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!
Go, Fight, Win, Cheer: The Orange Bowl!
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.
By Dency McClure
I headed out onto the beautiful Bryson field with my rain boots on and my pants tucked in them. One of the chain gang guys told me they had had five inches of rain in the last 24 hours. The field had handled it well and drained to the sides. That did make for some fun trucking on the sidelines though. I like the squishy, suction sound the mud makes when you almost lose a boot in it. Little things like that keep me happy. I was very glad to have my rain boots because wet feet don’t make me happy.
Bobbie Brown and I found Bucky the White Deer mascot before the game. We have become a bit of Bucky followers as we have been enjoying all the fun photos of Bucky. Bucky with fire, Bucky playing the xylophone, Bucky in overalls and so on that were sent in during our mascot photo contest. So, of course we had to get a photo of ourselves with Bucky! Bucky is a great sport, and we hope to enjoy more great Bucky photos. White Deer, keep the amazing Bucky photos coming!!!
Union Hill led the game the entire first quarter. As I slid and splashed along the White Deer sidelines, I heard some motivational speaking on the issue. Pretty soon White Deer answered Union Hill and the game was on. This game was quite possibly the best one I’ve seen all season. Two fantastic well matched teams. Also made for some fabulous action shots I'll be posting soon.
Lucky for me I only slipped, splashed, and squished along the sidelines. Unfortunately others were not so lucky. I watched a referee dance a jig trying to stay upright and of course then quickly make out like it was planned by stomping some grass back into place. That quick cover thing we all subconsciously do because our brain tells us to make like it didn’t happen. One of the chain gang fared even worse by nailing the mud with a body slam. The sidelines are always treacherous, but it was a bit more than normal this time. We all had some great laughs about it, and I think we all came out unscathed.
If the White Deer uniforms are ever white again, the laundry magician should be recognized with an award of honor. If I was in charge of washing them, the mascot might have to be changed to the Muddy Bucks. You never know, we might get a photo of Bucky doing laundry this week.
I’ve noticed that anytime a game gets really good all the observers on the sidelines become fast friends. Verbal high fives after plays and side whispers before the ball is hiked. The “did you catch that shot or get that clip?” We share the joy and excitement of the adrenaline rush knowing anything can happen. If you have been around Six-man very long, you know anything, and I mean anything, can happen in seconds. It was anybody's game to the very end.
See you on the sidelines!
By Bobbie. Brown
Dad and I left around noon to drive the two hours to Bryson for the White Deer/Union Hill match up. We left early because all the rain causes some flooding issues between Rule and Haskell. And sure enough, we got to Rule and the road was closed. We made the 40-minute detour to Stamford and then back up to Haskell. But we finally made it to Bryson safe and sound.
I knew this game would be a defensive battle. No one attending the game was disappointed! My view is normally on the field with a camera in my hand, but today I had the opportunity to sit in the press box with Michael and broadcast. The view from up there is definitely different. There are so many things you can see that you don’t notice when you’re right next to all the action. I do get a little excited when I see a play about to unfold. A player running wide open down the field. The pass is perfect. He catches it and takes it in. Sometimes the focus is on the defense. I cannot keep from saying, “Ooooohhhh!” when I see a great tackle.
I’m pretty sure that I said, “Ooooohhhh!!!” about 237 times tonight. There were so many great blocks and straight up hit a wall and down you go tackles. The wet and muddy field made a great battlefield. The fans on both sides were rowdy and completely into every play. What an awesome atmosphere for a Saturday game!
And because it was a Saturday game, streaming live video is allowed (can’t do it on Friday). I don’t know why it took me until the 4th quarter to realize I could video. I’m going to go ahead and apologize for the jerky live video on Facebook. I tried to keep it still. Again, the excitement of the game and the electric atmosphere made it hard to focus on holding the phone still. If you were at the game, you know what I mean. I feel like I witnessed a playoff game in Week 7! It was THAT good!
Also, to the Bucks and the Bulldogs. Wow. I saw 100% effort every single play and out of every single player. While I couldn’t see the sweat and mud fly, I can imagine that’s exactly what happened when the loud echo of pads on pads smacking together with great force made its way up the stands and into the press box. Effort like when White Deer Buck Mason Mooney was blocked down and lying on his back and somehow hauled himself upright enough to lunge a few feet to bring down a Bulldog driving his way down the field. Effort like the last play when Keelan Caffey broke four tackles to dive into the end zone for the game winning touchdown. Plays like those happened in each of the four quarters. Kudos to both teams and all the Bucks and Bulldogs. It was a pleasure to watch you do battle today!
I need to give my appreciation to Bryson for being such great hosts. I really enjoyed the announcer and his wife. And the Cowboys have excellent facilities… even after getting around five inches of rain in the previous 24 hours! If you get a chance to go to Bryson for a game. Do it. Great field (or it was before today’s game – it may be just a little messed up now) and very welcoming and friendly people! I didn’t get a chance to visit the concession stand, but Dad did. He gave the food a big thumbs up!
And before I forget… Mr. Kason Vigil (White Deer) and Mr. River Scudday (Union Hill), I will never, ever forget how to say your last names. I know it is frustrating when announcers repeatedly pronounce a name incorrectly. We said both of your names many times through the first three quarters. And we pronounced them incorrectly. But a big thank you goes to your awesome Buck and Bulldog fans who spelled those names phonetically online so that we could say them correctly all through the 4th quarter when it counted!
If you didn’t attend this game, you missed a GREAT one. It had a little bit of everything and a whole lot of what we love about Six-man football. Grit. Pure grit and heart and determination. It was a game that got our hearts pumping. It made us nervous. It made us yell and stomp. And long after the last second ticked off the clock, our hearts continued beating just a little faster.
2018 From the Sidelines: Rotan at Ira
By Bobbie Brown
I don’t know what it is, but every time I go to Ira to cover a game, they have a bake sale. I love baked goods. Who doesn’t? Last year when I went to cover Klondike at Ira, the concession stand was selling homemade cookies with the chocolate kiss in the center. I thought I’d hit the jackpot as I don’t normally get to eat those until Christmas! This year I really scored! They had long tables completely loaded down with cakes and cookies. It was all kinds of goodness. I have to say, the people of Ira can bake some good stuff, and the proceeds always go to a great cause. This year the funds go toward helping a person in the neighboring town who has cancer. What a worthy cause! Selling all that baked goodness had to have brought in a lot of funds for her!
Aside from the baked goods at Ira, I always enjoy the chats I have with Coach Goodwin. He’s got the field looking pretty good! It was nice and green, and he was particularly proud of the pink ribbon painted at the 40-yard line. While pink and orange do not normally mix well, last night they looked great together!
Rotan was coming off a hard-fought game with Jayton last week. I exchanged the usual pleasantries with Coach Stanaland and Coach Watson. Great guys! The Yellowhammers work hard. And while the score was not in their favor, they never gave up. They gave great effort throughout the entire game. One thing that really impresses me about Rotan are the fans. They yell. Loud and proud. Every play. And the band is just phenomenal. I definitely know when I’m on the Rotan side. It is loud and supportive!
The Ira side was very lively! One thing I look forward to with Ira is the playing of Polka music. After every touchdown, here comes the Polka! It makes you want to dance. I am pretty sure I danced a little jig on the sidelines once or twice during the game. Seriously, you just can’t stop from moving when it blares through the loud speakers! The Bulldogs score, the Polka played, and the fans cheered. The Bulldogs were fired up last night. I saw many high-fives and smiles from the players and coaches.
While we had a brief reprieve from the storms last night in Ira, many of you were out in the wet and soggy again. The weather has definitely made Six-man football interesting these past few weeks! But we are over halfway through the 2018 season! Crazy how fast it goes. Before we know it, it will be the middle of November, and we’ll all be bundled up against the cold on Friday nights. Enjoy every second of it. It just doesn’t last that long! Until I see you on the sidelines, go forward and do GOOD!
Go, Fight, Win, Cheer: Homecoming!
By Johnna Reynolds
Homecoming is a fun and wonderful time of the year. There’s an exciting buzz in the air. It’s a time of bonfires, mums, homecoming king and queens, seeing old classmates, building floats, graffiti on cars and the all important homecoming pep rally! It’s this rally that seems to set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Cheerleaders prepare for homecoming weeks in advance making sure everything is perfect. It takes hours to paint signs, hang streamers throughout the town, decorate the gym, plan the rally, get a guest speaker, practice the dance, practice any and all stunts plus, practice all the cheers and chants for the big day! Practice, practice PRACTICE! I’m not sure people realize just how much preparation goes into this one rally!
Our pep rally was super! It was great to see the Jr High and the High School cheerleaders come together. It was loud. It was proud! It was AWESOME! The gym looked amazing! You could tell they worked hard, and put in some long hours . The guest speakers, were the 1984-85 State football teams and coach (well, those that could be there). You could feel the pride that each player had. Pride for their team. Pride for their school. Even after all those years! Their pride never changed!
We just celebrated homecoming in Jayton last Friday. It was so much fun to see old friends getting together and picking up right where they left off, like no time had passed. It’s special bonds like that, that makes homecoming a fabulous time!
If you are celebrating homecoming in the next few weeks, hug a cheerleader! They put in overtime to make sure everything is done and everything is perfect!
Friends we are and friends we’ll always be together we will cheer so faithfully. Cheerleaders will always be till we meet again.
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