When the Batesville Junior Pioneers’ football season began, Coach Doug Walls and crew hoped for the best, but were prepared for a lackluster season. They wanted their team to improve each week and let the chips fall where they may.
To say the least, they didn’t expect to repeat as Class 5A-East District champions and they sure didn’t expect to do it with an undefeated season.
TIMBO — Midland’s senior high basketball teams were defeated Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Timbo Invitational.
Lead Hill rallied from a 15-point, second-half deficit to drop the Lady Mustangs 66-62.
“We were up 15 in the second half and blew it,” Midland Coach Brandon Gates said.
The Lady Mustangs are 2-3 and all three of their losses have been close.
“It seems like the other teams are playing with more fire than we are,” Gates said. “I am not a guy who makes excuses, but we have played every night this week and I saw some tired legs out there.”
Greene County Tech at Batesville
KICKOFF • TONIGHT 7
Batesville Coach Doug Walls has been the Junior Pioneers’ head coach for 29 years and has enjoyed a lot of success. A win tonight would give him just his fourth undefeated season and his second straight outright championship. Batesville clinched a share of the title last week and is one game ahead of Forrest City in the standings. Forrest City has Wynne tonight and Blytheville next week. Batesville running back Joey Rodriguez should reach 1,000 yards tonight. He needs 58.
NEWPORT — Bill Smith of Batesville won the foot brake competition Sunday at Speedy’s Newport Raceway.
Daniel White and Ross Williams finished second and third, respectively.
Gary Spicer won the street division with Glen Nugent and Steven Simpson in tow.
The top spot in super pro went to Tye Combs with Roger Moon Jr. second and Robin Koenig third.
Joey Bogard won the outlaw street bike division.
CAVE CITY — The Southside Southerners and Cave City Cavemen are scheduled to meet Friday night in a game that has been circled on each team’s calendar for a long time.
What wasn’t anticipated was that the week nine Highway 167 Showdown would be between two winless teams. Cave City, one year removed from a 9-2 record and its first district championship, is 0-8 this season. To its credit, the Cavemen lost a lot of talent at graduation and moved up one classification to 4A.
WYNNE — The Batesville Lady Pioneers’ volleyball season came to an end here Wednesday night at the hands of the 6-time defending state champions.
The Siloam Springs Lady Panthers swept the Lady Pioneers, winning 25-18, 25-13, 25-12 in a quarterfinal match of the Class 5A State Tournament at Wynne High School.
The Lady Pioneers finished with a 15-8 record, shared the 5A Central Conference championship with Little Rock Christian Academy, qualified for their first state tournament and collected their first state-tournament victory along the way.
Two days before they are to host the Batesville Pioneers in a key 5A-East District football game, Coach Jeff Conaway said one of those absolute “This, I know,” about his Greene County Tech Golden Eagles.
“These kids have been through the fire,” the third-year coach said. “They’ve been through a lot of ups and downs this year, and we’re still a young team,” he said. “We’ve got 13 seniors, and, remember, these seniors were on a ninth-grade team that didn’t win a single game.”
They’re 1, 2, 3 on the tackle chart, and something special for one of the top defenses in Class 5A football.
“They all asked to be on special teams,” Batesville Coach Dave King said of seniors Justin Smithee, Steven Baney and Chance Rogers. “I look at things like that to get a measure of what players mean to the team. Your seniors who start (at other positions) don’t always want to play on kickoff and punt teams. That tells you a lot about them.”
WYNNE — In their first-ever state volleyball tournament appearance, the Batesville Lady Pioneers survived some early nervousness, rallied often in a match with 10 lead changes and stood their ground against a team with much more post-season experience.
Include all that with their 3-0 victory over the Magnolia Lady Panthers in the first round of the Class 5A State Tournament here Tuesday. The game scores were 25-22, 25-17, 25-15.
No wonder Batesville Coach Tanya Haigwood sounded so happy this morning.
The Batesville Junior Pioneers have already clinched their second straight Class 5A-East District championship, but there’s still plenty to play for in the season finale Thursday night.
That’s when Batesville will host Greene County Tech with hopes of giving Coach Doug Walls his fourth undefeated season in 29 years.
But, the proverbial cherry on top is not a given.
Batesville Offensive Coordinator Craig Stave remembers being in similar situations.
JACKSON, Tenn. — The TranSouth Athletic Conference Media Day happened Monday and the Lyon College Scots womens basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the conference standings while the Lyon men were rated seventh.
Lyon’s women, under the direction of sixth-year Coach Tracy Stewart-Lange, received 42 votes in the poll. They finished 17-13 and fifth in the TranSouth last season.
Union, the 2-time defending NAIA national champion, is the favorite to win its fifth straight TranSouth title and received all nine first-place votes.
PLEASANT PLAINS — The Midland Mustangs won a 48-46 nail-biter over the Pangburn Tigers in high school basketball action here Tuesday night.
John Farrar hit the front end of a 2-shot foul to make 48-46 with three seconds to go. Pangburn’s missed a desperation shot.
Midland trailed 27-21 at halftime. Starters Thomas Puentez and Kyle Martin got in foul trouble early and sat out a good portion of the first half, Midland Coach Rick McKinney said.