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First KHS soccer team opens play Jan. 2
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–A little more than a year after a group of parents approached the school board with a request, Kemp High School is fielding its first soccer team.
The 17-player boys team will open inaugural season play with a scrimmage at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, against the hosting Eustace Bulldogs.
Of course, there will be some birth pains – Kemp will be playing all games away from the natural turf of Yellowjacket Stadium, which probably would not be able to recover from a winter-long trampling in time for football next fall.
Most (if not all) of the schools who field soccer teams, such as Mabank and Eustace, have artificial turf.
Since there are no 3A soccer districts, Kemp and Mabank (which is likely to drop back down to 3A) and Eustace (also likely to drop to 2A) will join a 4A district when the UIL realigns districts in February.
The ’Jackets are not eligible for UIL postseason competition this first year, as they are essentially playing a junior varsity slate. Eustace also played a JV slate when they first fielded a team a couple of years ago.
With a brand-new soccer program, there’s also a brand-new coach – Jason Thomas, who is in his first year at Kemp High School and his sixth year of teaching.
A Dallas-area native, Thomas is a 1990 graduate of Flower Mound Marcus, and obtained a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of North Texas in 2000.
Thomas has never coached before. “It’s a lot bigger plate, as far as time management goes,” he said.
He grew up playing soccer, and played in high school. After graduation, he also played club league soccer in the Dallas area.
“I’m an avid fisherman, and I moved down here to fish,” he said. “But, I haven’t gotten to put my boat in the water in a long time.”
Thomas has three seniors, four juniors, seven sophomores and three freshmen making up the first KHS team.
A girls team was planned, “but we didn’t have the turnout to field a girls team,” he said.
Initial members of the team are Justin Hathcock, Dalton Palmer, Eric Garza, Dalton and Dayton Chambers and Nick Jackson.
Also, Jacob Kelly-Stephens, Matt Kinney, Patrick Renfro, Derek Whiteley, Joshua Shipp, Tyler Jones and Dustin Jackson.
Also, Blake Murray, Gamaliel Salazar, Adrian Cruz Jr. and Zachery Patterson.
“I see a lot of enthusiasm,” Thomas said. “It’s hard for me to tell the talent level without knowing the competition, but four or five of them have pretty good skills.
“They give me their all, and that’s all you can ask for,” he added.
Following the opening match at Eustace, the Yellowjackets will play in the Eustace boys tournament Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 7-9.
After that, they’ll be on the road, facing Athens Monday, Jan. 11, and then playing in the Kennedale tournament Jan. 15-16.
Kemp will visit Venus Jan. 19, Lindale Jan. 26, Jacksonville Jan. 29, Corsicana Feb. 5, Terrell Feb. 16 and wind up their first season at Tatum Feb. 19.
The Athens and Tatum games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m., while the rest will kick off at 6 p.m., except for the tournaments.

Lady Yellowjackets crush Miller Grove
Monitor Staff Reports
KEMP–The hosting Kemp Lady Yellowjackets improved to 14-2 going into the Christmas break with a 54-30 blowout win over Miller Grove Lady Hornets Dec. 21.
The Lady ’Jackets were scheduled to begin play Monday at the annual Gatesville basketball tournament in Central Texas.
Saturday, Jan. 2, the Kemp girls are scheduled to visit Cross Roads for a non-district game, opening with a 1 p.m. junior varsity contest.
Tuesday, Jan. 5, the Lady ’Jackets will visit Quinlan Ford’s Lady Panthers for their final non-district contest, with a 5 p.m. junior varsity game opening the evening’s slate.

Monitor Photo/Gregori Starrett
Kemp Lady Yellowjacket Kandace Rose (50) pulls up to score two points against three Miller Grove defenders during Kemp's 54-30 blowout win over visiting Miller Grove Dec. 21. Rose finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals.

Kemp will open District 14-3A play at home against the Van Lady Vandals Friday, Jan. 8, with a 4:30 p.m. sub-varsity contest opening a three-game slate.
At home against the visiting Lady Hornets, the Lady ’Jackets took control of the contest early, as Miller Grove could not match their quickness.
The Lady ’Jackets opened a 14-4 lead in the first quarter and outscored the Lady Hornets 21-4 in the second period to take a commanding 35-8 lead at the half.
Kemp head coach Kent Smith had the girls slow the pace in the second half to avoid running up the score too much against the outmatched Lady Hornets, who were playing without their starting point guard.
“We also pulled back on the perimeter defensively, since they weren’t too willing to drive to the basket, and they were able to hit some threes because of this,” Smith said.
Michelle Ritterbach again led the Lady ’Jackets with 15 points, six rebounds, two steals and four assists.
With the Lady ’Jackets going to a half-court game in the second half, sophomore Kandace Rose showed why she was last year’s district Newcomer of the Year, scoring 12 points and pulling down eight rebounds.
Senior post Shelbie Wright also had a strong outing, scoring seven points (on 50 percent shooting), adding three rebounds and one block.
Amanda Lawrence had six points and two steals, while Brandy Simmons, Brittany Simmons and Shannon Shipp all scored four points each.
Dec. 19, the Lady ’Jackets visited Lindale, and the 4A Lady Eagles handed them their second loss of the season, 51-31.
Lindale opened a 13-9 lead in the first quarter and led by five points at halftime, 24-19, but then pulled away in the second half, outscoring Kemp 27-12 after the intermission.
Ritterbach led the Lady ’Jackets with 11 points (including a 3-point basket), with Wright and Shipp both scoring five points each, Brittany Simmons four points, and Rose and Brianna Powell adding three points each.



Upcoming games

Girls basketball

Jan. 2
MHS open
KHS @ Cross Roads

Jan. 5
MHS vs Terrell*
KHS @ Quinlan Ford

Jan. 8
MHS @ Red Oak*
KHS vs Van*
EHS vs Mineola*

Jan. 11
MHS vs Mesquite Poteet*

Jan. 12
KHS vs Wills Point*
EHS @ Canton*

Jan. 15
MHS @ Forney*

Jan. 19
MHS vs Lancaster*
KHS vs Mineola*
EHS @ Wills Point*
(*District contest)
Boys basketball

Dec. 29
EHS @ Fruitvale

Jan. 5
MHS @ Terrell*
KHS vs Westwood
EHS @ Cross Roads

Jan. 8
MHS vs Red Oak*
EHS vs Brownsboro

Jan. 11
KHS @ Quinlan Ford

Jan. 12
MHS @ Mesquite Poteet*

Jan. 2
EHS vs Kemp (boys only)
MHS girls @ Greenville (scr)

Jan. 5
MHS girls vs NForney (scr)
EHS b&g vs Ferris

Jan 7-9
EHS hosts tournament
(KHS, MHS boys)
MHS g @ Mt. Pleasant trn.

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