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Schools encouraged to enter pep rally video contest

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081822 video contest

Texas singer/songwriter Rhyder to perform concert for winner

By Chris Edwards
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With the familiar glow of Friday night lights soon to be upon us (and scrimmages already taking place) the sounds of fall are a welcome accompaniment to high school football action.

Whether those sounds are familiar selections from high school bands to lead the teams into battle, or songs written about the excitement of football, the topic has served as an inspiration for many a songwriter.

Carthage-based Texas country music legend, Brandon Rhyder, an award-winning singer/songwriter has put his two cents into the “football songs” canon. Rhyder’s single “Under the Lights on Friday Night” is such an authentic depiction of high school gridiron action that several coaches from around the state have weighed in.

“I have coached a lot of college players and a few NFL players and the one thing they always say is there is nothing like Friday Night High School football…Brandon’s song is a great song that sums it all up,” said Scott Surratt, the Athletic Director and head coach of the Carthage Bulldogs.

As part of the promotion for the single, a lucky school can win a concert with Rhyder. Schools are encouraged to submit a video from a pep rally, to show how much school spirit the school has.

The videos, limited to one submission per school, must be submitted to Rhyder by Oct. 14. They can be submitted via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Rhyder, who has made a career out of wholesome subject matter (e.g. “Freeze Frame Time” and “Battery”) said the subject for the song was a natural for him, and he has watched his own son grow up with a love of the game.

“I have watched my son, Dusty, play this game from flag football to Pop Warner to junior high to the varsity level. He’s been talking about this moment since he was five years old,” Rhyder said in an interview.

Tom Westerberg, who serves as HC for the Salado Eagles said Rhyder’s song “brings back great memories of me playing in small town Salado and now for the kids who are making their own memories.”

The single can be streamed on all streaming platforms, as well as from Rhyder’s official website, BrandonRhyder.com.

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Lady Jackets take second place in Woodville tourney

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081822 Lady jackets take secondA jubilant group of Lady Jackets celebrates a win at the Woodville tournament. Photo by Jana Rayburn

By Jana Rayburn

The Lady Jacket volleyball team had a great first week of play. The Lady Jackets swept the Sabine Pass Lady Sharks on Tuesday, August 9 at J.P. Johnson Gymnasium in Chester.

Thursday, August 11, the Lady Jackets traveled to Woodville for the first day of the Woodville Volleyball Tournament. Chester easily defeated Woodville JV in two sets but lost a close game to Warren. The Lady Jackets came back Friday, winning all three pool games against Colmesneil, Hemphill, and Anahuac. Saturday’s bracket started with a game against Woodville.

The Lady Jackets lost the first game 20-25, won game two 25-15, and won the third game 15-12. This win moved the Lady Jackets into the championship game against Tarkington. The Jackets had some unfortunate injuries during the game, and ended up losing 25-23, 20-25. The Lady Jackets faced some larger schools, and never gave up. While this was a total team effort, several players stood out during the three-day tournament.

Lily Read, Marae Pounds, and Kinsley Barnes led in kills. Emma Byrd has some great assists and key points. Kaylee Tolar and Lauren Citrano served the ball well. Blakeney Whitworth had well-timed timed hits, Kyli Handley had a few great digs and saves, and Abby Grimes had some good back row attacks. Coach Patrick Sluga said, “The final game didn’t end up the way we wanted, but these girls played until the very end. Everyone will be talking about Chester volleyball after last weekend.”

The Lady Jackets will play in the Groveton Tournament on Thursday, August 18, and Saturday, August 20. Chester will host Groveton on Friday, August 19 for JV and varsity games. The JV game will start at 4:30 p.m., with the varsity game to follow. The varsity team will travel to Apple Springs on Tuesday, August 23 to face off against the Lady Eagles in a 4:30 p.m. match.

Yellowjacket Football

The Chester Yellowjackets traveled to Sugar Land for the first scrimmage of the season. Even though the team left very early in the morning, they showed up and turned some heads last weekend.

Defensively, the Jackets were tough. Jesse Bittick had 23 tackles during the scrimmage, including 10 for loss. Kessler Romo had an interception. Keighen Green had a big day, scoring three touchdowns.

Green had 120 yards rushing and 85 yards receiving.

Coach Justin Hilliard was happy with his team. “There are some minor corrections to be made, but we moved the ball well on offense and had some really good defense,” Hilliard said.

The Jackets will traveled to Houston on Thursday, August 18 to scrimmage against Emery Weiner. The scrimmage will started at 6 p.m.

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Meet the Eagles

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081122 Meet the Eagles This year’s “Meet the Eagles” event, which was held Monday evening at the Woodville Eagles’ stadium, was a rousing success, with community members tailgating and meeting the Eagle squad for this coming season, as well as cheerleaders and volleyball players. The Athletic Booster Club presented the Woodville High School athletic program with a $10,000 check to put toward the student athletes. PHOTO COURTESY OF WOODVILLE ATHLETIC BOOSTER CLUB

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Jackets fired up for 2022 season

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081122 Chester Football

By Jana Rayburn

CHESTER – The 2022 football season is officially underway for the Chester Yellowjackets and head coach Justin Hilliard couldn’t be happier. Hilliard is in his second year as head coach and is ready to apply all the things he learned during his first year of coaching six-man football. The entire team is excited about having a full year of off-season under their belt. 

Assisting Hilliard this season will be Coach Robert Nobles, who is joining Chester from Vidor. Coleman Butter and Austin Odom will be returning as assistant coaches.

While it is still early in the season, Hilliard said that along with getting his players conditioned to hold up in the heat, practices will focus

on game scenarios, which will benefit the underclassmen particularly. His goal for the season is simply getting better every single day.
Hilliard fully expects to win district. He said, “Right now, we are picked as a dark horse. But with the coaching changes and learning curve for the other teams in our district, we have an advantage.” The teams making up District 15 in 1A Division I are Chester, Burkeville, High Island and Leveretts Chapel.

Hilliard is expecting big things from his upperclassmen. Keighen Green is a massive young man at RB/DE, and he will be the team’s workhorse. Rick Carlton is coming off a 3rd team All-Region DB season in which he had 8 interceptions. Carlton will also be the quarterback this season.  Jaxson Hilliard and Kessler Romo are coming off All-District seasons and have already received offers to play college football. 

There are also a handful of freshmen and sophomores who will be expected to step up and contribute.

Hilliard and the rest of his coaching staff at Chester are extremely proud of the direction of the athletic program and the efforts made over summer workouts. The athletes are coming into two-a-days in shape and stronger.

Lady Jacket Volleyball

The Lady Jacket volleyball team got in a couple of scrimmages last weekend. The team traveled to Port Arthur and had a strong showing against the Lighthouse Homeschool Lady Lions.

The Lady Jackets hosted the Centerville Lady Tigers on Saturday, August 6. Both the JV and varsity squads performed well in front of a big home crowd.

Golf Tournament

The Chester coaching staff is excited to host a golf tournament, with the proceeds directly benefitting the athletes at Chester.

The Yellowjacket Scramble will take place on Saturday, October 1 at the Neches Pines Golf Course in Diboll. There will be individual and team awards, as well as a best ball tourney and silent auction. For more information or to sponsor a hole, contact Hilliard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Butter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Upcoming Events
The football team will travel to Sugar Land on Saturday, August 13 to take part in a four-team scrimmage. The scrimmage will get started at 9 a.m. The address to the stadium is 15700 Old Richmond Rd. Sugar Land.

The Lady Jacket varsity volleyball team is competing in the Woodville Tournament on Thursday, August 11 through Saturday, August 13.

Pool games will take place on Thursday and Friday, with bracket play on Saturday. The Lady Jackets will play at 5 p.m and 7 p.m. on Thursday evening and at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. on Friday. The varsity squad will play at home on Tuesday, August 16 against

Community Christian at 5:30 p.m.

The first cross-country meet of the season will be in Corrigan on Saturday, August 20.

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Warren’s ‘Coach JoJo’ qualifies for World Championships duathlon

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080422 jolo qualifiesPHOTO COURTESY OF WARREN ISD Warren ISD’s own Amanda Jordan will take part in the World Championships duathlon next spring in Spain.

By Chris Edwards
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WARREN – As the ages-old maxim goes, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

For Warren ISD faculty member Amanda Jordan, known affectionately around Warrior Country as “Coach JoJo,” her need for speed is taking her places far away.

Jordan will represent the USA at the World Championships in Spain next year. Her qualifying for the duathlon, a run-cycle-run event, will take place on April 29, 2023.

“I am so excited and blessed to represent the United States of America at the World Championships in Spain. Woooo! I am dedicating this race to my God, family, community and country,” Jordan said.

Jordan, who has been a member of the Tribe’s talented staff of coaches in the athletic department since last year, said she loves both racing and coaching.

She coaches the Lady Warriors in volleyball, basketball, and, naturally, track. “I hope to inspire and lead the youth by teaching them how to mentally and physically tackle each set goal towards their dream with consistent, persistent, hard work and dedication every single day. The greatest gift is sharing your gift with others to help teach, lead and inspire,” she said.

Jordan is also a proud product of Warren and Warren ISD. “I am so excited and blessed to represent My hometown, Warren, holds a special place in my heart,” she said.

Jordan’s time in her qualifying rounds clocked her at the second fastest time in the nation. The event she will take part in next year includes a 10K run, a 40K bike race and then a 5K run. After the World Championships in Spain, the next stop is the 2024 Olympics.

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