Jacksboro sports Year in Review
Hope springs eternal.
After the successful Spring sports season Jacksboro athletes had as a whole, it could mean the start of something good in Tigerland.
While there were several highlights of the sports year as a whole, perhaps the highlight was the Tiger baseball team going three rounds deep into the Class 3A playoffs.
Jacksboro won the District 8-3A title for the first time since 2001 after a thrilling championship game April 28 at home vs. Boyd where the Purple pulled off a 6-0 victory. That win moved the squad, which had just three seniors, into the bi-district round vs. Tolar. A clean two-game sweep, highlighted by a come from behind 6-3 win in the opener, was the start of good things to come.
The boys next faced Tuscola Jim Ned and had another thriller to open the series where Jacksboro came from behind late and held on for a 9-8 victory over the Indians before a large contingent of the Tiger Nation in Graham. The series moved to Abilene two days later and the Tigers took control early, getting out to a 12-3 lead before hanging on for a 15-9 victory to move out of the area and into the regional rounds.
Waiting for Jacksboro was perennial power Brock, who came in ranked as high as number 3 in the state depending on the poll. The Eagles came into the series having won 22 games in a row but Jacksboro jumped out to an 8-0 lead in game one in Fort Worth only to have Brock come from behind and post an 11-9 victory.
The series moved to Graford the next night with the Tigers again getting out to a big lead ... and this time making it stick in a 9-6 victory to force a game 2 and snapping the Eagles’ 23-game win streak.
With the season on the line, both teams came out hitting. Jacksboro fell behind early but got within a run before an 11-run sixth for the Eagles would be the death knell for the Purple in a 15-3 setback.
The Tigers dominated the All-District 8-3A picks with nearly every starter named to the first team and junior Clay Botello named MVP.
Not to say there weren’t other success stories this Spring. Seniors Kade Weldon and Riley Rollans finished 1-2 in the discus during every track meet this season, continuing the success at the district, area and regional meets as well. The pair finished strong, ending their high school careers with second and sixth place finishes, respectively, at the State Meet in Austin. Senior Kaylea Maples had a strong track season, qualifying for State the second time in the triple jump.
The school’s softball team continued to take strides in its improvement, setting school records in both district and overall wins for the second straight season. While the squad finished just out of the playoff hunt, the Tigerettes lose just two seniors, so there is bountiful hope for the future.
Both JHS golf teams finished second at the District 8-3A Meet to qualify for the regionals. The girls finished 8th and the boys 10th at regionals but with both teams having young nucleuses, strong showings should be the norm for a spell.
The girls basketball team had a solid season and is armed and ready to continue its success.
With just one senior in Maples, the girls got off to a solid predistrict start, winning their own tournament and another in Breckenridge during the holidays. The girls received some stiff competition in non-district, giving Class 4A Stephenville and state-ranked Jim Ned good battles before succumbing. The girls opened with a pair of district wins before the first of the year.
The girls cruised through district with the exception of nemesis Bowie, which got their stiffest tests from the Tigerettes. Jacksboro finished district at 12-2 and faced Eastland in bi-district.
As expected, Jacksboro got a stiff test from the Lady Mavs but prevailed 42-36 to set up a rematch with Jim Ned. The Tigerettes showed gumption in the rematch, getting within five with two minutes to go but the Lady Indians held on for the 51-40 victory, ending the season at 28-7.
The boys fought their way through district play, having a chance to get into the playoffs into the final week but a homecourt loss to City View, which the Tigers had beaten by double figures early in the campaign, would knock the squad from playoff contention.
The powerlifting team, albeit small in numbers, competed well throughout the year with Josh Wells and KC Rater qualifying for Regionals.
For the first time in three years, the Tiger football team qualified for the playoffs finishing the year at 6-5.
The squad opened at 3-0 with wins over Olney, Windthorst and Paradise. Heading into district at 4-1, the squad lost its first two games vs. Henrietta and at Nocona before rebounding with a home win over Millsap. The boys then went into City View and fell behind 14-0 in what was a must win game for any hope of the playoffs. The boys rebounded in the second half and posted a 24-21 win, which guaranteed them a playoff spot.
The squad had a chance to finish as high as second but a homefield loss to Holliday in the finale, secured a date with 6-3A DII champ Gunter. Jacksboro held tough with the unbeaten Tigers for a quarter, leading 7-6 after one.
Gunter would prove to be too much and scored the next 51 points before a late touchdown ended the 57-14 setback.
It would be the last Jacksboro game Coach Brian Hodnett would coach here. Hodnett took a job in Haskell earlier this year and was replaced by Brannon Rodgers who comes to town from Crosbyton.
The volleyball team finished 1-13 in district play, defeating City View on the road for its lone loop victory. A junior laden team with two years of varsity experience returns for Coach Rosana Barbosa this Fall.
Young teams return for both cross country teams as well this Fall hoping to rebound from somewhat disappointing showings last year.