2022 Pre-Season: Lorenzo
It's Friday! And I headed to Lorenzo. There are just a few more Fridays until Week 1! There was no rain and no wind. Just a bright, sunny, hot, August day. I arrived and Coach Sep, the Hornets new coach, sent the managers to let me in through the weight room. And as I walked out to the field, Metallica was blasting through the speakers. Over the course of an hour, I heard some really great music and watched fundamental coaching at its finest!
Coach Brian Sepkowitz (or Coach Sep, as many cannot say his name correctly) is an intense dude with a lot of energy! The Hornets respond well to him as he is patient when showing how to block and how to get the most out of footwork.
Lorenzo returns some good players from last year's team and has a new addition. Keep an eye on Travon McCaslin, Lupe Salinas, and Chris Quintana. They will lead the Hornets through a tough District 3 when they face Anton, Springlake-Earth, Kress, and their neighbor, Petersburg. The Hornets are 14 strong this year with three seniors. They hope to hone their skills under Coach Sep's watchful eye and wreck some havoc in district race.
When it was time for me to go, the players took a water break. Each player introduced themselves to me and shook my hand. That has never happened, and I loved it! It's so nice to meet the players individually after watching them practice as a team. They were all smiles. We then got together for a group picture. Coach. Sep decided to give me a gatorade bath (it was water) to show their appreciation for Texas 1A Fan's support. THAT was the most refreshed I felt all day, and it definitely made me laugh! That was the first and will probably be the last time that happens. Gotta give it to them, though. That is a great sports way to show appreciation! I'm on board with it!
I like what is being built in Lorenzo. Team and family. If you have some free time, go out and catch a Hornet game this season. The Hornets deserve a really good fanbase.
Keep working, Hornets. You'll get there. Keep your eye on the prize!
Go Forward and Do Good!
- Bobbie Brown
Today's quest... get down Highway 87 south to O'Donnell. It wasn't very easy as storms were building. Yes, that is a very good thing! But some fields have not been plowed in a long while. At one point, I couldn't see one foot past the front of my pick-up and was crawling along at about 30mph. And it was still 103 degrees. I can only imagine that it felt like a very large blow dryer outside! It rained a bit outside of Tahoka. It was just enough to dot my pick-up with red blobs of dirt. In no way am I complaining. That stuff will wash off, and we desperately need the rain.
I finally pulled into O'Donnell. The Screamin' Eagles were already hard at work on a beautiful field of green grass. I could get used to this! There were a lot of bodies on that field. Coach Baeza has 29 players out this year. And they were all working hard. My favorite comment heard during practice was, "Hustle! You don't walk on this field!" That is a great mindset. Hustle was definitely the word of the day.
In 2021, Gage Garces earned All-Region Honorable Mention for the Screamin' Eagles. You probably recognize that last name. It seems there has been a Garces on the O'Donnell field for as long as I can remember, and they are all very hard workers and great players.
Eight seniors are poised to take a leadership role. Borden County moves out of their district, but Coach Baeza isn't overlooking Whiteface and Meadow. Last year the Eagles fell to Borden County as the final seconds ticked away and then went down to Meadow. The Broncos dashed their playoffs hopes in 2021, but a hunger has built over the past eight months, and the Screamin' Eagles are working hard to get to the playoffs.
Players to watch include the Gage Garces, the Bundy twins, Nick Rios, and Omar Vela. Coach Baeza is really looking to his "coach on the field," Shooter Vela. Now that is an incredibly cool name! Coach Baeza's twin boys are sophomores this year.
Speaking of twins, one of my favorite ADs, Blake Nichols, let me in on a little secret as I sat in his golf cart at the edge of the field. O'Donnell has four sets of twins. Three sets of twins are players and the fourth set includes a boy and girl. The boy plays football and the girl is a team manager. So, if your team is playing O'Donnell, you might find yourself seeing double. A lot.
Thank you, Coach Baeza and Coach Nichols for having me today. It's always a pleasure visiting O'Donnell! And to the players, keep up the hard work. It will pay off! And don't ever forget, Go Forward and Do GOOD!
- Bobbie Brown
2022 Pre-Season: Meadow Broncos
It has been a while since I've written about my Texas 1A Fan travels to six-man towns. While these short articles may not be a popular read, I feel the need to write about my time with six-man kids and coaches. Because they really are the best and this helps me remember them!
Late this afternoon, I headed down the Brownfield highway toward Meadow. The temperature reading on my pick-up shouted 104 degrees at me, but there were some Broncos needing attention. For those of you not from the West Texas and lower panhandle area, Meadow sits about 27 miles southwest of Lubbock along highway 62/82.
I arrived in the land of the purple and gold and made my way behind the school. While front and back yards all over this flat part of the world are crunchy and dead, the grass on the Meadow game and practice fields was a beautiful green. It was more green grass than I've seen in many months.
Coach Joshua Conner saw me walking to the practice field and greeted me with a smile. This is Coach Conner's third year at Meadow, and he's definitely building a good program! Last year when I covered Meadow, I was pleasantly surprised by the heart each player showed throughout the game. Yes, that is what often gets me. You can see it ooze from a player. Grit, heart, and the persistence to keep going. It's all in the body language and it yells loud and clear. A perfect example was evident in the Broncos blood, sweat, and tears battle with Whiteface in district play. They got the win by one point, 73-72. That win sealed their path to the playoffs. They ultimately lost to Spur in the Bi-District round, but it definitely left them hungry for more. And more is coming in 2022.
This year will see the Broncos in District 5 in Region II, Division I. Fifteen Broncos will take the field in game one against the Baird Bears at home on August 26th. They have several returning starters who earned All-Region honors in 2021 including Paul Franco, Jimmy German, and Caleb Sanchez. Keep your eye on the purple and gold this year. Meadow will surprise some folks.
Thank you, Coach Conner, for being so gracious and giving me the opportunity to join in practice today. Although it was 104 degrees with no wind, watching plays and observing how your team interacts during practice was a pleasure! It really did make me forget about the heat... mostly! Oh and that green grass at Meadow? Coach Conner gave a big shoutout to the maintenance guys. You guys rock! Keep up the good work!
Good luck, Broncos, and remember, go Forward and Do GOOD!
-Bobbie Brown, Texas 1A Fan
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