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Stinging, spiking, sweeping

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Tanyreauna Criswell keeps the ball alive.Tanyreauna Criswell keeps the ball alive.

By Brian Besch
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Apple Springs was the final non-district tune up for Goodrich volleyball Tuesday afternoon, and they made it a quick one on the south side of Polk County.

The Lady Hornets took an early 5-0 lead, and at 21-9, they were on the way to taking the opening set by 10 points. Apple Springs had an 8-6 advantage in the second set, but that quickly evaporated. Goodrich led 17-11 and would eventually win 25-17. Down 2-0 in the final set, Goodrich went on a 17-2 run, led by the serving of junior Arly Balbuena. They would win the third set 25-12.

Senior Latrina Morgan and freshman Bra’Niyah Wyatt had standout performances for the Lady Hornets in the sweep.

Goodrich volleyball coach Pinellafie Johnson said she likes the fact that she has a young (one junior and one senior) and coachable group. She says the players are quick to adjust whenever she instructs. They will still need to work on serves, transitioning and defense, according to Johnson.

“It’s been pretty good. They are steady working hard and we kick it off Friday with the first district game,” Johnson said. “You can’t lay down on anybody and you have to be ready. Leggett is our rivalry and we like playing each other. We have fun with each other, so we are looking forward to it.”

The youthful Lady Hornets have enjoyed success this season, even facing several larger schools in non-district.

“The girls are really having fun together. They are jelling so well so quickly. They are motivating themselves and I don’t have to try to motivate them now. They are finding things and ways to motivate themselves. That is a big difference, because any other time I am trying to pick them up when they are down. Even whenever they are losing, they keep themselves up.”

Johnson feels every school has a shot for the District 26-1A title. That includes, Goodrich, Leggett, Chester, Burkeville, Spurger and High Island, but she has an eye on one particular program.

“We can’t say any game is going to be easy. You have to fight for every game, but Chester, I know, is going to be pretty tough to compete with. All of them will be tough, but I think Chester is going to be fighting for that number one spot. We are still pushing to stay right up there with them. On any given night, it can be anybody’s game.” 

The Leggett rivalry game will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Goodrich Friday. After that, the Lady Hornets travel to Burkeville Tuesday, then return home the next Friday for High Island.

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Bulldogs look to clobber Hempstead

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Hempstead vs Corrigan

By Albert Trevino
Enterprise Staff

The (0-4) Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs will face off against the (1-3) Hempstead Bobcats at home this Friday.

For the last non-district matcwh of the season, the Bulldogs are still looking for their first victory in hopes that the momentum will spark them into district play.

“Just like any other game, we are finding ways to get better and make plays. This is the last opportunity to have a great game that will not affect the playoffs,” said Bulldog head coach Brett Ratliff. “We still need to play relaxed and focused, building on some of the success we had last week.”

Corrigan’s young offense showed improvement in last week’s loss versus Coldspring-Oakhurst, putting up 27 points. This was thanks in large part to the execution of the Bulldog passing attack, which helped convert huge first downs in that match.

“If we can find and exploit holes in the defense, that is where our maturity is – in the pass game. Most

of our weapons are in the receiver position,” Ratliff said. “(Michael) Sullivan is starting to figure out where he needs to go with the ball. We hope our receivers can show up again and try to build on that.”

Hempstead suffered their third straight loss last week in a 34-28 match against the Shepherd Pirates. The Bobcats’ single victory came in week one versus the Northeast Early College Raiders (Austin).

Second-year Hempstead head coach Markeith Wesley worked alongside Ratliff and Bulldog defensive coordinator Amaro Villarreal during their time with the Navasota Rattlers.

The Bobcats struggled last season with an 1-9 overall record and 0-4 record in district. Ratliff expressed his respect for his former colleague, who is also rebuilding his varsity program with a new system.

Corrigan won last season’s matchup, but Ratliff still expects a competitive effort from Hempstead.

“[Wesley] is trying to build a good program over there. They are only going to get better over time,” Ratliff said. “I believe we can be successful, but they are definitely going to be ready and want to win this game.”

The Bobcat spread offense is likely to air it out, led by senior quarterback Marlon Fisher. Hempstead also has a strong rushing option in senior Floyd Ragston. Setting up easy third downs and ball security will be the keys to success for Corrigan this Friday, according to Ratliff.

“[Fisher] loves to set up the pass in the scramble and they found a running back in Ragston, who is dangerous too,” said Ratliff. “Offensively, we need to execute on first and second to put us in a better position. Also, we need to win the turnover battle.”

Friday’s non-district game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium in Corrigan.

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Final chance at non-district success

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By Brian Besch
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Though taking a fourth loss in four games, Livingston football’s coaching staff is looking for a repeat performance from Friday night. The Lions were a first down away from gaining control over undefeated Spring Legacy, in what would have been one of the state’s bigger upsets.

“The kids are the most resilient, no matter what is being said around town or by classmates or wherever,” Livingston coach Finis Vanover said. “They just keep believing. Last week was the best Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday we’ve had in a row since Aug. 1 when we first started. We couldn’t close the deal, but there was no lack of effort, heart, character, toughness or desire. Our kids played their butts off in the face of a mismatch of team talent.”

The Lions ran for over 300 yards, with the offensive line paving the way. Vanover said he would liked to have thrown the ball a bit more in the game (only 15 passing yards), but five or six of the called passing plays ended as desperation runs.

“The five significant players that were all out with injuries on the sidelines sure doesn’t help,” he said. “Two of the five are two-way performers. Our injured players that could not perform and help out was the biggest disappointment of the week. The cats that dressed out and played, played their butts off. Our offensive line is unbelievable, and the defensive line finally started cooking it up and we got after that quarterback and those running backs.”

The tailbacks, wide receivers and fullbacks also earned Vanover’s praise. The coach hopes to continue running effectively while sprinkling in yards through the air.

Junior Javion Haynes has been a standout in the defensive backfield, turning in a fine performance against one of the better passing attacks the Lions will see.

“He has turned into one of the best defensive backs in the district. He goes wide open and just plays the next down,” Vanover said of Haynes. “He is always involved in some kind of takeaway or turnover. He makes tackles like crazy, and they threw that slip screen one time where everybody got snookered except him.”

This will be the fourth consecutive homecoming game versus Madisonville. Coach Russell Urbantke has promised he would not schedule the Lions again if Livingston is successful a fourth time. The contests have been close, but Livingston has taken the last three by a difference of five, 10 and 12 points. The 2022 game was a 21-9 score in Madisonville.

“It is a great atmosphere and a great facility and great competition,” Vanover said of when the team travels down I-45. “They have kids just like we do, their folks turn out, and it is a nice deal. I am going to try to keep it whether we win, lose or draw.”

The Mustangs are undefeated through four games, taking down Diboll and Navasota by 10 points each, beating Fairfield 40-14 and dismantling Caldwell 63-0.

“Madisonville always plays great defense with textbook tackling. You can’t get them out of position. Their linebackers are always really tough, physical kids that come downhill fast once they read their key. We’ve got to get outside with the ball and over the top with the ball. If we can do that, we will be in great shape

They are going to defend the run game, which any intelligent coach would do. They have to, because right now, it is the only thing we are doing well. These guys knew we were going to last year, and we shamed them running the ball. What made the big difference was that we had some explosive plays in the passing game and in quarterback scrambles.”

Expect to see a spread offense from the Mustangs who are running more four wide receivers than before.

Last week, quarterback Ty Williams was 7-for-7 passing for 163 yards and three touchdowns. Star receiver and Texas Tech commit Lorenzo Johnson had three receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns. The Mustangs rolled up 229 yards rushing versus Caldwell, and the defense held the Hornets to just 23 total yards for the night in a 63-point blowout.

Livingston will need an effort similar to last week to hand Madisonville their first loss of the year.

“We will be a drastically improved team this week because of how hard we fought and played and tried to win that thing (last week), and didn’t make any excuses for it. That is what I am excited about. I think our kids are ready and understand how good they can really be.” 

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Lady Cats serve up sweep

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Destiny Lindley leaps to send it back over the net.Destiny Lindley leaps to send it back over the net.

By Brian Besch

Onalaska volleyball needed just three sets Tuesday to put Crockett back on the bus home.

Falling behind early, Onalaska would answer and there would be a few lead changes in the first set. With the game tied at 17, the home team pulled in front and stayed there, winning 25-20.

In the second set, Kalli Saucier would lead the team with her serving. Crockett had no answer for the senior, who had several aces along the way in a dominating 25-2 set.

“Kalli Saucier has been out sick for five days. She came back for the game in Shepherd and had missed two games prior to that,” Onalaska coach Danna Mitschke said. “She did well for us in Shepherd, but tonight, her serving was killer. I am really proud of her. She helps bring that team chemistry and is that critical piece. We struggled a couple of games in a row without her. She came back whenever district was starting, which was great timing. We’ve been working really hard on serving. Her toss is so short that it makes it hard for the defense to track and all of a sudden it is there. It makes it a little more difficult to handle.”

In the third set, the Lady Cats fell behind early again, but Saucier’s serves helped take the team from down 5-2 to a 10-5 lead. With the game tied at 16, Saucier again took the line to serve, and led the team to the final nine consecutive points for the sweep.

The Lady Cats are a senior-heavy group this year, with seven on the team of 12. Currently, they are 2-0 in district and around .500 overall.

“We played much more difficult schedule this year than we did last year,” Mitschke said. “We were in every match we played with a tougher schedule, so I expect to compete better in district. My intent is to get into the playoffs, if I have to beg, borrow or steal.”

Tarkington and Anderson-Shiro will again be the favorites in a tough District 23-3A. Mitschke said she had three important pieces of the team graduate last year. However, this season she has two seniors in Mary Joy Cariaga and Kaitlyn Wilson who did not play last year.

I’ve got two really strong setters with good hands that makes good choices. One is a senior (Kayleigh Park) and one is a sophomore (Faith Tyerman). They have been my consistent standouts, as far as keeping us focused and the play moving in the correct direction. I am really happy to have the two of those.

“My hitters are all young except for Kaitlyn Wilson and Destiny Lindley that plays middle front. I have one freshman on the team and she got two really important blocks (Kelli Arce).”

The coach said the team has grown from even the beginning of the season. Her junior varsity is filled with all freshmen except for one junior. She also feels that she has a strong seventh and eighth grade group, making for a bright future at the school. 

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Trojan rushing attack to test ‘Dogs

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By Albert Trevino
Enterprise Staff

The (0-3) Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs take on the (2-1) Coldspring-Oakhurst Trojans at home in a non-district game this Friday.

Still seeking their first win during non-district play, the Bulldogs will keep things simple going against the familiar power-run attack of Coldspring’s offense.

“It is just alignment, assignment football. Especially against what Coldspring is doing,” said Bulldog head coach Brett Ratliff. “They have a great offense. It is a lot of ground and pound, but it is explosive. They try not to get too complicated, but they do not have to.”

It will need to be a much-improved effort from the young Bulldog roster, which was shut out 56-0 last week on the road against Kirbyville. Ball security is another major factor, according to Ratliff.

“Our key is to be simplistic and make sure we are in the right positions necessary. Also, we have to absolutely limit turnovers during crucial situations to keep or put us in the game,” Ratliff said. “We are going to test our physicality this week. Coldspring is going to come in, hit you in the mouth and play hard for four quarters.”

Led by head coach Ken Stanley, the Trojans came up short of the postseason last year with a 3-3 district mark and 5-5 overall record. Last season included a close 33-30 loss to Corrigan.

Coldspring began the season with a two-game win streak. First, a 36-9 blowout at home over the Liberty Panthers. Then, a 22-14 road victory against the Splendora Wildcats.

The Trojans suffered their first defeat at home last week, 30-8 versus the ranked Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns.

Ratliff expects a strong performance from Coldspring’s offense, with returning starter and senior quarterback Luke Monroe being a potential threat in different ways.

“[Monroe] is very dynamic and will play other offensive positions. He is built for the offense for the offense they run, so we have to slow him down to have a chance,” said Ratliff.

Finding the open run lanes and consistent pass protection will be Corrigan’s best shot at scoring significant points against Coldspring’s defense this week.

“Defensively, they rally to the ball really well. They fast flow and swarm the ball. They are not going to try to overpower you for five or six linemen down,” Ratliff said. “We need good reads when we run the football and have to give our quarterback ample time to throw when we need to.”

Kickoff for Friday’s non-district match is set for 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium.

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