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updated 3:21 PM UTC, Feb 15, 2019


Pirates have winning week on tennis, basketball courts

Gage Applegate-Winkle and Kyle Mott earn 2nd place medals at West Brook TournamentGage Applegate-Winkle and Kyle Mott earn 2nd place medals at West Brook Tournament


By Jennifer LeBouef

SPURGER – It was a busy week for the Pirate athletic department at Spurger. Junior high girls and boys played High Island at home last Monday night. The girls were up first to play and after a hard-fought game, they lost (7-26). The seventh-grade boys team played next and although they couldn’t secure a win, they played their best. The eighth-grade boys team played their closest game of the season. The teams would battle and tie the game multiple times. When the buzzer went off, it was Spurger for the win (30-29.) Finally, the seventh-grade boys ended the week at the All Saints Tournament in Beaumont. They played East Chambers (11-40) on Friday and Saturday in a close game against All Saints. They lost (20-23) to All Saints but played well as a team.

The Lady Pirates played the Chester Yellowjackets at home last Tuesday evening. Lauren Griffin started the night with a three-point shot and would go on to make six more identical baskets throughout the game. The Spurger offense operated as a well-oiled machine, as they worked the ball to make the baskets. A bounce pass from Gracie Greenwood to Shelly Martin to Tabitha Martin for two showcased the team’s fundamental skills. The Lady Pirates would go on to obtain another win (61-41). Lauren Griffin was high scorer with 23 points. They defeated Leggett on Friday (68-32), with all players contributing to the victory. Lauren Griffin and Mckenzy Hatton both had 14 points. The Lady Pirates are currently 7-0 in district.

Varsity boys played Chester at home last Tuesday, as well. Gantt Stone would be up first to add digits to the board with a three-point shot for the Pirates. Stone would later gain possession to drive through the lane for two. Hunter Jenkins made his first of four three-point shots, followed by Samuel Sirmons with his own three. Zack Covington would get control of a loose ball and throw to Tyler Dozier who made the lay-up. Samuel Tompkins made two points just inside the three-point line. Later, Tompkins made a basket, drew the foul, and was 1-1 at the line. Hunter Jenkins and Colton Jenkins passed the ball back and forth until Colton saw the open shot and scored two. Spurger won against Chester (70-20). Later in the week, the varsity boys played Leggett on Friday but came up short (29-50).

Both Spurger varsity teams will play at Goodrich on Friday, Feb. 1. They will be at home on Tuesday, Feb. 5, against High Island in what is expected to be a highly competitive re-match for the rival teams. This will be Senior Night, and the last home game for the Lady Pirates.

The weather was cold last week, but that didn’t stop Spring sports from making their debut for Spurger. The Pirate Tennis team played in the West Brook Tournament last Friday. Coach Carrie Brinkley brought five athletes, while additional players were finishing up district basketball play. The doubles team of Gage Applegate-Winkle and Kyle Mott, both seniors, had a successful first meet. They won three straight matches, followed by their first finals match of the season. In the first round they dominated Hampshire Fannett 6-0, 6-0. The momentum didn’t stop, as they went on to defeat Anahuac 6-4, 6-2, and Kirbyville 6-4, 6-3. They faced 4A Bridge City in the final match but lost 6-4, 6-2 securing second place overall. Last year, Applegate-Winkle and Mott medaled in five tournaments, placed first place in District 1A, and made it to the Regional tournament before losing in the first round. Mott had this to say about the upcoming season, “This year we are going to go out and do our best. I feel very confident that we will go far this year.” Next up for Spurger tennis will be the Vidor Varsity Invitational at Lamar University on Friday, February 1.

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Lady Jackets ready for district opener against Spurger

The Lady Jacket volleyball team starts district play this week with a game against the Spurger Lady Pirates on Friday at 6 p.m.  Pictured, left to right, Annie Rayburn, Trinity Jerkins, Taylor Handley, Josey Sturrock, Ashlyn Overstreet, Emma Grimes, Madison Callaway and Jasmine Mitchell. (JANA RAYBURN | TCB PHOTO)The Lady Jacket volleyball team starts district play this week with a game against the Spurger Lady Pirates on Friday at 6 p.m.  Pictured, left to right, Annie Rayburn, Trinity Jerkins, Taylor Handley, Josey Sturrock, Ashlyn Overstreet, Emma Grimes, Madison Callaway and Jasmine Mitchell. (JANA RAYBURN | TCB PHOTO)


By Jana Rayburn

Chester Basketball – The Yellowjacket basketball teams have been resting while the gym floor gets a new coat of wax just in time for district games. The Lady Jackets will face off against Spurger in the district opener here in Chester on Friday, Jan. 4 at 6 p.m.

The girls’ team has been working hard all season preparing for district, and they have improved with every game. The Yellowjackets will face Good Samaritan Hornets after the conclusion of the girls’ game. The girls will remain at home on Tuesday, January 8 for another district matchup with the High Island Lady Cardinals. Game time will be 6 p.m. After the girls’ game, the boys will take on the team from Light House Home School.

Lady Jacket Softball – Softball season is fast approaching, and Coach Becki Byrd has already started getting the field ready. Byrd has high expectations for this season. Not only does the team have several returning starters, this year’s freshman will give those starters a challenge for their spot.

Byrd is pleased that the girls have been working out on their own, which will be a plus when the season starts. Byrd knows that there are some important spots to fill left by last year’s seniors, but she is confident that she has the right group to do just that.

Softball practice starts Jan. 18, with the first scrimmage scheduled for January 26. The Lady Jackets have a tough schedule this year and will start off facing Latexo on Feb. 15. District games will begin on March 5.

Chester is part of District 24, which is comprised of both 1A and 2A teams. Play-off brackets will split 1A and 2A, with the top two 1A teams advancing to playoffs. The softball team will face Colmesneil, Big Sandy, Groveton, Zavalla, Apple Springs, and Spurger in District 24. Of these teams, only Apple Springs, Spurger, and Chester are 1A teams.

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Woodville’s Martin signs his national letter of intent

HALE HUGHES | TCB Flying High – Woodville Eagle Zack Martin (10) will continue to soar as a Warhawk for the University of Louisiana-Monroe.HALE HUGHES | TCB Flying High – Woodville Eagle Zack Martin (10) will continue to soar as a Warhawk for the University of Louisiana-Monroe.


By Hale Hughes

WOODVILLE—From being an Eagle to a Warhawk, Woodville senior Zack Martin will continue to fly high as he officially signed his national letter of intent to play football at the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM). Martin is a four-year letterman for the Eagles and is believed to be the first NCAA Division I football recruit from Woodville in 34 years according to head coach Ty Robinson.

Martin said that he dreamed of playing at the next level for many years, but his recruiting journey really started over a year ago when colleges and universities began contacting him. Martin stated that he had several offers, but ultimately chose ULM due to the camaraderie he found with the coaching staff and the style of football played in Monroe.

“The coaching staff just felt like a really good fit for me,” Martin said. “I feel like ULM head coach Matt Viator and the system that the Warhawks run will put me in the best position for success.” Martin said that they run an open style of football with a spread offense. Martin said that he expects the coaching staff will initially look to use him as an all-purpose player with time at running back and special teams as they develop him into their system as he matures within their program. Martin was a two-way player for the Eagles at running back and free safety who was named as the District MVP the last two years and an honorable mention all-state player. Martin was instrumental in leading the Eagles to a 30-5 record over the last three years, including the school’s first ever 11-win season this year and three consecutive district championships—also a first for Woodville.

Eagle head football coach Ty Robinson said that Zack Martin has been a perfect model of success since Robinson arrived in Woodville three years ago. “First of all, Zack has taken care of his grades. NCAA has increased the standards of eligibility to play and a student’s GPA factors in along with ACT and SAT scores. If one is lower, then the other has to be higher for admittance into programs and there are a lot of great athletes across the nation, but just don’t have the grades to qualify to compete in the NCAA,” said Robinson. “Zack has worked hard in the classroom and on the field that has given himself this opportunity. He’s been a great student and has had a great work ethic.” Robinson continued to praise Martin. “He hasn’t only not missed a practice, Zack hasn’t missed a workout, whether it be in summer or off season or weekend and that is a testament to his character and what kind of kid he is. He’s a solid Christian kid, who is very humble and puts others before himself and I feel like ULM got a steal of a Texas high school recruit,” Robinson said.

Robinson also explained that ULM was an athletic program on the rise as well as a university that was expanding by adding a medical school to the campus. “I think Zack is getting a unique opportunity at a tremendous time with ULM,” explained Robinson. “I’ve known the guy who recruited Zack for years. Zack was on several schools’ wish list and at a football camp in Marshall last summer, Zack had a particularly good day and the ULM coach told me that ‘He has an offer from us at Monroe’,” Robinson explained.

Martin was one of 17 to sign their letter of intent with the Warhawks last Wednesday on the first day players could officially commit to universities. Players from Texas and Louisiana and as far as Mississippi and Arkansas will join ULM next year along with Martin. ULM head coach Matt Viator spoke about getting players like Martin that came from successful programs. “I think it’s important that we get guys in from winning programs that understand the process. It helps to bring in guys from an environment of success, and we’ve certainly tried to do that.” Viator said this specifically about Martin, “Zack is a highly skilled football player who had a major impact on both sides of the ball. He’s an extremely athletic back who runs with a combination of speed and power.”

Viator also spoke about getting quality recruits like Martin that had size, strength and speed and said that players are interested in and seek to come to ULM. “We try to recruit the best players and we have had great responses. This university has great things to offer and with the players we are getting (like Martin), we can play with anybody in the SunBelt Conference.”

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Woodville Eagles drop close game Trinity; Lady Eagles soar

HALE HUGHES | TCB Mighty Mike – Woodville’s DaMichael Brooks (14) drives the ball down court for the Eagles.HALE HUGHES | TCB Mighty Mike – Woodville’s DaMichael Brooks (14) drives the ball down court for the Eagles.


By Hale Hughes

WOODVILLE—The Eagle and Lady Eagles teams battled last Friday night in the Summit with the Lady Eagles hosting Central Heights for a district game and the Eagle squad hosting Trinity. It was a great night of basketball for the whole community and had a great turnout to support the Woodville basketball program.

The third-ranked Lady Eagles took the court first and picked up right where they left off after last week’s big win over Diboll. Woodville took to the court and hung nine points on the board before Central Heights ever got on the board. Getting a fast start and a huge lead is a recipe that has worked well for head coach Troy Carrell’s club. It’s a planned attack that puts opponents behind by a bunch early and forces the opponent into desperation situations to try to keep up that typically implodes for the opposition. With a large margin, the Lady Eagles are able to rotate players in and out of the lineup to constantly have fresh legs in the game. “The highlight of the game for me was seeing how many girls we had score in the double digits tonight,” said Carrell. “We had six girls who did it and that’s a lot.” That kind of output shows what kind of depth Carrel has in his arsenal. “It goes back to our kids being unselfish and playing unselfish basketball. We move the ball well and don’t mind making that extra pass to find the open shot.” The Lady Eagles led 48-19 at half in a game that was just dominated by Woodville that was simply another one of those ‘lights out’ performances that ended with a final score of 84-41.

Jordan Beaty led the Lady Eagles with 19 points and Telia Jackson had 15. Shannon Whitehead was great beyond the arc and added 13 while Jayda Arumon and Shayla Williams each added a dozen points each. Kayla Merchant added 11 to close out the double-digit scorers for the Lady Eagles.

The varsity Eagles took the court immediately after and found themselves toe to toe much of the contest as they hosted the visiting Trinity Tigers. Both teams showed the ability move quick and showed off speed early with both teams trading fast breaks early before settling into their offenses. Trinity held a slim lead after the first period, 22-18. The Eagles battled back during the second period and tied the game 32-32 as both teams headed in for halftime. Head coach Justin Havard had two players who scored in the double digits for the Eagles. “DaMichael Brooks finished with 15 points,” said Havard. “He’s a great kid all the way around and gives you all he has. You know what to expect from him and a majority of his points tonight were from drives to the basket.” Havard also spoke about how much the Eagles have worked to reduce the number of turnovers this year. “Turning the ball over has been a problem for us in the past and it’s something we’ve worked really hard on this year from a coaching standpoint. We’ve done a lot better this season, but some of that crept back in during this game and at critical times. Controlling the ball is something we will have to continue to work on,” said Havard.
Havard also praised the play of senior Kobe Adams. “Kobe played a good game,” he said. “He got into some foul trouble and only played a couple minutes in the third period, but he was able to get 14 points for us tonight. He is a big physical kid and he is one that I will continue to go to. He’s another player that will give you everything he’s got.”

Woodville outplayed and outscored the Tigers in the second and third periods but in the end, Trinity made one more play than the Eagles late in the game and that was the difference as Trinity won 66-64. “With nineteen seconds left, we had the ball and we don’t have to take a shot. The safe play was to just go to overtime. We pushed the envelope and took a chance at the win but missed the shot and didn’t block out very well,” Havard explained. In closing, Havard pointed out a single issue with this game for his Eagle squad. “They out rebounded us on the boards. Our boys are working. They are hustling and getting all over the court, but we’re not getting bodies down in the paint and contesting rebounds enough. It’s difficult when they are getting two or three looks and chances at their backboard and we only get one at it,” Havard concluded.

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