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Loop crown on the line for Bulldogs
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
EUSTACE–The Eustace Bulldogs will be going for the District 14-3A
championship when they travel to Van for the season finale Friday night.
Hold on. Let’s run that by again.
The Bulldogs ... going for the district championship.
It’s been a long time since anybody’s been able to say something like
that in a football story. The Bulldogs haven’t been in the playoffs
since 1997, but they’re going this year, no matter what happens Friday
For faithful Eustace fans, just the fact the Bulldogs are going to the
playoffs – let alone having a shot at the loop crown in the last game –
more than justifies bringing in new head coach and athletic director
Doug Wendel less than two years ago.
“It’ll be a different pressure than what we’ve had the last couple of
weeks,” Wendel admitted with a grin Monday.
“We’re excited about going out to practice and focusing on improving,”
The Bulldogs clinched a playoff berth with last Friday night’s 41-30 win
over the 0-9 Wills Point Tigers. They’ll face the winner of Friday
night’s Nevada Community-Quinlan Ford matchup in the first round of the
Friday’s game actually doesn’t mean anything in terms of playoff
seeding, because Van will go as the district’s Division I (big-school)
representative, while Eustace will advance as the Division II
That said, Wendel expects both teams to be fired up, as Van (8-1, 4-0
district) would like to close out the season as the unbeaten district
champions, while Eustace (5-4, 3-1) also wants to snag the crown and
hand the Vandals their first district loss.
Kemp and Canton will battle in Kemp Friday night for the third-place
playoff berth (see related story, page 2B).
Wendel said he was pleased with the Bulldogs’ effort against the
physically more talented Tigers.
“I was pleased that we only had two penalties,” he said. “I think our
offense is executing at a high level.”
Perhaps the key to the offense working was the play of junior
quarterback Chris Compton, who gained 130 yards on 16 carries and scored
once on a one-yard plunge.
From the sideline, it was easy to tell Compton was in serious pain after
getting banged up on the first Eustace possession of the second half,
but he was able to take advantage of the Tiger defense’s preoccupation
with fullback Shawn Baldwin and halfback Trevan Johnson.
“Chris showed a lot of guts,” Wendel said. “His performance is one I’ll
remember for a long time.
“I felt if we continued to run the option well, they weren’t going to
stop us,” he added.
“Van has a great run defense. They play good technique, and they’re very
aggressive,” Wendel said. “It’s going to be a challenge for us. I think
they’re as physical as Ferris was.”
Van presents a number of different defensive looks, he said.
“They try to take away what you do best,” Wendel said. “We have four or
five options we run, and it’s hard to take away all of them.
“We’re not going to change what we’re doing,” he added. “We’re not going
to come out and throw 30 passes.”
Van, however, just might do that – they have thrown more than 30 passes
in a game from a spread offense this season, but they’ve also lined up
in the traditional Power I and run the ball.
“Offensively, they’re pretty hard to prepare for,” Wendel said. “We
expect both (looks). I don’t think they’ll change their personality. Van
is Van, and they’re going to run the ball. That’s what we’ve got to
Wendel said he was looking forward to facing a physical team, such as
“I’d like to see where we match up,” he said. “It’ll be an indicator of
Wendel said he really hasn’t thought about his team making the playoffs
and going for the district championship in his second year.
“I think I’ll feel pretty good about it after the season’s over,” he
said. “Saturday, about 2, I always start to feel nervous about the next
Midway knocks out Mabank in
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
CORSICANA–Mabank’s Lady Panthers found their fifth straight trip to the
playoffs a brief one, as Waco Midway’s Pantherettes knocked them out
with a 3-0 bidistrict volleyball win Monday.
The Lady Panthers started the season with two strikes against them –
losing almost everybody (all but two subs) from a squad that went 20-0
in Class 3A district play, plus bouncing back up to Class 4A in last
February’s UIL realignment.
Mabank finished the season 12-22, including a 5-7 District 15-4A record.
The good thing is veteran Mabank coach Stacy Shelton has almost
everybody coming back next year, as she loses only her two seniors,
setter Erica Umana (a returnee) and Melody Cook.
Grabbing the district’s fourth-place playoff berth was a major
accomplishment in a district that featured third-ranked Red Oak, but
that also meant facing defending Class 4A state champion Waco Midway in
the first round.
In front of a sparse crowd at Corsicana High School, Midway knocked off
Mabank 25-21, 25-6 and 26-24.
“The girls played really well in the first and third games, but game two
was horrible,” Shelton said afterward.
“Our lack of playoff experience with these athletes really hurt us,” she
added. “None of these girls have actually played in a volleyball playoff
match before, and Midway’s girls showed a little more composure than we
“I thought our offense did a great job, but our serve receive, which has
hurt us all year long, was our downfall,” Shelton said. “That is
something we definitely need to work on for next year, along with many
In the opening game, Mabank’s girls showed some obvious jitters early,
but settled down and eventually tied the score at 9-9.
The serve receive problems Shelton noted were quite apparent in the
opening game, but Mabank was able to hang close, staying within two
points at 17-15 following a Torrie Garrett kill, and 19-17 on a Midway
Midway took a 22-18 lead when Mabank mishandled a serve, but a spike by
Alison Castle and a Midway miss pulled the Lady Panthers within two
again at 22-20.
A kill by Cook pulled the Lady Panthers within a point at 22-21, but
that’s as close as they would get. Midway scored the next three points
to take the first game.
Mabank was never in the second game, falling behind 4-0 early.
The Lady Panthers closed to seven points at 12-5 when Midway was called
for a lift, but Midway ran off the next 10 points before Garrett’s spike
finally broke the run at 21-6.
Facing elimination, the Lady Panthers came out strong in the third game,
but immediately fell behind again.
Midway’s Ale’tra Ware gave them a 6-2 lead, but Umana’s long hit was
just inside the back line to break the run, and the Lady Panthers
started climbing back into the game.
Castle caught a break when her serve skipped off the top of the net and
fell in for an ace, bringing Mabank within a point at 7-6, but her next
serve went into the net.
Lauren Norwood again pulled the Lady Panthers within one, and Midway’s
next serve return went out of bounds to tie the score at 8-8.
A Mabank block and a Midway miss prompted Midway to call time with the
Lady Panthers up by two, 13-11.
Allyson Butler’s spike kept the Lady Panthers ahead, and Cook nailed the
next serve for Mabank’s second ace.
Mabank caught another break when Midway was called for moving during the
serve, which wiped out Norwood’s serve into the net and gave Mabank a
Midway started battling back, taking advantage of a Mabank miss and a
call against the Lady Panthers. A tip by Midway’s Tammy Mader pulled
them within a point at 17-16 and prompted Shelton to call a time-out.
Cook made it a two-point game, but the Lady Panthers missed a block and
hit out to tie the score at 18-18, and another miss gave Midway the
Cook nailed two hits to again tie the score at 19-all and 20-all. Midway
opened a two-point lead, but a Mabank block and a Garrett kill tied the
score again at 22.
Midway took a two-point lead when Mabank was called for being in the net
and hit long, but Garrett’s tip closed the gap and Midway hit out to tie
the score again at 24.
The Lady Panthers had been able to overcome a couple of odd calls, but
the next one (which drew howls from Mabank fans) gave Midway a 25-24
lead, and a Midway tip ended the game and the match.
“I thought our girls represented Mabank well, and for such an
up-and-down season, we gave it our all,” Shelton said.
Castle and Norwood each notched six kills, while Norwood added six digs
and one save, and Castle had two digs.
Garrett finished with four kills and three blocks, along with one dig,
while Cook finished with five kills, three blocks, two digs and one ace.
Umana finished with 20 assists and one kill, while freshman Taylor Brown
added three assists.
Butler finished with three kills, two blocks and one assist.
On defense, Hayley Spurgeon had 13 digs, while Lauren Hamilton (the
other returnee) had four digs and Shaylee Williams added one dig.
Kemp goes for playoff spot
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–Friday night’s season finale will have the Kemp Yellowjackets
facing the visiting Canton Eagles, with the District 14-3A third-place
playoff berth on the line.
None of the Kemp players have ever been in a situation where the
playoffs were riding on the game’s outcome.
The last time the ’Jackets had a legitimate shot at a playoff berth in
the final game was in 2000 (although they were close in 2006, when they
finished 5-5), and the last time Kemp made the playoffs was back in
1997, head coach Greg Anderson said.
“We’re certainly excited to be in the position we’re in, although it’s
not going to be an easy task,” Anderson said.
The ’Jackets put themselves in a position to make the playoffs with a
very narrow 24-21 win over hosting Mineola last Friday night, while the
Eagles fell to the league-leading Van Vandals in their annual grudge
Now 4-0 in district play, the Vandals will host the 3-1 Eustace Bulldogs
Friday, with the district championship at stake (see related story, page
Both Canton (5-4) and Kemp (4-5) come into Friday’s contest at 2-2 in
district play. Whoever wins Friday’s contest at Kemp will face
Farmersville in the first round of the playoffs, Anderson said.
“We are going to have to play a good game. They (Canton) are
well-coached, and they have a history of making the playoffs,” he said.
If it’s a close game, the ’Jackets might have an edge. Last Friday
night, Mineola had two shots at a tying field goal with no time left,
but missed both times.
“We jumped on them quick and got out in front, 21-0, by halftime,”
Anderson said. “They’re a good football team. We just had a couple of
crucial mistakes that killed drives, and that gave them opportunities to
get back into it.”
It didn’t help that both the game clock and play clock weren’t working
after halftime, he pointed out.
As time was running out, Mineola lined up for a tying field goal, but
pulled it wide left. However, the ’Jackets were flagged for roughing the
kicker, and Mineola got a second chance 15 yards closer.
“We got good pressure on him, and I think he rushed it,” Anderson said.
“Our kids, late in the game, have confidence now that things may go
their way in the end.”
A pre-season pick as the district favorite following three straight
playoff runs, the Eagles “are young, but they’ve got a good group,”
Anderson said. “I know coach (Lance) Angel will have his group ready to
Canton runs the spread offense, “and they’re really good at it,”
Anderson said. “They use the entire field, and they control the clock.
Even though they throw it, they still have 10- or 12-play drives that
use up the clock.
“Their defensive line and run defense is as good as anybody in the
district,” he added. “In that, our good (running attack) is going
against their good.”
While it’s true for every football game, this matchup will turn on the
play of each team’s offensive and defensive lines, along with turnovers
and mistakes, Anderson said.
“We have the advantage of playing at home,” he added. “It’s senior
night, and there’s certainly no better way for them to finish their
season than to gain their first playoff opportunity.”
MHS @ West Mesquite*
KHS vs Canton*
EHS @ Van*
(end regular season)
EHS vs Brownsboro (scr)
EHS @ Lovejoy (scr)
MHS @ Frisco Liberty (scr)
KHS @ Kaufman (scr)
MHS vs Kerens
KHS @ P.Westwood
MHS-Lady Panther Inv.
MHS vs Wills Point
(Vandergiff Park, Arlington)
Old Settler’s Park