Weatherford Sports

Top 10: Bearcats return to top, leads area sports in 2016

Brock Lady Eagles compete for state championship.
Brock Lady Eagles compete for state championship. Weatherford Star-Telegram

It was another great sports year in the area.

A football dynasty continued. A state basketball championship was won, along with another near miss. A volleyball power again came close to a title. A newcomer exceeded expectations for a memorable football season.

At the college level, a rodeo program made school history. Also, a softball player posted a heroic comeback.

Here are the top 10 sports stories in the area in 2016:

ALEDO BEARCATS WIN ANOTHER FOOTBALL TITLE

The Aledo Bearcats, after a year's absence, won another state football championship when they defeated Corpus Christi Calallen 24-16 for the Class 5A Division II title at AT&T Stadium on Dec. 16. It is the sixth state championship in eight seasons for the Bearcats, the only team to accomplish that feat in University Interscholastic League history.

It was also a return to the top of the high school football world after falling in the semifinals in 2015.

"Man, we had that ugly taste in our mouth all season," said senior offensive/defensive lineman Wes Harris, who has committed to play for TCU next season.

Freshman running back sensation Jace McClennan rushed for 98 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown, to claim offensive MVP honors. Junior defensive lineman James Williams had six tackles, including two for a loss, to be named defensive MVP.

The Bearcats averaged over 50 points per game, becoming only the eighth team in UIL history to score more than 800 points in a season. In fact, they've done it twice, with the 2013 state champions being the only team in history to score more than 1,000 points.

Aledo scored in 63 of 64 quarters played this season, including all 24 quarters in the postseason.

This was the third 16-0 season for Aledo during its current championship run. They are 115-8 since 2009.

PEASTER VOLLEYBALL REACHES STATE FINAL

The Peaster Lady Greyhounds did something only one other volleyball team in school history accomplished. They played in the final volleyball game of the season, finishing second to Goliad after a 25-21, 25-11, 25-20 loss at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.

The Lady Greyhounds advanced to the final by ending the 64-match winning streak of perennial power and defending state champion Jewett Leon in the semifinals. Peaster won 25-23, 25-20, 20-25, 27-25 over a Leon team that brought a 46-0 record into the match.

The Lady Greyhounds finished 43-8. Senior McKenna Ballard and junior Kennedy Warren were named to the All-State Tournament Team.

BROCK GIRLS BASKETBALL SECOND IN STATE

After skipping a year, the Brock Lady Eagles were back in familiar territory, the Class 3A State Tournament. They also met a familiar foe in the championship game.

It was one of the lowest-scoring championship games in UIL history, with Wall winning 24-21. The Lady Eagles (34-5) had a chance to tie at the end, but came up short.

The Lady Eagles reached the title game with a 53-31 semifinals victory against Little River Academy.

In 2014 it was Wall who ended Brock's five-year championship run, 48-44. The Lady Eagles also lost to Sunnyvale, which went on to win state, in the 2015 postseason, meaning Brock has either won state or been eliminated by the state champion in eight straight seasons.

Brock senior guards Rachel Harrell and Trisha Jacobs were named to the All-State tournament Team.

WEATHERFORD CHRISTIAN GIRLS WIN TCAF STATE HOOPS

The Weatherford Christian Lady Lions, after back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship State Tournament, broke through to a championship. They defeated Arlington Saint Paul's Prep 56-55, ending their nemesis' two-year hold on the title.

The Lady Lions (20-5) reached the final with a 56-36 victory against Temple Christian.

Senior Judy K. Pope was named the State Tournament MVP. Senior Keighley Parsons joined her on the All-State Tournament Team.

WILLOW PARK TRINITY MAKES SPLASH IN 11-MAN FOOTBALL

After a history of success at the six-man level, the Willow Park Trinity Eagles played 11-man football for the first time in their history this season. They also played in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools for the first time.

The Eagles, led by senior quarterback Calib Guynes (1,365 yards, 23 TD, 8 int. passing; 927 yards, 16 TD rushing) finished 10-3. They advanced to the TAPPS Division III semifinals.

Trinity's magical season ended with a 35-27 loss to state runner-up Colleyville Covenant Christian. They led 27-7 at the half.

BROCK SOFTBALL TOPS RIVAL PEASTER TO REACH STATE SEMIFINALS

The Brock Lady Eagles reached the Class 3A State Softball Tournament. To get there, they ended the greatest season in the history of rival Peaster, defeating the Lady Greyhounds 6-2, and 10-0 in their best-of-three regional final.

Peaster finished 23-8, reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1997. It was the deepest playoff run ever for the program.

Brock finished 37-4, the best record in the program's history, falling in the state semifinals to runner-up Colorado City 5-2.

WEATHERFORD COLLEGE RODEO ENJOYS BEST SEASON IN HISTORY

Regulars at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) with 12 straight appearances, the Weatherford College (WC) rodeo team had the best season in its history.

The Coyotes finished fourth in the men's team standings with 525 points. This, despite having only three competitors.

Sophomore Cole Wheeler and his partner from Ranger placed first in team roping. Wheeler became the third national champion in WC rodeo history, joining Cody Tew for team roping in 2007 and Arena Robertson for women's all-around in 2008.

Casey Tew, a sophomore and younger brother of Cody, became the first WC rodeo athlete to reach the CNFR three straight years. He and his partner from New Mexico Junior College posted a national-record time of 3.9 seconds in one round of the team roping competition.

Sophomore Lane Livingston placed fifth overall among men with 155 points. He and his partner from Ranger were sixth overall in team roping.

Livingston led the national standings all season, setting a school record for points in a season with 1,405. He became WC's first all-around champion from the Southwest Region.

From the Lady Coyotes, freshman Aspyn Dent became the first WC women's regional champion since 2012 after winning the goat tying championship to qualify for nationals.

WEATHERFORD KANGAROOS COMPLETE HOOPS TURNAROUND

Two seasons ago the Weatherford Kangaroos won just twice in 32 basketball games. Then, last season they hired coach Charles Tatum.

Under Tatum's guidance they completed a remarkable turnaround. They improved to 14-17 and advanced to their first playoff appearance since 2008.

The success has continued this season. At the holiday break the Kangaroos were 9-5.

WC SOFTBALL PLAYER MAKES MAJOR COMEBACK

Bethany Allen was an all-everything softball player. Then, one day she collided with a teammate in practice. That injury led to the discovery of a tumor in her brain.

Allen underwent surgery and missed the entire 2016 season for the Weatherford College Lady Coyotes. Many thought she'd be lucky to continue living, much less play again.

But a determined Allen battled back through the surgery and subsequent radiation treatments to land a scholarship to play at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. That is also the place her WC coach Haylee Williams played.

WEATHERFORD VOLLEYBALL HAS GREATEST SEASON

When Natalie Gonzales took over as coach of the Weatherford Lady Kangaroos in 2013 she promised the best ever for the program was yet to come. After steady improvement in each season, the 2016 squad produced the best record in team history, finishing 33-6 and reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

The Lady Kangaroos shared the District 3-6A championship with Keller, each going 10-2 and splitting their league matches. Keller defeated Weatherford in a match to determine the top seed for the playoffs.

In bidistrict, the Lady Kangaroos led Arlington Lamar two games to none in their best-of-five match, only to drop the next three and see their season end in an upset.

The Lady Kangaroos had no seniors on their roster this season. They feature seniors-to-be London Austin-Roark and Kaitlyn Rogers, both of who have verbally committed to play for Texas A&M after high school. 

  Comments