Oregon Rejoins the Six-Man Ranks

Oregon played six-man from 1947-1959. It was replaced by eight-man in 1960. This year, the Oregon Schools Activities Association will revive six-man football with a pilot program.  18 teams have chosen to participate in this program.
Let’s hope they make it a permanent thing!

Pieces of the Puzzle

I often hear things like “how are they so good year after year?”, and “we have great athletes – why didn’t we have a better season?”.  In most cases the people asking these questions aren’t seeing the entire picture.  The teams that are always strong have several things in common, and I will try to cover some of the most important pieces of the puzzle.  I focus on football, but these things apply to all sports.

Coaching
Far too many schools do their athletes, and athletic programs, a disservice by changing coaches every 1-2 years.  Hiring a “big name” coach won’t guarantee immediate success.  Most teams that are successful year after year have given their coach time to build, and maintain, their programs.  Teams like Richland Springs, Borden County, Abbott, Strawn, and May have had their head coach for 10+ years  and they are always tough.  On average, it takes three years for a coach to establish a program.  Expecting a coach to turn a program around during the first season is absurd – remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
There are some situations where a coach “isn’t a good fit”, but they can be minimized.  Hiring committees, and school administration, should be solid in their requirements and expectations before posting an opening.  These should be clearly expressed to candidates before and/or during interviews.

Parents
Negative input from parents will always be detrimental to a team.  Speaking badly about a coach in front of players undermines the coach’s authority and reduces the player’s respect for the coach.  If you have an issue, schedule a meeting with the coach and don’t take your child.
Don’t complain to the coach if your child doesn’t get much playing time – encourage your child to work harder.  Most coaches are under constant pressure to win, so the best athletes and hardest workers will spend more time on the field.  Teach your kid that playing time is earned, not given.
Never go to school administrators about a coach unless there is a valid reason for concern.  “He hurt my baby’s feelings” and “my son should get more playing time” aren’t valid reasons.  Expect the administration to stand behind their coaches unless there is evidence of something unsafe, improper, or immoral.

Administration
Administrators have a vital role in an athletic program.  They can bridge the gap, or create a greater rift, between upset parents and coaching staff.  It’s extremely important for admin to stand behind coaches. They should never reprimand a coach in front of parents or students.  Doing so undermines the coach’s authority.
Administrators should never micro-manage the program.  If the athletic director and/or coach needs constant supervision, they aren’t the right person for the job.

Players
No player should get a “super star” mentality.  It doesn’t matter if you are the greatest to ever play the game and have set records, you can’t do it alone.  A bad snap, bobbled toss, or a missed block – any one of these can be the difference between a 40 yard gain and a 10 yard loss.  Show appreciation for the efforts of your teammates – it will benefit everyone.
Be a team on and off the field.  Teamwork during practices and games is important, but not enough.  Disputes and animosity between teammates off the field will cause problems on the field.  Get issues worked out quickly, and move on.  If a teammate is struggling with a class you do well in, help them study.  This will reduce the chances of losing a teammate because of grades.
The single most important thing a player can be is DEPENDABLE.  Can your coach, and team, depend on you to be at every practice?  Can they depend on you to work hard at practice and during games?  What about keeping your grades up, staying out of trouble, and being a team player?  If you answer no to any of these questions, you need to make some changes.  Coaches ask themselves these questions about you when deciding your role on the team.  More talented athletes will always get the first chance at a starting position, but if they aren’t dependable, they may not keep it. Don’t ask for a starting spot, earn it.

Culture/Tradition
When things start coming together, it will create a team culture. Younger kids, and players, will see how things are done and know what is expected of them. This culture will help teams win games during lower talent years, and help them extend their seasons in higher talent years. Program, culture, and tradition walk hand-in-hand. Do your part to establish and keep them alive.

Record Breaking Performances at UIL State Track Meet

by Garrett Ross

Austin, TX – Records are meant to be broken and that was certainly the case at the 2018 UIL State Track and Field meet at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

We witnessed seven records set in boys events and four records set in girls events.

Rankin junior Calen Fouts reached new heights in the pole vault. Fouts was able to clear the pole set at 15-3.5, which broke the previous state record of 15-3 set by Guthrie’s Landon Roberts in 2017.

“I knew coming into the meet that I was capable of breaking the record,” said Fouts. “I have been jumping at some bars set that high, but to finally clear one was incredible.”

Fouts missed on his first two jumps, but he took advantage of his final attempt. The crowd was behind him, clapping in unison as he launched himself into the record books.

“When I started that clap and everybody was behind me as I was running down the runway, I felt an attack that I had never felt before,” said Fouts.

“That’s what really threw me up and over that bar. I can’t really describe how this feels, I’m incredibly happy at what I’ve accomplished at state.

I’m proud of my coach and my father who has always been behind me and the rest of my family and fellow athletes out here at state.”

Strawn junior Tanner Hodgkins was able to add discus state record holder to his resume, which already includes football state champion.

Hodgkins threw for 171-11 and his longest throw was 52.40 meters. The previous record was held by a fellow Greyhound Ross Allison, who threw 167-06 in 2015.

“My coach helped prepare me for this moment,” said Hodgkins. “My teammates and I are very competitive in practice and that helps us throw better.”

Medina senior Austin Zirkel used endurance to capture the record in the 3200 Meter Run, finishing with a time of 9:37.62. Zirkel surpassed the previous record of 9:38.23 held by Valley’s Jake Merrell.

Zirkel was happy to share his secret for success with future runners chasing his record.

“Work hard and put your mind to it and you can pretty much do whatever you feel is possible,” said Zirkel. “As long as you actually work for it and set a goal, then you can achieve it.”

Valley’s Jake Merrell set a new record of his own in the state meet. Merrell finished the 800 Meter Run with a time of 1:51.71, which was 2.39 seconds faster than the record he set last year in the event.

Merrell is a Baylor commit and one of the most accomplished runners in Texas sports history. Throughout his track career he has acquired 9 gold and 1 silver medals in state meets.

The Valley Patriots boys relay teams wasted no time establishing their dominance at the state meet. The Patriots set state records in the 4×200 and 4×400 relays.

In the 4×200 they finished with a time of 1:30.82 and they ran the 4×400 in 3:25.49.

The previous 4×200 record was 1:30.86 set by Water Valley in 2015. The previous 4×400 record was 3:27.04 set by Garden City in 2016.

Creed Goode of Cross Plains set the long jump record with a jump of 22-08.25. The previous record was set in 2016 by Laneville’s Ladarius Arnett, who jumped 22-02.

Alexandra Hensley of Menard set the new state record in the girls 100 Meter Hurdles. Hensley make quick leaps and bounds over the hurdles with a time of 15.67.

Hensley broke the previous record set by Blackwell’s Abbigail Sorrells in 2016 at 15.69.

The Blum Lady Bobcats 4×400 relay team etched their names in the record books with a time of 4:08.30. The Bobcats were able to shed two seconds off their previous record setting time of 4:10.09 set in 2017.

“We were able to stay positive, it was hard to come back from the 4×100, but I’m glad we did it,” said Gentrye Munden “It took a lot of energy and a lot of heart, but it was well worth it.”

Zoe Burleson of Rocksprings was able to launch a discus for 150-04, which gave her the record. Burleson was able to beat her 2017 record of 139-02, which she set while attending Nueces Canyon.

Groom junior Sydney Ritter competed in an astonishing five events, while claiming gold in two of them and the state record in Long Jump. Ritter flew through the air before landing at 18-03.75.

“It was an amazing experience competing for five events,” said Ritter. “I’m not sure that I will compete in five events next season, so this was truly a blessing.”

“Next year I want to get better in the jumping, a lot better in the jumping,” said Ritter. “I for sure want to jump a lot further and I believe that I can.”

Ritter dethroned Morgan’s Claudia Escamilla, who set the record at 17-04.75 in 2013.

Congratulations to all these great athletes who were able to claim the title “State Record Holder”.

Legal Notice of Dissolution of Partnership

To whom it may concern:

Notice is hereby given in accordance with the State of Texas that: The partnership heretofore existing between Dency McClure, Shad Kline and Charles Parks under the name Sixmania, LLC is now dissolved by mutual consent.  That Dency McClure has withdrawn from Sixmania and is no longer associated in the conduction of said business.  Shad Kline and Charles Parks have entered into an equal partnership and will continue to conduct, oversee, and manage all business associated with Sixmania, LLC.

This is a legal notice, posted by Shad Kline as the spokesperson for Sixmania LLC, in agreement with Shad Kline and Charles Parks of Sixmania LLC and Dency McClure, former partner.

This next part is NOT a legal notice:

Dency has decided to leave Sixmania as of her own free will and with no animosity from either party.  We wish her the best of luck and we have agreed that we will remain friends.  As always, our main objective is to provide the kids of the 6-man world with the honor and recognition that they deserve, and this dissolution of partnership will not prevent either party from doing just that.  If you have any questions concerning this statement, please feel free to contact us at sixmanianation@gmail.com.

Thank you,

Shad Kline

Charles Parks

Sixmania, LLC

Strawn Steamrolls Balmorhea in Division II Championship

Photo by Pat Carrigan

Article by Garrett Ross

Arlington, Texas- The last time a Vance Jones coached team met a Dewaine Lee coached team in the state championship, it was Vance’s team that came out on top, but this time the tide had turned. Dewaine’s Strawn Greyhounds raced past Vance’s Balmorhea Bears 78-42, to capture the school’s third state championship.

The Bears only needed two plays from scrimmage, before they took the lead. Kyle Garcia broke loose on a 63 yard touchdown run and Balmorhea went up 8-0. Strawn was quick to respond after just three plays, when Carlos Villanueva eluded the Bears defense for a 35 yard touchdown run.

History would be made on the ensuing PAT, as K-Lani Nava drilled the PAT to tie the game at 8-8. Nava became the first female football player in UIL history to play in a State Championship. K-Lani Nava contributed 18 of the Greyhounds 78 points, in her record setting performance.

Kyle Garcia added two more touchdowns before halftime for Balmorhea on runs from 3 and 28 yards out. Tanner Hodgkins was the Greyhounds workhorse, as he scored three rushing touchdowns in the first half.

Hodgkins first touchdown of the game was from 4 yards out, but the junior displayed his breakaway speed on the next two, which were from 50 and 49 yards out. The Greyhounds tacked on one more score before the clock expired for intermission, on a 30 yard pitch and catch from Carlos Villanueva to Gavin Duncan.

Balmorhea could only muster up one touchdown in the third quarter, while Strawn erupted for three touchdowns. The Greyhounds hit the Bears with a trifecta of offensive weapons, which made it tough on the Balmorhea defense. Carlos Villanueva and Julian Fraga found the end zone with their legs, while Villanueva hit Hodgkins on a 37 yard air strike.

Kyle Garcia carried the Bears in the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdown runs from 5 and 34 yards out, but Balmorhea’s defense was unable to slow down the Greyhounds offense, who countered with two more touchdowns of their own.

The Greyhounds return the bulk of their playmakers for the 2018 season and Strawn will remain in Division 2 after realignment. The Greyhounds will definitely be a force to be reckoned with next year and should enter the season as favorites to repeat.

Borden County Repeats Under The Bright Lights Of AT&T Stadium

Article by Garrett Ross

Arlington, Texas- In front of a crowd of 4,482, the Borden County Coyotes and the Jonesboro Eagles met for the second consecutive season to determine who would be crowned Class 1A D1 State Champions. The Eagles kept the game tight during the first half, but the Coyotes proved to be just to much for Jonesboro in the second half. Borden County was able to defeat Jonesboro 60-22 and bring the trophy back to Gail, Texas once again.
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All-District Honors Show The Future Is Bright For The McLean Tigers

Article by Garrett Ross

Photo by Rodney Ayers

The 2017 football season is sadly coming to an end, but now is the time when players and coaches are receiving awards for their accomplishments throughout the year. The Class 1A Division 1 District 1 awards were released this week and after a close observation, I came away realizing that the McLean Tigers will be loaded next season.

The McLean Tigers were under the radar all season, that is until district play rolled around and they dominated an undefeated White Deer team 58-36. McLean would go on to be the runner-up in District 1 and the Tigers stormed into the playoffs where they made it to the quarterfinals.

The Tigers lone district loss came against Happy 74-28, but the Cowboys were a veteran team with a lot of big game experience. McLean defeated Nazareth 89-49 and Knox City 75-44, before coming up short to Happy for the second time this season 86-40.

McLean had five players make First Team Offense; WR Jayden Abshire, SC Dalton Abshire, RB Ben Crockett, SB Cayden Mann and KR Kade Reichmann, of these five players only one is a senior. The Tigers had three players earn First Team Defense honors; DL Jordan Parsons, CB Bradley Hannon and LB Chisim Henderson, two of the three will be returning next season.

McLean will be returning six players with First Team All-District honors, including Chisim Henderson. Chisim Henderson is the 6’3 185lb LB with the pain tolerance of a Roman Gladiator. Henderson took a shot against Knox City http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/6017645/highlights/5a1caf17da516e0d2ca65232
that sidelined him for two plays, before coming back to break loose for a 40 yard touchdown five plays after returning. The junior played a quarter and a half of football with broken ribs, lacerated liver, and a ruptured spleen.

The Tigers will enter the 2018 season with momentum and experience, these two entities, along with the chance of a new district with realignment have McLean poised for success.

Cowboy’s Semi-Final Predictions

I did well with my quarter-final picks, only missing one game. Tioga kept me from having a perfect week with an impressive 44-40 victory over Union Hill. They beat the spread by 36 points and won the game with a 30+ yard field goal- something rarely seen in six-man.
Hopefully I’ll get 100% this week, but it’s going to be tough.
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