By Bobbie Brown
Strawn Greyhounds. A well-oiled machine. A team everyone loves to hate. Every year they succeed. The Greyhounds are led by a very intense Coach Dewaine Lee. He doesn’t rebuild. He reloads. Every year.
And there is a story to tell. Jared Christopher, documentary specialist, wasted no time telling it. The Greyhounds were followed by a group of documentary videographers the past year. If you played Strawn, you saw them. You might think it’s another football story. And it is but it isn’t. After joining in with Coach Lee and a few other folks to watch the first three episodes of the premier in Weatherford, I found it to be enlightening and it sucked me in. I wanted to hear more about the people and players.
Players J.W. Montgomery and Blaze and his NaNa lend a voice to the story. Many of the townspeople provide explanation and commentary about how they believe the season will go. Coach Lee is... Coach Lee. Intense. Demanding. He is also funny and mischevious at times. You can see he really loves the kids and people. I laughed several times and yes, I shed a few tears. If the first three episodes are any indication, the world is about to get a good dose of tough love, a never-give-up attitude, and an iron will to not only succeed in football but also in life.
Perception is a powerful thing.
After getting just a glimpse of the emotional story to come, I expect that cracks will form in negative perceptions surrounding the Strawn Greyhounds and their beloved Coach Lee.
On Thanksgiving Day, CBS All Access will release the first three episodes of Texas 6. Every Thursday afterward, a new episode will be released until all eight episodes have run. I look forward to continuing down the path that Mr. Christopher has so artfully laid in front of us.
Trailer for Texas 6:
How and When to Stream Texas 6:
Article: Jared Christopher on Texas 6
By Bobbie Brown
Sometimes players stand out and seem larger than the actual game. Sometimes it’s because they are really athletic and sometimes it’s just the amount of heart and effort they put forth. I decided it was time to take a trip down memory lane to not that long ago. A tiny Cougar caught my complete attention. Tiny #1 got knocked down over and over and kept popping back up for more (https://www.1afan.com/thezone/the-little-guy).
Kylar Pepper. Klondike Cougar. Big heart. Never-give-up attitude. Huge smile.
The year was 2017. Kylar was a freshman. He stood a whopping 5’2 and weighed maybe 90 pounds. The Cougars found themselves hosting the eventual State finalist Balmorhea Bears, and it was brutal. It was Coach DeGraffenreid’s first year in Klondike. He had some athletic players, but nothing was really expected of them that season or that night. I went into that game expecting to enjoy watching the great 2017 Bears team and came out with a newfound respect for a little freshman I nicknamed Mighty Mouse.
Fast forward to 2020 and me and the Black Beast made our way south to Klondike to check in with Mighty Mouse and the undefeated Cougars. Klondike is literally in the middle of a cotton field. I always enjoy visiting the small community. The people are very kind and welcoming. It is a huge bonus that the Junior class parents make homemade ice cream and sell it at a table set up right beside the concession stand. Great stuff! There were seven flavors to choose from. I made my choice and enjoyed it while watching players begin warmup.
I found Coach D and the Cougars warming up. Although I’d kept up with Kylar, and he had grown his sophomore and junior years, I couldn’t pick him out of the group. Coach D let me know that Mighty Mouse had a growth spurt during the stay at home orders earlier this year. He said when he saw Kylar in August, he had to look up at him, and it almost brought him to tears. I quickly glanced to the end zone and found #7 (he switched numbers his sophomore year). Ol’ Mighty Mouse had grown to at least 6’0. He had also grown as a leader on the field. I watched him direct the Cougar offense as QB and contribute on defense. The Cougars have a very cohesive team this year and came out on top at the end of the game last night. And Kylar was right there in the mix on every play.
I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Kylar. He still loves Milk Duds. He has expanded his musical taste to include rap and rock but still listens to country. His love of brisket may have contributed to that growth spurt. And he’s moved from a love of history to really liking science.
Beyond the basics, Kylar learned a lot as a little guy and applies his experience to his play this year. Kylar said, “Having been so small I was a little bit restricted. I wasn’t the strongest or the fastest. But I did use what I could to my advantage. I tried to play smart and work on good mechanics, such as my throwing form, making correct reads, finding open receivers, in order to improve my game. Now that I am bigger and stronger, I feel that those fundamentals are more natural. I feel like having gotten that experience at a young age and only being able to work with what I had, I make a lot smarter decisions now since I’ve experienced different situations.”
He also has great advice for those little guys out there right now, “Just be patient and don’t get frustrated. Eventually you will grow and get stronger and be one of the biggest on the field. Don’t get down on yourself now and think that you’re too small to play. Some of the best players from high school all the way to the pros have been small guys with big hearts!”
Coach DeGraffenreid has enjoyed watching him progress, “Kylar is just one of those kids that coaches dream about. He never gets out worked, he has a natural ability to understand the game, and is a coach on the field. From the time he was a tiny little freshman, I knew he just had that “it” factor about him that makes him special. He has grown not only as a quarterback the last four years but just as a player in general. He has come up big for us on the defensive side of the ball this year and it’s just because he has such a high understanding of what people are trying to do offensively.”
Kylar and the Cougars expect to make a run into the playoffs this year. I asked him if he could give one message to his team, what would it be. Kylar said he would remind them of how they were not expected to be this good and, “We were expected to be a decent team but every time someone doubts our abilities it really motivates us to prove them wrong. Look to our ultimate goal of playing in the state championship. That always gets us fired up.”
Kylar plans on attending Texas Tech after graduating in 2021. He hasn’t decided his major but is steadfast in using the leadership skills he’s learned to help others as much as he can.
It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, I wrote about Kylar Pepper. In many ways, he represents six-man football in this great state of Texas. Small in stature with a huge heart. He is not small anymore, but he definitely still has that big heart! Kids like Kylar make us want to go forward and do Good!
By Dency McClure
We arrived in Bryson, and the concession stand was opening as we parked. We were there very early so I was impressed. I get one shot at a concession stand, and that’s before the game. If they don’t open until the national anthem, then I miss it entirely. I’m sure you are thinking that’s absurd. Why do you miss it? Well, the line is usually too long during half-time for me to make it back for the beginning of the 3rd quarter, and they are always closed after the game. I must say the Bryson concession stand was impressive. They had cheese sticks, onion rings, cheese burgers, etc. already in the warmer ready to be taken before the game. Ohhhhh and I found out later when I saw people walking around with fluffy colorful clouds on sticks that they had cotton candy! Brace yourself, I will have to mention that again because, well, it’s cotton candy!
I went and found Coach Cumby. I had talked to him at a scrimmage but had totally forgotten to introduce myself. Today that was the first thing I did. He told me they had enjoyed the photos and article from the scrimmage where I had mentioned forgetting to introduce myself so we chuckled about that. He was in the middle of assisting with warmups so we didn’t chat long. As I was walking away, he yelled out for me to wait. He then ran up to me and said, “I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Trey Cumby.” We both laughed and parted ways still chuckling.
I then found Clint Miller. He was one of the first coaches I met when I started covering multiple schools. Corona or no Corona, he gave me a hug. He was obviously excited about his team. He told me he was in the perfect place to rebuild a program. He pointed out three kids in regular clothes on the field that were out due to injuries. He told me he had a good team and when he got them all back he’d have an even better team. I have to admit, I was a little surprised by what he was telling me as Rising Star has had a hard time the last few years and sometimes struggled to even field a team. Plus, they were the predicted 45 point underdog in this game.
I met a man that has a boy on the Forestburg team that takes photos. We had a great time talking shop. He showed me lots of great pictures he has taken. I quickly became aware that I no longer had a shop talk folder on the phone I got to replace mine that was stolen. Definitely need to update that. It’s always fun to see what other photographers are the most proud of. It was nice to make a friend on the sidelines and chat off and on during the game. The moon was exceptional at one point during the evening, and I took as many photos as I could of it at different stages. I caught him doing the same.
Before the game started, the line referee on the Forestburg side asked me what team I was shooting for, and I told him I was shooting both teams and also the referees. He lit up and told me he’d love some of himself in action and gave me his email address. I put it in notes on my phone and had him look at it to make sure I got it right. When I did, he asked me why the “M” at the end of dot com was on the next line. I told him it was just because my text size setting was big. He commented that I must be as blind as he was, and we both laughed.
The game quickly got under way, and I realized two of the referees were very experienced and the line judges were new. They did a good job working together, and the experienced guys took advantage of lots of teachable moments. I am so thankful we have referees and new ones. I recognize most of the referees now and that tells me they are solid six-man referees who like me, chose to be Six-man.
It became apparent very quickly that the predicted close out game was not going to happen. Rising Star was on fire and Forestburg had been stung with shock. At some points it was about a 10 point game, and it got very interesting. It was a great game! I was texting multiple friends telling them how good it was. One told me to stop texting him the score because he had tuned in to the broadcast. Coach Miller worked the clock like he owned the clock tower. Which cost Forestburg a penalty once because one of their players tired of it all and took his helmet off on the field getting a bit ahead of himself.
You hear all kinds of things on the sidelines. At one point I heard a coach tell his assistant “Ah, he’s an 11-man coach. No other reason he would have done that. Then we will do this and really mess him up.” There are definite differences in the game strategies. I’ve seen some past 11-man coaches break into Six-man and do very well. I’ve seen some come in thinking that because they coached 11-man that they are better than everyone else. That never goes over well. The general Six-man coach population calls that the 11-man mentality, which does cause them to be a little leery of coaches breaking into the game. No clue who may or may not have been a past 11-man guy on the other side.
I absolutely love to see Six-man coaches sitting down with new-to-the-game coaches and showing them plays. I remember watching a very good six-man coach draw up a play and hand the paper over to the new guy and say "Show me how to beat that." After a few moments, the new guy finally gave up and the Six-man coach happily showed him how. They had the best time. One thing I’ve learned about Six-man coaches is they love to share! All you have to do is ask. I’ve told a few new coaches who they needed to reach out to and they never let me down helping a new guy.
Did I mention Bryson has cotton candy in their concession stand? Why yes, I did. Seeing those fluffs bounding up and down round the stands was the best. I still love cotton candy but can you imagine how excited the kids must have been to find out the concession stand had it. Oh to be 10 again. I think I turn 10 again when I get my hands on some. Your soul just lights up a bit when you get your hands on some of that magical cloud puff of sweetness.
See you on the sidelines!
By Dency McClure
The Eden field was lush and green with a perfect big blue E on the 40. It has been so dry and hot in this area I can only begin to imagine the work and water investment made to get and keep it so nice. Principal Odom told me the beautiful field was all because of Coach Shay and his crew.
Eden had their bleachers well marked with big blue x’s. They showed the rows on which not to sit. It was unusual seeing people spread apart and so many watching from the other side of the fence. We are all so happy to get to have football that we take it all in stride.
Walking all around a football field in 100 degree weather, in a mask is a bit daunting. It can be done and I did but wow sometimes you just have to get way off by yourself and take a good breath. You can tell nobody wants to wear them all the time. We all did our best to keep them on and keep the environment safer for everyone. By the end of this season I may not even notice the mask.
What a game Eden and Blackwell had in store for their season opener. It ended with Eden winning by a mere 2 points. Now I know if you are from one of the towns competing it can get stressful and you don’t view it as a great game. But for a non biased observer it was a fantastic game. The suspense and the never knowing just who was going to pull it off and come out with the win was great. I’ve had the honor of watching both these teams and many of their players and coaches over the recent years. You can’t help but get excited about seeing them all again and watching to see how certain kids have improved their talent.
“Camo” Coldiron actually saw me and greeted me before the game. He has been in my viewfinder many times. Hunner Rodgers is easy to spot as he is the tallest on the field and has an arm. Eden is blessed with two great quarterbacks on their team this year because they also have Gamboa. Now Gamboa and Rodgers are quite a pair to watch on a basketball court as well as a football field. I was sad to see Tyson Walls in a cast. I always enjoy watching him on the line and his older brother was a beast as well. So many great kids on both of these teams that I love to watch and photograph in action. Too many to name here.
Once the game got under way I noticed that the player box was huge. As a photographer I work hard to stay out of the way of the coaches, players, trainers, etc. That always means watching the player box lines and only invading them when the team is at the other end or completely out of the way. Well, when I looked closely I realized the player box was literally marked from the 10 yard line to the 10 yard line. I’ve known Odom for a while so I got his attention, as I was standing in the player box, and asked him if they were trying to have the biggest player box in the state. He chuckled and told me that wasn’t the case at all but that that was the new regulation size due to Covid. I was shocked. Lots of things are different but it almost took up the entire sideline. I still worked to distance myself, even more than normal, from the players but I did end up shooting from inside the enormous player box regularly.
Oh the cramps of a week one game in the heat. They were bad for sure. It seems like it is always worse the first week of the season. The Eden trainer asked me how many photos I’d gotten of her stretching the kids. I told her I never take pictures of the kids that are down but only of those kneeling and waiting. I think she was relieved. She laughed and told me that at one point she thought she was going to end up with all of them down cramping. It got so bad that even the Blackwell players were jumping in and stretching the Eden players that were down. The annoncer even thanked them.
The announcer did a great job. Early in the game one of the referees started to walk the ball off in the wrong direction and the crowd started fussing. The announcer came over the speakers loud and clear and told everyone to calm down that it’s the first game and it will be alright. This quickly changed the mood from frustration to laughter. So very true! It was the first game and we all needed the calming voice to let us know it’s ok if we mess up a bit. It is even hard for me to get back in the groove of being where I need to be to get the shots I want according to what is going on on the field.
Towards the end of the game Superintendent Gandy was down on the sidelines. I asked her if she was there to keep the field borders intact. She let me know that indeed she was there to keep the fans from gathering on the field. I know things are different this year and I’ll abide by and live with whatever restrictions we have to so we can keep getting to have our games and some sense of community while attending. No it’s not normal but it is what we have right now and I am thankful for it. I’d rather be wearing a mask and taking photos from a distance than sitting at home and missing out on Six-man football.
See you on the sidelines!
By Bobbie Brown
When I arrived in Guthrie, Texas, it was 109 degrees. It was around 5:00PM. Game time? 6:30! If you haven't attended a sporting event in Guthrie and gone to their concession stand, you are completely missing out! Just look at those nachos! Do you know many concession stands that make nachos like that? They are so good, Texas Country Reporter did a story on them (link at end). Another great thing about the host to White Deer and Strawn... everyone was incredibly nice and the field looked amazing! So green and pretty. I understand Coach Shipman carefully tends to the field. He does an outstanding job!
As most of you have heard, Guthrie lost a Jaguar last week. #56 Rue McNiel. Many teams have chosen to honor Rue this year by displaying his number on their helmets. Teams have also contributed to help Rue's family. White Deer and Strawn did the same. My heart breaks for the loss of Rue. Of any person. I hope that the 1A community remembering him this season helps if only a tiny bit.
Coach Shipman's green grass beckoned after conversing with the folks in the fabulous concession stand. The Bucks and the Greyhounds were warming up. It was game time.
The Bucks are big and fast. They bring back a whole slew of great players from last year. Hunter Warminski. Mason Mooney. William Sirmans. Graysen Freeman. Just to name a few. Several others caught my attention. Keep your eye on Kaydon Johnson and Karson Ketchum. Johnson is freaky fast! When the Bucks settle down and all get going in the same direction at the same time, WATCH OUT! I expect for that to happen way sooner than later.
Oh you greyhounds! You jump up and surprise me every year. I don't know why! Coach Lee churns out fundamentally sound players and cohesive teams year after year. Several players stood out. #2 Lorenzo Garcia has a low center of gravity and uses that to muscle his way past defenders. #3 Evan Williams looks unassuming. Always remember that looks are deceiving. He's quick and does an excellent job under center. I'd be remiss not to mention #55 Max Hopkins. Max blocked like it was the last block of his life. I noticed he focused in on his block and stayed with it - I finally got a good picture of his focus doing his job on the field. It literally looks like he's staring a hole in his opponent. Strawn is no joke. Greyhounds, keep it up. You'll get there quickly if you keep playing like that!
One thing is for certain about White Deer and Strawn. Both teams are extremely hard hitters. Helmets flew off, sweat sprayed, loud crashing sounds slammed into the sidelines and right into my ears. Many times during the game, I found myself cringing when a player ran into what seemed to be a brick wall. Some of the hits, I swear I felt! Week 1 and those hard hits? Sheesh! What will these two teams be like in the playoffs? Yep, guess I just let it leak... White Deer. Strawn. Playoffs. Pretty sure that's going to happen after watching both the Bucks and Greyhounds. Each team is chalk full of heart with a large helping of never give up. And they will hit and hit hard.
So until next week, go forward and do GOOD!
Guthrie Concession Stand featured on Texas Country Reporter
By Bobbie Brown
As I made my way through the cotton field backroads on the plains, I thought about both Southland and Cotton Center. Both schools are on the smallest end of the 1A spectrum, but both have a fighting spirit that has kept them alive in all types of 1A activities. And let’s face it, I was more than a little excited to be attending the first football game of the 2020 season. This one did not disappoint!
Some interesting things about my visit to Cotton Center… the ladies at the entrance were incredibly nice, and the wee Elk that handed me a program was smiling from ear to ear. I’m with ya, Bud. I was smiling, too! The field was ready. Nice, green grass. Fans were trickling in. Most pulled right up to the one-wire fence surrounding the field and were waiting in their cars for the action to start. The Eagles and Elks were warming up. There weren’t a lot of them and I was soon to find out, that doesn’t matter. Heart is what matters. And they all had it in spades.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the various pandemic-related instructions from the announcer. We were all instructed that no one would be allowed on the field after the game and once the game was complete, everyone should leave the property. You and I both know that going onto the field is a rite of passage for parents and fans. It’s just something we do and have always done. This might be one of the disappointments of this football season, but I have no doubt, fans and parents will be down on that field following a game in no time at all! I had to laugh throughout the game. The first game is a time to figure out what we’re doing and get back into the swing of things. The Cotton Center announcer made me laugh on several occasions. It seems he was figuring it out as well. Sometimes I didn’t hear him at all and his voice would break through the game sounds in mid-sentence. Dude… I feel ya. Keep plugging because you’re doing a really good job!
The Southland Eagles jumped out to a two touchdown lead early. The Cotton Center Elks never gave up. By half, the score was tied. The difference in this game came down to the last five minutes. The players were exhausted but found a way to dig down and continue to battle. Both sides… warriors and never gave up! I love seeing games like this. The back and forth and yells and grunts. For a first game in August, I was truly impressed! Sterling Berry and Zeke Saenz stood out for the Elks. CorDale Benham stood out for the Eagles.
In the fourth quarter, I had a great conversation with the Assistant Principal at Cotton Center, Allen Keys. The Elks were ahead and he was pumped! Going into this game, the Elks were 0-29. He desperately wanted a win for the team and school. As the final seconds ticked off and the Elk faithful let out a roar, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad that the fans and parents wouldn’t be able to celebrate this win on the field with the players after the game. Three years without a win, and they got it done!
I spent a moment talking to Coach Dusty Grantham, Eagles head coach. He’s doing a very good job at Southland! He has a whole slew of freshmen that are contributing. I will be seeing the Eagles again in a couple of weeks when they play at Whiteface homecoming. I’m eager to see how much they improve.
I don’t think I’ve been to a game where everyone was smiling the entire game. Everyone is so relieved that football is here and the games are going forward. It’s true what they say… there is nothing like football in Texas. I felt that in Cotton Center. I will feel it again each week in 2020. And I welcome it. The fans smiling. The crowd cheering. The player's excitement. I will take it all in and enjoy every second. I hope you all do the same. This is a small return to normalcy. And I love it!
Always remember… go forward and do GOOD!
By Johnna Reynolds
Picture it. Jaybird Stadium. It's a hot Thursday night; I'm about to photograph my first scrimmage of the year. As I drive up, I'm asked to give the Cliff Note version of my life in ten seconds or less. As I drive through the gate, I notice that there is a caution tape running down the middle of the stands on both the home side and the visitor side. That's interesting. Four schools, four areas for the fans to cheer on their teams. Together, yet apart.
Seriously, it was great getting to be out on the field once again. Even though I was a big sweat puddle! I knew I missed watching all the action unfold through my little camera lens, but I didn't know how much until that moment.
Although this season may look a little different, it's still going to be filled with the same picture perfect passes, awesome blocks, tackles, and terrific touchdowns. Every football Friday or Thursday is going to be so exciting! Who's going to make it to the big dance? I can't wait to find out! I'll be on the sidelines capturing each moment.
By Bobbie Brown
This time of year makes me incredibly happy. More so this year than any other! I pulled into Silverton and noticed right away two things: very green grass on the football field and a really nice concession stand. Although I was early, cars were steadily pulling into the stadium. I think we were all just a little excited to see Silverton, Crowell, and Springlake-Earth take the field to scrimmage. I couldn’t stop smiling!
I wandered out to the north end of the field to get ready for some good action shots. Silverton and Crowell were already warming up. Coach Parham on one end and first-year head coach, Mitchell Parsley, on the other end. Without much ado, they got right to it!
I got the chance to talk to Coach Parham for a short minute. I noticed two very tall players for the Owls. One is a 6’2 freshman and the other is a 6’4 sophomore. They also had a shorter player (number 8) who did really well running the ball for the Owls. I didn’t get his name, but you can bet I will the next time. He wore glasses beneath his helmet and never stopped. He was always moving. The Owls moved well together and focused on wrapping up on defense. They were really good about tightening around the defenders legs. That came as a surprise because I don’t normally see very good wrap ups in a scrimmage. That is usually perfected during the season – if at all! Silverton looks to be on the right track. They will face Groom, Hart, and newcomer Wildorado in Division II, District 2 this year. Although they are young, they worked well together.
The Crowell Wildcats are coached this year by outstanding alumnus Mitchell Parsley. He was all business! I did not get to talk to Coach Parsley, but there were several things I noticed about the Wildcats right away. They are big and they have some speed. Jamaal Lane returns for the Wildcats. He had some breakout runs into the end zone several times. Once he jukes and gets past defenders, it’s very hard to catch him. Harold Chapman also stood out. He rambled for a good number of yards. I have to mention Harold’s brother, Freddie. Sometimes I hear really funny things on the sidelines, and he was the subject of one such thing. Freddie plays on JV and got free for a long run into the end zone. As he was galloping down the field, I swear I heard someone yell, “Go get em, Cheeseburger!” As his run was the only thing happening at that time, I have to assume Freddie is Cheeseburger. I guess someone from Crowell will have to let me know on that one! Coach Parsley wasn’t the only one on the Crowell end of the field that was all business. His Wildcats were serious and focused during the scrimmage. You could tell they were listening to every word from the two coaches. The Wildcats also wrapped up nicely. I spotted the coaches actively showing the Wildcats this maneuver during the scrimmage. They took it to heart. Crowell is in a tough Division I district this year with Knox City, Spur, Northside, and Paducah. While they are a young team, I think they will make some noise if they stay focused. Crowell is on track to make a run in the coming years.
And now to the newcomers of six-man, the Springlake-Earth Wolverines. Coach Ethridge (Leakey) & Coach Baker (Baird) made the move to S-E. Two things are interesting about this team: Both took an 11-man Baird team and made them into a six-man team. And they are doing it again this year! Braxton Ethridge played on a Leakey team that went from 11-man to six-man his freshman year. Braxton is now a Wolverine and doing it again. On the way to Silverton, I thought about the excellent basketball season Springlake-Earth had two years ago. Two players on that team stood out. They were so athletic and just outstanding players! I really thought they were seniors. After a peek at the roster, I was shocked! Both were freshmen! I couldn’t help wondering if they would participate in football as they were both pretty fast and wiley on the court – sometimes that translates well to six-man football. Sometimes it doesn’t. Because I’m older and have a horrible time remembering names, I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of those two excellent players. I’m pretty sure I picked them out on the field – again, S-E fans will need to correct me if I’m wrong. Both stood out. Keshan Holmes and Wolverine #1 (yes, I need to get his name). For their first outing, the Wolverines did very well! They didn’t seem to have the growing pains of past newcomers I’ve watched right out of the gate. Ethridge definitely helped with that. He comes from excellent six-man lineage, and he is a definite leader on that team. The Wolverines will improve a lot under Deleon, Ethridge, and Baker and will face Kress, Lorenzo, Nazareth, and Petersburg in Division I District 2 this year. Just because they are new to six-man means absolutely nothing. If Keshan figures out how powerful he can be on a shorter field, it may be all over in District 2. Many very good players for the Wolverines this year. Watch out. They are coming!
Scrimmages provide a wonderful opportunity for everyone to get back in the swing of things before games officially start. It is no different for me and the rest of the Texas 1A Fan team. The time before games start gives me a chance to warm up the old camera and talk to coaches. I see now that I’m going to have to work on remembering names. We all have something to work on. Silverton, Crowell, and Springlake-Earth are definitely headed in the right direction. We all came away with things to work on before next week. Week 1. First game of 2020. I cannot wait as it is so awesome seeing kids playing the game they love. It oozed out of them during the scrimmage. And that is what it’s all about.
I’m ready for Week 1. Are you? While we’re all waiting impatiently, always remember… go forward and do GOOD!
By Dency McClure
I arrived in Perrin and found the school parking lot packed. Not only was this their first scrimmage, it also was meet the Pirates. Argh! By the way, they have an octopus flag in the pressbox with an eye patch. I only saw it from a distance but it looked really cool. What a fun mascot to have. Their mascot uniform is also amazing.
Once I got to the field, I started searching for Tammy Reynolds. She sends us fantastic photos of the kids to post on our Instagram. She is a great photographer and gets amazing volleyball photos. If you shoot sports, you know volleyball is one of the hardest to get good action photos of, and she nails it. I did find her! She is very down to earth and has a warm personality. I liked her instantly. We visited a bit and then got to work doing what we do... take pictures.
The festivities kicked off with a beautiful memorial tribute to Jo Brumfield. The class of 1984 presented a gorgeous wooden rocker with an engraving on the back to be placed in the school library in memory of her. I could quickly tell she had been a blessing to many students over the years and dearly loved.
The evening proceeded with the introduction of all the sports teams, players, coaches etc. It’s always nice to see everyone mentioned and honored as a new school year kicks off. It's a great time for the community to reunite and visit. I heard many conversations of people catching up on each other’s lives. With the spring break vacation blended into the summer one, many people hadn’t seen each other for months. It was good to see and hear the reunions.
While the festivities were finishing up I made my way over to the Forestburg coaches. I told them my photos from the evening would be on Texas 1A Fan Facebook page. I did not forget to talk up Gold-Burg to them for Coach Helms. In true form, I told them about his 20 big fast players. They responded that I needed to let Coach Helms know they had 21. We all laughed. As I walked away, I realized I had not formally introduced myself… Sometimes I just start talking and forget to do that. After sizing their team up, I’m not sure they had 21, but they couldn’t be out bragged. Gold-Burg definitely doesn’t have 20, but they will do just fine with their Swiss Army Seven.
There were so many referees in brand new stripes, it got a bit crazy. I sent a phone photo to some friends and asked them what do you call a cluster of seven or more referees? They responded with a herd. I was hoping for something a bit funnier but a herd it definitely was. It’s pretty normal to see lots of new refs at scrimmages. They have to get their training games in somehow. Just like the coaches and players are practicing at a scrimmage, so are the referees. The experienced ones are getting back in the swing of things and training the new ones. I myself am doing the same. Getting back in the photography mode and back on track for catching the best shots.
Both teams were doing well and looking very good for the first and only scrimmage of the season. The quarterback from Forestburg did catch my attention, though. I think I’d have to not even been there to have missed him. He definitely looks to be a player in Six-man that you would want on the line for your defense. So, I was a bit surprised to see him in the backfield throwing some sweet, steady passes almost as long as the field itself. The plus side to all that controlled power was that they had some boys that could receive those sweet passes.
I got a nice surprise visit from a young lady that used to play high school Six-Man football. She walked up to me and asked if I remembered her. I did and I called her by name. We chatted for a few minutes. I took lots of pictures of her when she played. There is one of her that I still treasure. I caught it before she got her helmet on. It showed her beauty and her strength. She is still a beautiful, strong young lady. Proud of her and glad that she took the time to greet me.
The sun got low enough I was able to get a few photos of the Forestburg sidelines before things wrapped up. I spied a photographer on their side as well. Schools with their own photographers are blessed. There are so many that just don’t have people capturing those moments for them. I’ve noticed over the years many come and go from the sidelines as their kids graduate and they move on to other things. If you have one for even a short time, be thankful and let them know they are appreciated. You will cherish the memories they captured for you for years to come.
See you on the sidelines!
By Jason Henderson
In keeping with my theme for the week of new coaches and schools, I visited with Coach Dodson and the Groom Tigers. The Tigers have a new school and a brand new state of the art football field that is worth the trip to see along with one of the great concession stands in the panhandle.
The Tigers, who had a great 2019 season, fell just short of a trip to AT&T Stadium after falling to Motley County last year in the State Quarterfinal Game. Coach Dodson is very excited for the upcoming season and said that he has at least four players who he can give the ball and expect big things. Two of those players he lost last year on back-to-back plays with torn ACL’s. He said in his long impressive coaching career that was the first time he had ever seen that happen.
Coach Dodson said they will start the year with 13 healthy players and in my opinion, a good chance to represent Division II in Dallas as I see the Tigers and Motley County Matadors as the two top teams in their tough region. Groom has been to the big game several times in the past, and with Coach Dodson and the Groom Tiger’s speed, they will be a key team to watch as the season goes on.
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