- New setup, prizes for “Sack Zach” this year
Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
If you’re a high school football fan, you’ve got to play “Sack Zach” this year. There’s really no reason not to.
Didn’t like the website setup the past couple years? Well, we’ve moved over to a new system that is much better. Among the improvements:
* Games can (and will be) weighted depending on the competitiveness. So toss-up games can be worth more points.
* We’re going to have more weeks up at a time. So you can choose games a couple weeks at a time if you think you might forget.
* You can log on with facebook, can email to invite friends and even play in mini groups with other people.
Still not sold? Well, how about this. Not only are we bringing back prizes, we’re making them way more awesome than ever before.
Each weekly winner will receive a $30 gift certificate to Parkway Grill. You can buy a lot of food for $30 at Parkway. If we have a tie, the whoever wins the tie gets the Parkway prize, but the other leaders will receive new TRN football shirts (new design and colors this year – bright green, yellow and pink).
If the weekly prize is that nice, then the yearly prize must be pretty sweet, right? Sure is. How about a $100 gift certificate to Parkway! You can throw a huge party at Parkway for that much. It’s way better than anything we did before.
So sign up today for “Sack Zach” and pick this week’s games. You don’t want to miss a week’s worth of games and then have to catch up. The link is www.1standtrn.com/sack-zach.Share
- Carter: Not Summer but Fall
Monday, August 27th, 2012
“Not Summer but Fall”
I was wrong the entire time I was getting excited about live music in the area for the summer. I should have been excited about this coming fall instead. Live and learn.
This last week, the guys from MPEC announced that Willie Nelson, the red headed stranger, will be playing on Tuesday October 9. Considering Nelson is pushing 80, I would suggest that if you have not seen him, then you should do your best to make this show. If you have seen him, and I’ve seen him twice at Memorial Auditorium (and that was years ago) and once at MSU under the dome (also years ago), then this would be likely the best time to see him again. He’s about as legendary as they come, and the man has written some of the most memorable of the last 60 years.
Another great show coming up is George Jones who will perform on Tuesday Oct 26 at the MPEC coliseum. Jones has long been one of my favorites—especially his earlier music. Jones is over 80 years of age, still has a very distinctive vocal delivery and is of course worth checking out. I got to see him once at Memorial and at his most recent MPEC show and it was definitely a man you have to see and to hear. In the past he hasn’t made all of his performances, but I can’t imagine he will “no show” this one. Again, as with Nelson, this may be one of your last times to check this guy out. No one tours forever.
Finally, the most unique show to come to town this fall will be former Smiths frontman Morrissey who will play the coliseum on Wednesday November 28. The Smiths were one of the best known 80s “new wave” bands and their records still sell. Morrisey himself has had a rather successful lengthy solo career. I put this show in the category of going to see The Clash when the English punk band played here. You know it would only be once, and it had to be see it now or forever hold your peace. By the way, the Clash broke up shortly after playing Wichita Falls.
For Wichita Falls, it should be a good fall. If you are really jones-ing to see some more independent acts, I would suggest Fun Fun Fun fest in Austin on November 2 through 4 with a ton of really good bands. Go to www.funfunfun.com for more info, but let me just say Run DMC and De La Soul. For those guys alone, it will be a blast.
I really do wish that some locals would try and put something together with a number of regional-level bands. Denton continues to do this very well. There are so many people who live within 20 miles of Wichita Falls, and there are so many area bands. Locally a show could draw bands from as far away as Austin and Norman, Oklahoma and it would be a destination event for those people and something local people could get excited about. We already have a few events like this in Wichita Falls. Let’s add a music event to our community diet.
One of my favorite area hard rock bands The Affiliation will be playing several times in the next several weeks starting at The Pub on Thursday Sept 13 and the next day at the Texas Oklahoma Fair. The following week they play again, I believe, at Old Town. You will recognize their new bass player, and it’s great to have him back in town.Share
- Second set of scrimmages
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
Here are the second round of scrimmage schedules. As I wrote with the first round, these were taken off each team’s schedules. There’s no telling if times, sites or teams have changed since then.
I might make it out to Hirschi-Henrietta after my son’s soccer practice. Other than that, I’ll be hoping to hear about how teams fared as the season draws nearer.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @zduncansports — Also, we’ll be posting our first football video soon. And be on the lookout for podcasts beginning early next week.
Henrietta at Hirschi, 7 p.m.
Abilene Wylie at Iowa Park
Decatur at Graham, 7:30 p.m.
Canyon Randall at Vernon
Holliday at Seymour, 7 p.m.
City View vs. Santo, 7 p.m. in Jacksboro
Nocona at Olney, 7 p.m.
Jacksboro at Windthorst, 7 p.m.
Canadian at QUanah
Hamlin at Munday, 6 p.m.
Petrolia at Muenster Sacred Heart, 6 p.m.
Rider at Denison, 11 a.m.
WFHS vs. Snyder, 7 p.m. in Clyde
Dumas vs. Burkburnett, 10 a.m. in Childress
Archer City vs. Chico, 6 p.m. in Windthorst
Electra Red and White, 6 p.m.
- If I had to choose one game every week…
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
I have it pretty good during the high school football season.
While most people attend one team’s games – getting stuck at blowouts and some bad matchups – I get to pick and choose what game to cover for the newspaper every week.
Sometimes it makes sense for me to attend a game that is more relevant to our area than the one I’d like to be at the most.
For instance, Week 1 I’d love to witness Stamford-Munday, but Windthorst-Holliday has more interest in town (and isn’t a bad game by any means) and we can probably get our sister paper in Abilene to cover it anyway for us.
So this list is of games I’d love to cover regardless. I’ll probably be at more than half of these games, but not every one. For instance, I’m covering Windthorst-Munday in Week Zero (again, a game I’m looking forward to very much), but I wouldn’t mind seeing UT-bound Tyrone Swoopes face Nocona.
Also, it’s pertinent to mention that while a Week 9 game looks great on paper, the longer we go into the season, the more possible some of these matchups aren’t as good as expected.
WEEK 0: Nocona at Whitewright – How often do I get to cover one of the top QBs in the nation in person? Not very often. Plus, want to get a good look at Indians.
WEEK 1: Stamford at Munday – Two of the top three teams in Class A. Can Moguls make this game closer than has been? I’m getting to see Munday early anyway, but Bulldogs will be tougher test.
WEEK 2: Electra at Seymour – This game was good last year, but the whole Keith Ivy aspect (him leaving Electra for Seymour) makes this a must-see. Atmosphere should be pretty amped.
WEEK 3: Quanah at Henrietta – Not totally sold on this because games like Breckenridge-Graham and Vernon-Holliday might be better. But this should be competitive and Indians don’t come to this area to play often.
WEEK 4: Munday at Holliday – Been excited about this game since realignment. It’s the power of Eagles against speed of Moguls (although Holliday isn’t slow by any means).
WEEK 5: Throckmorton at Windthorst – It may end up being a little gimmicky, but I can’t wait to see the Trojans playing six-man. And I think Throckmorton could have beaten some area 11-man teams over the years, too.
WEEK 6: Vernon at Graham – Maybe these aren’t the two best teams in 5-3A. Maybe I’m yearning for the time when no area rivalry was better than this one. Maybe Graham will beat everyone in district by at least 10 points. But I’m excited for what I’m hoping is a competitive game.
WEEK 7: Byron Nelson at WFHS – Not really sure what I think about the Coyotes for 2012. But if they win their first three district games (against the three easiest teams in district), then it’ll be the most meaningful WFHS game of the season.
WEEK 8: Rider at Denton Guyer – QBs who are headed to Texas and Ohio State. Teams that are ranked in the Top 10 in 4A right now. Yeah, I’m sold.
WEEK 9: Pilot Point at Bowie – Either this or Burkburnett-Iowa Park, depending on the stakes. Too early to tell if Pilot Point will be among the best in that district, but I think Bowie will be.
WEEK 10: Quanah at Windthorst – Again, there might not be much on the line. Maybe Graham-Burkburnett would be more important. Or Nocona-Henrietta. WFHS-Rider might mean something. When you get this late and there aren’t any obvious, it’s a toss-up.
0: Windthorst at Munday; Rider at Abilene Cooper
1: Rider at Denton Ryan
2: Graham at Abilene Wylie; Albany at Munday
3: Bridgeport at Burkburnett; Vernon at Holliday
4: Springtown at Graham; Boyd at Bowie
5: Stamford at Seymour
6: Rider at Lake Dallas; Henrietta at Holliday
7: Seymour at Windthorst
8: Nocona at Holliday; Quanah at Seymour; Munday at Muenster
9: Burkburnett at Iowa Park
10: WFHS at Rider; Nocona at Henrietta
* Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @zduncansportsShare
- Scrimmage recaps
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
Don’t worry. I haven’t fallen off a cliff or been gunned down by an errant football.
Between a short weekend getaway and having to finish up some high school football tasks (like tracking down nearly 40 football correspondents), I’ve been unable to blog about last week’s scrimmages.
But as always, I’m bouncing back today with two blogs, the first covering scrimmages.
I went out to Holliday last Friday morning and watched the Eagles take on Iowa Park. I had the kids with me, so I missed IP’s first possession and missed a couple plays at the end.
Here are my thoughts on that scrimmage and what I’ve heard/read from others.
* If I had to make a bet, I think freshman Derrick Ponder will be the Hawks’ quarterback this year. And I know there are Ponder-haters out there, but he’s not favoring his son when he makes his decision.
Derrick isn’t very tall, but he’s got a pretty strong arm. He can zoom the ball in there – at least once an IP receiver couldn’t hold on and once Derrick was a little too high on a pass to a receiver.
But to this neutral observer, there was a noticeable difference between him and senior Jace Langen, who also took snaps and lined out at receiver (where I bet he plays a lot if Derrick starts. IP could upgrade two positions this way). I do know he’s listed on the varsity roster and I;m sure that wouldn’t be the case if he was the No. 2 guy.
* Still the Hawks struggled to move the ball. Missed the first series, but Holliday got a lot of heat on the QBs. Garrett Davis did have a couple nice runs late, but in talking with Coach Patton on the phone later, he was pleased with his secondary. He considers Cameron Englishbee to be the shutdown corner Austin Twilligear was last year. Seemed like Jared Price was kept in check.
* Holliday won the scrimmage 1-0 by scoring once on a fourth-down QB run by Jacob Cole. He had dropped back to pass, felt pressure and then ran it in from about 10 yards. I thought IP did a decent job with Holliday’s run game – they broke off some decent gains but also got stuffed a bunch.
The big play on Holliday’s TD drive was a long pass that set up the TD run. The Eagles also should have had another possible touchdown if not for a dropped pass when the wideout got behind the defense.
* Cole didn’t take all the snaps for Holliday. Brennan Whitaker also played some there, too. I’ve had multiple coaches from different schools tell me that Holliday probably wouldn’t mind using Cole at RB more if they could. Guess we’ll wait and see if they do.
* Ponder said he was pleased with the scrimmage and thought that they struggled with some of the Eagles’ stunting. Patton wanted to be able to run the ball better but was excited about his defense. This scrimmage doesn’t really change what I thought beforehand – that Holliday is the team to beat in 5-2A (followed closely by Nocona) and IP will have a chance to make the playoffs in a 5-3A grouping that’s wide open after Graham.
OTHER SCRIMMAGE ACCOUNTS
Just reminding everybody – got these from passed-along accounts or the web. Did talk to a couple coaches, too.
* Nocona 4, Windthorst 0 – Indians’ first team scored twice and second team scored twice. Sounded like Trojans moved the ball some, but no big plays.
* Seymour 2, Henrietta 0 – That’s all I know. Figured Seymour would be the sharper-looking team with QB back.
* Quanah 3, Memphis 0 – Coach Sims said Quanah looked good.
* Jacksboro-Petrolia – From talking to Coach Hodnott, he said the Tigers scored 4-5 times and gave up one touchdown. He liked all the big plays Jacksboro scored on but commented on failing to convert short-yardage situations.
* Hirschi-Sweetwater – From reading the Sweetwater paper, it looks like they tied 1-1, although it was shortened by a storm when the No. 2s were on the field.
According to the story, Sweetwater averaged about 10 yards per play and did a lot of damage passing. Its starters scored and were inside 10-yard line again when fumbled. Hirschi’s No. 2s scored the Huskies’ touchdown.
* City View-Electra – We had Patrick our photographer there taking pictures. He said the Mustangs scored more touchdowns and looked like the better team. Electra did score at least once. I think the most notable thing about the Tigers was that freshman Markeis Lee really stood out. It sounded like he even took some direct snaps and could provide a tough tandem with Michael Bishop.Share
- Carter: All At Once
Sunday, August 19th, 2012
All at once…
It’s always fun to check out a new area band, especially when it has people in it that you know but not that well. You really don’t know what to expect, and it’s fun to wait around until the band takes the stage and breaks into its first number.
For example, I got to the Pub for college night last Thursday and there was a band playing called All At Once who are being managed by someone that everyone knows, Cody Magana. So, he tells me they are a cover band and worth checking out. So, then I go to chat with the guys from Dr. Philgood, because they are the headlining band, and they haven’t heard the band either, but they also know some of the guys in the band.
Time out. So, how is this for an idea for a band? The new group’s guitar player and manager (from All at Once) are former members of A Formal Affair. Wouldn’t it be neat to form a band from the former members of a local band that’s been around for a while looking for the right musicians. Or, you could combine former musicians from two area bands and do that. The new band could call themselves the guys who used to be “ / “ or whatnot and then play music that would be different or a blend or something.
Anywho, the All at Once guys hit the stage and are a nice solid cover band that did all sorts of things ranging from Rick Springfield to the Foo Fighters. I really liked the drummer and think they should start writing some material and see what comes of it.
The thing is that bands never know until they try and listeners never really know until they wait for the band to play. And then there’s waiting for a band to get to where they are going or at least the outstanding points along the way.
For example, I have been listening to Dr. Philgood back when they were a duo at Vincent’s, and then they became a trio. And then they got Steve-o Welch fresh from John Henry Vs. The Machine and then things really started moving for them. But, as many ways as they’ve sounded over the years, they still find new sounds, and I was surprised to hear some new things from them on Thursday. They played some new songs with some new twists, and they just keep coming together in different new ways. Steve-o is singing more but that’s energizing singer Chris Roberson that much more. And, when did Mike Daly get that good on the bass, and I think the same can be said for Phil’s drumming. The band surprised me last night with their energy and their fresh attitude, and that they can still do that after having been together for so many years.
On my way out the door, I ran into Rusty Holcomb –lead singer and guitar player for Lycergus–and we talked about bands in Wichita Falls and how some continue to get better. It really seems to come down to not wanting to make it that big. When you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, you are less likely to compromise your music to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Anyone over the age of 25–unless they are super original, wealthy and great songwriters–are not likely to hit it big. Lycergus and bands like Dr. Philgood don’t seem to care about becoming millionaires through their music. It’s all about playing and enjoying it, and it certainly shows onstage and in their albums, and it’s kind of brilliant.Share
- Some thoughts on preseason AP poll
Friday, August 17th, 2012
The preseason Associated Press poll came out Thursday with 25 high school football writers across the state – including our own Andy Newberry – choosing who the best teams are on paper.
Preseason polls are kind of like dessert. They don’t bring much to the table (health-wise), but everybody loves and devours them.
State champs Spring DeKaney (5A Div. II) and Melissa (2A Div. II) didn’t even receive a single preseason vote last year. Southlake Carroll (5A Div. I) wasn’t in the Top 10.
There were a couple preseason No. 1s who were champs – Aledo (4A Div. II) and Tyler Chapel Hill (3A Div. I). Others were up there pretty high – Lake Travis (3), Wimberley (3) and Refugio (4).
But like any rankings, it proves that there shouldn’t be much weight put into them. Having said that, here are some thoughts of the rankings that just came out:
* Seems like Munday (No. 3 in A) and Rider (No. 8 in 4A) fell right about where they should. I know a lot of it is because of tradition, but it’s hard to believe Windthorst (No. 9 in A) should be ranked only because it’ll be breaking in so many new faces.
* No top-ranked team was unanimous, which is how it should be this early in the season. Refugio (2A) had the most first-place votes with 17, followed by Stephenville (15 in 3A), Denton Guyer (13 in 4A), Mart (11 in A) and Southlake Carroll (8 in 5A).
* Lake Travis actually had one more 5A first-place vote than Southlake Carroll. That’s giving them a lot of love, only because they’re new to 5A after having dominated 4A for years.
* Three games involving ranked teams in area: Windthorst at Munday (Aug. 31), Stamford at Munday (Sept. 7) and Rider at Denton Guyer (Oct. 26).
* No ranked teams on anyone else’s schedule. That’s a change from last year when there was Burkburnett-Argyle, Jacksboro-Godley and a couple teams playing Muenster.
* Amarillo (Rider), Abilene Wylie (Graham), Albany (Munday), Lindsay (Jacksboro) and Muenster (8-A Div. II, Nocona) all received votes and are on some area team’s schedule.Share
- First scrimmage schedules
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Scrimmages can begin at the end of this week. Really, it’s the first time you can gauge a team since anybody can look good without pads or defenses that aren’t supposed to tackle.
Here is a list of scrimmages gathered from school schedules. Some don’t have times, others I wouldn’t be surprised if the times change.
I’m going out of town Saturday, but the three nearby games I’d like to see if I was here are: Electra-City View, Seymour-Henrietta and Windthorst-Nocona. I might try to make it out to Friday morning’s scrimmage between Iowa Park and Holliday.
Again, I’m blogging every day during the month of August (might miss a weekend day here or there) and you can also folow me on Twitter @zduncansports
Here are the schedules (Rider and WFHS can’t scrimmage until next week since they just started this week):
Burkburnett at Saginaw Chisholm Trail, 6 p.m.
Eastland at Graham
Iowa Park at Holliday, 10 a.m.
Vernon at Abilene Wylie
Archer City at Bowie, 6 p.m.
Olney at Paradise, 6 p.m.
Munday at Hawley, 6 p.m.
Hirschi at Sweetwater, 7 p.m.
Seymour at Henrietta
Electra at City View, 10 a.m.
Windthorst at Nocona, 10 a.m.
Petrolia at Jacksboro, 9 a.m.
Quanah at Memphis
- Non-district schedules
Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
Not all non-district schedules are created equally. A lot of the time, there’s not a whole lot coaches can do about it, either.
Obviously, if you’re really good, there will be some teams trying to duck you (Windthorst and Throckmorton are playing because of it). And everyone wants to schedule you if you’re close by and coming off an 0-10 season.
Some coaches are now more limited by traveling constraints. Sometimes, you can draw up what looks like a pretty tough schedule only to not have it pan out that way. Take Munday’s 2010-11 non-district schedule, for instance.
This was what Munday had – Stamford, Olney, Jim Ned, Haskell, Roscoe and Quanah.
Stamford was a legitimate toughie, but Olney has been down, as has Jim Ned. Haskell was coming off a state semifinal appearance when Munday scheduled the Indians. But they have been pretty bad.
Roscoe used to be a tough team; now they’re really struggling. Quanah is on the rise, but last year their QB was suspended for that game and the final score was 63-0.
So besides Stamford, Munday was pretty untested before starting district.
Having said that, now I’m going to list each team’s toughest non-district tests. The more teams on there, the tougher I think their district is.
Rider: Cooper, Denton Ryan, Amarillo – Not an easy game for Raiders, which is just how Garfield likes it.
WFHS: Granbury – Burkburnett is usually tough, but not sure how strong they’ll be. Wasn’t too impressed with Bishop Lynch not scoring against Coyotes last year.
Burkburnett: WFHS, Decatur, Bridgeport – Bulldogs usually schedule tough. Mineral Wells isn’t a cakewalk, either.
Graham: Abilene Wylie, Brownwood, Bridgeport – Playing Wylie-Brownwood on consecutive Fridays isn’t very easy at all. Steers would take 1-1 split.
Hirschi: Decatur, Mineral Wells – Bowie and Holliday are also on there and those could be winnable games for the Huskies this season.
Iowa Park: Decatur, Bridgeport, Mineral Wells – Seems like some of these teams are playing everyone in 5-3A. Should prove good barometer.
Vernon: Holliday, Gainesville – Probably the least difficult of the 3As, although I have no idea how good Altus is.
Bowie: Hirschi – Jackrabbits only play four non-district, but none of the four (others are Lake Worth, Henrietta, Alvord) are as tough of tests as Bowie will face in district.
Holliday: Van Alstyne, Windthorst, Munday – No surprises here. Eagles always have difficult non-district slate. Two not on this list (Vernon, Hirschi) are 3As.
Henrietta: Bowie – Games against Paradise and Callisburg are always competitive, too.
Jacksboro: Eastland, Lindsay – Eastland was legitimate title contender last year.
Nocona: Muenster, Whitewright – Indians will face UT-bound Tyrone Swoopes and a solid Muenster squad.
City View: Windthorst, Seymour – Stepped up non-district schedule but still not playing 2A side until district.
Archer City: City View, Nocona, Electra – Wildcats’ easiest game is its first against Haskell.
Olney: Electra, City View – Cubs have much easier non-district than last year (Mason, Munday, Windthorst).
Seymour: Stamford, Electra – The state-finalist Bulldogs are by far hardest foe.
Quanah: Childress, Wellington – Skyrockets made it to semifinals last year; both of these are last two before district.
Windthorst: Munday, Holliday – Trojans’ two toughest games are first, then road gets easier.
Petrolia: Windthorst, Collinsville – Both of these are on road.
Electra: Seymour – Could definitely see Tigers winning all of the others.
Munday: Windthorst, Stamford, Albany, Holliday – No team has this many really tough games. If this doesn’t get Moguls ready for postseason, I don’t know what will.Share
- Teams that might be on the outside looking in
Monday, August 13th, 2012
Before I went underground to slave over the TRN high school football preview section, I blogged about teams that have chances to make the playoffs this season who didn’t the year before.
So it only makes since to look at teams that could possibly miss the playoffs in 2012 who didn’t last season.
Now, I’m not writing that these teams won’t make the playoffs. All I’m saying is that their chance at getting past Week 10 doesn’t look like a lock.
Here are my five schools that fit this bill:
* Burkburnett – They’ve got the fewest returners that I’ve ever seen a coach submit – three. A guard (Ricky Clark), a receiver who caught the fourth-most passes (Larry Werner, 20) and a linebacker who started once district began (Brady Brunson).
Now the Bulldogs have established a pretty solid program, but it’ll be hard to make up for all those new faces. Two years ago, Burkburnett had an almost-new defense and surrendered 38 points a game.
Granted, Burk did make the playoffs that year (2010). And this District 5-3A isn’t exactly a murder’s row, either. But Vernon will be better. I think Iowa Park and Hirschi will be, too. They’ve both got a lot of guys coming back. So it’s not outside the realm of possibility the Bulldogs could struggle some.
* Henrietta – I know it seems ludicrous to suggest a perennial playoff team like Henrietta might not make it. But this year could be when the Bearcats’ nine-year stretch ends.
Holliday and Nocona are the top two teams, leaving one spot up for grabs. I like Henrietta for that spot, but I don’t think there’s a big gap between them and everyone else – City View, Alvord and Jacksboro.
This year, Henrietta is without a game-breaking QB (Crumpton/Booher), which could mean the offense might struggle some. We’ll see.
* Knox City – The Greyhounds lost a ton of talent last year. But even if they returned most of their guys, I think it would be hard to say they’d for sure make the playoffs. Throckmorton and Crowell are two great teams. I’m just not sure if Knox City can beat either one of them (they were 0-3 in 2011 against them).
* Bryson — See Knox City. The Cowboys moved up a division. They’ve had some success in Division II the past two years, but Bryson just isn’t in the Throckmorton-Crowell league.
Check back for another blog tomorrow (they’ll be daily now that most of the preview work is done) and follow me on Twitter @zduncansportsShare
- Carter: Nakia
Monday, August 13th, 2012
Last Friday night, if you were lucky enough to have $25, it was possible to see James McMurtry play at the Royal Theatre in downtown Archer City. The show lasted about one hour and a half, and word has it the show was very good. As I recall, the last time that McMurtry played the Royal the opening act may have had me playing drums. Friday, he was playing by himself—and not with his band.
The Thursday night before that, the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU featured a two act live show outdoors. 45 minutes of The Doppelgangers and then 45 minutes of Attebury Blueprint. I was there a little late and got to hear the opening part of the Blueprint guys, and they sounded good. It’s a difficult place to get good sound, but they looked like they were pleased and so did the crowd.
On Friday, I heard about three songs from an Olney band called Falls Country. They sounded like a band that grew up listening to Lynyrd Skynerd and some English-brand ‘70s rock and roll. Needless to say they sounded like a good solid band, and the lead guitar player did this one lead completely and entirely with his left hand. That was kind of impressive.
I got to the Pub a little early on Saturday night—early for me, but it was right about the same time that the opening band went on. I had written about Bayou Funk Debris before but had never really heard them play live, and they were quite good. Musically everyone in the band is awesome. Seriously, they’ve all been at it long enough to be able to know what to play and when not to play.
I think what strikes you about them is the grooves they get into and really dig into. Drummer John Cameron and bassist Ken Nelson are both energetic and keyboardist Sean Loftiss reminds me a little of the Toto style keyboard playing, which is quite good. Kelly Jackson lays down a groove guitar line that’s thick and bluesy.
Nelson laid down some rap about his realtor business, which was kind of brilliant. I think he’s giving away couzies with the band on it and maybe a brief history of witchcraft. Speaking on scary stuff, they played the “True Blood” theme song. I know that it runs about two minutes or so each week on the show. It’s sort of a perfect song (an inspired choice) to play in a barroom. Good for them.
Considering that a former TV star of the show “The Voice” is playing tonight, the crowd should probably be a little bigger. That said, it’s Nakia’s first time to play in town and it can take a while to develop a crowd in this town.
Nakia’s band was very smooth and quite cool, and they were all Austin quality musicians. I recognized the keyboard player who someone later told me was here when Bob Schneider was in town. I got to chat briefly with Nakia before he went on, and he pretty much knows all of the local Wichitans who are now Austinites beginning with Graham Wilkinson. If you missed his set, it was a worthwhile time. The man can clearly sing, though his voice was in a little distress from earlier in the week.Share
- New “Sack Zach” setup, other changes for 2012
Friday, August 10th, 2012
Today’s blog is coming a lot later than usual. That can be attributed to wading neck-deep in high school football previews for the TRN section coming out Aug. 26.
We’re going to go to the promotional route today, and I’m excited about a couple neat changes this season.
* “Sack Zach” is going to be new and improved. I’m not going to lie – I was kinda bummed with it last year.
Between not being able to give shirts to the winners (because those things were going for too much money on the black market), having some technical problems and not always getting the schedule up on time, I think it never really gained any ground in 2011.
We’re using a new system this year that is a lot more friendly and will allow us to post the entire regular-season schedule. So if you want to pick the whole month of September now, you can.
Plus, you can log in via Facebook. And I can make certain games worth more than one point, so the most competitive games every week may have different values.
And we’re bringing back the shirts. We’re still not allowed to give them to winners (I’m telling you, diamonds have nothing on these shirts), but we’ll do monthly drawings to give a few away. Anybody that plays will be eligible for the monthly drawing.
I’m not sure when the new “Sack Zach” will be up, but I think everyone will like it.
* I’ve joined Twitter and we’re going to emphasize that more on our site. There will be a box on the right side of the site that will have all of our updates on it. We’ll still do Twitter updates on scores every Friday and I’ll tweet as well (follow me @zduncansports)
* We’ll be giving away some prizes or doing some games on Facebook. Not sure what exactly, but rumor floating around is Parkway Grill gift cards. They’re the website’s sponsor.
* These aren’t new, but things we’ll continue are: our weekly predictions video, podcasts with yours truly, video highlights from a weekly game, plus all of the written coverage and stats that you should be used to.
In short, it’s going to be a fun season. I’m looking forward to the “Sack Zach” changes and I’m actually enjoying using Twitter more than I thought.
And I promise tomorrow’s daily blog will be about high school football.Share
- New playoff teams in 2012
Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Today’s blog will center on teams who didn’t make the playoffs last year but very well could in 2012.
For some of these schools, maybe they were a little too young last season or just have a lot of guys back. Maybe all they needed were one or two breaks a season ago.
For others, realignment can be greatly beneficial. For example, in District 5-3A somebody among Iowa Park, Hirschi and Vernon (a combined 5-25 in 2011) will be guaranteed a playoff spot. That’s because Bowie was dropped down to 2A.
So here are five teams that I believe have the best chances to advance once the regular season ends:
* Vernon – I road the Lions bandwagon until it crashed pretty hard at the start of district last year. Have I learned my lesson? Nope. Vernon does have a lot of guys back, and just as important, promoted coach Mark Bateman is returning to the Wing-T after two years of struggling with the spread (the Lions averages 200 yards per game last season, easily the area’s worst). I think Vernon could even be the second-place team behind Graham.
* Iowa Park – I also expect the Hawks to be more competitive in Ponder’s third year. He’s got a lot of guys back and the district is pretty wide open at the bottom. Burkburnett is no playoff lock, but even if the Bulldogs do make it, IP could edge out Vernon in Week 10.
* City View – Honestly, I really think the Mustangs might be a year away. They have a great sophomore class (led by D.J. Coursey) that will make City View only better the next two years. I don’t think anybody is in the Holliday-Nocona class of 5-2A Div. II, but City View gets the other three teams at home. They’ll have to knock off Henrietta in order to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002, but the Bearcats might be a little susceptible, too.
* WFHS – I think given their pedigree and talent returning, Denton Guyer, Rider and Lake Dallas are most likely playoff bound. That leaves one spot for WFHS, Byron Nelson, Azle, Denton and FW Brewer. Nelson looks to be Old High’s biggest challenger for that spot. Those other three aren’t very scary, but then again, WFHS only has 11 wins in the past four years.
* Six-Man District 10-A Division II – I’ve lumped this district together and counting it as one. Chillicothe, Rule, Northside and Harrold made zero playoff appearances last season and went a combined 8-30. Two teams will advance, although I haven’t the slightest who those two will be.
Remember, I’m blogging every day during the lead-up to the 2012 season. So check back in tomorrow and follow me on Twitter @zduncansportsShare
- Playoffs? You kidding me?
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
I know some readers will give me a Jim Mora-type reaction to today’s blog.
“Playoffs? Don’t talk about — playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs?”
I mean, practice just started two days ago. But that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about because the playoffs should be a goal for every team these days.
That’s because about a little more than half of our area teams made the postseason these days. Twelve of 21 area schools that don’t play six-man advanced past the regular season in 2011.
That’s probably about average, too. A couple years ago when UIL split 2A and A into two divisions and handed out three playoff spots, I believe that created between a 55-60 percent playoff rate in those two classes.
And now that four teams in 4A and 5A make it, every class is at least over 50 percent (although 3A-5A are just barely over).
In two of our districts this year, you have a better chance of making the playoffs than not – 5-3A and 3-A Division I are five-team districts with three playoff spots.
The only area district where less than half the teams qualify for the postseason is Bowie’s seven-team district that takes three spots. I guess if you want to count six-man districts, we do have some five-team groupings that take only two spots.
So it’s easier than not to make the playoffs these days. For some schools like Holliday, Henrietta and Rider, it seems to be almost a formality. For others, it’s a big deal.
Over the past decade (dating back to the 2002 season), here are how many playoff appearances our area teams have.
10 – NONE
9 – Holliday, Henrietta, Windthorst
8 – Rider, Graham
7 – Quanah
6 – Vernon, Iowa Park, Jacksboro
5 – Burkburnett, Seymour
4 – WFHS, Bowie, Electra
3 – Archer City, Munday, Petrolia
2 – Hirschi, Nocona
1 – City View, Olney
0 – NONE
* Lake Dallas, who’s paired with Rider and WFHS, is riding a 10-year streak into this season… Munday was surprising that low at four, but they had a couple tough years early in the last decade and twice missed out in that tough 9-A grouping… Henrietta has the longest streak in the area and can increase it to 10 in 2012… Seymour only has five, but that’s five in a row. Can’t see them not getting six this year, either.
Check back in for tomorrow’s blog and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @zduncansportsShare
- Area’s coaching changes for 2012
Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
We’ve got some new coaches for the 2012 high school football season.
Some were high-profile changes during the spring/summer like changes at Seymour, Vernon, Holliday and Windthorst.
Others slipped a little bit under the radar. Like when I called Gold-Burg and Forestburg last week and discovered their guys weren’t around anymore.
If there was one theme to this year’s coaching changes (at the 11-man level at least), it’s that several teams hired from within their program. All four who did turned to their defensive coordinators.
And don’t forget I’ll be blogging daily during the month of August as the days count down until the season starts. Also, you can now follow me on Twitter @zduncansports
Here are the new coaches:
Vernon – Mark Bateman: Longtime Vernon assistant (had been both coordinators at one time) takes over for Andy Correll. First head coach job since Electra.
Holliday – Cody Patton: Had been Eagles defensive coordinator for a while. His unit pitched a shutout of entire district last year.
Windthorst – Chris Tackett: Spent 15 years at Windthorst as Bill Green’s defensive coordinator.
Seymour – Keith Ivy: Comes over from Electra, where started turning around the Tigers in his first year as head coach. His dad coached at Seymour in the ’80s.
Electra – Mark Young: After losing out to Ivy at Seymour, the former Denton Guyer assistant replaces him at Electra.
Petrolia – Byron Gravitt: Late summer change wasn’t that big of a deal because Gravitt had been Pirates’ defensive coordinator and been their head coach in 2008.
Bryson – Danny Copeland: If his name sounds familiar, it’s because Copeland had spent some time at Benjamin a few years back.
Crowell – Nathan Hayes: Comes over from Blackwell after Mason Pierce left.
Gold-Burg – Stephen Connor: Takes over for Jeremy Black, had been a Quanah assistant at one point.
Forestburg – Nathan Winn: Third coach in three years for program.Share
- Carter: a real nowhere man
Monday, August 6th, 2012
“A real nowhere man”
Saturday night I walked into the Pub, after watching a two-hour flick on future earth Kate Beckinsale, and I heard what sounded to be the jukebox start with the Beatles tune “Nowhere Man” from “Rubber Soul.” I was unaware that they had put the album on their jukebox.
And then the song abruptly stopped. Aha, I realized a Beatles cover band must be doing their sound check.
No, not Liverpool Legends or 1964 but rather Hard Night’s Day (from the Metroplex) was on stage getting their sound levels. A pub regular, they were here with their four-member lineup. One drummer, one guitarist, one bassist and one guy who played guitar and keyboards. The harmonies were most impressive and it’s always amazing to hear how much music can come from four guys.
The opener was a guy named Ray Tarantino. He drove in from Kentucky to play the show, and he sort of has mad talent. He’s the kind of guy that could have played at the Archer City Supper Club and everyone would have really liked him. Here, with a crowd waiting to hear a Beatles cover band, some people are checking him out but most are talking and they’re sort of missing out on something really good. A long way to drive and a tough way to make a living, but he sounds like he loves what he is doing and is invested.
Let’s just say the soundman is brilliant in that he’s found a way not to let people talk over the music. And you can’t ask anything else more of a soundman than that.
Before the Beatles come on, let me write that I did a really interesting interview on Friday with a guy named Nakia who will be playing the Pub next Saturday. He’s from Alabama but moved to Austin nearly a decade ago for SXSW. He’s hooked up with all of the major people in Austin including area favorites Malfred Milligan and Alejandro Escovedo. It should be a great show.
Also of note coming up is Doppelgangers and Attebury Blueprint who will play for free on the lawn of MSU’s museum on Thursday night. If you have not heard either band, it’s worth a checkout. No smoke or cover and the bands are both dynamite. I understand that Attebury may be losing their keyboardist before too long, and they may go on as a three-piece by employing sound loops. I don’t think enough bands do that. It’s a great way to fill in sound with great effects with less people on stage.
Someone just told me that the Royal Theater in Archer City will be hosting a special tribute to Patsy Cline on August 17 to 19 and 24 to 26. It’s like the play that Backdoor Theatre did several years ago that sold out every show. I will let everyone know more about how to get info and tickets. From what I understand it’s a husband and wife doing the program, and the Patsy Cline estate has authorized the couple to do the performance. Archer City would really kind of be an awesome place to see a show like that.
By the way the Beatles are now playing, that is the Hard Nights Day version of the Beatles, and it’s like anytime you hear a band do the Beatles live, you always hear how brilliant George Harrison’s guitar leads are. Sure, everyone in the Beatles got more publicity or notice and stuff, but Harrison was just amazing and so very tasteful.Share
- High school football is here
Monday, August 6th, 2012
My blog has been dormant for a few months, but we’re coming back starting today for a month of daily blog posts about the Wichita Falls area high school football season.
I’m knee-deep in working on previews for our tab section that comes out on Aug. 26 (Sunday before the season – earlier than usual). But I’ll be also publishing a daily blog to keep readers and football fanatics informed.
Also, I’ve joined Twitter and will be giving out frequent updates regarding all sports in the Wichita Falls area. You can follow me @zduncansports
Now for the first blog, I’ll pass along the predicted playoff results from an excellent website – pigskinprep.com – of all of our area teams. Let’s take a look:
4A DIVISION II
Rider – Beats FW Dunbar by 27; beats FW Southwest by 9; beats Canyon Randall by 13; beats Lake Dallas by 12; beats Prosper by 5; beats CC Calallen by 1 in state title game.
3A DIVISON I
Burkburnett – Beats Mineral Wells by 4; loses to Stephenville by 45.
3A DIVISION II
Graham – Beats Springtown by 1; loses to Alvarado by 25
Vernon – Loses to Kennedale by 32
2A DIVISION I
Bowie – Bye (for winning district); loses to New Boston by 9.
2A DIVISION II
Holliday – Bye; beats Cooper by 1; loses to Gunter by 6.
Nocona – Beats Blooming Grove by 16; Loses to Clarksville by 15.
Henrietta – Loses to Dallas Like Oak by 12.
A DIVISION I
Windthorst – Bye; Beats Panhandle by 23; Beats Stratford by 15; Loses to Stamford by 7.
Seymour – Beats Winters by 15; Beats Sundown by 8; Loses to Stamford by 14.
Quanah – Loses to Forsan by 4.
A DIVISION II
Munday – Bye; Beats Iraan by 27; Beats Bronte by 27; Beats Muenster by 8; Beats Wellington by 8; Beats Tenaha by 1 in state title game.
Electra – Beats Hamlin by 1; Loses to Bronte by 9.
Six-Man Division I
Throckmorton – Beats Rotan by 40; Beats Water Valley by 11; Beats Ira by 1; Beats Valley by 6; Beats Abbott by 14 in state title game.
Crowell – Loses to Ira by 37.
Six-Man Division II
Newcastle – Beats Rising Star by 30; Loses to Aspermont by 1.
Harrold – Loses to Aspermont by 35.
Chillicothe – Beats Jayton by 5; Loses to Strawn by 27.
Couple quick notes: These point spreads are based on the website’s rating system. In matchups where two teams’ rankings were less than a point, I had the team advancing by 1 point. On the website, it says “pick ‘em.”… No private school projections were made but Notre Dame was the top-ranked team in TAPPS Division II by a tenth of a point over Granbury Happy Hill.Share