By Bobbie Brown
It was a slobber knocker. Snot flew. Blood was drawn.
McLean and White Deer. District foes. They know everything about each other and brought it all to the field in Amarillo for the State Quarterfinal game.
I’ve watched these two teams several times this year. It is always a great battle. The Tigers and the Bucks bring everything they’ve got to this match up. You can look into the eyes of every single player and see the steely reserve; the “I’m going to give it absolutely everything I have,” and maybe a little, “You’re going down.” Anyone in the stadium when these two teams meet can feel the intensity radiating from the field as warmups begin.
Last night was no different. Both towns turned out in force filling the stands. The cheerleaders yelled, the horns blew, and every eye was focused on the field. It is a great rivalry and the players did not disappoint. Both teams remained scoreless through the first quarter. McLean finally found some footing and proved more than the Bucks could handle. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again; the score was not indicative of the great effort on the field. It is always a great experience to watch two teams of this caliber compete.
To the White Deer Bucks… you truly gave everything you had. Hold your heads high. You are great competitors! I expect to see you right back in the playoff hunt next year. I have really enjoyed watching you grow as a team this year. Keep up the hard work in the off season and please keep that determination I see in each of you.
To the McLean Tigers… you are battle-tested and ready to prove yourselves. You truly play as a cohesive unit. A team always together. I’ve watched you get better and better yet remain humble. Keep your laser focus. You have battles yet to win.
The season isn’t over, yet. I am extremely grateful to have covered as many teams as we have this football season. I’ve enjoyed watching every single team. Now there are only two games left until State Champions are crowned. I know I sound like a broken record but go see a game. You will see fierce competitors giving everything they have to play the game they love so much.
Until next week, go forward and do GOOD!
By Johnna Reynolds
Playoff season is finally here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I look forward to this time of year. To me this is a cheerleaders dream. The fans are crazy with spirit. They are willing to pull out all the stops to show support of their team. The team is insane with excitement and anticipation of the upcoming game.
The playoffs mean it’s time to bring out those homemade noise makers. The bigger the better, the louder the better! It’s a time for spirit signs all up and down the fence line. It’s a time when the kids that don’t play the game, paint their faces. It’s a time when moms and dads do crazy things showing their pride for their kids. There is so much excitement in the air it’s contagious!
For the boys of fall, it’s every game giving it all you’ve got. It’s laying it on the line every single down. Not letting up for one second. For, that one second could cost you everything. It’s playing the game like it could be your last. It’s chasing and catching that gold ball!
I hope during this playoff season, I see lots of noise makers, spirit signs, painted faces and whatever else you can imagine. It’s that time to show you’re cheering on your team!
Years ago, my dad started a little cheer. I’m sure this came after one of his motivational speeches; however, I can still hear him during a pep rally asking (in his loud booming voice) the football boys, cheerleaders, students and fans, “How ya gonna do it?” Everyone would shout “Just like THAT!” So after every touch down, someone in the stands would shout, “How ya gonna do it?” The fans always enthusiastically shout, “Just like THAT!”
How are you going to show your spirit during the playoffs?
By Johnna Reynolds
I made it to my last regular season game Friday night in Petersburg. I have seen almost all the elements this season, with the exception of snow and ice! I am sure that is probably a possibility. Game time 7:30, outside temperature a very chilly 39 degrees. I am all decked out in long johns, ski jacket, ski gloves, and anything else warm I can find.
I always introduce myself to both squads of cheerleaders before each game. It thrills my soul when they already know who I am and what I'm doing! So, I tell the Naz cheerleaders I'm looking for the best cheer squad. One of the members of the group told me without holding anything back, she proudly announced, it was them! I just loved their enthusiasm! Sweet group of girls!
As I'm freezing to death, or I think I am, the Nazareth cheerleaders are leading their team to a victory. They must make them tough as nails up there. Most of the squad didn't even have leggings or wind pants on...bear legs until halftime! BRRRRRR! These girls worked hard the whole game. Cheering, chanting, and doing stunts the whole time. Each girl had a smile on their face. It showed they really enjoyed what they were doing!
The Petersburg cheerleaders were super sweet. They has some great stunts as well. Stunts just add so much entertainment to the sidelines. I really appreciate the stunt work these two squads did. It takes lots of practice to hit it every time! The Bulldog cheerleaders truly enjoy what they do; you can tell by the smiles.
It's been a great season. I have enjoyed getting to meet all these girls and their sponsors. It is obvious these fine young ladies work hard and they love what they do. I am looking forward to the playoff season. I know it will be very exciting for the players, the fans, and most of all, the cheerleaders!
Friends we are and friends we'll always be. Together we will cheer so faithfully. Cheerleaders will always be, 'til we meet again!
By Dency McClure
It’s not much of a drive for us to get to Blackwell so when we heard there would be a game there on a Thursday night, we made it happen. We arrived to a damp and cloudy evening full of wind and mist. This kind of weather seems to be the norm this football season. Rain boots have been the normal attire for most games.
I waved at some people I know and got some odd looks and then some slow smiles of recognition. Something about wearing extra layers and a toboggan made me harder to recognize. Plus, I didn’t have a bright Texas 1A Fan shirt visible under all my added layers for warmth.
Lots of media members were out for the game. I think it being a Thursday game and not too far away from bigger towns made for lots of outlets to take advantage of the chance to cover an extra game. I always enjoy seeing familiar faces on the sidelines. I try not to visit too much so we can stay focused on the task of covering the game, but sometimes I get distracted in conversation. Can’t imagine that right?
You have to double appreciate schools that have heated and air conditioned bathrooms. Yes, I’m going to mention bathrooms in this article. Nothing like a warm burst of air on a cold night when nature calls. I have a mental list of all the schools that have this amazing feature. So, when it’s 105 outside and someone ask if I want to cover a certain school I search my mental list. All bathroom comfort aside, it really doesn’t matter when picking a school to cover but it is a nicety.
One of the chain gang graduated from Blackwell last year. I was almost positive I had caught photos of him making a touchdown in a playoff game. He was one of what I call the line guys, and it wasn’t the norm for him to be a ball carrier, so I remembered it well. Plus, his mom was taking pictures right next to me and was ecstatic. When I questioned him, he told me that I had indeed caught him on film. He then went on to tell me that he wasn’t sure about the validity of the touchdown as my photo showed his knee was down. Oh my! A photo is worth a lot but a ref call is worth more. The ball could have crossed the line before his knee went down. I told him the game and rulings are over when my photos are posted so it was indeed a touchdown.
Loraine came to play. I covered them week one and I must say they are a different team with a season under their belts. Their defense was intense and play after play, they held Blackwell. The scoreboard definitely did not reflect their defensive skills except that they kept Blackwell from running up a large score before half. They had many sweet passes that came very close to completion. All in all, I was impressed and can’t wait to see what the future brings for them.
Blackwell has their Thing Two and Thing Three as I call them... better known as Brinkman and Lowry. They are two little guys that hustle. I actually requested that Means change number 3 to 1 last year. He asked me why and I told him that way they could be Thing One and Thing Two. He chuckled, I’m guessing he hadn’t thought of them like that before. The entire Blackwell team is a well oiled machine and they make winning happen game after game.
I missed halftime fun for a run to the truck for the extra layer of warmth. You know it’s chilly when I pull out the hunting camo. That was the little extra warmth I needed to finish the game out in comfort.
It was a great evening in Blackwell, as usual. The concession stand shining like a beacon in the night selling amazing food with excellent service. Friendly fans helping me find the warmest place to stand before the activities got under way. Friendly coaches always making us chuckle and a great sideline crew. It was nice to see the town celebrate together on the field after the game.
See you on the sidelines!
By Dency McClure
We have driven through Evant many times but never covered a game there. It was exciting getting to go to a new place. Small towns and schools are similar in many ways, but they all have their own unique traditions and culture. Evant did not fail to impress on the unique level.
As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by the field dog. A very happy, healthy puppy full of love. I was told by the coaches that I was in for it now because I had shown him attention and petted him. They told me I’d have a hard time getting him to stop following me. They also told me he practices with the team and often rolls around on the freshly painted field lines. I had to chuckle a bit, but in all seriousness I can see some of the issues he could cause. Everyone seems to know the friendly field dog, and he never set foot on the field once the game started. All the fans kept him happy and away from the active game.
We had a nice visit with the coaches from both teams, and then I found my way to the concession stand. I enjoyed standing in the smoke of the hamburger grill and visiting with the ladies cooking. There is nothing quite like the smell of burgers cooking on an open grill.
Goats and a rooster made for the perfect background music while at the beautiful stadium on the edge of town. I noticed some of the kids on the visitor side playing along the fence with the goats. I have to admit, I took a few pictures of the beautiful goats by the entrance to the stadium. I wasn’t all that interested in the goats, sheep, and pigs until my daughter started showing pigs. Something about spending long days in show barns and seeing the love the kids and animals have for each other changes your entire perspective. Almost enough to deal with the smell. Notice I said “almost.”
I was eyeing the stadium when I spied a cannon by the flagpole and thought to myself that will make a cool photo. Once I got close to the cannon and realized there was protective ear wear on it I got super excited. They were going to fire this thing!!!! What? No way! I’ve seen all kinds of horns and bells but NEVER a cannon at a game. Once I saw Shane Belanger over by the cannon, I was there. I asked him all kinds of questions and of course one of them was asking if he would do an interview. He was very nice and answered all my questions and did an interview on video telling everyone all about the Evant cannon from how it came to be to how to fire it. I love they have a Cannon Crew made up of students Buddy Lewis and Brandon Quave.
I did my normal photos of the run through and found yet another unique point of interest. One of the Evant tunnel sponsors was the United Methodist Church. Often times businesses sponsor items, but I was impressed to see a church sponsorship.
As the game was about to get under way, the Evant Cheerleaders gave me a big ribbon to wear. I haven’t worn a football ribbon in a very long time. It was a nice surprise and fun to wear. I also scored a photo with the Lometa Hornet! Bobbie and I both enjoy the mascots and getting our photo with them.
Some of the cheer squad from Evant were missing as they had already left to prepare to participate in the state cross country competition which would be taking place in the morning. The Lometa quarterback and kicker who played in the game also competed at state cross country. I love that 1A kids are able to participate and enjoy so many different activities and sports.
As the game got under way, I quickly realized how entertaining the Evant announcer can be. He kept us all in stitches most of the game. He mentioned to look out for the extension cord they had run to the press box for a ladies’ electric blanket. He also mentioned that the deer hunting in the area near the football field might not be too good after the cannon fired several times. There are too many great ones to mention here you will just have to attend a game he is announcing at to get the full show.
The refs were like none I had seen before. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that much yellow laundry hit the grass in one game. The coaches on both teams were asking for explanations on calls all night. Many questions went unanswered and one call was on the ball carrier for holding in the back. I think we were all a bit lost and confused, but the game went on.
The cannon fired with every Evant touchdown and extra points scored. I can now add the sound, smell, and vision of the cannon firing to my repertoire of football game memories. Lots of my photos will have hamburger grill and cannon smoke in them. I’ll let you decide which it is and if you become hungry or nostalgic when looking through them.
See you on the sidelines!
By Bobbie Brown
Here we are… at the end of week 10. It’s gone by fast, folks! The Aspermont Hornets blew into Ira to face the Bulldogs with a District Championship on the line. We arrived early to a slight breeze and warmish temperatures. Fans were already piling into the stadium. The gate keepers were set up in front of the home stands and a line was forming. The sweetest ladies sat at the table! I stopped and had a short conversation with them. Later when the temps dipped, I checked on them. We all agreed it was cold and time to find somewhere with a heater. Really enjoyed speaking with them!
I always have such a good time in Ira. Everyone is so nice and welcoming! Shoutout to the Ira photographer, Summer McCowen! It was a pleasure sharing the sideline with you! And your pictures are always great!
I’ve written about the fence that runs along the concession in a past article but find I need to mention it again. They have a really nice shelf on the top where fans may rest their elbows or their food. Genius! And of course, it is painted orange. Thank you to the concession stand workers! Service is always given with a smile. And they let this absent-minded photographer plug in her camera battery during halftime as it was dying a quick death!
This game was slated to be a battle, and that’s exactly what it was! Bulldogs and Hornets taking it straight at each other. Each game this season, I’ve seen excellent effort and great attitudes from so many players. The players in this game were no different. It was a fairly clean game, and the Bulldogs came out on top when the final seconds ticked off. I can normally block out the roar of the crowd, but this game was a little different. Both sets of stands were loud and would not be ignored. I also talked to a few coaches who traveled to Ira as they wrapped up week 10 by playing on Thursday night.
For those of you who listened to the broadcast, I have to apologize a bit as something was going on with the service, and we kept getting kicked off. We weren’t the only broadcast having issues. Just know we strive to broadcast cleanly, but sometimes, that just doesn’t happen.
It’s the time of the season where playoff discussions have ramped up in earnest. Brackets are being drawn up and studied. The question… who will remain in the hunt for the trophy in December? So… who will it be? Get out there and watch a game or two or three! Remember to pack a bag of warm gear as November nights can be brutal. We have one more week of regular season left and then it’s ON! Contribute as a loud fan!
And always remember, go forward and do GOOD!
By Johnna Reynolds
Oh, what a night we had in McLean! I have never been to a football game where some of the fans were...cows! I guarantee they were mooing for their team! Both stands were filled with cheering, screaming fans,(the two-legged kind). There was standing room only for this battle on the field. I don’t believe I’ve seen that many people at a regular season game in a very long time! The excitement in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife!
The White Deer cheer sponsor had invited me to see her squad in action. She told me they were hard working. Boy, she was right! Eight girls make up this team, plus a fantastic mascot! All eight cheered the entire time. There was only about five seconds between each chant or cheer (yes, I counted!). Their enthusiasm for their team was contagious.
I looked in the stands for the student section to no avail. They were standing right in front of the stands, fully equipped with all sorts of noise makers. If they weren’t in the band, they were in this group cheering loudly! I loved it!
The McLean cheerleaders were decked out for their Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Out. They were “tutu” cute! Yep, they had little pink and white tutus. They entertained us with a dance during halftime. Great job ladies! It takes lots of time to get that perfect.
It was a great night of football and cheerleaders. When the final buzzer buzzed, a firework show began. Now folks, that is how you end a fierce battle! It was incredible!
The people from McLean were some of the sweetest and kindest I have met so far. Thank you for having us! To both teams, good luck with the remainder of your season. I bet we see both of you in the playoffs!
Friends we are and friends we’ll always be together we will cheer so faithfully. Cheerleaders we’ll always be ‘till we meet again!
By Bobbie Brown
I’ve been to McLean a few times. It’s really not hard from where I live. Go straight north for 2 ½ hours with a little jog to the east and you’re there! We arrived early, and people were already parked around the field. White Deer was working through warmups. Before the game, I always like to find the people I know and have a chat. I found White Deer coaches, Justin Rucker and Dylan Cox. They were ready for the game and already focused on the task ahead. I also went in search of Mr. Jason Henderson. He’s a Tiger fan extraordinaire and keeps me updated on McLean and other Panhandle teams during the season. He’s officially reached Texas 1A Fan awesome helper status! I rounded out pre-game by briefly exchanging a good luck with Coach Linman. Great person and coach!
What an atmosphere in McLean for their district matchup with White Deer. As the clock ticked down to game time, the stadium filled up. The concession stand was serving many fans, and a table off to the side was selling black and gold caramel popcorn. During game preliminaries, I looked around and there were people around the entire perimeter of the field, leaning on the fence line. The stands were full. The atmosphere was electric as everyone waited for kickoff in heightened anticipation. And they were noisy! Everyone was clapping and cheering. Made me wonder what it would be like during the game!
And boy, what a game! It was everything we imagined it would be. Great defense. Offensive plays that kept each team on their toes. Grunts, sweat flying, pads cracking. It was INTENSE. The entire game. I normally don’t describe games like this, but each Buck and Tiger was out for blood. Nostrils flared. Hands clenched tightly. Every. Single. Play. It was one of the most intense games I’ve attended. And you know the best part? Although they were passionate about every play, they helped each other up off the field, and after the game, shook hands and talked to each other while smiling. All were exceptional warriors and showed each other great respect. That’s just something you witness that hits you right in the gut. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
As I watched the post-game activities, which included fireworks (and they were pretty awesome), I thought about the next few weeks for these two teams. The playoffs are right around the corner. I can’t believe we have completed nine weeks of the 2018 football season! I fully expect to see these warriors meet again in the Regional Championship. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that game will be as intense, if not more. Although I have no idea how that could possibly be after watching four quarters last night with the Bucks and the Tigers going at it.
Thank you to McLean for your outstanding hospitality. We hope to return in the future. You all read that part about completing week nine, right? If you haven’t been to a Six-man game, get your gear, choose a game, and GO. It’s exciting, gets your heart pumping, and you might just witness an impressive showing of talent, respect, and intensity. Until then, Go forward and do GOOD!
By Dency McClure
We arrived in Sierra Blanca right as school was letting out. Kids and parents everywhere. I always enjoy the school craziness at the end of the school day. We drove completely around the school and parked close to the home bleachers.
The first person we met was Elvis Bustamante, and she told us she has been faithfully running chains there for 27 years. Found out later when I met her husband, Hawk, that they have been running chains together on the sidelines those 27 years. I love learning these amazing kinds of things. I asked later if they were school employees and was told they were faithful members of the community and not paid employees. When a school has a couple like this faithfully running chains for almost three decades, they are blessed with love and commitment. The other member of the chain gang has been helping out for three years. In Sierra Blanca, there is no last minute scrambling to find a chain crew.
We got there early enough to catch the coaches for quick visits while the jr high boys were warming up. Not sure warming up is the right term as it was in the forties, the wind was blowing and there was a dampness in the air. Everyone was pulling out the winter wear that had long been tucked away. Having to re-adapt to taking photos with all the extra layers of gloves, hoodie, etc takes some getting used to, but it is always worth it to share the field with the greatest players on earth; Texas Six-man players.
Michael and I rarely get to just enjoy watching a game anymore so it was great fun to watch the jr high play. Little #13 on the Sierra Blanca sidelines stole my heart. I asked some of the high school boys that were in the press box running the clock and things what grade he was in and they told me sixth. Miguel Pantoja chuckled that his thigh pads had become knee pads. He was truly swallowed by his uniform, but I bet he was warmer because of it.
We had a fun time visiting with the group of high school boys in the press box during the jr high game. Michael helped them with a few questions about when to stop and start the clock, and he jumped in to run it when they had to go get suited out for their own game. They asked us all kinds of questions about who we had covered and what we thought about some teams. They asked about Strawn, Garden City, White Deer, and a few others.
During the varsity games, the Sheriff does the announcing and the Superintendent’s husband runs the clock. Michael told me he had a great time with these two gentlemen during the game. They told him after the game that if he comes back, they might put a door on the press box. The Sheriff teased over the intercom, during the game, that they shouldn’t have let the kids take the press box door for the bonfire. Not sure what the real story is on the press box door, but it made for some great conversation and laughs.
I have to tell you, I’ve been yes ma'am addressed from an early age because of where I’m from, but I have to say, I was paid that honor more in Sierra Blanca than anywhere I have ever been. It wasn’t a thought or an add on, it was a speech pattern. Full respect and kindness from all ages.
I ran into Opie Stewart in the parking lot, a working cowboy for hire, and a junior at Sierra Blanca. He apologized for not tipping his hat when he first greeted me, but his hands were a bit full. He told me he works on lots of different ranches in the area building fences or whatever work is needed to keep a ranch running. He doesn’t personally play sports, but he enjoys coming to the games and supporting his team.
Lots of sounds on the sidelines during the game. There were no bells or air horns but lots of fans were at the ready with their car horns. Every Sierra Blanca touchdown brought on lots of honking horns of excitement. The train tracks aren’t far from the school and all kinds of trains rushed by throughout the game. I lost count after five, so that tells you the trains were whizzing by regularly. Sideline coaches were hanging on the fences on both sides of the field. Both sets of cheerleaders were cheering at the field. The Sanderson cheer sponsor was leading their squad up and down the field, the entire game, making sure they kept the chants going to pump up the boys.
I saw a compassion I have never seen before at this game. During the halftime student night ceremony, one player was obviously stuck with grief when his name was called. The entire team left their spots on the field, ran to him and circled him. A few lingered with him after giving hugs and support. I saw this same kind of compassion after the game as well. It’s normal to see the good game handshake and shoulder slap and sometimes short conversations between teams after a game, but this went beyond that. One player from the Sanderson team stayed to the side and kneeled down on the field. A Sierra Blanca player saw him and ran over to him and kneeled with him and put his hand on his back. The two shared a moment in time before some Sanderson players joined them. The after game conversations between the two teams lasted longer than what I’m used to, and the hugs were more frequent. It was like these kids all new each other well and were childhood friends. For such a close close game, I was honored to see this kind of relationship among all the players.
See you on the sidelines!
By Johnna Reynolds
This week I had to privilege to go to the Orange Bowl in Ira. Just my term for both teams being orange. ! Rotan was the visiting team.
I have to mention the Rotan cheerleaders have really impressed me. Upon visiting with their sponsor, I found out two of them are on the endangered list, again, my term for meaning they are injured. Yes, my friends, cheerleading is a sport! If you don’t stretch and warm up those muscles, you can get hurt. Even though they are hurt, it did not keep them from showing their Hammer spirit! These girls are loud and proud! They keep a smile on their faces and they cheer the whole game. You know, it’s tough yelling for your team when they are down a few points. Not for these girls or the fans. They cheer proudly for their boys of fall! I love it!
The Ira cheerleaders did a super job. They have a couple of girls that can tumble. That’s always a plus. It adds to the excitement of a touchdown or running the boys on the field.
They also did a stunt during regulation play. I can appreciate a good stunt! That takes practice and lots of trust! Just ask the flier! She’s the one on top.
This is Breast Cancer Awareness month, these girls were sporting their pink T’s and their pink poms. Along with that, after yelling two bits, four bits...stand up and hollar, they threw shirts in the stands tied with Breast Cancer awareness ribbons. I tied to get a shirt. I came up short; however, after the game, one was hand delivered! A very sweet gesture by the Ira cheerleaders! Thank you guys so much!
Here’s my reminder to all you fans. It’s so easy to cheer for your team when your winning. What’s difficult is when your behind. Those players need to hear you. So support those cheerleaders whether you’re on the winning side or just a tad behind. I know they would appreciate you!
Friends we are and friends we’ll always be; together we will cheer so faithfully. Cheerleaders we’ll always be til we meet again.
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