Guyer-ex, UT QB Heard injures shoulder in practice

 

Former Guyer and current Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard (13) breaks through the California defense on a 45-yard touchdown run with just over a minute to play during the fourth quarter of an NCAA football game at Royal Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Austin. Texas failed to convert the tying extra point and California won the game 45-44. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

Former Guyer and current Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard (13) breaks through the California defense on a 45-yard touchdown run with just over a minute to play during the fourth quarter of an NCAA football game at Royal Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Austin. Texas failed to convert the tying extra point and California won the game 45-44. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

Jerrod Heard was thrown into the fire, perhaps a little sooner than Texas wanted, last season but kept his head above water and helped lead Texas to bit of an improvement in head coach Charlie Strong’s second season in Austin. Improvement in the sense they had a signature win over Oklahoma but not in the sense of W/L record. Against OU, he rushed for 115 yards.

Heard became the Longhorns’ starter under center after their first game and had a monster effort in a crushing loss to Cal when he threw for 364 yards, rushed for another 163 and ran for three touchdowns. But that was the high point for Heard from an individual standpoint.

Now, the former Guyer standout who led the Wildcats to consecutive Class 4A state championships in 2012 and 2013, might be in danger of losing his weak grasp of the starting job after news broke on Wednesday that he suffered a shoulder injury in practice on Tuesday.

Of course, that’s all the Longhorns would say as no further information was given in a short release to media.

In his 10 starts last year, Heard threw for 1,214 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions while rushing for 556 yards and three touchdowns. He was second on the team in rushing.

According to the folks at Burnt Orange Nation, Heard has been working as the backup to senior Tyrone Swoopes, who Heard supplanted as the starter a year ago.

A significant injury will obviously hurt Heard’s case to be the starter, and could even hurt his chances of being the team’s backup with early enrollee Shane Buechele in camp fresh off his senior year at Arlington Lamar. With new offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert in place, the word on the street is that the quarterback competition is truly a wide-open one.

Ryan-ex Choplick assigned to Rangers’ Low-A Hickory

Former Ryan standout Adam Choplick, shown here pitching for Oklahoma in 2014, was assigned to Low-A Hickory by the Rangers on Tuesday.  (AP Photo)

Former Ryan standout Adam Choplick, shown here pitching for Oklahoma in 2014, was assigned to Low-A Hickory by the Rangers on Tuesday. (AP Photo)

Adam Choplick, a former Ryan two-sport star who went on to pitch for Oklahoma, was assigned by the Texas Rangers to Class Low-A Hickory on Tuesday afternoon as the Rangers wrap up their time in Arizona for spring training.

Choplick, who was drafted for the third time last year was assigned to the Rangers’ short-season affiliate in Spokane, Washington after being selected in June’s draft. He went 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA in 16 games with Spokane, finishing six games with three saves.

The 6-9 lefty appears to be slotted to be a reliever as a pro and will have a chance to begin his full-season professional career with the Crawdads. He’ll be joined in Hickory by the Rangers’ No. 1 pick in last summer’s draft, starting pitcher Dillon Tate.

Low-A was the logical starting point for Choplick and his expected destination out of his first spring training. The next step would be High-A High Desert in the California League, which is a pitcher’s worst nightmare due to overinflated offensive stats because of similar climate to that of Arizona. After that, would be Double-A Frisco, which would obviously be right back in Choplick’s backyard.

If you want to follow Choplick’s season, you can do so here and keep track of his appearances and statistics.

TAPPS set to move headquarters to Denton in July

Liberty Christian celebrate winning the TAPPS 5A girls basketball state championship game over Prestonwood Christian, 48-43, at Mansfield Timberview High School, Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Brandon Wade/Special Contributor)

Liberty Christian celebrate winning the TAPPS 5A girls basketball state championship game over Prestonwood Christian, 48-43, at Mansfield Timberview High School, Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Brandon Wade/Special Contributor)

Officials for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools want to move their headquarters to a more metropolitan area, and they have set their sights on Denton.

Bryan Bunselmeyer, the executive director for TAPPS, said the move is set for July, though they are still looking for office space. TAPPS creates rules and organizes athletic and academic contests for 232 private high schools —Calvary and Liberty Christian being two — across five classifications.

Its office has been in Salado, a small town about 17 miles southwest of Temple, for 15 years. Before that, TAPPS had stints in Austin and Forney. The organization was first chartered in 1978 with 20 member schools.

“Salado is a great location because it’s in the center of the state, however, it no longer meets the needs that our board of directors and leadership council desire,” Bunselmeyer said. “They want to be in a metropolitan area.

“Being in a place like Denton that wants to support small business is very important to us.”

Denton was chosen over Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. Though TAPPS has yet to sign a lease, the search has been narrowed to a couple of properties, including one near the Unicorn Lake development. An immediate benefit is proximity to its member schools. Bunselmeyer estimated there were just two or three member schools close to the Salado office.

He went on to say there are 65 member schools in the immediate Dallas-Fort Worth area, including Calvary, Liberty Christian, The Selwyn School, and Coram Deo Academy in Flower Mound.

But the biggest desire TAPPS had was to be down the street from a major college or university, which Denton has with North Texas and TWU. Bunselmeyer said TAPPS is already in talks with TWU to develop a partnership that can include internship opportunities for TWU students while partnering with college classes on specific projects.

“That was the biggest thing — to be in a metropolitan area and be in a location where there is a potential to have a partnership with a college or university,” Bunselmeyer said. “When we started to reach out, TWU immediately answered back.”

Bunselmeyer said there is also potential to hire TWU students to work in the TAPPS office and at various events. TAPPS currently has a staff of four working in its Salado office and would like to double that number to eight, Bunselmeyer said.

“As an organization serving educational institutions, it is a natural extension for TAPPS to look to students for our future planning,” he said. “The main thing is we don’t want to be just another business in a big town. We’d rather be somewhere that knows we are there.”

Football: Javaris Steward returns to Ryan

Javaris Steward tackles Justin Northwest quarterback Jesse Drummer in a game during the 2014 season. Steward is returning to Ryan after briefly living in California. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

Javaris Steward tackles Justin Northwest quarterback Jesse Drummer in a game during the 2014 season. Steward is returning to Ryan after briefly living in California. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

Steward

Steward

Javaris Steward, a playmaking defensive end who quickly made a name for himself at Ryan as a sophomore two seasons ago before moving to California for family reasons, is back in Texas and has enrolled at the school.

Ryan head coach Dave Henigan confirmed Steward, now a junior, attended classes Wednesday. He was seen taking part in offseason workouts that afternoon.

Steward was a varsity player at Ryan as a sophomore, but left the school before football practices began that next August. He played his junior season at Pomona High School. His mother, who was ill at the time of their move, has since passed away.

Steward will live with a family friend who was close with his mother, Henigan said.

“I think he decided, with his coaches out there, that he had an opportunity to be more successful here,” Henigan said. “He’s smart enough to recognize that for his future, he needs to get into a more stable environment. He knows there’s people here who care about him. If he’s here, we are going to love him, teach him, help him grow up, and hold him accountable … things we do with all our kids.”

Henigan did not speculate on where Steward, a UCLA commit, would factor in on a team that is not hurting for talent. Henigan has several starters back on both sides of the ball and the Raiders were already considered by many to be a favorite to win a state title in 2016 when they drop to Class 5A.

With that being said, the addition of Steward could bolster a defense that is losing key cogs like Ken McLaurin (SMU) and Nick Watts to graduation.

Steward caught the eye of college scouts with 10 1/2 sacks and 37 tackles as a sophomore at Ryan. Before he left the school, Steward was the 13th-ranked defensive end in his class according to 247Sports.

Steward is now listed as a weak-side defensive end and outside linebacker on that popular recruiting website, and as of Wednesday, he was the nation’s 20th-ranked outside linebacker in 247Sports’ composite rankings for the class of 2017.

According to a recruiting timeline on 247Sports, Steward committed to USC on October 19. That commitment didn’t last long and UCLA offered three days later.

Steward committed to the Bruins on February 25.

Ryan went 13-1 in the state’s largest classification last season. Henigan said given Steward’s athleticism, he could fit in anywhere on the field.

“That’s the type of player he is,” Henigan said. “If he takes care of his business, I have no doubt he can make us even better than we already are.”

Football: Ryan’s Earnest Brown IV commits to Northwestern

Ryan junior defensive end Earnest Brown IV (99) blitzes Hebron sophomore quarterback Clayton Tune (12), Thursday, September 3, 2015, in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Ryan junior defensive end Earnest Brown IV (99) blitzes Hebron sophomore quarterback Clayton Tune (12), Thursday, September 3, 2015, in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Ryan’s Earnest Brown IV isn’t used to letting anyone down. At least that’s how he felt when he decided to verbally commit to Northwestern on Tuesday night.

“It was stressful,” Brown said. “At the end of the day, I still had to choose just one college.”

Brown, a 6-5, 235-pound junior defensive end, had nearly 30 offers to scour through but said he was blown away by the Wildcats and wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger well before the start of his senior year.

He chose Northwestern over programs like Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, and Baylor.

Oral commitments are non-binding. The first day a Class of 2017 recruit can sign a national letter of intent is Feb. 1.

“I didn’t want to waste a good opportunity at Northwestern,” Brown said. “All the coaches had a great attitude. I loved how they encouraged their players to do good every day, and they make sure [the players] focus on their academics more.

“Nobody told me not to go to Northwestern. I know I made the right decision.”

Brown is the 11th-ranked strong-side defensive end in the nation according to 247Sports’ composite rankings for the class of 2017 and he is one of a slew of returning starters for the Raiders. Ryan is dropping to Class 5A and is a favorite to win a state title.

Brown racked up 54 tackles, 21 for loss, and nine sacks as Ryan finished 13-1 last season in the state’s largest classification. He also had one forced fumble and five quarterback pressures.

Ryan coach Dave Henigan said Brown’s commitment is a coup for Northwestern given his size, athleticism, work ethic, and high character.

“Earnest has only scratched the potential of what he can do as a football player,” Henigan said. “He’s going to continue to get better.

“[Northwestern] is a great school in a great conference. It’s not like they aren’t winning over there at Northwestern. They win every year. It’s a prestigious academic school and I have no doubt that was a major factor in his decision. It’s great to be in a position where you have options. And he had a lot of great options.”

Brown said Northwestern and Texas A&M were on his short list of potential landing spots, but when it came down to it, Northwestern was too good to pass up.

“I just had to look out for what was best for my future,” Brown said. “I’m very excited.”

——————————————————————————–

Original post from Tuesday night:

Ryan junior defensive end Earnest Brown IV has verbally committed to Northwestern.

Brown confirmed the decision to the Denton Record-Chronicle via Twiter late Tuesday night, but could not be reached by phone for additional comment.

Northwestern was one of nearly 30 offers Brown entertained. He chose Northwestern over several other powerhouse programs, including Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas A&M.

Oral commitments are non-binding. The first day a Class of 2017 recruit can sign a national letter of intent is Feb. 1.

“I always love Texas boys to stay in Texas, but we are 100 percent behind Earnest Brown,” Ryan defensive coordinator Shane Tolleson said. “Bottom line.”

Brown racked up 54 tackles in 2015, and 21 of them were behind the line of scrimmage. He also had nine sacks, one forced fumble and five quarterback pressures.

Brown is the 11th-ranked strong-side defensive end in the nation according to 247Sports’ composite rankings for the class of 2017 and is one of a slew of returning starters for the Raiders. Ryan is dropping down to Class 5A next season.

 

 

Guyer tight end commits to Miami

Guyer junior tight end Brian Polendey (83) celebrates with running back Christian Moore (21) after a touchdown against Keller Fossil Ridge on Oct. 8 in Keller. David Minton/DRC

Guyer junior tight end Brian Polendey (83) celebrates with running back Christian Moore (21) after a touchdown against Keller Fossil Ridge on Oct. 8 in Keller. David Minton/DRC

Guyer tight end Brian Polendey took a visit to Florida over spring break to visit his father, whose job was recently transferred to the Tampa area.

In the midst of the visit, he worked in a business trip to the University of Miami and quickly decided he wanted to spend his collegiate years there. He committed to the Hurricanes on Monday night.

“The location, obviously, was a huge selling point,” Polendey said. “It’s a really nice place. It’s a small private school, too, so I’ll get a great education and have fun doing it, and that’s what life’s all about.”

Oral commitments are non-binding. The first day a Class of 2017 recruit can sign a national letter of intent is Feb. 1.

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TABC all-state, all-region teams announced

Argyle's Kaylie King (23), Olivia Gray (34), Vivian Gray (12) and Gabby Standifer (33) celebrate their win over Liberty Hill during the UIL Girls State Basketball 4A semifinal at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

Argyle’s Kaylie King (23), Olivia Gray (34), Vivian Gray (12) and Gabby Standifer (33) celebrate their win over Liberty Hill during the UIL Girls State Basketball 4A semifinal at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

The Texas Association of Basketball Coaches has announced its 2015-2016 all-state and all-region boys and girls basketball teams, and there are a slew of Denton-area standouts who made the cut.

The list of what has been announced so far is below. The TABC has yet to announce its players of the year and all-state private school selections. Once we have those, we will update you. As for now, here is the list.

TABC ALL-STATE TABC ALL-REGION
Class 4A Class 6A Region I
Vivian Gray, Argyle; Madison Ralston, Argyle Zach Garza, Guyer; Lauren Heard, Guyer
Class 5A Region I
Class 3A Emerson Espinoza, Denton
Brady Anderson, Ponder Class 4A Region II
Drew Davis, Aubrey; Nathan Priddy, Argyle; Vivian Gray, Argyle; Madison Ralston, Argyle; Gabby Standifer, Argyle; Brooke Lewis, Sanger; Maci Turkoly, Sanger; Rhett Robinson, Krum
Class 3A Region II
Brady Anderson, Ponder; Chase Harris, Ponder

 

Argyle defends title, gets salty in postgame

Argyle's head coach Skip Townsend speaks to his team during the UIL Girls Basketball 4A State Championship at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

Argyle’s head coach Skip Townsend speaks to his team during the UIL Girls Basketball 4A State Championship at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

When you go to the state tournament three years in a row and win a second straight against a team you’ve had some epic battles with, it’s OK to get a little cocky.

After defending their Class 4A state crown with a 53-43 win over Waco La Vega on Saturday night in San Antonio, the Lady Eagles were understandably feeling pretty good.

A reporter in the postgame press conference asked star junior Vivian Gray, who has never not played in a state tournament in her career as a three-year starter, how it felt to defend a state title. Her answer was perfect.

“It never gets old,” Gray said into the microphone, flashing a million-dollar smile.

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Argyle girls should expect full dose of press in final

Argyle's Vivian Gray (12) drives around Liberty Hill's Autumn Lange (14) during the UIL Girls State Basketball 4A semifinal at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

Argyle’s Vivian Gray (12) drives around Liberty Hill’s Autumn Lange (14) during the UIL Girls State Basketball 4A semifinal at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman/Special Contributor)

Here we are, folks.

As many people expected, the rubber match is on: No. 1 Argyle (34-1) vs. No. 2 Waco La Vega (33-2), with tipoff set for 7 p.m. Saturday at San Antonio’s Alamodome.

And you can bet Argyle is expecting to see a heavy dose of pressure defense from the Lady Pirates for two reasons: That’s what La Vega does, and the Lady Eagles showed some vulnerability to Liberty Hill’s press in Friday’s semifinal.

Argyle’s Madison Ralston, who had nine points and three rebounds on Friday, said it herself in Friday night’s postgame press conference.

“Watching the game before us, that team [Abilene Wylie] couldn’t really handle their [La Vega] press, and I think we can handle it,” Ralston said.

That means Argyle will have to be more like it was in the second half of Friday’s game (four turnovers) than how the Lady Eagles played in the first half (11 turnovers). Argyle head coach Skip Townsend, who’s going for his eighth state title in 10 tournament appearances, said he thought the layoff since Argyle’s regional final win over Dallas Lincoln might’ve contributed to his team’s sloppiness, and Argyle wasn’t the only team affected by it.

“They’re known for their press,” Townsend said of Liberty Hill. “We haven’t had a lot of trouble with that. Dallas Lincoln pressed us last week, and we did a good job. They had a good scheme though and we figured it out the second half. We got some points off it in the second half.

“No excuses, but it’s tough when you haven’t played a game in [five] days, and I think you saw that from all four teams. I don’t think any of those teams played as well as they’re capable of playing. I think you’ll see kids play better tomorrow after having that game under their belt.”

For Argyle, that list will have to include sophomore point guard Gabby Standifer. The natural power forward, who’s been moonlighting as a point guard this year, stepped up big in the second half, hitting two straight 3-pointers to get some separation to start the fourth quarter. But she struggled in the first half with six turnovers, forcing Townsend to go more with star forward Vivian Gray bringing the ball up the floor in the second half.

Townsend and Gray both said Standifer was nervous early in Friday’s game, which is understandable when you consider this is his first go-round at the state tournament even though her teammates are all seasoned vets.

I’d expect to see more of a mix from the beginning with Standifer and Gray both handling the ball in the back court, especially if La Vega comes out and presses like it did against Wylie.

“She doesn’t mind being the go-to girl, and we don’t mind giving her the ball,” Townsend said of Gray, the nation’s 14th-ranked junior player.

 

Guyer freshmen ice game down stretch

Guyer freshman De'Vion Harmon (11) steals the ball against Keller, Tuesday, January 19, 2016, at Guyer High School in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer freshman De’Vion Harmon (11) steals the ball against Keller, Tuesday, January 19, 2016, at Guyer High School in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

In case you missed Tuesday night’s win for Guyer over Flower Mound to open the Class 6A playoffs, here’s a quick recap:

Guyer looked dead, came back, looked dead again, came back again and pulled away late for a 75-65 win with some veteran free-throw shooting. Except one thing, that near-perfect foul shooting down the stretch wasn’t by veterans at all.

Nevermind senior Zach Garza’s game-high 25 points, the importance of that goes without saying. Let’s focus for a moment on that foul shooting with the Jags trying to get back in the game in the ol’ foul-and-cross-your-fingers game.

After Garza hit sixth and final 3-pointer of the night for Guyer with 2:39 remaining to give the Wildcats a 60-58 lead, it became a free-throw game for Guyer. And the Wildcats couldn’t have been better, thanks to their two freshmen standouts.

Jalen Wilson was 5-for-6 from the line in the final two minutes on his way to an 18-point, 9-rebound performance. Classmate De’Vion Harmon went 6-for-6 over the final 45 seconds, with four of those being in a one-and-one situation. Harmon finished the night with 15 points, six rebounds and six assists. So if you’re keeping track, two freshmen went 11-for-12 from the foul line in the final two minutes to give Guyer the win.

That’s impressive. I don’t care who you are.

“They’re young and hungry and have no fear,” Guyer coach Grant Long said. “Those freshmen in the fourth quarter from the free throw line, they had to have been 90-something percent.”

I confirmed, using math, and it was 92 percent. As a team, Guyer shot 91 percent from the line.

“They have no fear and know they’re gonna make it,” Long added. “They want to play the best in the state, and they aren’t scared of anyone.”