SPORTS HEADLINES

Memorable moments: A look back at 2012 highlights

By Clay Corbett | Published Saturday, December 29, 2012

FEB. 29:
ENDING DOESN’T SPOIL RIDE

The emotional ride of the Alvord Lady Bulldogs’ basketball season came to an end in the regional final, 44-27 to Brock. Alvord won 32 games and took a turn atop the state’s Class 2A rankings in the middle of a 19-game winning streak that opened the season.

Alvord only managed to shoot 22 percent from the field. After Brock took a 21-9 lead late in the second quarter, the Lady Bulldogs never got any closer than 10 the rest of the way.

“It’s hard to believe it’s over,” senior forward Madi Lynch said. “I wish it wasn’t. We couldn’t get shots to fall.”

Coach Rob Schmucker had a few word after the game to ease his team’s heartache.

“This one game doesn’t define who they are,” Schmucker said. “I don’t care if it’s the championship game and you won it. It’s not going to define who you are as a person. The character they have is a lifetime. It’s more about what they’ve done the last two, three and four years for the seniors.”

SHINING MOMENT – Alvord’s Jordan Ward set a new Class 2A record in the 100 hurdles at the state track meet in May. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

MAY 16:
WARD BREAKS HURDLES RECORD

Alvord’s Jordan Ward defended her Class 2A crown in the 100 hurdles, running a conference record, 14.06 at the state track and field championships in May.

She also defended her title in the Class 2A 300 hurdles, giving her four gold medals in her career.

“It’s awesome,” Ward said about the fourth gold medal. “I’m so blessed. Everyone has been so supportive. I’ve had awesome coaches, family and town supporting me. The whole town has been behind me – the whole county really.”

May 9: Two days after 11-1 loss, Paradise rallies to win series

After falling behind Krum in the opening game of the bi-district series, the Paradise Panthers won two straight to advance to the area round of the baseball playoffs.

Connor Berry mixed up pitches and arm angles to keep Krum hitters guessing over 10 innings of the next two games. Berry allowed only one hit in four innings of game three before Dillon Meadows worked a final scoreless three frames in a series-clinching win.

That gem followed a 15-1 Paradise win in game two.

“The other day their bats were real hot,” Berry said. “Today we showed up, and we validated. We hit the ball really well at the plate, and our pitching was phenomenal with Logan, Dillon and me.”

The Panthers didn’t get to celebrate long as Melissa ousted them in the area round of the playoffs.

SERIES TILT – Bridgeport’s Brandon Huff brings down Decatur’s Ben Blattner during the “Battle of Big Sandy.” A late interception allowed the Bulls to hold on for a 28-21 victory. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

OCT. 27:
BULLS CLAIM BIG SANDY VICTORY

With a Blake Arrington interception, the Bridgeport Bulls reclaimed the famed “Jar of Sand” for at least another year with a 28-21 win over the Decatur Eagles.

Decatur was driving late in the game to potentially tie the contest when Levi Rust’s halfback pass was nabbed by Arrington.

Bridgeport went on to run out the clock and put the game away with a 31-yard run by Gabe Huerta.

“It was a very hard-fought game on both sides of the ball,” Bridgeport coach Danny Henson said. “This year we came up with the big interception to end the game.”

MAKING HISTORY – The Decatur Lady Eagles advanced all the way to the regional final for the first time in school history. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

NOV. 10:
LADY EAGLES TAKE GAME TO NEW HEIGHTS

After another perfect district run, the Lady Eagles volleyball team kept things going right into the postseason. With a sweep of Krum in the Class 3A Region II quarterfinal, Decatur advanced to the regional tournament for the first time in school history.

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for this group of girls,” coach Claire Rose said. “They worked hard and stayed composed in the situation. The third set we took control and never let them back in it.”

The Lady Eagles rode that momentum to a regional semifinal win against Kaufman, where they rallied back from two sets down.

Decatur fell to Argyle the next afternoon in the regional final.

NOV. 14:
EAGLE RUNNERS RETURN AS STATE CHAMPIONS

The Decatur Eagles cross country team began the season ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, and in early November they ended it in that same spot. It was their first state title since 2006.

Decatur dominated the Class 3A race at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock with its top five runners finishing in the top 23.

The team of Taylor Clayton, Daniel Smyers, Michael Smyers, Travis Kyle, Austin Poole, Travis Wilson and Brandon Rivera finished with 56 points, beating second-place Lytle by 21.

“We felt like we were [the best team] all year, but it doesn’t matter what you think,” Decatur coach David Park said. “There’s one time you’ve got to do it, and they did.”

BIG WIN – Boyd’s Blake McDonald and Adrian Nelson raise the trophy after the Yellowjackets’ first round playoff win against Farmersville. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

NOV. 17:
JACKETS TOUGH IT OUT

With a tremendous second-half defensive effort, the Boyd Yellowjackets defeated Farmersville, 21-15 in the Class 2A Region II bi-district round of the football playoffs.

Cole Meador recovered a fumble in the closing moments to set up the victory, and the Boyd offense followed it up with two crucial first downs to seal the deal, led by Fino Cardona.

Cardona ended the night with 160 rushing yards.

“With it 21-15 at halftime you’re thinking it’s going to be a shootout,” Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins said. “Both defenses played great in the second half. Our defense stepped up and really made some plays.”

The Yellowjackets’ playoff run ended the next week, when Winnsboro defeated Boyd in the area round.

NOV. 3:
LADY PANTHERS EARN REGIONAL TITLE

The Paradise Lady Panthers cross country team followed up a district championship with the Class 2A Region II title in early November.

The pack of Lady Panthers dominated the 11th through 27th positions to wrap up the title with 69 points. Alvord finished third with 114.

“We are trying to build a program here at Paradise,” coach Eddie Fortenberry said. “This is a great start. We are thrilled. Winning a district championship and now region champs. It is a huge step in the right direction.”

Sophomore Kaylee McConnell led the way with an 11th place finish.

“It is really indescribable because Paradise hasn’t been to state in forever,” McConnell said. “People don’t know how good we are, but we are proving to them now that we are awesome.”

Paradise followed things up with a third-place finish at the state meet.

NOV. 3:
HUERTA LEADS BULLS TO POSTSEASON BERTH

On the same night the Bridgeport Bulls clinched their sixth straight trip to the postseason, senior running back Gabe Huerta became the Bulls’ all-time leading rusher.

Huerta went into the game only needing 21 yards to break Colin Jones’ record 4,122 yards, and he did it early in the first quarter.

“I was aware when I heard the fans that I had broke it,” Huerta said about the historical moment. “It’s means a lot because so many great running backs have come through here, and I am glad to be part of that group.”

Bridgeport went on to a 47-24 win over Sanger.

“That is a great record not only for Gabe but for four years worth of offensive linemen and receivers that blocked for him,” Bridgeport coach Danny Henson said. “It’s a record that everybody can celebrate with. That is a tough record to get, and who knows how long it will take for somebody to break it.”

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