2011 brought surprises,
By Sam Epps
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Nobody thought things would work out the way
they did in 2011. Some had high expectations, and were let down.
Some had low expectations, and were pleasantly surprised.
The Cedar Creek Lake area lost two longtime photojournalists,
The Monitor’s Kerry Yancey in July, and the Cedar Creek Pilot’s
Charles Stiff two months earlier in May. They were big shoes to
fill, and left a legacy behind many will remember for years.
As January began, area basketball teams were beginning district
play, and aiming for playoff spots.
A rural Van Zandt County couple spotted an unusually large black
cat on their property. The jury is still out on if it was one of
the rumored black panthers in the area, or if it was an
unusually large domesticated cat.
The Mabank Lady Panthers opened their District 13-3A schedule by
going 2-0, and the Kemp Lady Yellowjackets started off 1-1. The
Lady Panthers advanced to a 3-0 district record after defeating
the Kemp girls.
The Mabank boys and the Canton girls took the top spots at the
annual Mabank Invitational powerlifting meet.
The Eustace Bulldogs basketball team slipped past Malakoff,
54-52, to take their district record to 4-3.
In February, the Mabank girls clinched a playoff spot after
defeating Kemp, 51-38. They finished in second place in District
The Eustace Bulldogs missed the playoffs, despite a win in their
final game, and a 6-5 District 14-2A mark.
In the first round of the Lady Panthers’ playoffs, Mabank
defeated the Quinlan Ford Lady Panthers, only to be stopped by
Spring Hill in the area round.
The Mabank boys clinched a third-place playoff berth, but were
eliminated by Wills Point in round one.
In March, the Kaufman boys and girls track teams won the annual
Bulldog Relays track meet in Eustace.
The Eustace Lady Bulldogs track team took the top spot in the
Kemp Yellowjacket Relays March 31.
The Mabank Lady Panther soccer team made school history by
winning Mabank’s first-ever soccer playoff game.
In April, they had advanced to the third round of the playoffs.
Mabank High School junior Barrett Brown turned pro ... in
professional wrestling, and made his professional debut at the
Germanfest Wringenmeisterschaft Tournament in Meunster.
Meanwhile, the Whitehouse Lady ’Cats knocked the Mabank Lady
Panthers out of the soccer playoffs after winning 4-1.
The Mabank boys and girls golf teams won the District 13-3A golf
tournament to advance to the Region II tourney.
In May, the Eustace Bulldogs won the bidistrict championship,
defeating the Teague Lions, 2-1.
Mabank’s Natalie Torres and Cameron Cantrell were named Mabank’s
Athletes of the Year at the annual sports banquet.
In Kemp, Michelle Ritterbach and Johnny Kilgore were named
Athletes of the Year.
Eustace’s Allie Cass and Addison Scott were named Bulldog
Athletes of the Year.
As school let out for the year, fishing and youngsters took
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department held its annual Kid Fish
event at Purtis Creek State Park. More than 215 young people
Youngsters of varying ages also participated in little league
baseball and softball.
In June, The Eustace Bulldogs had a new athletics director and
head football coach after Brian Herman took the reins.
Mabank’s two-time all-around cowboy winner Dustin Jackson
qualified for the 63rd annual National High School Finals Rodeo
in Gillette, Wyo.
As schools began to crank up, area students began attending
sports camps and getting ready for a new sports season.
Football and volleyball practices began and by August, teams
were ready to begin the grind of the sports season.
Mabank assistant football coach Wayne Spruill retired after
coaching the game for 50 years.
In Mabank and Kemp, the football teams experienced some
In Eustace, the Bulldogs appeared to be cruising past all
The Eustace boys cross country team saw success, taking first
place at the Tyler Lee Classic meet.
The Kemp Lady Yellowjacket cross country team took second place
at the Malakoff cross country meet.
The Lady Bulldogs started their district volleyball schedule by
going 3-0, while the football team continued to blow past
opponents, remaining undefeated through their first five games.
The Kemp Yellowjacket football team had difficulty getting
Mabank edged out Brownsboro in a heart-stopping 17-14 win over
the visiting Brownsboro Bears for homecoming.
Eustace continued to dominate headlines throughout football
season, remaining undefeated until a loss to the visiting
The Bulldogs finished the regular season in good shape, and
advanced to the playoffs to face Callisburg.
After shutting Callisburg down, 28-0, the Bulldogs faced the
Melissa Cardinals in the next round of the playoffs.
The Cardinals edged out a 19-10 win, ending the Bulldogs’ season
with an 11-2 overall record.
Three Bulldog running backs finished the season with more than
1,000 yards rushing.
The Mabank Panthers were eyeing a trip to the playoffs until a
loss to the Crandall Pirates ended those thoughts.
Mabank finished the season with a 4-5 overall record, and a 11-3
District 13-3A mark.
The Kemp Yellowjackets struggled all season.
The Bulldog cross country team finished in second place at the
Region II cross country meet to earn a trip to Round Rock and
the state meet.
The Lady Bulldogs cruised through the volleyball season and made
it to the Region II quarterfinal round of the playoffs.
There, the Lady Bulldogs were stopped by the Franklin Lady Lions
in three games.
Stay tuned, 2012 looks to be an interesting ride for area