Miles and Winters started the 2019 playoffs on Thursday, November 14th. Winters would travel to Archer, TX to take on the Lindsay Knights while Miles would travel to Brownwood to take on the Albany Lions.

Winters (5-5) would lose their game against Lindsay (8-2) by the score of 26-7. The Lindsay Knights came into the game giving up a miniscule average of only 6.5 points per game while their offense was putting up over 35 points per game. Winters gave up almost 25 points per game during the season while scoring 27 points per game.

The Knights had only 2 losses during the season and they were by a combined total of 5 points, 24-22 against Muenster and 21-18 against Whitewright. The Knights didn’t give up more than 7 points in any of their other games during the season.

In the end, it was the Lindsay Knights’ defense that stood the test of the game, holding Winters to only 7 points. The Winters defense played well, holding the Knights’ offense to a touchdown under their season average.

Winters had an up-and-down season, which they started off with a win at the struggling Goldthwaite Eagles (2-8) and a big win, 26-20, over the powerful Eldorado Eagles (9-1). The rest of the wins that Winters chalked up were against sub-500 team; Ranger (2-8); Iraan (0-10); Forsan (3-7). The Blizzards played some strong teams and didn’t get blown out in any games except in their 58-14 loss against Hawley (10-0). They played strong in their losses to Bangs, Christoval and Stamford. Ozona held Winters to only 6 points in the Blizzards’ loss, 25-6.

Winters never threw in the towel in any of their losses, playing each game to the last second. The Blizzards had a season that many might not rave about but it was solid, nonetheless. They only had 5 seniors on the squad this year but will have a wealth of returning talent next year in the likes of QB Alex Salas, RB/LB Malakye Kelly, RB/LB Matt Jacob, C/T Seth Gerhart and others.

 

Miles Bulldogs fall to Albany in Brownwood

 

The Albany Lions (8-2) came into the playoffs against the Miles Bulldogs (7-3) with a chip on their shoulder after they received a 66-20 drubbing by the Hamlin Pied Pipers the week prior to the playoff game. Miles was coming in after a decidedly one-sided victory over Rocksprings, 55-7.

The Bulldogs had suffered injuries to key players since their first game of the season. Miles’ senior QB Davian Martinez was hobbled to some degree by a sprained ankle most of the season. The force that is known as freshman G/DE/LB Joel Garcia was also suffering from various injuries during the season. In spite of the challenges created by the injuries to key players, Miles managed to finish the season 7-3. The defense gave up an average of 28 points per game while the offense put up almost 37 points per game. The 3 losses that Miles had were by a combined score of 167-19. The biggest loss of the season was to Eldorado (9-1) by the score of 70-0. The following week they lost to Christoval (9-1) 55-13.

Albany started their playoff game against Miles by scoring 20 points in the first quarter, alone. Miles wasn’t able to score any points in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Miles did manage to score a touchdown but Albany put 3 more touchdowns on the scoreboard to make the halftime score 41-7. The rest of the game wouldn’t be as exciting with Albany putting up one touchdown in the 3rd quarter and adding a final nail the 4th quarter. Miles didn’t put up any points in the second half. The game ended with a 56-7 win for Albany.

The Bulldogs will lose 6 seniors at graduation, including Martinez. The good news is that they have some worthy players waiting in the wings with several sophomores that had extensive playing time this season. They’ll also have 5 juniors that will be returning next season, giving them a good shot at another successful season and most likely another trip to the playoffs.

 

Ballinger falls to Childress 13-7 in Graham

 

It’s not often that you can suggest that a football team may have played their best game of the year even though it was a loss. But, that might be the case for the Ballinger Bearcats (8-2) who traveled to Graham, TX to take on the Childress Bobcats (5-5), who were favored by 3 points.

The Bearcats were given a spirit-driven send off from Ballinger, complete with a police escort and fans lining the roads. The football dads painted their chests and stomachs as they lined up with their shirts off along Hutchins Avenue. It was a worthy sendoff for a worthy Bearcats team.

Childress, a perennial powerhouse of high school football, started out the season going 0-5 with losses to (10-0) Bushland 29-22; (2-8) Perryton 22-14; (8-2) Panhandle 54-13; (8-2) Eastland 25-8 and (8-2) Muenster 12-6. They would later drop a game to (10-0) Canadian 41-7. But they’d finish 2nd in district by going 4-1 in their last 5 district games.

Ballinger and Childress held each other scoreless in the first half even after Childress had a 1st and goal on the Ballinger 1-yard line. A personal foul penalty pushed Childress back to the 16-yard line and they failed to put any points on the board. It was a key stop for the Bearcats, who dug in their heels.

In the second half, Ballinger scored a touchdown on a 2-yard run. The PAT was good and that put the Bearcats up 7-0 with 3 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter. After the kickoff, Childress would run a couple of plays, including the old ‘Statue of Liberty’ play where the Bobcat quarterback faked a pass with his right hand while handing off the ball with his left hand.

In the 4th quarter, the Bobcats would score on a trick play. This one would be an 80-yard pass play from the Bobcats wide receiver JaMarcus Hampton to wide receiver Miguel Salinas and would even the score at 7-7 after the PAT.

Ballinger would receive the kickoff but wasn’t able to put any points on the board.

After the punt, Childress would spend over 6 minutes moving down the field before they scored on another pass play, this time from quarterback Trent Mayden to JaMarcus Hamilton. The PAT would fail and Childress would take a 13-7 lead.

Childress kicked off to the Bearcats with about a minute left in the game. The Bearcats were able to run a few plays on offense before the clock hit 0:00 but weren’t able to get into the end zone. The Bearcats might have run out of time, but they didn’t run out of heart. It was one of their hardest fought games of the season. Both the defense and the offense played with conviction and never gave up. They encouraged each other on the sidelines and motivated each other on the field. Head coach Chuck Lipsey and his staff were able to coach the players up and make adjustments the entire game. “If” doesn’t matter when the clock strikes zero, but “if” the Bearcats had had another 60 seconds on the clock, there is little doubt that they would have scored. Their mettle was tested and even though they came back with a loss on the field, they came back winners in many other ways.

Ballinger returns some key players next season, including junior quarterback Tyler Vaughn, who will be a senior. Joe Marcus Guerrero, Braden Bowman, Weston Rollwitz, Dylan Hostetter, Garrett Dixon, Colton Belk, Aiden Busenlehner, Eric Toliver, Cash Drennan, Adam Winn, Cooper Switzer and others will return as well. It could be an epic season for a Bearcats team that seems to be primed for a deep run into the 2020 playoffs as they sit on the cusp of what could be an historic season.

The newspaper would like to thank Ballinger head coach/athletic director Chuck Lipsey, Winters head coach/athletic director Matt McCarty and Miles head coach/athletic director Charles Boles for their graciousness in providing interviews before and during the games and at the practices throughout the season.