in district (Anderson) and regional (Huntsville) will have him ready for Old Settler’s Park’s course in Round Rock. He also has it in his mind that he will be the first one to cross the finish line.

    “I have to have self-motivation and go in there like I know I’m going to win,” Boyce said. “If I go in there thinking I’m going to lose, I’ve already beaten myself. I feel like cross country as a whole is a mindset game. You have to push yourself to your limits.”

  • Onalaska Lady Cats defeat Goodrich (VIDEO)

    IMG 1824BRIAN BESCH | PCE The Onalaska Lady Cats leave Goodrich with a 71-15 victory Friday over the Lady Hornets.

     
    By Brian Besch

    The Onalaska Lady Cats used a few different presses to leave Goodrich with a 71-15 victory Friday over the Lady Hornets.

    Behind 23 points from Kierra Anstee, 14 from Kylie Sisk, and 12 by Jordyn Shutter, the Lady Cats won a game that was never in doubt.

    Onalaska opened the contest with an 18-0 advantage, picking off passes and tipping the ball away from Goodrich dribblers. By halftime, the Lady Cats were on the positive side of a 38-4 lead.

    “We are 2-1. We've lost a heartbreaker at Pineywoods (Christian Academy),” Onalaska head coach Ashley Sustaita said. “We were up with 20 seconds to go and turned the ball over twice to let them tie it and then let them take the lead. To be in a game this year with a great opponent — it's a good feeling. It's one of those losses you're not even mad at because, looking at last year, we weren't even supposed to be in a game like that. We have a deep bench and a lot of good talent.”

    Sustaita has 11 players to deploy at any point, and was able to rotate five new faces in at a time, while Goodrich was forced to play its same five the entire game.

    The Lady Cats should rely on defense and a few different looks defensively in the 2020-21 season. On Friday, both a full-court and half-court press gave the opponent trouble.

    “We want to run and we want to press. We've been working really hard on the rotation and we have a couple of other things we've been throwing in as far as the press,” Sustaita said. “I think our speed is going to kill. We've been able to run teams into the ground pretty good, so I'm excited.”

    The Onalaska coach believes small details such as transition defense, blocking out and consistently putting the ball in the basket will be what the team needs to work on before district play.

    “We put in a lot of specific drills that I think are paying off now,” Sustaita said. “They are able to knock it down and do a good job of not getting down on themselves when things aren’t falling early.”

    Goodrich was led by Breya Passmore, who scored seven of her team’s 15 points. Jamya Garrett and Aralyn Angel each added three points. The team played its best basketball in the fourth quarter, where a winded bunch was able to score in double digits.

    “We have to keep working and it is a whole different level now from junior high,” Goodrich coach Khadijah Carter said of her baby bees. “We have to learn that.”

    Carter has a monumental task of developing four freshmen, a sophomore and, as of now, no bench. The team just ended a successful cross country season and has yet to practice with all five team members.

    “Really, we're just working on offensive plays and we are running a 2-3 zone,” Carter said. “We have to stretch that zone as much as we can, and I am thinking about going to man. It is a little difficult right now and not being able to practice with a full team has been tough. Once I get at least a full week with full-team practices, we should be OK.”

    Playing every minute, the Lady Hornets will be in good shape quickly. Those who may not have participated in cross country before are getting the same impact now.

    “If anything, we are going to be in shape and a fit team. By the end of December — and we start district in December now — I think by then we will have it,” the Goodrich coach said. “We have to. I will have it right and we will be a more developed team.”

  • Pirates bounce back

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I SJNT Shepherd guard Dillen Johnson (11) shoots over a defender during a recent game.

    From Staff Reports

    SHEPHERD — In a bizarre week that featured three games in a four-day span, the Shepherd boys basketball team maintained its stronghold on third place in the District 21-4A standings with a pair of wins last week.

    The Pirates suffered a 66-50 setback at the hands of Hardin-Jefferson on Jan. 26, but bounced back to defeat Splendora, 56-45, on Jan. 27, and held off Liberty, 65-59, last Friday. Shepherd (13-10, 6-3 in 21-4A) hosted Livingston Tuesday night, and had a chance to clinch a playoff spot with a victory.

    In last Friday’s win at Liberty, the Pirates dominated the first three quarters and led 47-24 heading into the final quarter. But the Panthers went on a 35-18 run to pull within six, 65-59, by the end of the contest.

    Trase Thiessen led Shepherd with 23 points, while Carlos Renovato had 18. Bradley Davis (9 points, 14 rebounds) and Dillen Johnson (8 points, 9 rebounds) also contributed.

    In the Pirates’ victory at Splendora on Jan. 27, they held a slim lead throughout and were led by a 14-point performance from Jesse Valerie and a double-double from Johnson (10 points, 11 rebounds). Renovato (11 points, 9 rebounds) and Thiessen (13 points) also contributed.

    In the home loss to Hardin-Jefferson on Jan. 26, Shepherd trailed 45-39 going into the fourth before the Hawks soared to victory with a 21-11 game-ending run. Davis and Renovato led the Pirates with 20 and 16 points, respectively.

    Shepherd visits Hamshire-Fannett at 6 p.m. Friday and hosts Huffman Hargrave at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

  • Pirates take defensive struggle

    IMG 2403 BRIAN BESCH I PCE Freshman Josh Perkins shoots for two of his 20 points Wednesday.

    By Brian Besch

    LEGGETT - Leggett hosted their neighbors to the north Wednesday, defeating Corrigan-Camden 50-38.

    Josh Perkins led all scores with 20 and Chase Parrish had 19 to pace the Pirates. The freshman Perkins was lethal in the second half, pouring in 18 points in just two periods.

    “He is going to be a scorer,” Pirate coach Sean Edwards said of Perkins. “He was a little nervous the first couple of games, but he has gotten better. When we played (Hull-) Daisetta, he did real good and he is stepping up his game. It's going to be completely different this season because we have to live and die by defense, but we have to play more half-court offense as well. “We have to be patient with everybody sharing the ball more too this year.”

    The Pirates have put together back-to-back victories after beginning the season 0-3, while playing up in classification.

    The first quarter of Wednesday’s game began a little slow at 4-2 in favor of the ‘Dogs, as both offenses needed time gain traction.

    “We started off slow and a little sluggish. With (a first-quarter score of) 4-2, I thought we were at a little dribblers game,” Edwards said. “I think it was more of nerves than anything, but we'll be fine. I am happy with how we are tough and running help more half-court offense. We need to work on taking care of the ball. We had 22 turnovers again, and we can't go far with that.”

    A 12-point run in the second quarter allowed the Pirates to take an 18-13 lead into the half. Leggett would score 17 and 15 in the final quarters to further distance themselves and take the game.

    For Corrigan, Tra Thomas had a dozen points and Tony Cooper had nine.

    “Tonight wasn't one of our better games,” new Corrigan-Camden coach Andrew Kirkendoff said. “I thought we could have handled the ball better. There are a lot of things that we have to work on, but I think coming to a program that really never had a focus on basketball, we're just trying to build a program. It is a day-by-day process and I think by district we’ll be ready.”

    The Bulldogs are currently 0-3 on the young season, with a loss to Palestine Westwood by seven and Groveton by four.

    “I think we are small, so we have to work together,” Kirkendoff said. “As you can see, we had trouble rebounding. I've got a couple of guards that can play and I think when they understand the game better and understand what I'm trying to do in the system, I think will be a whole lot better.”

  • Playing together as a team (VIDEO)

    IMG 3533BRIAN BESCH | PCE Kenadi Houser shoots for two in the lane.

    By Brian Besch

    The Onalaska Lady Cats proved just how far the team has come in a month's time, defeating New Waverly 63-27 Friday by the lake.

    In their first meeting, the Lady Dogs took a 51-37 match from December. Whether revenge, redemption, payback or just the will to win, Onalaska left little doubt from the start. They took an early 14-4 lead and led by 11 by the end of the first period. 

    A quarter later, the advantage grew to 32-12.

    "If you go back to the game that we played at New Waverly, it wasn't even the same team," Onalaska coach Ashley Sustaita said. "We have done a complete rehaul of attitude and mindsets. They are totally bought in to their role and their job, and it's all 12 of them. They do such a good job of doing what I need them to and what the team needs them to do."

    The struggles for New Waverly continued, as a suffocating Lady Cat defense held the opponent to just 14 points through three quarters. 

    "We don't have a dominant kid and we've had teams try to box-and-one us," Sustaita said. "We just have such a great team right now and it is awesome to be a part of."

    Sustaita feels each player knowing their role and how they fit into the team was the problem before. That appears to be settled, with the team shuffling five girls in and out and each playing a part.

    "It's easy to want to be the top dog or not have any responsibility. I'm very open with my girls and very transparent with what I want them to do to be successful. We definitely put 'we' before 'me' every single day.

    "I always tell my kids that we don't have starters. We have five kids that I think we need to start the game, but they know that it may not be the five that we need to finish the game to win it for us. Being ready on the bench and being active in the game is so important."

    Kierra Anstee led the Lady Cats with 19 points, Kenadi Houser and Jordyn Shutter each had a dozen, and Maddie Stelck had eight.

    "We have some freshmen who have stepped up defensively and have done a good job. It has been awesome to see our juniors take them under their wing and be excited for them. 

    "On the last play, it was a freshman that shot the ball and my junior point guard is over there losing her mind for her. That is family and it is what we preach. I think we've done a good job of changing the culture here for women's basketball at Onalaska."

  • Playoff Bound: Lions clinch postseason berth with 21-7 victory

    Lions football against vidor 2020PHOTO BY JO’HANNAH PROCTOR Livingston wide receiver Chris Washington (7) sprints past Vidor defenders on a catch-and-run 76-yard touchdown play in the Lions’ 21-7 victory against the Pirates Friday night in Livingston.

    By Brian Besch

    The Livingston Lions pushed their winning streak to six games Friday, defeating district preseason favorite Vidor 21-7 in Lion Stadium.

    Livingston (6-2,3-0) kept its first-place standing in District 10-4A Div. I with an incredible defensive effort and a few big plays from the offense and special teams.

    “We played great, we really did,” Livingston coach Finis Vanover said. “I don't think a lot of people really, truly believed yet that we were capable of doing that and we matched them physically and got in the ring and slugged it out with them.

    “They won three or four battles with their big boys and they hurt us with some pass rush in the second half, but we just kept missing the ball. We dropped a bunch of sure touchdown catches, but every one of them came back and redeemed themselves.”

    For much of the night, the offense missed on opportunities for points, but would break a scoreless tie on the first play of the second quarter. Freshman running back Ja’Marri Green set the offense up with gains of seven, 29, and four yards to end the first period before punching it in from a yard out to put the Lions up, 7-0.

    After a short Vidor (3-3, 1-2) punt, the Lions tried to convert a fourth-and-8. They were successful, as Livingston quarterback Damian Ruiz (8-20-1, 183, 2 TDs) rolled to his left and completed a pass to Julian Gardner. The junior standout turned upfield and scooted the 41 yards needed for the end zone.

    Last week, Gardner caught five passes for 141 yards, two touchdowns and added an interception. He followed that Friday with three receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown, but also had two interceptions and a fumble recovery on defense. That made him responsible for ending three of the four Pirate drives in the second half.

    Special teams played a large part in the game all night, and the final two scores of the night would occur in punting situations.

    The Livingston offense was headed in the wrong direction on a drive with over five minutes left in the fourth quarter, but held a 14-0 lead. On fourth-and-29 from their own 24-yard line, the Lions faked a punt. Ruiz stepped in to take the snap and tossed to Chris Washington. The senior receiver not only made the long journey to the sticks, but used his speed to outrun the Vidor defense for 76 yards and a touchdown.

    “It was a different formation than we have used and we shifted the two running backs and didn't have the receivers there,” Vanover said of the fake punt. “We shifted them out of the backfield, so we knew they were going to vacate somebody. We told them, if it is there, we have to live with it. If it is not, get off a deep punt and get them off of us.”

    It was a gutsy call on fourth and very long, with the game just a two-score difference. Without the first down, the final five minutes of the game could have provided some anxious moments.

    “When you have talent and you believe in yourselves and you work all week to prepare for it, when the chance comes, you can't be afraid of the opportunity,” the coach said. “You just have to be man enough to live with the results.”

    Down 21-0 with 30 seconds left in the game, Vidor blocked a Lion punt and corralled the loose ball in the end zone, giving the visiting team their only points on the night.

    “On the punt, that was inexcusable. Especially when they think we may fake it again and we just watch the big boys go by and block it for a touchdown. That is unacceptable and we have to get that fixed.

    “We gave away a shutout in district play against the preseason favorite. But (having the shut out for that long) is a tribute to how hard our kids played — how much they believe in what we are teaching.”

    The Lions have clinched a spot in the postseason with their third district win. They will host Little Cypress-Mauriceville in the final home game Friday. A win there could set up a match of district unbeatens at Huffman, when the Lions face Hargrave to end the regular season.

  • Pole vaulter heading to state

    042921 track copyCOURTESY PHOTO Troy Fortenberry clears the bar on his leap during the Region 3 3A Track Meet in Waco on Saturday. Troy heads next to the state meet next week.

    SJNT staff

    WACO — Coldspring-Oakhurst Trojan Troy Fortenberry will represent the district in the state track meet next week.

    Fortenberry placed second in the pole vault with a leap of 12’6 at the Region 3 3A meet, held Friday and Saturday at Midway High School in Waco.

    Region 3 Track Meet

    Boys Results

    400 meters

    Curtis Parker, third, 50.95 finals (50.34 prelims)

    300-meter hurdles

    Troy Fortenberry, 16th, 48.40 (prelims)

    4x400 relay

    Jared Curry, Reagan Roberts, Gavin Trejo, Curtis Parker, sixth, 3:30.37 (fourth, 3.31.77 prelims)

    Shot put

    Dante Eldridge, sixth, 44’ 2.75

    Pole Vault

    Troy Fortenberry, second, 12’ 6.

    Carter Currie, eighth, 11’

    Girls

    100 meters

    Miya Ellis, 14th, 13.22 (prelims)

    Shot put

    Shanaya Gilbert, third, 35’ 8.25

    Alexis Moore, 11th, 30’ 5

    High jump

    Amanda Ready, fourth, 5’ 2

    Triple jump

    Alexis Chandler, seventh, 33’ 9.75

  • Pollok Central exits Corrigan feeling Moody

    IMG 6476BRIAN BESCH | PCE Orlando Ramirez slides into third for an RBI-triple as Coach Kevin Purvis and the team look on.

    By Brian Besch

    Corrigan-Camden baseball finished out the 2021 season, sending off a longtime coach with a 10-0 victory over Central in six innings.

    The home team started things off 2-0 in the first inning, as Javier Gallegos reached first via infield single and Matt Moody singled, pushing Gallegos to third. A double steal got Gallegos home, and Moody reached third on a throwing error. Orlando Ramirez then slugged an RBI-triple that rolled all the way to the wall in right field.

    In the fifth, Julian Pavlino walked and Buddy Riddle sacrificed him over. Kason Riddle used that to drive in a run with a single. After Gallegos was beaned, a double steal moved both runners up 90 feet. Moody struck again, driving in a run on a base hit for the 4-0 advantage.

    Moody was not only good in the batter’s box, but also shut out the visiting Bulldogs in six innings of work on the mound.

    Six runs scored in the sixth to end it, as Issac DeJesus and Pavlino each drove in two with base hits, a run scored on a fielder’s choice and Moody delivered in the final at-bat of the season, driving a ball up the middle to score the runner from third.

     


    Kevin Purvis coached his final baseball game for the Bulldogs Tuesday after 14 years of leading the program. He stepped back in 2021, allowing Amaro Villareal to take over as head coach.

    “The kids really got after it and performed well,” Purvis said after getting the Gatorade bath from former players. “I couldn't be any more proud of them than I have been in the 14 years I've been doing it.”

    Purvis said he enjoyed his time in Corrigan and is ready to step aside. He will remain on the Bulldog staff, concentrating his efforts on football.

    “It has been just great kids, great attitude, great effort and a pleasure to be around them,” Purvis said. “We're turning it over to a good guy here. Coach V will take over and go with it. Coming back to my hometown and staying here 14 years and to be as successful as we have, I'm pretty proud of it. I'm also proud of all the kids and coaches that have come before.”

    Corrigan fell just a game short of making the playoffs. Some fans were scoreboard watching Huntington and Diboll, as the Red Devils took a 4-1 win. A Lumberjack victory would have meant a postseason berth as the four seed for the ‘Dogs.IMG 6494BRIAN BESCH | PCE Matt Moody threw six innings of shutout baseball to collect the win.

    “We took care of what we had to do,” Villareal said following the game. “We left some games out there that we shouldn't have, but at the end of the day, we did what we wanted to and put ourselves in the situation to be here (in playoff contention). The season was up and down, and we are young. We have five seniors, but the future is bright.” 

    Many of those seniors played key roles and compose most of the top half of the order. Villarreal said others will need to step forward and they will need a few from a strong junior varsity team to fill some spots. The new coach said a few were purposely kept down on JV to allow for more playing time.

    “We've won some big games and beaten some good teams in some good tournaments,” Villareal said. “As the season went on, we grew together as a team and it is going to be tough to replace those five, but I've got a good nucleus coming back. I'm excited for Corrigan baseball and I thank Coach Purvis for stepping aside this year and letting me get my process started to build for a new future here.”