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TAYLO your community. your newspaper.


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TAYLOR PRESS •

Fall Sports

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Table of contents Taylor High School Football.......................................................................3 Volleyball..................................................................12

Thrall High School Football.......................................................................6 Volleyball..................................................................14

Granger High School Football.......................................................................8

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Volleyball..................................................................15

Hutto High School Football.....................................................................10 Volleyball..................................................................11

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TAYLOR FOOTBALL

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

TAYLOR PRESS •

Fall Sports

The return of senior quarterback Ryan Gardner, last year’s top newcomer in District 14-4A, gives the Ducks stability on offense after the departures of Malik Jackson and Jarrell Crittendon.

2017 TAYLOR FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent 9/1 vs. Robinson 9/8 @ Rockdale 9/15 vs. Yoakum 9/22 @ Caldwell 9/29 vs. La Grange 10/6 vs. Bellville 10/13 BYE 10/19 @ Eastside* 10/27 vs. Boerne* 11/3 @ Fredericksburg* 11/10 vs. Canyon Lake* *District game

Time 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m.

TAYLOR DUCKS 2016 record: 8-4, 4-0 in District 14-4A I (1st) Coach: Rusty Purser, 22-35 in five seasons Key losses: WR Malik Jackson, RB Jarrell Crittendon, OL/ DL Colton Kruse, OL/DL Cole Standifer, DL Khaden Harris Key returners: QB Ryan Gardner, RB/DB Delane Hornsby, LB A.J. Zarate, WR Andre Jones, OL Ramon Martinez, DB Paul Key Key newcomers: OL Nick Whitley, DL Jesse Bellamy, RB Shawnpail Fields

Andre Jones, an all-district selection last year as a junior, takes over for Malik Jackson as Taylor’s big-play receiver.

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TAYLOR PRESS •

Fall Sports

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ducks on the rise after district title run REAGAN ROEHL

sports@taylorpress.net

This time last summer, people close to the Taylor football program were cautiously optimistic about the future. The Ducks had an on-campus stadium in the works, a talented roster and a relatively clear path to their first district championship in 22 years. Fast-forward one year later, and that optimism has reached a fever pitch. The Ducks have gone from a sub.500, one-and-done playoff team to the reigning District 14-4A champions. And with their new athletic complex starting to take shape, and participation numbers at an all-time high, they hope to keep the momentum going this season. “It’s exciting around here, it really is,” Taylor coach Rusty Purser said. “The kids are really enthusiastic about getting started. From our sophomores up, we have 90 kids playing football; we’ve never been at those kinds of numbers since I’ve been here.” As is often the case with programs on the rise, the Ducks had a few assistant coaches poached by larger schools during the offseason; most notably offensive coordinator Trenton Kirklin, now at New Braunfels Canyon. But with an incumbent at the most important position on the field – quarterback Ryan Gardner – and a bevy of offensive weapons to work with, new OC Aaron Vanecek is in position to hit the ground running. Gardner was a pleasant surprise last year as a first-time starter, earning district Newcomer of the Year honors. The senior threw for 1,961 yards and 21 touchdowns, rushed for 657 yards and 15 more scores, and came up clutch in some of Taylor’s biggest games down the stretch; leading Purser to believe he can elevate his game even higher this season. “Coach Kirklin kept things vanilla in the passing game, which was good for Ryan as a junior,” Purser explained. “With coach Vanecek, there’s several more multiple-read plays that we have, and I think Ryan has grown to where he’s comfortable with that. He has really matured as a senior to take more ownership over the offense.” Gardner no longer has 6-foot-3 Malik Jackson to target, nor hard-nosed Jarrell

Senior center Ramon Martinez will anchor a new-look offensive line for the Ducks, blocking alongside Matt Trevino, Nick Whitley, Samuel Sanchez and Andrew Williams. Crittendon to hand off to, but he does have some familiar faces ready to step into those roles. Senior speedster Delane Hornsby, who made the most of his 44 carries last year with 442 yards and seven touchdowns, takes over as Taylor’s starting running back, and physical juniors Shawnpail Fields and Jailen Tealer are expected to get touches as well. “We don’t have the complete package like we did with [Crittendon], but I think we have three really solid guys that can fit a role,” Purser said. The Ducks also return four of their top five receivers from a year ago. Andre Jones was a huge hit after his midseason transfer from Hendrickson – catching 19 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns – and should stretch the field vertically for Gardner, while fellow seniors Paul Key (17 catches, 146 yards, 2 TDs) and Brock Wells (12 catches, 148 yards, 2 TDs) line up in the slot. Eric Archer is back, too, and Gardner’s younger brother, Travis, has emerged as another viable option in the passing game. Taylor did graduate four members of its offensive line, returning only senior

Taylor led the district in takeaways last season, and junior linebacker A.J. Zarate (left) and senior defensive back Delane Hornsby (right) were a big reason why. Photos by Larry Pelchat center Ramon Martinez, but has some experienced reserves ready to take over as starters. Senior guard Matt Trevino featured periodically last year, as well as tackles Samuel Sanchez and Andrew Williams. Another name to keep an eye on is senior transfer Nick Whitley, who returns to Taylor from Hutto after playing with the Ducks as a freshman. “The offensive line has come along really well,” Purser said. “Our younger guys have grown up and have a better understanding of what’s expected of them. They’ve gotten better every time we’ve practiced.” The graduation of linemen Colton Kruse, Khaden Harris, Cole Standifer and Luz Camarillo leaves a similar void along the defensive front, but Purser believes senior nose tackle Jesse Bellamy is an ideal anchor for Taylor’s new 3-3 stack scheme. “Jesse is healthy this year, and he’s as good as anybody we’ve had,” he said. “He’s going to show up a lot [on film] this year with what he does.”

The rest of the defense, meanwhile, is loaded. The Ducks return AllState junior A.J. Zarate (134 tackles) and seniors Jeremy Torres and Nick Martinez at linebacker, and keep most of their secondary – which led the district in interceptions last year – intact. Hornsby and fellow senior Chris Gomes will serve as Taylor’s starting corners, while Jones and Key line up at safety. Will it be enough, though, to capture another district crown? Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine doesn’t seem to think so, but Purser believes that home games against title challengers Boerne and Canyon Lake will give the Ducks an edge in their bid to repeat. “Dave Campbell’s came out a couple months ago and had us ranked third [in 14-4A], and that really ticked us off,” Purser said with a chuckle. “I appreciate them doing that for us. “It’s going to be a tough road but our expectation is to win another district title, and our kids have bought into


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

TAYLOR PRESS •

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Fall Sports

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THRALL FOOTBALL TAYLOR PRESS •

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Fall Sports

All-District quarterback Nick Salazar (middle) returns for the Tiger offense, as well as 1,000-yard rusher Matthew Jarosek (left).

2017 THRALL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent 9/1 vs. Riesel 9/8 vs. Milano 9/15 BYE 9/22 @ John Paul II 9/29 vs. Flatonia 10/6 vs. Centerville 10/13 @ Holland* 10/20 vs. Normangee* 10/27 @ Rosebud-Lott* 11/3 vs. Moody* 11/10 @ Thorndale* All-State safety Joe Sandifer will be a weapon for the Tigers in all three phases. Photos by Larry Pelchat

*District game

Time 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m.

THRALL TIGERS 2016 record: 10-2, 4-1 in District 13-2A I (tied for 1st) Coach: Jason Cole, 23-11 in three seasons Key losses: OL/DL Waylon Henkel, OL/DL Colton Carter, WR/DL Richie Reed, RB/LB Hunter Dill Key returners: QB Nick Salazar, WR/DB Joe Sandifer, RB/LB Matthew Jarosek, OL/DL Wesley Strnad Key newcomers: RB/LB Braeden West, NG Nathan Miranda


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

TAYLOR PRESS •

7

Fall Sports

Huge senior class has Tigers eyeing deep run CASEY GEORG

sports@taylorpress.net

The Thrall Tigers have shown improvement in each of the past three seasons, earning playoff spots in each of those years. This year, the Tigers are hoping for a deeper run in the playoffs and a district championship; and a large, talented senior class could turn those hopes into reality. “We’ve got a lot of experience coming back from last year,” said Thrall coach Jason Cole. “Several of our kids have two and three years varsity experience, and that should help us take the next step.” Both sides of the ball should be equally strong, with seven starters returning both ways. Offensively, the Tigers averaged 460 yards per game last season and scored 36.6 points per game using a balanced attack; and the bulk of the offensive performers are back. Returning at quarterback is senior Nick Salazar. Salazar, who has started since his sophomore year, is a dual threat. Last season he completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,316 yards

and 26 touchdowns while throwing just seven interceptions in 274 pass attempts. On the ground, he led the team in rushing with 1,074 yards on 166 carries and added 14 scores. “Nick has improved every year,” Cole said. “He’s gotten better throwing the ball and he’s gotten smarter at finding his receivers.” Joining Salazar in the backfield is a stable of running backs, led by senior Matthew Jarosek. Jarosek finished last season as the second leading rusher on the team with 1,069 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged a staggering 10.6 yards per carry with his bruising running style. Senior Joe Sandifer added 274 yards on the ground for the Tigers, along with five scores, and led the team in receiving with 705 yards on 41 catches and nine touchdowns. Also seeing time in the backfield last year was senior T.J. Renfro and sophomores Caden Leschber and Braeden West. In addition to Sandifer, the receiving corp is almost completely intact. Seniors Dylan Ging and Kelton Hooker were primary targets of Salazar, combining for 70

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receptions, 851 yards and six touchdowns. Landon Mikulencak, another senior, pulled in just five passes a year ago, but three went for scores as he averaged 19.4 yards per reception. He is expected to play a bigger role in the offense this season. Opening holes for this group will be a good crop of experienced linemen. Seniors Kyge Poling, Wesley Strnad and Isaiah Martinez will anchor the line, along with sophomore Drew Ball. “This is the most experienced line we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Cole said. “We are returning four guys that started nearly every game last year, and they’ve gotten bigger, stronger, and faster. In our first scrimmage, they were opening huge holes for our backs.” On the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers appear to be equally strong. While Thrall graduated three of its starting defensive linemen from a year ago, Cole said their replacements have stepped up into a starting role. “We thought the defensive line was going to be a weakness for us grading three starters, but now we think it may be a strength for us,” he said. “Strnad,

Poling, Carter and Martinez have really stepped up and I think will do a great job for us this year.” The Tigers return the majority of their linebacking corp, led by Renfro, who was third on the team last year with 42 tackles, including eight tackles for loss. Mikulencak and Jarosek recorded 66 total tackles, and Josh Leach and Billy Clark added depth at the position. The secondary returns everyone from last season. In addition to Sandifer’s efforts, Bradley Cantwell, Hooker and Blake McMurray all had at least 20 tackles for the Tigers, and Dylan Ging added 14. The group also combined for four interceptions. Thrall’s defense surrendered 19.8 points per game last year and held five opponents to 14 or fewer points. Cole said he felt confident about his team’s chances going into the season, but also added that Normangee and Thorndale will field strong teams. “We just want to get better each week,” Cole said. “We want to go deep in the playoffs and still be playing at Thanksgiving. To do that we have to get better every week.”

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8

GRANGER FOOTBALL TAYLOR PRESS •

Fall Sports

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Senior Matthew Cruz (middle) was a first team All-District selection at tight end and inside linebacker last season for the Lions.

2017 GRANGER FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent 9/1 @ Chilton 9/8 vs. Holland 9/15 @ Riesel 9/22 @ Hubbard 9/29 vs. Wortham 10/6 BYE 10/13 vs. Somerville* 10/20 @ Milano* 10/27 vs. Bartlett* 11/3 vs. Burton* 11/10 @ Snook* *District game

Time 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m.

GRANGER LIONS 2016 record: 9-3, 4-1 in District 13-2A II (2nd) Coach: Walt Brock, 0-0 Key losses: QB Wyatt Messex, WR/DB A.B. Reyna, OL/DL Kurt Kaderka, OL/DL Tito Torres, LB Monteye Brisco Key returners: TE/LB Matthew Cruz, RB/DL Ryan Pickett, WR/LB Jacob Peoples, OL/LB Colton Prinz Key newcomers: QB Thomas Rhoades, OL/DL Caleb Filla, RB/LB Shane Taurozzi

Junior defensive back Isaiah Williams (left) returns to bolster Granger’s secondary alongside Justin Perez, Eric Corona, and Alex and Carlos Reyna. Photos by Larry Pelchat


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

TAYLOR PRESS •

9

Fall Sports

Brock ushers in new era at Granger REAGAN ROEHL

sports@taylorpress.net

A changing of the guard is underway up in Granger. Gone is former head coach Jason Meng – now at Burkburnett – as well 15 seniors from last year’s area playoff team that went 9-3. But the cupboard is hardly bare for new boss Walt Brock, who inherits an equally large junior class to restock the shelves and run the up-tempo offense that he implemented to great effect as a coordinator at Anson. “There are a lot of holes to fill. Just look at our offensive line – we don’t have one returning [starter],” Brock said. “These kids are young, but that’s a good thing because we can mold them the way we want.” Brock is already doing just that, converting junior lineman Ryan Pickett – reigning 2A champion in the shot put – into a battering-ram running back.

Pickett, an All-District nose guard, will still put his hand in the dirt on defense, but now has the chance to showcase his 4.7 – 40-yard dash – speed in the open field. “I want to put the best athletes on the field, and Ryan fits that criteria,” Brock said. “He’s the second-fastest kid in the whole program.” Pickett is also one of Granger’s captains this year, along with junior center Caleb Filla, who anchors a newlook offensive line that includes Colton Prinz and Cisco Reyna. The Lions no longer have AllDistrict speedster A.B. Reyna to utilize on offense and special teams, but they do return his younger brother, Cisco, and two additional siblings – Alex and Carlos. Brock plans on using Alex and Carlos as slot receivers to compliment the length of seniors Jay Hartmann and Jacob Peoples out wide. Peoples earned first team All-District honors last year with 25 catches for 405

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yards and two touchdowns. Hartmann, however, only managed 153 yards, suffering a season-ending ACL tear last September against Holland. “Jay is coming off a really bad injury, but since the day I got here, he’s been working hard to get back out there,” Brock said. “We just have to keep an eye on him and make sure he’s good to go.” Brock has also been keeping an eye on freshman quarterback Thomas Rhoades, who is currently leading the race to succeed Wyatt Messex as Granger’s triggerman. The youngster only stands about 5-foot-9, but has already put on 20 pounds of muscle this summer. “He’s got a good arm, good feet and is very mature mentally,” Brock said. “He’s also got a lot of growing left to do, so it’s good to have him there to learn and develop.” The quarterback of the defense, meanwhile, is a finished product. Senior

inside linebacker Matthew Cruz returns after a 120-tackle season in 2016 – which earned him a spot on the AustinAmerican Statesman’s All-Centex team – and will lineup alongside Peoples and promising junior Ulises Murillo. “A lot of people don’t realize that as a sophomore, [Murillo] had 98 tackles last year,” Brock said. “I think he’s someone who can really help us on defense.” With a speedy secondary as well, featuring Isaiah Williams, Eric Corona and Justin Perez, the Lions appear wellequipped to fight for a playoff spot in District 13-2A II this season. Burton is favored to repeat as champions, but with coaching turnover at other schools in the district, spots 2-4 could be up for grabs. “Everybody is trying to get that foundation set,” Brock said. “Playing through Thanksgiving is always the goal, but we’re young, so we just have to keep working.”

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HUTTO FOOTBALL

10

TAYLOR PRESS •

Fall Sports

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hippos targeting more than district crown REAGAN ROEHL

sports@taylorpress.net

Last year, quarterback Chase Griffin led all Class 5A and 6A sophomores in passing yards (3,056), touchdowns (31), completions (227) and completion percentage (62.3). Photo by Tim Walter

2017 HUTTO FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent 9/1 @ Bryan 9/8 vs. Rudder 9/15 @ Georgetown* 9/22 vs. Connally* 9/29 BYE 10/6 @ Elgin*

Time 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m.

Date Opponent 10/13 vs. Bastrop* 10/20 @ East View* 10/27 vs. Rouse* 11/3 @ Cedar Park* 11/10 vs. Cedar Creek*

Time 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m.

*District game

HUTTO HIPPOS 2016 record: 7-4, 5-3 in District 19-5A (4th) Coach: Steve Van Meter, 28-18 in four years Key losses: DL Ondario Robinson, RB Deary’on Milligan, DB Darius Baptist, LB Antonio Luna

Key returners: QB Chase Griffin, WR D.J. Baptist, DB Cameron Forrest, DL James Huddleston Key newcomers: RB Chux Nwabuko, DL Landyn Watson

To say that the Hutto Hippos have an embarrassment of riches on offense this season would be an understatement. With one of the best quarterbacks in Central Texas – maybe even the state – pulling the strings and three alldistrict receivers to spread the ball around to, Hutto has more weapons than head coach Steve Van Meter knows how to use. “That’ll be my challenge,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m kind of an outside-the-box thinker as far as offensive football, so I’ll have to make sure I don’t try to put in too many wrinkles.” If he does, junior quarterback Chase Griffin will be the first to let him know. Griffin played “wise beyond his years” in 2016 as a first-time starter, guiding the Hippos to a 7-4 record and a third consecutive playoff berth. He led all Class 5A and 6A sophomores in passing yards (3,056), passing touchdowns (31), completions (227) and completion percentage (62.3), and was named the Austin-American Statesman’s Newcomer of the Year in Central Texas. “The kid has an uncanny football sense, but what’s even better about him is his work ethic,” Van Meter said. “He’s just a tremendous worker and has become the leader of this group; and he got that title by earning the respect of the other kids.” Griffin had plenty of help from his receivers, though; and all of them are back. D.J. Baptist was a unanimous all-district selection last year with 56 catches for 959 yards and 14 touchdowns, but the big-play junior is just the tip of the iceberg. Opponents will also have to account for junior Caleb Forrest (60 catches, 903 yards, 3 TDs) and seniors Jakobe Davidson (31 catches, 372 yards, 5 TDs), Cayden Beran (26 catches, 297 yards, TD) and Caden Dykowski (16 catches, 150 yards, 2 TDs). And if that wasn’t enough, the Hippos even added junior tailback Chux Nwabuko III – a highly touted transfer from Hendrickson – to run behind an offensive line that returns three starters. “This is probably the most competitive bunch of kids [we’ve had] as far as trying to find a spot,” Van Meter said. “We’re deep in the secondary, we’re deep at receiver; so for the skill kids, it’s going to be a competition every day.” Along with a strong defense, featuring all-district selections at lineman (seniors James Huddleston, Jonathan Mitchell) and corner (senior Cameron Forrest), Van Meter believes he has the talent to not only challenge Cedar Park for a district crown, but also reach the state championship. “Our expectation is to play at Arlington, quite frankly,” he said. “I’m excited about this bunch.”


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

TAYLOR PRESS •

HUTTO VOLLEYBALL

11

Fall Sports

2017 HUTTO VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent Time 8/7 vs. Austin 5:00 p.m. 8/7 vs. Westwood 7:00 p.m. 8/10-12 AISD Tournament TBA 8/15 @ McNeil 6:30 p.m. 8/17-19 Conroe Tournament TBA 8/22 @ Cedar Park* 6:30 p.m. 8/24-26 Smithson Valley Tournament TBA 8/29 vs. Elgin* 6:30 p.m. 9/1 vs. Cedar Creek* 6:30 p.m. 9/5 @ Bastrop* 6:30 p.m. 9/8 @ Georgetown* 6:30 p.m. 9/12 @ East View* 6:30 p.m.

Date Opponent Time 9/15 vs. Connally* 6:30 p.m. 9/19 @ Rouse* 6:30 p.m. 9/22 @ Westwood 6:30 p.m. 9/26 vs. Cedar Park* 6:30 p.m. 9/29 @ Elgin* 6:30 p.m. 10/3 @ Cedar Creek* 6:30 p.m. 10/6 vs. Bastrop* 6:30 p.m. 10/10 vs. Georgetown* 6:30 p.m. 10/13 vs. East View* 6:30 p.m. 10/17 @ Connally* 6:30 p.m. 10/20 vs. Rouse* 6:30 p.m. *District game

Junior class picks up torch for Lady Hippos REAGAN ROEHL

sports@taylorpress.net

Outside hitter Kylee Becker led the Lady Hippos with 294 kills last year as a sophomore, earning first team All-District honors. Photo by Tim Walter

HUTTO LADY HIPPOS

No. Name Gr. #4 Alex Torres Sr. #5 Presley Jolly Jr. #6 Shelby Lewis Jr. #9 Destinee Vernon Jr. #10 Kylee Becker Jr. #14 Lauren McMaster Jr.

No. Name Gr. #15 Dashia Williams So. #16 Taylor Rodriguez Sr. #17 Cadi Boyer Jr. #18 Madyson Moore Jr. #3/19 Heather Haberer Jr. #7/20 Rylee Mendoza Jr.

In any other district, Hutto’s eight league wins last year might have been enough to get them into the playoffs. But with state powerhouses Rouse and Cedar Park standing in the way, as well as Cedar Creek, East View and Georgetown, the Lady Hippos could only muster a sixth-place finish during their maiden campaign in 19-5A. It was also their first season under head coach Mallory Burns, who faced the difficult task of getting eight seniors to march to a new beat. “They were having to battle against more than just new systems; it was a complete change in coaching style,” Burns said. “They had to adjust to my style – when they had been used to another coach’s – in a very short period of time.” Hutto lost some key players from that senior class, including outside hitter Imanie Williams, but has replaced them with nine eager juniors – all of whom have completely bought into Burns’ system. “It’s a great group to work with,” Burns said. “They’re already running a more aggressive and faster offense than we were about midseason last year, so they’re really absorbing everything like sponges.” Much of the offense runs through outside hitter Kylee Becker, a first team all-district selection last year.

Becker put up monster numbers as a sophomore – leading the team with 294 kills – and is expected to do even more this season. “Instead of being a three-rotation outside [hitter], she’s a six-rotation outside,” Burns said. “So she’s playing a lot more back row and staying on the court 99 percent of the time if we can keep her there.” Cadi Boyer also enjoyed a stellar campaign last year, using her 6-foot3 frame to rack up 198 kills and a team-high 174 blocks at the net. The imposing junior will play through the middle as one of Hutto’s blockers, along with promising sophomore Dashia Williams. “Cadi is kind of growing into her own; besides growing into her 6-foot-3 height,” Burns joked. “She’s owning the court, owning the net, and really learning to communicate with our setters on what she needs.” The Lady Hippos aren’t entirely devoid of senior leadership, though. Starting setter Alex Torres is back, as well as defensive specialist Taylor Rodriguez; and both are targeting one last shot at the postseason. “That’s one of the goals our team set for this year, besides being successful in our tournaments to start the season,” Burns said. “We want to prove that we’re a playoff caliber team and that we can out of the first round.”


12

TAYLOR VOLLEYBALL TAYLOR PRESS •

Senior Dajah Simien has been a force for the Lady Ducks through their first 20 games, leading the team with 96 kills.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Fall Sports

Setter Braegan Schneider has upped her assists per game from 5.4 as a junior to 6.0 as a senior.

2017 TAYLOR VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent Time 8/7 vs. Bartlett 6:00 p.m. 8/8 vs. Del Valle 3:00 p.m. 8/8 vs. Elgin 6:00 p.m. 8/10-12 Florence Tournament TBA 8/14 vs. Manor 6:00 p.m. 8/15 vs. Jarrell 6:00 p.m. 8/17-19 Gatesville Tournament TBA 8/22 vs. Thorndale 6:00 p.m. 8/24 Rockdale Tournament TBA 8/25 vs. Holland 6:00 p.m.

Date Opponent Time 8/26 Rockdale Tournament TBA 8/29 vs. Troy 6:00 p.m. 9/1 vs. Brentwood Christian 6:30 p.m. 9/5 vs. Rockdale 6:00 p.m. 9/8 @ Lampasas* 6:00 p.m. 9/12 @ Glenn* 6:00 p.m. 9/15 vs. Burnet* 6:00 p.m. 9/19 vs. Liberty Hill* 6:00 p.m. 9/26 @ Salado* 6:00 p.m. 9/29 @ Llano* 5:00 p.m.

TAYLOR LADY DUCKS Date 10/3 10/6 10/10 10/13 10/17 10/20 10/24

Opponent vs. Lampasas* vs. Glenn* @ Burnet* @ Liberty Hill* vs. Flatonia vs. Salado* vs. Llano*

*District game

Time 6:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.

No. Name Gr. #1 Amanda Randig Sr. #2 Alexis Ortega Jr. #3 Ashley Snell Sr. #4 Kodi Copeland Jr. #5 Braegan Schneider Sr. #6 Myah Richardson So. #7 Sarah Hyzak Sr. #8 Aubrie Stromberg So. #9 Madison Hanson Sr. #11 Dajah Simien Sr. #13 Miriah Williams Jr.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

TAYLOR PRESS •

13

Fall Sports

Lady Ducks chase elusive playoff win REAGAN ROEHL

sports@taylorpress.net

It has been a decade since the Taylor Lady Ducks last recorded a playoff win; a drought that has gone on for far too long, according to fifth-year head coach Eric Soto. “My overall goal since I got here was to win our first playoff game since 2007,” he said. “I think it would be pretty fitting to get one this season since we’re 10 years removed. The kids have talked about that goal amongst themselves and embrace it.” Before the Lady Ducks can set their sights on a Bi-District championship, though, they must first qualify for the playoffs; something they fell short of last season after finishing sixth in District 19-4A. But with eight returners and a talented newcomer, Taylor has a nucleus capable of securing a top-four spot – even without senior libero Cassidy Tatrow on the court. After injuries took a toll on Tatrow last year, the second team All-District

selection is serving as team manager this season in order to stay healthy for softball. While Soto has two other seniors – Ashley Snell and Sarah Hyzak – who can fill the defensive void, neither has done enough to distinguish themselves during Taylor’s 7-13 start to the season. “Cassidy brought a lot to the table. I know we’ve got kids in this year’s group who can do similar things, but it’s just a consistency issue right now,” Soto said. “We definitely have to get that [libero position] settled before district play.” Inconsistency in the digging department has also affected the passing game, putting additional pressure on senior setter Braegan Schneider to create opportunities for Lady Duck hitters. Schneider, an All-District honorable mention in 2016, has done her best under the circumstances, though. The veteran has already upped her assists per set from 5.4 as a junior to 6.0 this season. “We have to pass at a highly effective rate,” Soto said, “otherwise we put Braegan and our hitters in difficult positions. It

shouldn’t take 40 swings to get five kills.” If the Lady Ducks can get cleaner looks at the net, expect their already high attacking numbers to skyrocket even further. Through 20 games this season, Taylor is averaging almost eight kills per set – the most since 2014. A big reason for the uptick is an experienced front line, featuring senior Dajah Simien (96 kills), junior Kodi Copeland (70 kills) and senior Amanda Randig (69 kills). Sophomore hitter Aubrie Stromberg, a firstyear transfer from Concordia, has also been a major contributor thus far, tallying 48 kills and 29 aces. “This is [Stromberg’s] first experience with high school athletics, but she’s already a difference maker,” Soto said. “Her ability to pass, hit, block and serve allows her to play any front-row position.” With junior Miriah Williams and senior Madison Hanson providing additional depth on the outside, Soto believes the Lady Ducks have all the makings of a playoff team – if they can work out the kinks. “Right now it’s about fine tuning some

Sophomore transfer Aubrie Stromberg has made an immediate impact since arriving in Taylor, pitching in 66 digs, 48 kills and 29 aces. Photos by Larry Pelchat very small things,” he said. “The roster is there, the experience is there and the schedule is pretty favorable.” Taylor opens district play at Lampasas on September 5.

Let Eye Associates of Central Texas prepare your kids for sports with an Eye Exam. Thomas Kittleman, M.D. • Patricia Dearman, M.D. Thomas Hendrix, M.D. • Kimberly Golde, M.D. • Lena Dixit, M.D.

TAYLOR ROUND ROCK 603 Mallard Lane 2120 Round Rock Ave, Ste 100 Taylor, Texas 76574 Round Rock, Texas 78681 (512) 352-7664 (512) 244-1991 www.eyeassociatestexas.com


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THRALL VOLLEYBALL TAYLOR PRESS •

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Fall Sports

2017 THRALL VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE

Seniors Bethany Williams (left) and Chandee Bachmeyer (right) each saw significant playing time during Thrall’s run to the state tournament last year. Photo by Kim Knapek

THRALL TIGERETTES No. Name Gr. #1 Riley Krenek So. #2 Kyla Green Sr. #3 Alex Dollins Jr.

No. Name Gr. #4 Casey Carter Sr. #5 Chandee Bachmeyer Sr. #6 Bethany Williams Sr.

No. Name Gr. #9 Ashley Porter Sr. #13 Katie Stolte Sr. #14 Claire Seigmund Jr. #15 Chandra Reed So.

Date Opponent Time 8/8 @ Cameron 5:00 p.m. 8/10 Yorktown Tournament TBA 8/11 @ Yorktown 5:00 p.m. 8/12 Yorktown Tournament TBA 8/15 @ Rockdale 6:00 p.m. 8/17-19 Bastrop Tournament TBA 8/22 vs. Rogers 7:00 p.m. 8/24-26 Groesbeck Tournament TBA 8/29 vs. Academy 6:00 p.m. 9/1 TBA 9/5 vs. Mumford* 6:00 p.m. 9/9 @ Bartlett* 3:00 p.m. 9/12 @ Milano* 6:00 p.m. 9/16 vs. Granger* 3:00 p.m. 9/19 @ Buckholts* 6:00 p.m. 9/23 vs. Thorndale* 3:00 p.m. 9/26 @ Holland* 7:00 p.m. 9/29 @ Mumford* 4:00 p.m. 10/3 vs. Bartlett* 7:00 p.m. 10/7 vs. Milano* 2:00 p.m. 10/10 @ Granger* 7:00 p.m. 10/14 vs. Buckholts* 2:00 p.m. 10/17 @ Thorndae* 7:00 p.m. 10/21 vs. Holland* 3:00 p.m. *District game

Tigerettes load up for another state run CASEY GEORG

sports@taylorpress.net

For the past four years, the Thrall Tigerettes have been one of the more dominant volleyball programs in Central Texas. Averaging 37 wins a season over that span, the Tigerettes have taken on all-comers regardless of classification. Thrall shouldn’t see a significant change from the norm in 2017. The Tigerettes lost a pool of talent from last year’s team that made the final four, but the cupboard is anything but bare with eight returning lettermen. “We lost a lot of talent from last year’s team, but we’ve got a good group of seniors and some new additions that should make a difference this season,” said Thrall coach

Bethany Grissom. “We were a little worried early on about leadership and who would step up, but we’ve had some of the seniors step up and add some leadership to the team.” Among those returning who saw significant playing time last year are seniors Chandee Bachmeyer, Ashley Porter and Bethany Williams. Bachmeyer seems to be all over the floor and her energy is contagious to her teammates. Porter adds some power at the net and Williams is a solid server and passer. Junior libero Claire Seigmund saw a lot of court time a year ago as well and has been a strong point for the Thrall defense so far this season. She has been able to place the ball well, setting up hitters for potential kills. Leading the charge at the net, along with Bachmeyer, are 6-foot sophomores Chandra Reed and Riley Krenek. Reed was on last

year’s squad and has shown a lot of growth through the early part of this season. Krenek led the junior varsity team last year and her addition gives the Tigerettes a formidable wall at the net defensively and a lot of power on the offense. Casey Carter, Kyla Green and Katie Stolte round out the returning letterman. Carter and Stolte saw playing time a year ago, and look to add depth on the net and at the outside hitter position. Green missed last season due to an injury, but has added depth in the back and is a solid server. The Tigerettes are off to an 11-8 start, but as has been the case the past four years, the level of competition has been fierce. “Our schedule is tougher than it used to be,” Grissom said. “We’ve played a lot of bigger schools in the Bastrop tournament

and good teams at the Yorktown tournament. Some of the teams we play that used to be a little weaker have gotten a lot stronger.” District 16-2A should also be tougher this year. For the past four years, the district title has belonged to the Tigerettes, but with a stiff challenge from the Milano Lady Eagles. Thorndale and Holland, meanwhile, claimed the final two playoff spots. This year, it appears the district race will be go down to the wire, with all four teams fighting for the title; and possibly a challenge from Mumford and Granger. “Holland and Thorndale will definitely be good this year, and Milano will be still be good under coach [Wendy] King,” Grissom said. “Mumford has a good coach and I think they’ll be a lot better, and I think Granger has some good girls and could step up this year.”


GRANGER VOLLEYBALL

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

TAYLOR PRESS •

The Granger Lady Lions went into the Bremond Tournament on Aug. 24 with a 2-11 record under first-year head coach Holly Tarter. Photo by Michelle Messex

GRANGER LADY LIONS No. #1 #2 #3 #4

Name Gr. Jaimie Pustjovsky Audrey Messex So. Caitlyn Murrah So. Mikayla Skrhak Jr.

No. #5 #6 #9

Name Gr. Paige Pearson Sr. Faith Scruggs So. Delia Aleman Sr.

No. #10 #11 #12 #13

15

Fall Sports

Name Gr. Kiara Miller Sr. Carsyn Locklin Fr. Makenzie Bird Sr. Stephanie Diaz Jr.

2017 GRANGER VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE

Date Opponent Time 8/8 vs. Florence 10:00 a.m. 8/10-12 Florence Tournanment TBA 8/15 @ Somerville 5:00 p.m. 8/18-19 Bruceville-Eddy Tournament TBA 8/24 Bremond Tournament TBA 8/25 @ Chilton 4:30 p.m. 8/26 Bremond Tournament TBA 8/29 @ CTCS 5:00 p.m. 9/1 @ Bruceville-Eddy 4:30 p.m. 9/5 vs. Thorndale* 5:00 p.m. 9/9 @ Holland* 1:00 p.m. 9/12 vs. Mumford* 5:00 p.m. 9/16 @ Thrall* 3:00 p.m. 9/19 vs. Milano* 5:00 p.m. 9/23 vs. Bartlett* 1:00 p.m. 9/26 @ Buckholts* 5:00 p.m. 9/30 @ Thorndale* 1:00 p.m. 10/3 vs. Holland* 5:00 p.m. 10/6 @ Mumford* 4:00 p.m. 10/11 vs. Thrall* 7:00 p.m. 10/14 @ Milano* 1:00 p.m. 10/17 @ Bartlett* 5:00 p.m. 10/21 vs. Buckholts* 1:00 p.m. *District game

TEAMWORK COMMITMENT DEDICATION ACHIEVEMENT A generation of Duck fans have seen Dr. Paul Burow on the sidelines of the game.

Dr. Burow has been helping his Taylor area neighbors get off the sidelines and back into the “game of life” for many years. How can he help you?

WISHING ALL AREA ATHLETES A GREAT SEASON!

We offer all-natural chiropractic treatment to address the following concerns and many more: Headaches • Joint Pain • Back Pain • Neck Pain • Shoulder, Arm, Hip & Leg Pain Carpal Tunnel Syndrome • Fibromyalgia • Sciatica • Disc Injuries

Burow chiropractic clinic

Paul Burow, D. C.

612 N. Main Street • Taylor • 512-352-5584 •Metro 365-3113

As we begin a new school year, we’d like to recognize our student athletes for their hard work and accomplishments. We understand that balancing academics and athletics is a challenge, and we commend your dedication to achieving your goals both in the classroom and on the field. Good luck this year!

Granger National Bank PO Box 668 | Granger, TX 76530 512-859-2202


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Fall Sports Preview 2017 - Taylor Ducks  

Taylor Press, Taylor, Texas, 2017 annual preview of local fall high school athletics.

Fall Sports Preview 2017 - Taylor Ducks  

Taylor Press, Taylor, Texas, 2017 annual preview of local fall high school athletics.