Bulldogs defeat Livingston Lions 44-7

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by Brian Besch

The Nederland Bulldogs used a balanced offense to score 37 unanswered points in defeating Livingston 44-7 Wednesday night at Lion Stadium.

The arm of Blaysin Fernandez and legs of Devon Simmons were the catalysts of the Bulldog attack. The junior quarterback was 15-23 for 229 yards and three scores, while Simmons ran for 96 yards on 18 carries and found the end zone for four total touchdowns.

Also helping the Nederland cause was six Lion turnovers that opened the gap just before halftime and gave the Bulldogs complete control over the final two quarters.

“It definitely helped our momentum when you get turnovers and capitalize on them,” Nederland coach Monte Barrow said after the victory. “A lot of times when you get turnovers and don't, it can go the other way on you. I was proud of the fact that we recognized the sudden-change situations there and capitalized on those mistakes.”

Offensively, Nederland attempted 17 passes and had 18 rushes in the first half, something that took the Livingston coaching staff by surprise. With Simmons running for 119 yards and three touchdowns in last season’s contest, Livingston coach Brian Broussard said his defense was prepared to stop the talented runner, who had 47 yards on 10 carries in the first half.

“That was the plan, to try to not let him beat you,” Broussard said. “I thought we played well against him, but it is the missed tackles and getting driven off the ball. That offensive line is big and we don't have that kind of size on the defensive line. We fought hard on the line, but that is a program over there where the coaches have experience and they have some things established. They have good kids over there and they are well-coached.”

Barrow said his team used the pass to set up the rushing attack, a plan that was also successful for Caney Creek in the season’s first contest.

“We watch video just like everybody else does and try to get matchups that we like,” Barrow said. “We feel like we have a pretty good running back that people are going to game plan to stop. When people man up on you on the outside, you have to take advantage of that and make plays when you are one-on-one if they have the numbers in the box to stop the running game. If you can do that, maybe it keeps that safety out of there some and opens up the run.”

After a Lion three-and-out to begin the game, the Bulldogs countered with a couple of 17-yard plays to set up an eight-yard Simmons run for the first points of the night.

Livingston tied it with a five-play drive for 57 yards, culminating in a nine-yard run from quarterback Christian Mitchell. The senior quarterback also saw some time at receiver, but helped aid the only Lion scoring drive with a 40-yard pass to junior wide out Corry Scott.

Simmons punched in his second touchdown on a three-yard scamper and Payne Barrow booted a 33-yard field goal to provide a buffer. A fourth down quick kick was touched by Livingston cornerback Jamarcus Brown, leading to a turnover and another touchdown to complete the first-half scoring.

“You tell them when there is a quick kick to get off the field,” Broussard said. “Run off the field and don't worry about it. We work on that in practice and it looks like we have never done it.”

The last end zone visit of the first half was a pass hauled in by Blayne Burnett (4 catches, 95 yards, TD) from 26 yards out on third and long.

“The first half wasn't good, but if we make a few plays, it should be a one-possession game,” Broussard said of the 23-7 halftime score. “We had three illegal procedure penalties on receivers and I just don't get that. I thought the kids played hard and we played well at times defensively in the first half, but there were just mistakes all over the place. At halftime, I still felt good and I thought we were really going to play better in the second half. We had our chances in the first half.”

It would not get better for the home team. The Nederland defense controlled the second half competition. After gaining 138 yards before the band break, the Lions were limited to 69 total yards in the second half. A fake punt accounted for 20 of the 69 yards. Mitchell, arguably the top Lion offensive threat, was tossed from the game after collecting his second personal foul.

“We had No. 17 at practice every day, but we can't simulate what he can do,” Barrow said. “We knew that from last year — that he is a great athlete. We identified where he lined up, whether it was at receiver or quarterback, and made a conscious effort to try to keep him under wraps as much as possible. You're not going to shut him down the whole time, but I thought we did a great job limiting him.”

The talented senior was held to 44 rushing yards and threw for 51 yards with an interception on seven attempts.

Another 144 Bulldog yards on the ground in the second half kept the clock and offense moving. Fernandez was 5-6 for 77 yards and two touchdowns in mostly the third quarter. Simmons and Carsen Arline were each on the receiving end of the scoring tosses. Simmons would add an 11-yard jaunt to post final points with just seconds remaining in the third period.

With the short week, Nederland will next host Baytown Lee Tuesday, while the Lions travel to Lumberton to take on the Raiders.

Kountze Lions at Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs

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The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs are looking to earn their first win at this Friday’s homecoming matchup against the Kountze Lions.

After consecutive losses on the road against two power rushing teams, Bulldog head coach Seven Armstrong expects a more favorable matchup at home versus the Lions. The team hopes to repeat their victory from last season at Kountze, while also improving their performance from the last two weeks.

“[Kountze] is a very talented football team, but I think they have some weaknesses in areas that we have to exploit.” said Armstrong. “We are hoping to step up on the offensive and defensive lines. That is where our advantage needs to take place. So far, we have not done that yet in our two losses. It’s time for us to win the line of scrimmage.”

Friday will also be the Bulldogs’ first home game, which Armstrong believes would be a perfect time to earn the first victory of the regular season.

“Hopefully we’re going to go out there and play well in front of a homecoming crowd.” Armstrong said. “Maybe we will be in a comfort zone and be able to do the things that we have done in practice. It is still all about performing better in a game.”

Although the Bulldogs bettered the Lions in a 69-32 win last season, Armstrong is not underestimating the big-play ability of the Kountze offense this time around.

Offensive rushing threats will come from Lion senior quarterback Jeremiah Barker, junior running back Keyshawn Adams, and freshman back Antonius Arline. The players will likely move the ball utilizing a triple option, which Armstrong is familiar with.

“They have players that can carry the football and can go the distance at anytime. Their athletes are going to be able to put us in a bad situation and we have to contain. They play a three-back backfield with a lot of option. We have to be very disciplined on defense and made sure we are taking care of our responsibilities. This will be a different brand of game. We have seen two power teams and now we are seeing more of a finesse-type run. We have to make sure we turn it into a power game.”

While the Lions also have playmakers on the defensive side, Armstrong believes his team will be in better shape to play strong all four quarters on Friday.

“Their defense is big upfront, but their main players, [Adams and Arline,] will be on the edge as outside linebackers. They have a lot of players playing on both sides like we do. Coming down in the fourth quarter, we are hoping to have the advantage as far as conditioning.”

The Bulldogs will still need to correct offensive mistakes from the first two games that racked-up costly penalties and turnovers. Armstrong hopes to get the most out of this week’s practices, with more focus on fixing those mental errors on the field.

“Anything you do, if you want to get good at it, has to do with repetition.” Armstrong said. “You have to do the same thing over and over until it becomes a habit. Right now, we have not developed good habits.”

Kountze held a 3-7 overall record last season and finished sixth in District 11-3A Div. I. However, the Lions had a good start this year by defeating the Hull-Daisetta Bobcats 35-6 on the road last Friday. This Friday’s homecoming game at Bulldog Stadium will start at 7:30 p.m.

Livingston Seniors ready for football


SENIORS READY -- The Livingston Lions will have 20 seniors participating on Friday nights this fall. The season officially kicks off Sept. 1 when the Lions host New Caney in a 7 p.m. start.. Pictured are (top row left to right) C.J. Knighton, Drew Ward, Garrett Goodson, Will Broussard, Chris Clausen, Donald Daniels, (middle row) Jamarcus Brown, Kane Placker, Micah Legg, Cameron Saenz, Christian Mitchell, Dominick Wilson, (bottom row) Johnathan Edmondson, Adam Duff, Kirk Neal, Lane Lethcoe and Raul Fernandez. Not pictured are Kobe Obanion, Dante Lacey and Tristen Knapp. The senior Lions will lead a group that hopes to improve upon a 5-5 record in 2016.



PRACTICE BEGINS — The Livingston Lions were scheduled to take the field Monday for their first practice of the 2017 season but rain forced them indoors. The team’s first scrimmage will be Aug. 18 when they travel to Tarkington and their first game will be Sept. 1 when they host New Caney.

Big Sandy finishes as state runner-up

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The last game can often be the hardest to win.

The Big Sandy Wildcats, winners of 27 straight and unbeaten in their classification, fell for the first time to a 2A school, as Muenster claimed its first state championship 6-2 Thursday morning at Dell Diamond.

“It is the greatest season in our school's history for baseball,” Wildcat coach Jacob Hooker said. “We have something to build on and we return seven starters. We will be in the mix next year; it has been fun. We had a five-hour rain delay in the Regional Finals, a walk-off home run in the second round, and beating Bridge City during the year — it has been a great season.”

Clay Stevens led the game off with a double down the third-base line. A one-out single by Blayne Jones drove in a run, the game's first.

A leadoff triple by Bryce Holmes was followed with a one-out double by Austin Hendrix to tie the game at one after an inning of play.

Stevens was again a Wildcat nemesis, singling to left. Kagen Danglemayr followed with the same to put runners on the corners in the third inning. Jones, the tournament MVP, collected his second hit, with a single and RBI, but Broch Holmes threw out Danglemayr when he overran the bag at second. Carson Cheaney singled and Parker McGrew tripled to bring in two more runs. A balk by relief pitcher Broch Holmes on his first windup of the game scored McGrew from third for a 5-1 Hornet lead through three innings.

Aaron Thompson took the first pitch of the bottom half of the fourth inning into left for a base hit. Bryce Holmes doubled to score Thompson, cutting the score to 5-2.

In the top of the final inning, Carson Trubenbach walked after working a full count. Reaching third on a fielder's choice and passed ball, an error at third brought in the sixth Hornet run.

Needing four runs in the bottom of the seventh, Duff singled to chase Hornet hurler Jones from the contest. Hendrix was walked by reliever Sawyer Sanders. Broch Holmes singled to center, loading the bags. Kylie Cox and Thompson each came to the plate representing the potential tying run, but it was not to be.

The Wildcats lose four seniors that leave a legacy at Big Sandy. Graduated seniors include Landon Creel, John Slack, Bryce Holmes and Austin Hendrix.

“I am more proud that we have three seniors going to college and another going to diesel mechanic school,” Hooker said. “That means more to me that all four are going to do something and are improving their education.”

Returning will be eight starters (including designated hitter) that are now veterans of the playoff


“We will see if we can one-up it next year,” the coach said. “We will start in the weight room on day one and get after it.”

Wildcats beat Groveton, playing for state championship

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A five-run fourth inning has propelled the Big Sandy Wildcats into the state championship game, defeating the Groveton Indians 7-3 Wednesday morning at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.

Falling behind 2-0 in the second inning, Big Sandy took momentum back in the fourth, scoring five times to take a lead that they would not surrender.

All three Indian runs were unearned. Groveton began the scoring in the second inning, when Spenser Pope was hit by a pitch and Saul Chavez bunted. The bunt was taken by Big Sandy catcher Bryce Holmes and thrown to first. The throw deflected off first baseman Anthony Parrish's glove, allowing a run to score and Chavez to slide safely into third. Chance Coker got the second run in with a sacrifice fly in center field.

Groveton appeared to have control of the contest at that point. Through three innings, Indian hurler Glenn Thornton was nearly untouchable.

“We had watched this kid throw and we knew he was going to be throwing hard sliders,” Big Sandy coach Jacob Hooker said. “We haven't seen a real power arm with a real power slider all year, so I knew if we could give up just one or two runs, we would be fine. We knew if we got through the lineup one time, we would start seeing the ball a little bit better. He is good and going to Blinn (Junior College) for a reason. We just wanted to stay within striking distance and we did.”

Down a couple of runs, Wildcat outfielders put the offense in motion. Broch Holmes walked and a double by Kylie Cox brought him in. Cox's fly ball in center field was misplayed, turning Chavez around twice. Holmes slid in home as the relay arrived for the Wildcats' first run.

“I have a center fielder that has been playing lights out all season long,” Groveton coach Wayne Williams said. “He let one get up in the wind and just carry over his head to score one run. A second run scored and I thought we threw the guy out, but that was a game-changer, because after that they rattled off three hits in a row. I told my assistant coach if anyone can get three hits off of a No. 1 pitcher, then they are a good team. We fought to the end and we put up our best effort.”

Aaron Thompson singled to left, leaving runners on the corners. A suicide squeeze by Cody Adams brought in Cox safe at the plate. A base hit then by Garrett Lilley scored Thompson, giving the Wildcats their first lead of the game. With two on in scoring position, Austin Hendrix helped his own cause, singling to center field and plating both. After four innings of play, Big Sandy held a 5-2 advantage.

Phenomenal as always, Austin Hendrix allowed three unearned runs on four hits in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked no one.

“I came out with the mindset that I was going to pitch to contact,” the Wildcat pitcher said. “I wanted to let my defense help me. I really wasn't trying to strike anybody out. I was trying to keep them off-balance and mixing it up. I would throw a fastball to try to get it by them every now and then. We are in the state tournament and everybody can hit, you can't just blow it by them.”

Adams and Lilley each singled to begin the bottom of the sixth, setting up insurance runs for the team from Dallardsville. Bryce Holmes doubled to right, allowing Adams to cross home plate. Brandon Hendrix drove in senior Landon Creel, running for Lilley, giving Big Sandy a five-run advantage.

Trying to mount a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, Indian left fielder Pope beat out an infield single. A sacrifice bunt and throwing error put him on third. A sacrifice fly to left field brought in Pope for the final run.

“It feels great,” Williams said of Groveton making the state tournament for the first time. “I told these kids for a while, we have been a football school. I said that we can do this in baseball also. I told them if they will listen to me, I will get them here. This is my first year here and next year we want to implement more into our offensive system. Defensively, we didn't make any errors, and that's one thing I am proud of. I told the kids that if we don't make errors, it's going to be hard for us to get beat. When you run into a team like (Big Sandy) that can swing the bats, it's a little bit different. They just have a great team and they are well-coached.”

For Groveton, the team ends the season at 31-4, the best record in school history.

“We will lose nine seniors, but I told them we are not going to rebuild, we are just going to reload,” Williams said. “We want to get back here next year. I am just proud for Groveton and I'm proud that we are on the map in baseball. I plan on being here a long time, if they say so. I have loved this game ever since my mom and dad put me in it at four or five years old. I lost my father this year and this team took me on a ride to make me forget about it. It's been a great ride and I've enjoyed it.”

For Big Sandy, a match with Muenster will decide the state championship. First pitch is set for 9 a.m. Stay tuned to and the Polk County Enterprise Facebook page for results and articles on all the action in Round Rock.