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MHS girls clinch first soccer playoff
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–With Friday night’s 7-0 shutout of hosting Eustace, the Mabank Lady Panthers made history by clinching the first playoff berth for the school’s soccer program.
Mabank High School has had boys soccer for eight years, and girls soccer for four.
Mabank’s boys also posted a 7-0 shutout of the Eustace boys Friday night, and it’s possible both Panther boys and girls soccer teams might be going to the playoffs for the first time, depending on what happens in the last two matches of the season.
There’s also a chance the Eustace girls might grab a District 31-4A playoff spot in their second season of existence – again, depending on what happens in the final two matches.
Tuesday night, Mabank’s boys were scheduled to host unbeaten district champion Lindale, while the girls will be playing at Lindale. Eustace’s boys and girls were scheduled to host Athens for “senior night.”
In the regular-season finale Friday, March 13, the Mabank girls and boys will face Athens (girls at home), while Eustace’s boys and girls will visit Chapel Hill. Each evening’s slate opens with the girls at 5:30 p.m., followed by the boys match.
On the girls’ side, Lindale and Whitehouse will be facing off Friday night to determine first and second.
“If we can beat Athens (Friday), then we will lock up third place,” MHS girls coach Travis Grasser said.
“We can also lock third place up if Eustace wins their last two,” he added. “Then, they would be fourth.”
If the Mabank boys win one of their last two, or Chapel Hill loses one of their last two, then the Panthers will clinch fourth place and make the playoffs, Grasser said.
“If we win out, tonight (against Athens) and against Chapel Hill (Friday), we’re in,” Eustace girls coach Cody Taylor said. “We beat Athens last time, but Chapel Hill was a close game.”
The Eustace boys don’t have a shot at the playoffs, but they could play spoiler for both Athens and Chapel Hill, who are battling for the district’s third-place playoff berth behind Lindale and second-place Whitehouse.
Grasser noted it would certainly help if Eustace wins out to grab fourth place, because whoever finishes fourth will be looking at a difficult bidistrict match against either Longview, Pine Tree or Henderson, who are all three battling for the first-place spot in that district.
Friday night’s girls match in Eustace was unexpectedly lopsided, to say the least. Eustace had beaten Mabank twice in their three previous meetings, and none of the matches were blowouts.
Mabank’s Jennifer Pyle scored just 21 seconds into the match – the first of what would be a hat trick for her – and the rout was on.
“This, by far, was our best showing of the season,” Grasser said.
“That’s definitely not the same Mabank team I played last time,” Taylor said. “Had Mabank not scored 21 seconds in, it might have been a different game. We haven’t been scored on that quick all season.
“You can’t fault Mabank,” Taylor added. “They made a good play down the field to the corner of the net.”
Both teams have battled injuries all season, but one injury that really hurt was to the leg of Eustace’s Arin Rhodes, who missed Friday’s match after a severe bruise acquired in the Feb. 13 match at Mabank required minor surgery.
Both Grasser and Taylor agreed Rhodes’ absence was a key factor in the contest.
“Her actual position is holding midfielder,” Taylor said. “She’s my first line of defense, and when we’re on offense, most of the time, the ball will come through her. She’s very good at distributing the ball upfield.”
Rhodes was scheduled to get her stitches out Tuesday, and likely will be available for Friday’s match at Chapel Hill, Taylor said.
Without Rhodes in the middle of the Eustace defense, Mabank’s Natalie Torres made it 2-0, and Pyle’s put-back of a Jeanice Mojica shot blocked by Lady Bulldog freshman goalie Shelby Stegent made it 3-0.
Ashton Norman, who joined the Lady Panthers after the varsity basketball season ended, scored to make it 4-0, and Pyle’s third goal made it 5-0.
Norman added her second goal to make it 6-0, and very late in the contest, Lindsey Pait added the final Mabank goal.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries during the year, but we’re definitely hitting our stride at the right time,” Grasser said.
“I can’t ask any more from my team than to go into the last game with a chance at making the playoffs,” Taylor said.

Kemp girls win at Hawkins
Monitor Staff Reports
HAWKINS–Kemp’s varsity girls won their division at the annual Hawk Relays in Hawkins Saturday.
Kemp’s boys took sixth place overall, while the junior varsity boys won their division at the meet, which drew participants from 14 school districts.
Junior Sharda Bettis continued to dominate the hurdles races, winning both the 100 and the 300 hurdles. Senior Meagan Lacy took second place in the 100 and finished third in the 300.
Bettis also took second place in the long jump and fourth in the triple jump. Kimmie Gorka finished sixth in both events.
Gorka also took second place in the 200 meter dash.
The Kemp sprint relay team – Amanda Lawrence, Gorka, Michelle Ritterbach and Bettis – set a new school record of 51.5 seconds while finishing second.
In the 800 relay, Kemp’s team (Caitlyn Hefly, Hailey Hall, Lauren Morton and Gorka) finished fourth, while the 1600 meter relay team (Lawrence, Lacy, Amber Brewer and Ritterbach) finished fifth.
Stephanie Welk finished fourth in the 3200 meter run, while Shannon Shipp took fifth place in the discus.
Relay teams led the Kemp varsity boys efforts, as the 400 team – Justin Lawler, Lance Roberts, Wesley Kerr and Korey Henderson – finished second, and the same boys also took second in the 800 meter relay.
Kerr also took third place in the triple jump.
Jeremy Quick finished third in the 110 high hurdles, with Joseph Weeks finishing sixth. Weeks also finished sixth in the 300 hurdles.
Henderson and Roberts finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 200 meter dash.
Josh Rivera finished sixth in the 1600 meter run, while Ray Hodges finished sixth in the discus.
The junior varsity boys notched four gold medal finishes during their portion of the relays.
The sprint relay team – John Kilgore, Michael Scott, Lorenzo Sispirano and Landon Roberts – won their race, while the same boys also won the 800 meter relay.
Kilgore also took first place in the long jump, and took fourth in the triple jump, with teammate Ryan Emfinger finishing fifth in both events.
Brandon Smith won the 400 meter run, with Emfinger finishing sixth.
Cody Parker took third place in the discus and finished fourth in the shotput.
Matt Kinney also put up two fast races, taking fourth in the 100 meter dash and fifth in the 200.
Shelton Haney finished third in the 3200 meter run, with teammate Brandon Hibdon fourth.
The 1600 meter relay team – Brandon Smith, Haney, Emfinger and Lawler – finished fourth.

Courtesy Photo
Kemp boys and girls track team members gather for a photo at the Hawk Relays in Hawkins
Saturday. The varsity girls and junior varsity boys won their respective divisions, while
the varsity boys finished sixth overall out of 14 teams.

EHS boys 2nd at Kaufman
Monitor Staff Reports
KAUFMAN–The Eustace boys track team took second place overall at the Golden Lion Relays at Kaufman High School March 5.
Eustace’s boys and girls are scheduled to compete in the annual George Cumby Relays at Brownsboro High School Thursday (today).
The Bulldogs notched a number of outstanding performances during the meet.
Distance runner Johnny Lee won both the 1600 and 3200 meter runs, clocking 11:36 in the 1600 and 10:37 in the 3200.
Greg Haynes finished fourth in the 3200, clocking 11:36, and Brett Miner finished sixth in 5:17.
Zach Arambula won the 800 meter run in 2:05, with Miner taking sixth place in 2:17.
In the field events, Zach Keeling won the high jump with a leap of 6-4, while Trevan Johnson won the long jump with a school-record leap of 21-0.
Johnson also finished second in the triple jump, notching 39-5½.
Both Keeling and Johnson, along with Arambula and Caleb Bailey, powered the 1600 meter relay team to a first-place finish, clocking 3:33.
Johnson also took second place in the 400 meter run, clocking 52.4 seconds, with Bailey finishing third (53.50) and Marcus Emmons taking fifth (54.13).
The sprint relay (4x100) team – Keeling, Cord Bailey, Emmons and Johnson – finished fourth in 44.83 seconds, while the 4x200 relay team – Emmons, Caleb Bailey, Keeling and Cord Bailey – finished fourth in 1:34.

Upcoming games


March 12
Brownsboro Cumby Relays

March 26
Crandall Coca-Cola Relays


March 13
MHS g/b vs/@ Athens*
EHS g/b @ Chapel Hill*
(end regular season)
*district contest


March 17
MHS b @ Lindale tourn.


March 12-14
MHS @ Van/Canton tourn.
EHS @ Kemp tourn.
KHS hosts tourn.

March 16
KHS @ Crandall
EHS vs All Saints

March 17
MHS vs Terrell*
EHS vs Brownsboro
*district contest


March 12-14
EHS @ Lindale tourn.

March 13
MHS vs Terrell*
*district contest


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