By Bobbie Brown
What a beautiful day it was for football! My dad and I headed to Knox City to watch their game against Bryson. We arrived early enough to stop at Bud’s Café to have a little dinner. I’ve always wanted to try Bud’s, but I normally don’t stop in until after a game. It’s always been too late. Not today! Buds was full, but we found a seat by the entrance. It was steak and fried catfish night. Of course, we had the catfish! It was pretty fabulous. With our bellies full, we finally made our way to the field.
I got my dad set up on the side of the track in his chair and wandered off to find the coaches. I saw Coach Callaway of Knox City and headed in his direction. We had a great conversation about the game against Aspermont the week before. It seems most people in this part of the country played in Hurricane-like conditions with high winds and heavy rain blowing sideways. Four quarters in that type of environment can wear a person down. Last week was Knox City’s homecoming, but because of the less-than-ideal weather, the homecoming festivities would be finished this week. Coach assured me the Greyhounds were ready for the Cowboys tonight.
I found Coach Briles coming across the field headed to the dressing room. I introduced myself and exchanged a few words. This was my first time meeting him. Nice guy! The Cowboys looked ready to take the field.
The game was a good one. The most interesting thing happened a few minutes into the third quarter. The scoreboard decided it had enough and went totally blank. Knox City sent a few guys out to try and fix it. They carried the stand for the drum major out to the scoreboard and proceeded to work diligently. Meanwhile, the refs kept time on the field. That was the longest quarter in the history of Six-man football. Or maybe it just felt that way because I couldn’t see the time. Bryson played an outstanding third quarter and was only bested by the Greyhounds by two points. The scoreboard never did come back on, but it did begin flickering midway through the fourth quarter. By that time, the Greyhounds had a big lead and ended the game before the quarter expired. Kudos to those who worked so hard trying to bring the scoreboard back to life. It was a valiant effort!
I had a great time in Knox City. The people are so gracious and kind. I was met with many smiles. And when I went to get a drink at the concession stand, it was very cold – I really like that! I enjoyed the Homecoming festivities at halftime. They don’t just crown one winner, they crown many for different things. I can’t even begin to list this all because I’ll surely get one wrong. Shoutout to Glen Hill, principal at Knox City. You have some great fans and kids and it was really great talking to you!
In a few weeks, we will visit Bryson for a game being hosted there. While I didn’t get to talk to them much, I expect to search out Coach Briles for a good conversation soon. And Bryson, love the girls with the flags! And the cheerleaders wore huge smiles. Hopefully, I will see you all again soon.
If you’re ever in Knox City on a Friday, stop at Bud’s for the Catfish special. It’s really good stuff! Until next week (can you believe we’re already going into Week 6!!!), go forward and do GOOD!
By Bobbie Brown
You know when your kid plays on the team, and you get all excited about each game? And when the game is going on, you feel highly emotional about most plays because your awesome kid is playing in it. I don’t have a kid playing anymore, but I still feel those feelings on occasion when I attend a game. I know that sounds a bit strange. Let me explain…
The White Deer/Borden County matchup was a little personal. I grew up with the coaches from Borden County. They are like my brothers. Anyone who grew up in Jayton during that time period feels the same way I do. It’s hard to explain. We are all a big family. Still. And always. I know them as wonderful people, and I know how they coach. And then on the other side there are two coaches from White Deer that coached my child. My son wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it says a lot that my son still really loves them because they were and are great coaches. And let’s face it… My son and I both really like the White Deer coaches as human beings. They are good people.
As unbiased as I am (I have lots of practice because of Little League – that’s a whole other story), I find myself in the situation of telling the story of a game through pictures. Last night’s game was a hard story to tell. I can tell you I felt an upset coming deep in my gut. And that’s exactly what happened. While I was incredibly happy for Rucker and the White Deer Bucks, I found myself feeling very sad for the Borden County Coyotes. I have favorite coaches because I have known them for a long time or because I’ve met them and know them to be awesome people. I do have my favorites. I’m human.
And that’s the way it is for players, too. While I know a lot about blocking, tackling, and offensive plays, I’m still a female (if that’s what you want to blame it on lol). I watch players. I can tell a lot by not just how they play on the field but how they interact with coaches and fans. And that’s interaction when they win or when they lose. Each team I cover I find has several players that have larger than life personalities. I also pay attention to those who are quiet leaders. The serious players with laser-sharp focus. When I see these players several times, I find I really want them to do well. I guess you can call that favoritism, but I just call it a part of the game because I watch several players from every team I cover. It’s hard not having a “team” to root for, but I have found that all different kinds of teams are my team. I see you all that way. My 1A team.
Last night’s Coyotes vs Bucks was incredible for three complete quarters. The fourth quarter saw a White Deer team that gathered steam and just stuck it to the Coyotes. The coyotes are pretty banged up. It’s hard to have team consistency week in and week out when players are missing because of injuries. I hate it when players are injured. As I know each of you out there do. That is not to take away from the Bucks. They played from the very first whistle to the very last like their hair was on fire! Each quarter they improved. The Coyotes just couldn’t play themselves out of the hole at the end. It was a great game!
Ok folks of 1A… I’ll be out there watching and rooting for teams and players alike. I’m watching those I know and looking for new players I haven’t seen before. And if you see me, strike a pose! I love taking pictures of fans! Until the next go ‘round, Go forward and do GOOD!
By Johnna Reynolds
Spirit, lets hear it! I need to apologize, I didn’t make it to a ballgame this week. Eight weeks ago, I made an appointment for my daughter and I to get our hair done. You know, you’ve just gotta take care of your hair! I didn’t know I was going to have the privilege of meeting all these fabulous cheerleaders and their sponsors! I’ll try to make it up in the coming weeks.
We did get the opportunity to surprise one of our sweet little friends who plays Jr High football. Let me tell you what I learned just from watching the players, the cheerleaders, and the fans.
First of all, the players. They were so excited to get the chance to play. Each down, both teams gave it their all. However, one team prevailed. Although, the team with fewer points never gave up! That says so much for their character. I was impressed. Even though they have so much more to learn, both teams did so well.
Next, my favorite! The reason for football! The cheerleaders. They were the cutest! Their team may not have racked up the most touchdowns, they didn’t mind! They never stopped cheering and chanting for their team! They kept a smile on their faces. You knew they were there to root for their team. Plus, they were having fun!
Next the fans! The stands were full of proud mom’s, dad’s, grandparents as well as brothers and sisters. They proudly cheered with the cheerleaders and rooted for the football team! They stood and yelled with the cheerleaders and yelled for their team! It was great! I loved the enthusiasm! It didn’t matter to them what the score board said. They were proud of their kids.
This showed me, we should all be proud of our teams and cheerleaders. They have learned so much since the very first time they set foot on that field. Even in Jr High, the kids work hard every day to do the best they can do. Even if the score board doesn’t reflect the score we would like to see, they did their best and had a great time doing it. Fans in the stands, stand up and be proud for your team! They need to hear you. I know the cheerleaders would appreciate you! Be an athletic and cheer supporter!
Friends we are and friends we’ll always be. Together we will cheer so faithfully. Cheerleaders will always be, till we meet again.
By Bobbie Brown
Another awesome Friday night has come and gone! I wait impatiently all week for Friday night to arrive. It is especially nice when I can attend games on Thursday and Saturday, too. This past week I visited the town of Matador, Texas. Home of the Mighty Motley County Matadors. The Spur Bulldogs came to town and a battle ensued. These two teams have played against each other in football since 1924. Yes, you read that correctly. 1924. Both 11-man and Sixman games. That's a long history, folks!
Before I talk about the teams, I need to mention the awesome hospitality in Matador. From the friendly gentlemen at the entrance to the ladies and students in the concession stand, everyone was pleasant and smiling and made everyone feel welcome! I had a big bowl of really great nachos. I gauge the concession stand by how many jalapenos they put on my nachos when I say, “I want a lot!” To my surprise, they let me sprinkle my nachos with jalapenos on my own. I got plenty. Maybe just a bit more than plenty. That is the way to do it!
The sun was doing the trick it does this time of year. It peeks out from behind a few clouds as it heads downward. Just before it sinks below the horizon, the light is spectacular! That lighting is really awesome for taking pictures, especially when the players are running in my direction at 9-0. It is especially great for catching facial expressions behind the face mask. Those are hard to get once darkness falls.
The Spur Bulldogs are now healthy and came out with a BANG! They were firing on all cylinders early in the game and continued through to the end. The Bulldogs are finally playing as a team. One unit. I’ve known for several years they are extremely talented, but they always had something internal holding them back. I believe Coach Clark and the coaching staff have the Bulldogs on the right path and headed in the same direction. It was an awesome sight. Bulldogs… KEEP IT UP! I’ve been waiting for you to turn the corner. And now I can see you coming around the bend. Together.
The Matadors. Wow. What a group of talented young players. After graduating many last year, the Matadors are reloading. I find myself calling them the Young Guns. While the majority of the players are underclassmen, they have a rare determination. You can see it in the hard set of their jaw and eyes as they focus on each play. They play with heart! I didn't witness one instant where there was “give-up” in any of them. It’s easy to tell when “give-up” rears its ugly head. It’s all about the body language. The Matadors fought hard. I just have one message for the Young Guns. Keep clawing and battling. Keep that determination and focus. It WILL get you somewhere. It will get you where you want to be. And I don’t think it’s going to take long to get there under the leadership of Coach Bigham and company.
The scoreboard didn’t really tell the story, as often times is the case. After halftime I had a hard time taking pictures because I was glued to watching the actual game. That is detrimental to a photographer, but I just couldn’t help it. Sometimes I have to put the camera down and enjoy all the sights and sounds of the game. Of course, I blame it on the lighting – the reason I can’t take pictures. But that’s a very poor excuse. I simply love the atmosphere of Sixman football, the fans, the cheerleaders, the music, the sweat flying, the POP when pads collide. I love it all.
Until the next game, go forward and do GOOD!
By Johnna Reynolds
It's the Go, Fight Win Report coming from Santa Anna! I had the pleasure of meeting the Leakey Eagle and the Crowell Wildcat cheerleaders. It was another rainy afternoon. I'm not gong to complain. When God says it's time for a rain, I'm going to say, thank you! However, when my shoes fill up with water running off my poncho, that's just a little crazy and a different story! I sloshed around the stadium the entire game! As if that wasn't enough, a fan decided he needed to shake the excess water from his umbrella and shook it on me! Yep, the meat and potatoes of this operation stayed nice and dry in the press box! Just so you know, I call myself the Fluff!
The Crowell cheerleaders did a great job keeping their fans cheering for their boys of fall! They didn't have a big crowd, but they did cheer for their team! Not only did the fans have noise makers, the cheerleaders did too! Awesome!
The Leakey cheerleaders also did a great job! I gotta tell ya, the band was great! They made up a chant, TPW. They shouted this over and over. What does that stand for, you might ask? Tough Players Win! Even though they fell short, I loved the enthusiasm they brought to the game!
Maybe I'll hear this chant a few more times throughout the season!
As always, I leave you with this. Friends we are and friends we'll always be. Together we will cheer so faithfully, Cheerleaders we'll always be. Til we meet again!
By Johnna Reynolds
It's Go, Fight, Win coming from a soggy Valley versus Follett battle! What a battle is was on the field! I gotta give both squads kudos! Even though it was pouring down rain through most of the game, neither squad gave up. Just like the teams they were cheering for!
First up, the home team, Valley. Gotta tell you, they have some super signs! I love lots of signs to spur on your team. These girls had that covered.
The visitor, Follett. These girls drove a long way just to cheer on their team. Their crowd may have been a bit small, but they cheered with them even in the pouring rain, under dryness of the umbrellas.
Both squads represented their schools well. I am a fair weather person, and I had my poncho on. Neither squad had any type of rain gear on! Talk about perseverance! I was impressed with both teams of cheerleaders. The sweet cheer sponsors they have do very well with the girls.
I look forward to meeting other cheerleaders. I will leave you with a song we learned at cheer camp many, many years ago.
Friends we are and friends we'll always be. Together we will cheer so faithfully. Cheerleaders we'll always be, Til we meet again!
By Johnna Reynolds
All my life, I have been going to football games. My dad was a football coach. You would think that after all that exposure, a bit of football lingo would have seeped into my soul. Wrong! You see, I didn't go to watch the game. I went to watch the cheerleaders and listen to the band!
From a very young age I wanted to be on the sidelines cheering for my team. I got to do just that! I loved every minute! So, I may not know exactly what's going on in the game, (feel free to ask about football according to me, anytime), but I do know what type of cheer to do!
Some think that cheerleading isn't a sport, while others will strongly disagree that it is. My opinion is that Cheerleading is a sport. Cheerleaders train for this sometimes their whole lives. It takes quite a lot of training and practice to do back handsprings and flips! There are lots of squads that not only lift weights for stunting purposes, but they run to keep up their endurance. Try dancing, jumping, stunting, and cheering for four quarters plus, a halftime dance!
Cheerleaders work hard most of the year, there is hardly any down time. . They start before two-a-days painting signs for the locker rooms, painting signs for the halls at school, planning pep rallies, planning mini cheer camps. Every week they practice their cheers to make sure they are perfect! During the pep rally and the game, they work hard to keep the fans fired up and cheering for their team!
This year, I want to recognize cheerleaders! They work extremely hard. So, I am looking for the squad that is full of pep and keeps their fans yelling for their team and keeps the players motivated!
Each week, I will go to a game and meet as many squads and sponsors as possible. Look for my article, the Go, Fight, Win Report. If you would like me to visit you, give me a shout! Hopefully, I'll be giving you the Golden Spirit Stick at the end of the season! Then, I'll start over for basketball season!
Let's hear it not only for the boys, but for the cheerleaders who back the boys of fall!
By Dency McClure
I’m sure most have heard the saying “Good Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise.” Well, the creeks rose but the good Lord was willing. The road we usually take to get to Highland was closed because the creek rose well over the road. We had to take a longer route, but we did get there.
I always forget about the giant cement factory dotting the rural ranch land between Maryneal and Highland ISD. It’s a bit majestic rising from the landscape like a superhero castle. It can be seen from miles away and the roads seem to curve you all around it from every angle. I’ve been told it employs many in the area. The lights from the factory and the wind towers make for an impressive skyline in the dark like a magical storybook kingdom hidden from the masses.
When I was in high school at Newcastle, we made the trip to Highland a couple of times for football games. I honestly don’t remember too much about those trips. My Dad was college roommates with Joe Killgore, a teacher at Highland and native rancher to the area. They remained friends after college, and I remember visiting their ranch a couple of times in my young childhood. It’s always interesting to me how we all connect at some point in time.
We arrived in the rain to the school on the hilltop in plenty of time. The gatekeepers waved us on in to the stadium. We parked and stared out into the pouring rain not sure we wanted to join in the beating everything was taking from it. I stepped out of the truck into a huge puddle ever thankful for my rain boots and gear.
We made our way to the stands and field. Everyone was covered with something; umbrellas, windbreakers, towels, etc. As I stepped onto the field a young man yelled out to me that our polka dotted rain boots matched. I chuckled agreeing. One man on the Highland side saw my blue rain poncho and inquired where I had gotten it. I told him I always have it in my travel supplies. He was disappointed they weren’t available to the fans.
We met up with the Blackwell coaches Lowry and Means before the game. We enjoyed a nice visit, out of the rain, by the tables before we all had to get to work. Duty always calls and visits continue after the game.
People were taking cover where they could. A group of kids were sitting on the concession stand counter, before it opened, while others were gathered in various other cubbys of dryness. I went up to the press box with Michael and Leman Saunders who were preparing for the broadcast. I told them I would not be taking many pregame photos due to the weather. They were in the dry but facing their own problems. Due to the humidity the press box windows were fogging up. I must admit as a person who works in the trenches, I take a little pleasure in the press box group dealing with weather issues. I work in the heat, cold, rain, etc just like the mail carriers, coaches, players, and others. While the press box crew tough it out in the climate controlled box out of the wind. They turned down the AC put on jackets and got the windows to clear.
Right as the national anthem started, the rain magically ceased! The rains did not return during the game. It was such a blessing to everyone in attendance to get a short reprieve. We love our rain in this part of Texas as water is a scarcity not to be wasted in any way, but it was still nice to get a little break during the game. I happily splashed and squished along the sidelines.
There is a good rivalry going between the two Nolan County schools and they are both the hornets. Their mascot logos are almost identical but face in opposite directions and are different colors. I wouldn’t ever make the mistake of pointing one in the wrong direction if I were you. Not long ago, a new piece was added to the rivalry; a bell on a trailer. The winning team gets to keep the bell until the next match up and ring it at games. Thus the game being labeled the battle of the bell.
During this great rivalry game, I heard some words flying from the stands. One was to the refs “Keep it in your pocket unless you need to wipe your nose.” I couldn’t help but chuckle a little at that one. The other was “Let’s get some blue bumblebees.” I don’t know which is worse a bumblebee sting or a hornet one. I’ve only been stung by a wasp, and it was bad enough.
During halftime I got to meet Tiffany Lange who has been doing great things for the Texas 1A Fan fans through her job at Gandy Ink with the New Spirit Booster division. It was nice to put a face to the name. I enjoyed taking pictures of the Blackwell cheerleaders; one of whom is Tiffany’s daughter.
I got in a short visit with Bud Halfmann who was hanging on the fence during the game. I taught with Bud in Paint Rock for several years. He is actually the first coach I ever shared the football sidelines with. I owe him a big thank you for being so kind and supportive of my photography endeavor.
After the game I caught coach Lowry for an interview. I walked off the field with Means and asked him if we would like to do an interview as well. He responded that there was no point as all he would say is “Defense Played; Lights Out!”
See you on the Sidelines!
By Bobbie Brown
The big story of this weekend… rain. And lots of it! It rained on us all the way to Valley Schools. It might make things messy for football, but the land sure does love it! Everything was turning brown and dead, but after all the rain, we enjoyed seeing beautiful fields of green all the way into Hall and Briscoe counties. It was nice to see a lot of green again before fall comes sweeping in and everything goes back to being dry and brown.
Valley School sits halfway between Turkey and Quitaque, Texas. There is a really cool Drive-in movie place just down the road from the school. The white marquee sign outside has square, black letters that spell out, “Closed for Winter.” The enormous screen faces away from the road and the back is painted like an American flag. You know how you get curious about icons of the past and crane your neck to see just a little more than you really can? I have mastered that maneuver, and all I saw were a few weeds poking out where cars normally park behind the high fence. Nostalgia sets in, and it makes me wish I could drive in and watch a movie on the big screen from the car.
We made it to the turn in and wound our way back behind the school to the football field. We found mud puddles everywhere. And it was still sprinkling on the gathering crowd. Most fans were crowded into cars by the time game time arrived. There were a few diehard fans in the stands wearing rain ponchos and clutching umbrellas.
I braved the rain and marched right out onto the field to find Coach Keith. He welcomed me with a smile. I watched Valley in a scrimmage two weeks ago and then at the Gridiron last weekend. Each week the Patriots have improved dramatically. They are a young team who paced the sideline in 2017 behind the Patriot superstars. This year it is their time to prove themselves on the field. And they are stepping up to the challenge. While the outcome wasn’t a win, they should feel pride in just how far they have come in a few short weeks.
I didn’t get a chance to talk to Coach Copley from Follett. The rain made things messy and to tell the truth, I was just a little weary of being soaking wet. The Panthers are a hard team to review. I watched them at the McLean super scrimmage and came away with nothing other than they are solid. Christian Barber is their QB and is a very athletic player. He is surrounded by players who work well as a team. Sometimes I come across teams where there is no true standout because the team as a whole is the standout. The Panthers definitely fit that description.
The game was a battle. The Patriots and the Panthers matched each other score for score until the very end of the game. With a few minutes left, the Panthers found the end zone and sewed up the win. It really was a great game, and I’m so glad we were able to participate in the fanfare!
Thank you to Valley School and Coach Keith for the wonderful hospitality. Everyone was extremely pleasant and welcoming. I really enjoy visiting Valley. I’ll go back soon!
Week 3 of the 2018 is upon us now. Go find some comforting Sixman town hospitality. You’ll be glad you did and might just find yourself smiling all the way to the truck once the game is done. Until next week, Go forward and do Good!
By Dency McClure
We arrived in Lohn early and found the coaches and others moving sprinkler stuff off the field. Coach Jackson was pushing the little cart along that spray paints the field lines. Not sure why I am so fascinated by those little contraptions, but I am. I mean how cool is that to push the cart and it sprays paint? The area was buzzing with people making game preparations. We caught Coach Jackson as he was putting the little cart in the shed. We have shirts that we are giving to the coaches this season. When I held up the shirt to show him he got excited and was very pleased and even more pleased when Michael told him he was the first coach to get one. The Gustine bus pulled in so we left Coach Jackson so he could get back to work.
About that time a rainbow appeared behind the end zone. I’ll be honest, it had been pouring rain most of the day in Paint Rock. I had reluctantly found my rain boots and was dreading standing in the rain. It was a very nice surprise to arrive in a rain-free oasis in Lohn. They had gotten much needed rain, but it had left in plenty of time for things to dry a bit before kick-off. I gladly traded my rain boots for my tennis shoes.
Soon the referees arrived. Two appeared to be very young and again, I am so thankful we have people stepping up to fill the desperate need for Sixman referees. Of course when you are new at something, you aren’t perfect at it, and it takes time to get in the groove of the season. They all worked hard throughout the game and were under great leadership from a amazing white hat. I hope to keep seeing new referees this season along with my trusted sideline buddies of past seasons.
Before the game got underway folks were parking all along the fence. It appeared that many had their regular spots that everyone knew was theirs. Once backed up to the fence, several set up their game watching homes away from home. Lawn chairs and recliners etc were lifted into the truck beds and even blankets were added for the extra coziness. Why sit in the bleachers when you can watch in style along the fence?
A group was selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a cake. I loved hearing all the discussions having to do with the cake. One cheerleader asked a man if he would share the cake if he won it. He informed her he was a cake-eating son of a gun so there probably wouldn’t be any to share. The discussion from the press box about the cake was if it was homemade or not. They were soon told it was homemade and all about the icing. It sounded delicious. Everyone wanted to win! The winner was announced at half and at the end of the game the announcer in the press box asked when and where the cutting of the cake would take place getting a chuckle from the crowd.
The game got underway and Lohn took off with an unexpected bang. They made the first touchdown and were on fire. I was texting Jeff Corean, the Rochelle coach, to let him know Lohn was in the game. He was excited as well so I told him to tune in to our broadcast to keep up.
We could hear thunder and see lightning in the distance. Gustine questioned the weather and Coach Jackson yelled up to the press box that Gustine wanted to go home, so as not to get beat, so he needed a lightning meter check. The meter was checked and the report came back that it was 30 some odd miles away so the game was still a go.
Gustine jumped in after a startling start, and the game was an exciting one. Both teams had offense and defense going for them. Gustine had a few extra players to rotate in, but Lohn just had their six. No substitutes at all! Playing both sides of the ball play after play all night long. A team of heart and not a senior in the bunch!
The humidity was playing into several things. Both teams were cramping and the bugs were swarming. The game took a bit longer to play as multiple players were having to be stretched. Lohn had to run a couple of plays with only five on the field.
My favorite quote from the night was when one of the Lohn coaches yelled out to Taylor Bass when they were lining up and asked her if she was dating one of the other players. She shook her head no, and he said, "then get away from him." Everyone got a chuckle out of that. It’s only game two and several players had to be reminded where to be before the snap. Number 5 from Lohn, Travis Wise, was in beast mode dragging players down the field for yardage. Play after play he beasted it! Pushing for the 15 yards.
I was surprised to see how well Taylor and the boys were holding up to playing non-stop all night. Their maroon was getting darker and darker as the quarters passed. It wasn’t until half way through the fourth quarter that they started to show signs of getting tired. A tribute to the Lohn coaches on their conditioning for sure.
The game went a full four quarters and ended with Gustine 56 and Lohn 14. It wasn’t the expected game. It was an amazing game. When I interviewed Coach Jackson at a scrimmage his goal for the season was to be competitive. Coach Jackson, I must say you and your six have achieved your goal!
See you on the sidelines!
We all have a story... a funny story or a serious story. This space is for those stories that make us laugh or cry or feel motivated.