- Still in shock, but what a great year
Thursday, March 1st, 2012
I made a reservation for Lubbock for this weekend a long time ago. I thought Hirschi would be there. I thought Burkburnett would be there.
Not that they were perfect teams, but they were really good teams with a chance to win the region. Or so I thought.
I expect both teams to give it another good shot next year. The Bulldogs will have to replace Mario Garcia, but it’s always best to assume Danny Nix’s club will win 20 games.
And most of the players who had come through a lot of the year, but maybe some of their flaws were exposed by Alvarado, will return to the Hirschi linep.
Marcus Foster is the best all-around guard I’ve ever covered at the high school level. But he’ll probably work all summer to be even better next year. His passing skills and rebounding skills took a jump this year. I bet his free throws and his handle will be better as a senior.
That’s scary for opponents. And hoops fans around here should make a point to see him play a few times. Gotta love this kid’s game. And what I like is he wasn’t satisfied with just being the best on his block. He kept working.
Some of the others have to get better at the little things like easy bounce passes, making free throws, maybe learn a floater or a pull-up from 8 feet which helps you avoid the shot blocker and the charging foul.
Go against a bigger guy in a pickup game and work solely on rebounding and passing. Find an edge whether its July or January.
The little things that don’t show up till late February can get you to Austin in early March.
So like many in Wichita County I’m hurt and a little shocked. But I’m so proud of all of the guys on both teams. A lot of good memories this year and two really great Burk-Hirschi games with excellent atmosphere.
Would love to see these two programs battle in a regional final with the winner going on to take the state title.Share
- NFL Wild Card playoffs
Saturday, January 7th, 2012
Two teams without a lot of recent sucess kicked off the 2011-12 NFL playoffs.
The pick-6 at the end of the first half of Andy Dalton may not have been the deciding points, but it turned everything the Texans’ way for the second half. I liked the Bengals by a hair coming in, but didn’t have a strong opinion either way.
It’s a shame the Texans, for a long while they next year’s team, couldn’t stay healthy in their first run to the playoffs. Also interesting in that offense was the calling card for most of those “almost” years but defense has carried the day when they finally were able to taste success.
Good coaching by Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips and an injury to Peyton Manning opened the door and the Texans ran through it.
The Texans will play at Baltimore next week. It’s easy to see things going wrong to T.J. Yates up there, but it should be a tight game. The Ravens were my preseason Super Bowl pick from the AFC, but their offense isn’t so trustworthy, either.
Never fell in love with the Texans the way I liked the Oilers of Earl Campbell and later Warren Moon as a youngster, but go Texans!
Two teams I’m rooting against will square off soon as the Lions play the Saints. Nothing against the Saints, I think they may be better than their Super Bowl team, but they were chasing hard after the 49ers for the No. 2 slot so I’ve been rooting against them most of the year.
I’m bracing for the offensively-challenged 49ers to take on the sometimes defensively-challanged Saints next week.
The Lions were an easy team to make fun of. Couldn’t stop by their game on Sunday Ticket for five minutes without seeing a dumb penalty. Their coach is a hothead. The team follows suit. They waste timeouts and challenges out of anger. They’re ready to fight over a handshake.
And they’ve got the best wide receiver on the planet. Watching Calvin Johnson makes me want to warm up my arm and throw a football again.
But I like watching Drew Brees compete. Him against the 49ers sounds like great fun. So bring on the Saints.
The Sunday game of Falcons and Giants may be the best of the weekend, but I’m not too fired up about it. Kind of blah teams.
The game that may end up boring us will be Steelers at Broncos, but I’m much more intrigued. We think Tim Tebow has hit the wall and will never again complete an important pass, but then there’s that part of you that wonders if this is all a setup. He’s been trampled on for three weeks, especially the last two. Reports are that Brady Quinn has a package of plays ready. Nobody believes in him once again, just like two months ago.
So does Tebowing make a return. Can the magic happen against a very beaten up Super Bowl loser from a year ago. Super losers don’t always have the best of luck the following year and I’m really surprised that the Steelers managed to go 12-4. I’d have thought 10-6 was more realistic.
The Broncos aren’t every good whether or not they pull off the upset of the Wild Card weekend as Seattle did as a big home underdog last January.Share
- Just as I was buying the Bears
Monday, November 21st, 2011
I was beginning to buy the Chicago Bears as one of the best five teams in the NFL. Good defense, great special teams and enough offense with Matt Forte having a great year and yes, Jay Cutler, making some big throws.
I, like most, had underestimated the Bears coming into the year. I looked right past their trip to the NFC Championship game last year.
I was looking forward to the Bears taking on some of the NFC’s best and had them as a playoff team.
They can still get there, but it’s back to the unknown and the unexpected without Jay Cutler at quarterback.
My NFC super six is Packers; 49ers; Cowboys; Saints; Bears; Falcons. (Good win for the Lions and Matthew Stafford, but it was the Panthers and not ready to make them a playoff team yet).Share
- Oklahoma playoff scores
Friday, November 18th, 2011
Tipton pulls a stunner, beating Deer Creek-Lamont, 13-12.
Defense held the fort in the fourth quarter after the surprising Tigers went up 13-0 in the third.
Frederick stayed about even for a half at Hennesey, trailing 14-12, before falling 42-20.
Bombers finish at 10-2 in another good season by Coach Farmer’s crew.Share
- Rider can win this region
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
I have a feeling the Rider Raiders are going to win Region I-4A.
I didn’t necessarily think that for much of the season. I wasn’t sure if their defense was sturdy enough.
But maybe it is. That maybe was a certainly last week and really the defense has been pretty good since the Little Elm game.
Lake Dallas had a big second half against Rider, a game the Raiders nearly let get away. But Lake Dallas is about as talented as they come on offense.
Rider is the third-rated team in Region I-4A Division I by pigskinprep.com. They are 2 points behind Midway and 4 behind Ryan. I don’t know much about Midway yet, but I think the Raiders would beat Ryan if given a fourth chance in two years. And it should be at Memorial should that happen.
Football is a team sport but you need big-time players to win big-time games. I think Dylan McDorman is playing the best football of his career. The Rider noseguard is simply dominating right now.Share
And J.T. Barrett won’t always win the stat-sheet game, but he’s a big-time player. And I think he’ll come through big-time in at least one close playoff game. He’s been in more tight games than most guys his age that’s for sure.
With those two on their side and a good offensive line the Raiders can go where no Rider team has gone before and claim a Region I championship.
- Worth a second look
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
The NFL Sunday Ticket gives a fan a chance to watch his/her team every single week and for me that’s the 49ers.
But it also gives me a chance to watch portions of games of any team around the league. So besides watching the Cowboys and 49ers every week, I decide what games to try and keep tabs on. It’s enough to wear out the remote.
There’s always a surprise team that ends up being worth watching and other teams you expected to enjoy watching that you decide it’s not worth stopping very often.
3 that have been more fun to watch than I thought:
No. 1 — The Bengals. There was an obvious draw to see how TCU’s Andy Dalton did. Rookie A.J. Green is exciting an on my fantasy team. Bernard Scott is from the Wichita Falls area. Former Cowboys assistant Mike Zimmer does a good job with the Cincy defense. Actually the most boring Cincy game was against the 49ers and I still had to watch about every second.
No. 2 — The Bills. They were as exciting as any team early on with comeback wins over the Raiders and Patriots. Hopefully they can pick it back up. I always check on them because of David Nelson of WF. But Arlington’s Fred Jackson is fun to watch, too. I’ve always liked Chan Gailey from working with him at Cowboys’ camp in WF. But the last few weeks have been ugly as the league is figuring out Ryan Fitzpatrick. Maybe Chan can figure something out.
No. 3 The Panthers/Broncos. The first few weeks curiousity made me switch to a Panthers game to see if Cam Newton had the ball. What a rookie! His team isn’t so good and they’ve faltered a bit. Tim Tebow, crushed for being grounded both spiritually and as a quarterback, is must-see TV at least for portions of the game. Also interesting to see a team try to run that much in today’s NFL. Kind of like when the Dolphins first sprung Ronnie Brown and the Wildcat on the league a couple years ago.
3 I don’t like viewing as much as last year
No. 1 — Kansas City. Love LB Derrick Johnson of Texas. Love their speedy corners and return guys. Absolutely loved speedy RB Jamal Charles, also my fantasy workhorse, until he was injured avoiding the down marker and cheerleaders in September. The Chiefs were presentable against San Diego on Monday Night Football, but mostly they’ve been downright ugly. Can’t watch and they’re my favorite AFC franchise.
2. Browns. Watched them a year ago mainly because of Colt McCoy and enjoyed the work of Josh Cribbs and Peyton Hillis. Now it’s just a couple exciting plays by Cribbs and a ton of check-downs and scrambles by McCoy. I’m not sure what Colt’s NFL ceiling is now and I don’t think he’s got much to work with, but it’s not watchable right now. Not if you’ve got 6-9 more games to choose from.
3. Titans. I guess he’s coming around now, but Chris Johnson’s lack of energy and big runs for the first couple months almost made me put a block on the Titans’ channel. With too many intriguing games last week I didn’t even make an appearance on Titans over Panthers. Neither did the September version of Cam. Also miss Jeff Fisher.
So where are the Eagles? That trainwreck is always worth a look. Even interested to see how Vince Young looks. Would love to see a 90-yard rushing day with two TDs and another two through the air as they beat the Giants. Probably won’t happen, but it’d be good TV.Share
- Glad to have Wash today
Friday, October 28th, 2011
When you ride with Ron Washington, the most successful manager in Rangers history, you get all of him.
The Wash that used Alexi Ogando last night I didn’t like. The Wash who didn’t let Scot Feldman bat in the 11th inning when pinch-hitting meant going to Mark Lowe I didn’t like. The Wash who didn’t let Feliz go out for a second inning I didn’t like. The Wash who played his OFers so deep that Lance Berkman couldn’t help but find an open spot for a game-tying single I didn’t like. Anything over the OFers head would have been a homer anyway.
But when you lose a tough game like that I’m glad Wash is on the Rangers side. He’s calm. He knows how to get his team to move on. And he’s going to love his guys as much today as he did yesterday.
Having Ron Washington perhaps contributed to losing that crazy game. But having Ron Washington in the dugout could mean a win tonight in Game 7.
And having a manager get a team to back-to-back World Series. That Wash I like a lot.
Crossing my fingers.Share
- Crazy last day
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
Major league baseball changed its schedule to finish on Wednesday this year and probably as the suits hoped the final day will have all eyes focused on baseball.
I’m rooting for the Rays to get in ahead of the Red Sox so I’d love to see the fighting Showalters in Baltimore pull a stunner against Jon Lester and the Sox.
This Boston collapse has been amazing to follow. The Red Sox started 2-10, then were the best team in baseball for the next several months until the calendar turned to September. Now they look like the bunch that started off 2-10.
I follow the NL much less than the AL but the Braves have also faded down the stretch, while the Cardinals are streaking toward the finish line.
There’s a good chance at least one of these races may need an extension to Thursday.Share
- Can I believe in the Bills? Not yet
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
The most entertaining game of Week 3 on the Sunday Ticket was Patriots vs. Bills. The Bills were the team to cheer for in my house with their underdog status, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s presence on my fantasy team and because David Nelson plays for the Bills.
But I’m still not sure how much to trust them when I rank the top teams in the AFC and NFC.
I didn’t write about NFL for my weekly column in print so I’m posting some random thoughts and my rankings here.
The team Id have to bump out of my projected playoffs in the AFC to make room for the Bills has to be the Steelers or Jets. And I like the Raiders more than I do the Bills because of their division and front four on defense. So through three games I’m leaving the Bills out.
Yes, the Bills rallied past the Raiders at home last week. But I still think of the Pats and Raiders as slightly better than the Bills.
My AFC top six is Ravens (2-1), my preseason Super Bowl pick has two good outings and a clunker; Texans (2-1); Patriots (2-1); Raiders (2-1); Chargers (2-1, ugly win over Chiefs); Jets (2-1).
This leaves out both the Bills and the Steelers (2-1).Share
- New and improved Dick Bivins
Friday, September 9th, 2011
I had not been to Amarillo since David Nelson and Blake Szymanski were Rider Raiders. That Rider team needed a Nelson interception, one of the few times I saw him play defense, to beat Palo Duro in a tight game.
The game between Rider and Amarillo is 38 minutes away from kickoff, but this old Dick Bivins Stadium has a very new feel. The end zone ticket booths and concession stands and walkways have all been upgraded. The press box is another upgrade, although that only matters to myself and Richard Moore, the radio guy. It has a Pennington Field look to it.
Memorial Stadium could use some of these modern upgrades.
It has a chance to make a good first impression on visitors to our city who are involved in high school sports.Share
- Rowdy in Windthorst
Monday, September 5th, 2011
“Windthorst is a heckuva football team and coach (Bill) Green runs a first-class operation,” Lavender said. “The Rowdies were up to the challenge played right with them (21-14) for a half.Share
“I love going over there. An opportunity to play under the lights, those hamburgers and sausage links, it was great. But they run that double wing and our guys have never seen that offense before and they play tough and wRowdy in Windthorst
The WFHS junior varsity team, the Rowdies, got a chance to play under the Friday night lights at one of the area’s best venues in Windthorst.
And they were playing one of the state’s best Class A programs. Predictably, the No. 9 Trojans won the game, 54-20, but Lavender loved the experience.
“Windthorst is a heckuva football team and coach (Bill) Green runs a first-class operation,” Lavender said. “The Rowdies were up to the challenge played right with them (21-14) for a half.
“I love going over there. An opportunity to play under the lights, those hamburgers and sausage links, it was great. But they run that double wing and our guys have never seen that offense before and they play tough and wear you down.”
Quarterback Zach Murphy and receiver Corey Robinson highlighted the Rowdies’ big-play attack.
Also, the WFHS freshman black team has more than 100 points in two wins this season.
- Can Rangers push Angels over the cliff?
Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
The Texas Rangers have done what they were supposed to lately, winning a series in Oakland to build a four-game lead and then pushing the AL advantage to six with wins over the Angels the past two nights.
I think they’re winning this division even if they lose the next two games. I just think their team is a little deeper, a little better.
But they could really put the Angels out of their misery with two more wins.
Ervin Santana hasn’t lost since June. He’s 6-0 since his last loss and has been one of the best pitchers in the league.
Jared Weaver goes Thursday. He’s been one of the best in the league all year, although he’s a distant second or third behind Justin Verlander of the Tigers in the Cy Young race.
But the Rangers have their own ace, C.J. Wilson, going tonight against Santana. We don’t get a rematch of the 1-0 Weaver over Wilson game from the last time these teams met, but this should be good.
My hunch is that the Angels find a way to win tonight. Their backs are against the proverbial wall.
But wouldn’t it be fun if instead the Rangers pushed the Angels off the proverbial cliff?Share
- Big 2nd half coming
Thursday, May 19th, 2011
Interesting first half as the Thunder gave Dirk some different looks and then really attacked offensively.
That allowed Tyson Chandler to roam free inside and he had 11 suprise points and should have finisheda couple more times. Shawn Marion also gave away some chances.
Nowitzki took five shots, making 3, and had 13 points.
OKC’s point guard tandem of Russell Westbrook and Eric Maynor were very, very good, combining for 21 points to help OKC lead 59-57.
I think Dallas has a lock on the series if it pulls out Game 2, but should be in for a six or seven-game thriller if OKC can keep this up 24 more minutes.
That Durant guy. He’s still good. Had 14 early and has 16-13 edge on Dik at the half.Share
Thursday, April 14th, 2011
The Blazers got lucky, at least according to most NBA talking heads, by drawing the Dallas Mavericks.
No one wanted to draw the Lakers, which the Blazers were one Kobe Bryant missed 3 from doing on Wednesday night, and it seemed all the lower seeds wanted to play Dallas.
I still think the 57-win Mavs are a better bet than the 48-win Blazers.
I expect Dallas to win in five or six.Share
- Turnovers, turnovers
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
Watching MSU and one of my favorite guys Charlie Logan play well on a national stage was fun on Wednesday. Got a chance for some father-son time as I hooked up the computer to my TV.
But too many turnovers kept it from being a great day in MSU history as the team is still hoping for its first national title.
Maybe next year.Share
- Shouldn’t Steelers be favored
Thursday, January 27th, 2011
The guys in Vegas know a lot more than any of us about the NFL, but I’m still surprised that Green Bay is the betting favorite. A month ago you could bet the Super Bowl and you had to give 4 or 5 points if you wanted to take the AFC. Now you get the No. 2 seed from the AFC playing the No. 6 from the NFC and you get 2 1/2 or 3 points with the battle-tested Steelers.
Aaron Rodgers is the hotter QB. Green Bay has a good defense.
But with Pitt you get a good big-game QB, a good defense and a solid running game.
I’ll be rooting for the Packers, but right now I think I’ll be picking the Steelers.Share
- These aren’t Tom Hicks’ Rangers
Thursday, January 6th, 2011
I wanted to see Cliff Lee back in Texas. After that drama was over, I would have loved to see the Rangers trade for Zach Greinke. Dealing for Tampa’s Matt Garza would have been nice and it still might be an option during the 2011 season.Share
But although I knew Mr. Ryan and Mr. Greenberg are in control, the negativity that comes with being a Ranger follower for so many years kept making me think the next Chan Ho Park was on the way.
You miss out on Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens so you throw big money at Park. That did a lot more to hurt the Rangers than A-Rod’s 252M ever did.
They followed that with Vicente Padilla, Kevin Millwood and a horrid trade for Adam Eaton.
To bring that philosophy to 2010/2011 the Rangers would be annoucing a five-year deal with Carl Pavano, who looked like the best veteran free agent starter once Lee had signed.
The Rangers have in-house options that may be able to exceed Pavano, but nationally I would see the Rangers rumored as a possible destination.
- Denton is in the playoffs!
Saturday, November 6th, 2010
Denton High School, kind of the Hirschi of Class 4A the past several years, is in the playoffs.
Not a slight to Hirschi as much as to say that the Broncos go through some of the same problems competing in their city for players that the Huskies do here in Wichita Falls. The numbers have favored Rider and to some extent WFHS.
But the Broncos gutted it out and made the playoffs. Ealier this year they pulled out a win they probably shouldn’t have, rallying past Little Elm 16-15 in the final three minutes. Nobody told the Broncos to quit so they kept playing and pulled out the win.
That one win kept them alive for fourth place in this awful District 4-4A. All they had to do was beat The Colony on Friday night. Problem is, the Cougars are probably the fourth-best team in the district behind Ryan, Rider and Lake Dallas.
But The Colony couldn’t make the playoffs itself so was only playing for Little Elm’s hopes. It sounds like the Cougars did show up and play hard, even taking a lead late in the fourth quarter, but Denton pulled out a 28-25 victory to take fourth place and earn a playoff spot.
My friend Keith Hall, the former head coach at Vernon, is back in the playoffs as a Denton defensive assistant. Go Broncos!Share
- I still can’t believe it
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Tonight, I’m going to watch the Rangers in the World Series. No really, I’m going to watch the Rangers in the World Series.
The Rangers haven’t made it this far — well ever in real life — and their last appearance in the World Series was when I played a strat-o-matic season with one of their better second-place clubs in the 1980s.
My kids, who adore the Rangers of course, and my wife, who loves her Rangers but hates walks and pickoff moves, and myself will watch the World Series with our favorite team playing in it.
You know the bad part, my kids will think this is normal. They didn’t have to suffer and push the Rangers uphill both ways in the snow. They don’t know about the Sammy Sosa trade or Ron Darling giveaway. They think of 7-11 as a conveniece store, not the typical Ranger losing score.
They think the Rangers are great. That having a star like Josh Hamilton is normal. And getting past the Yankees is no big deal, not with an ace or two on your side.
Well, I guess what they don’t know what hurt them just yet.Share
- My AP top 10 ballot this week
Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
Here’s how I voted this week in the AP texas high school poll. Got a favorite team I should be considering?
1st Place: Euless Trinity High School
2nd Place: Katy High School
3rd Place: Allen High School
4th Place: Round Rock Stony Point High School
5th Place: Coppell High School
6th Place: The Woodlands High School
7th Place: Klein Collins High School
8th Place: DeSoto High School
9th Place: Katy Cinco Ranch High School
10th Place: Abilene High School
1st Place: Aledo High School
2nd Place: Brenham High School
3rd Place: Lake Travis High School (Austin)
4th Place: Denton Ryan High School
5th Place: Cedar Park High School
6th Place: Hewitt Midway High School
7th Place: Kerrville Tivy High School
8th Place: Tyler John Tyler High School
9th Place: Highland Park (Dallas)
10th Place: El Campo High School
1st Place: Brownwood High School
2nd Place: Wimberley High School
3rd Place: Argyle High School
4th Place: Kirbyville High School
5th Place: Celina High School
6th Place: Sealy High School
7th Place: Lucas Lovejoy High School
8th Place: Monahans High School
9th Place: Lubbock Estacado High School
10th Place: Sinton High School
1st Place: Refugio High School
2nd Place: Godley High School
3rd Place: Daingerfield High School
4th Place: Cameron Yoe High School
5th Place: Lexington High School
6th Place: Tatum High School
7th Place: Muleshoe High School
8th Place: New London West Rusk High School
9th Place: Rogers High School
10th Place: Lone Oak High School
1st Place: Canadian High School
2nd Place: Springlake-Earth High School
3rd Place: Albany High School
4th Place: Ganado High School
5th Place: Falls City High School
6th Place: Windthorst High School
7th Place: Goldthwaite High School
8th Place: Iraan High School
9th Place: Mart High School
10th Place: New Deal High School