Sports and Outdoors


Mabank prepares for Ferris
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–After their best offensive showing of the season last Friday in Eustace, the Mabank Panthers have to be careful not to be overconfident when they host the Ferris Yellowjackets Friday night.
Now 1-1 in District 13-3A play and 3-4 on the season, the Panthers face a dangerous team in the youthful Yellowjackets, who come into Panther Stadium at 1-6 on the season and 0-2 in district play.
“A team like (Ferris) scares me,” Panther head coach Jimmy Cantrell said. “It’s easy to lose focus, especially coming off a big win.”
Last week’s 40-0 thrashing of Eustace was highlighted by the mature, confident performance of sophomore quarterback Kolton Browning.
In his first varsity start, the left-handed Browning hit 26-of-34 pass attempts for 304 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, and frankly surprised some of the Panther coaches, Cantrell said.
“I’ve never seen such poise in a sophomore,” Cantrell said. “He looked like a senior.
“(Browning) moved the ball around to several different people. He never got rattled,” he added. “It’s going to be interesting to see him perform when teams really start putting pressure on him.”
It turned out the Panther offense was geared to take advantage of the blitz packages being used by the Eustace defense, but Browning made a number of good reads and hit open receivers, Cantrell said.
“It’s true that one aspect of the game will feed off another – the passing game gets the running game going, and the run opens up the pass, and so on,” Cantrell said. “It just all came together for us.”
No kidding. Team stats showed the Panthers rolled up 277 yards on the ground behind Chris Recio’s 184 yards on 23 carries. Added to Browning’s 304 yards passing, that’s a total of 581 yards in offense.
Defensively, the Panthers were dominating, allowing the Bulldogs just 82 total yards, including just four yards passing.
“We were only out there 45 plays or so,” he added. “Everybody had four or five tackles. I couldn’t be more pleased with them.”
However, that razor-sharp performance was blunted by penalties. Counting yardage wiped out by flags, the Panthers lost more than 200 yards to penalties, Cantrell said.
“Those type of mistakes we just can’t afford,” he said. “We’ve got to work on those things.”
The Panthers aren’t talking playoffs, even though they still control their own destiny with games left against Ferris, Crandall and Kemp (a district championship would require some help).
“Our confidence level is up, but, once again, we’ve got to take what we did Friday night and build on it,” Cantrell said.
A very young Ferris team – they start just two seniors, and have a number of freshmen and sophomore starters – have been making youthful mistakes, but have the talent to make them dangerous.
Those youthful mistakes have been showing up most often in the kicking game, such as the four blocked punts the Yellowjackets allowed in a 62-7 loss to Crandall two weeks ago, Cantrell said.
Last Friday, Kaufman beat them 35-0, but looked lethargic doing it, partly due to some overconfidence and partly due to an inspired effort by the Yellowjackets, Cantrell said.
Ferris uses a spread offense similar to Mabank’s, but pass much more often than they run, while the Panthers had 31 rushes and 34 passes in 65 plays against Eustace.
Defensively, the Yellowjackets have shown something different each week, and – on film, anyway – don’t appear to have settled on a specific basic defense, he said. “It’s hard to prepare for that,” he added.
The key to Friday’s contest will be the Panthers playing up to their potential, without the silly mistakes that led to so many penalties against Eustace, Cantrell said.
“You’re not going to win too many games with that many penalties,” he noted.


Eustace girls win district CC title
EHS boys take second; Mabank boys, girls both qualify for regional
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Eustace won the varsity girls’ team title and came in second in the varsity boys’ competition, while Mabank’s boys and girls teams each qualified for regional competition by finishing third at the District 13-3A cross country meet Monday.
Running along the Cedar Creek Country Club’s dusty fairways, Kaufman won both the boys and girls varsity races. The Lions took the boys team title with 29 points, while the Lady Lions finished second to Eustace.
Eustace won the girls team title with 36 points, followed by Kaufman with 58 points, Mabank with 69 points and Ferris with 72 points.
In the boys competition, Kaufman won the team title with 29 points, followed by Eustace with 46 points, Mabank with 60 points, Ferris with 91 points and Kemp with 130 points.
The top three teams – Kaufman, Eustace and Mabank – along with the top 10 individuals will advance to the Region III meet, scheduled Saturday, Nov. 4, at Vandergriff Park in Arlington.
As scheduled, Class 3A girls will run at 11:15 a.m., followed by the Class 3A boys at 11:40 a.m.
The top three teams and the top 10 individuals in the regional meet will advance to the state cross country meet, scheduled Saturday, Nov. 11, at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.
(Spreadsheet results of Monday’s junior varsity races at the district meet sent to The Monitor contained errors, and could not be printed out.)
In the girls varsity race, Kaufman’s Candace Ramos edged Kemp’s Kate Donovan for first place, with Ramos finishing in 12:27.8 and Donovan (Kemp’s only runner) taking second in 12:28.8.
Eustace’s Tanita Durnell was third overall at 12:50.9, while Mabank’s Chelsea Dillon was fourth at 12:54.4.
Mabank’s Jeanice Mojica finished sixth at 12:58.6, while Coressa Durnell headed a group of five Eustace runners finishing eighth through 12th.
Coressa Durnell finished in 13:17.3, followed by Laura DiBari (13:18.2), Traci Garrett (13:20.3), Caitlin DiBari (13:29.0) and Rebekah Walter (13:32.0). Kayla Stacks finished 15th in 13:44.9.
Mabank’s Alyssa Balderas finished 14th (13:39.6), Andrea Ledezma was 23rd (14:42.0), Natalie Tovar finished 27th (16:15.2), Shae Johnson was 30th (17:10.3) and Laura Ledezma finished 31st (17:15.9).
In the boys varsity run, Kaufman’s Josh Altman won in 16:13.1, followed by Eustace’s Jordan Nixon, who finished second in 16:39.0.
Eustace’s Zachary Bennett finished fourth in 17:17.4, while Mabank’s Terence Boyle was fifth in 17:22.24.
Mabank’s Charles Keckla finished eighth overall in 17:28.8.
Also running for Mabank were Michael Balderas (11th at 17:40.0), Joe Mojica (14th at 17:57.0), Zach Krugler (23rd at 19:05.57), Jesse Galegos (25th at 19:08.08) and Augustin Garfis (27th at 19:21.0).
Also running for Eustace were Travis Cox (12th at 17:41), Colton Thomsen (13th at 17:56), Zachary Arambula (15th at 17:58), Aaron Alvarez (19th at 18:37) and Brady Cannon (31st at 20:10).
Chas Gipson and Anthony Elkins led the Kemp runners, finishing 17th (at 18:25.53) and 18th (at 18:36), respectively.
Also running for Kemp were Justin Gaddis (33rd at 24:14), O’Neal Fitzhugh (35th at 24:33) and Joseph Smith (36th at 24:36).

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Eustace’s Rebekah Walter gets a supporting arm from athletic director Brad Scoggin following the girls varsity run.


Lady Panthers win tight duel with Lady Bulldogs
Monitor Staff Reports
EUSTACE–The hosting Eustace Lady Bulldogs handed the Mabank Lady Panthers an opening-game loss, but the Mabank girls fought back to win a crowd-pleasing and very competitive match 3-1 Friday.
The narrow win gave Mabank a 9-0 record in District 13-3A volleyball competition, as well as a 26-4 season mark, while the Lady Bulldogs dropped to 22-10 on the season and 5-4 in district play.
Mabank had already clinched the district championship going into Friday’s match, and were scheduled to wind up the season Tuesday at Kemp.
Eustace was scheduled to wind up the season Tuesday on the road against Ferris, needing a win to secure the district’s third-place playoff berth; a loss Tuesday will force them into a playoff with Ferris for the third spot.
Mabank has a playoff warm-up game against Leon Jewitt scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at Mexia High School.
The Lady Panthers have a bye in the first round of the playoffs. In the second round, they will meet the winner of the Spring Hill and Texarkana Liberty Eylau first-round matchup.
Playing on their home court Friday, the Lady Bulldogs won the first game of the match, 25-21, marking only the second game lost by Mabank during their march through district.
The Lady Panthers came back to win three straight, 25-20, 25-8 and 25-20.
“Eustace gave us a run for our money,” Mabank head coach Stacy Shelton noted after Friday’s match.
“They really stepped up their game for us, and made us step ours up, as well,” Shelton said. “Except for the third game, it was a great match for both us and Eustace. Coach (Chuck) Powers had his girls ready to play.
“I’m proud of our girls for coming back from losing a close first game and winning the next three,” Shelton added. “I feel as if the second half of our district, all our opponents have played us so much closer, and I am glad of that, because we didn’t want it to be a cakewalk. We needed teams to play us tough, so we can prepare for the playoffs.”
“If you take out that one game where we went brain-dead, we played right with them,” Powers said afterward.
“The difference with them (Mabank) is where most teams have one or two good players, they’re very solid all across,” he added. “I really like their setter (Kelsi Reynolds). She really moves the ball around, and that’s the key for their offense.
“When you have games like those, nobody loses, except on the scoreboard,” Powers added. “I think anybody who saw that (match) got their money’s worth.”
With her shoulder heavily taped after seeing limited duty the last couple of matches, Hali Schultz led the Lady Panthers’ strong net game, notching a team-high 15 kills, two blocks, nine digs and one save, while serving three aces.
Miranda Groom added 14 kills, one block and 12 digs, while Shadia Rueb had eight kills, four blocks, one dig and one assist.
Bridgette Tanner had seven kills, three blocks and one assist, while Kelly Hitzfeld had six kills four blocks and one dig.
Peng Leav led the Lady Panther defense with 14 digs, while Reynolds had three digs, two saves and 44 assists.
Lindsie Amyx added seven digs, one save and one ace.
Last year’s district MVP, Alyson Harlan, led the Lady Bulldogs with 15 kills, six blocks and six digs.
Traci Garrett added four kills, two blocks and 12 digs, while Cassie Freeman had six kills, one block and five digs.
Setter Jessica Parker notched 28 assists, while Rebekah Walter had three kills and one block.
Caty DiBari had one dig while scoring 10 points for the Lady Bulldogs, and Ashley Houston added two digs.
Kayla Stacks had five digs, while Camille Rogers had two blocks. Cayce Hampton had two digs, while Vanessa Maltos had one dig.
Mabank also won the junior varsity match, 25-20 and 25-19.


Bulldogs facing elimination
Monitor Staff Reports
EUSTACE–Now 0-2 in District 13-3A play, the Eustace Bulldogs have their backs against the wall heading into Friday’s road game at Crandall.
A loss to the 2-0 Pirates, who are 3-4 on the season, will essentially kill what slender playoff hopes the 1-6 Bulldogs might have.
Those playoff hopes are slim indeed after last week’s 40-0 thrashing by the Mabank Panthers.
Eustace head coach Brad Scoggin pointed to a couple of second-quarter plays as the key to the contest.
Defensively, both teams had played well, battling to a 0-0 standoff in the first quarter, but the Panthers were able to score twice in the second quarter, the second score coming after a 70-yard march in the last 1:38.
That score just before halftime was a momentum killer, when combined with the Bulldogs’ failure to convert on fourth down prior to the march, Scoggin said.
“It could have been 7-7 at halftime,” he said. “We didn’t make enough plays on defense, or play enough offense to swing (momentum) our way.”
The second half was all Mabank.
“They made a few adjustments, but we just didn’t play with the same spirit we did in the first half,” Scoggin said.
For the game, Mabank rolled up nearly 500 yards on offense and held the Bulldogs to just 82 yards, including just four yards passing.
Bulldog senior quarterback Michael Cook had his worst outing of the season, hitting just one-of-nine attempts, with one interception.
Senior running back Michael Jones, playing with a staph infection on his shoulder, was limited to 47 yards on 16 carries.
Scoggin said he hoped Jones would be back to full speed this week in time to face the 3-4 Pirates, who defeated Kemp 37-14 Friday to go to 2-0 in district play.
Crandall had three turnovers against Kemp, and they can be beaten, Scoggin said.
“You have to play a very physical style of ballgame to beat them,” he said. “You have to be ready for a toe-to-toe battle in the trenches.”
A power running team, the Pirates return last year’s starting backfield, featuring Antuan Aaron and Zach Ragsdale at running back, and Kolton Kvapil at quarterback.
All three are extremely dangerous runners in the Pirates’ “smash-mouth” system, Scoggin said.
“We just have to try to keep doing what we do, just try to do it better,” he said. “We have to try to hang on to the ball, try to score some points when we can, and not try to force things to happen.”


Upcoming Games
Oct. 27
MHS vs Ferris*
KHS @ Kaufman*
EHS @ Crandall*

Nov. 3
MHS @ Crandall*
KHS vs Ferris*
EHS vs Kaufman*

Nov. 10
EHS @ Ferris*
(end regular season)

*district game