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By James McAfee
I’m certainly enjoying the experience of returning to my roots to become more of a sportswriter here at the News-Courier, because five of the six teams from Knox County made the playoffs.
I actually got to see a few games and listened to others on KVRP-97.1 before writing about the games after talking to the respective coaches.
The future looks promising for the Knox teams after the Knox City Greyhounds claimed the District 15-1A title and an area championship, and the Munday Mogulettes claimed back-to-back District 16-1A titles before falling to May in the area round.
The Benjamin Lady Stangs and Mustangs captured bi-district trophies, and the Munday Moguls were eliminated in the same round.
While the Greyhounds will see 12 seniors departing, Coach Jordan Carter does have some young talent coming back from an unbeaten junior varsity team to continue the program’s effort to remain a playoff contender.
The Mogulettes, who are 45-20 under Coach Richard Ramsey the past two seasons, do lose seniors Carlie Willison and Alexa Vega, but will return underclassmen Allie Willison, Karley Myers and Stephanie Scott.
The Lady Stangs of Coach Cody Propps will lose seniors Braleigh Blanchette and Madison Barrientez, but have a strong crew of underclassmen returning, led by freshman Valeria Zavala.
Coach Shannon Waters has all his varsity players, led by starters Brody White, Mario Silva, John Wolfforth, Nick Stovall and Nick Ham, returning for another season after winning a playoff game for the first time in recent history.
Coach Adrian Daniel will see only senior starter Kelton Carver and reserve Angel Marmolejo not coming back and has a wealth of talent with the likes of Bryson Wilson, Jaxon Bowman, Joe Jasso, John Mark Cooke, Christopher Garcia and Jo Jo Hernandez returning to challenge Electra for the top spot in 16-1A.
It was a rebuilding year for the Houndettes, who won only one game, but underclassmen got a lot of valuable experience. They’ll move forward under a new coach since Matt Acree is leaving.
In closing, I wanted to offer special thanks to Carter and Daniel for all their extra efforts to keep me up to date on their teams. Sometimes fans like to hear the comments of the coaches rather than just seeing scores of the game.
How I became a sportswriter in the first place is an interesting story that I will share with you.
During the second half of my senior year at Vernon High School in 1959, I first enrolled in a shop class. One week into it after seeing all those blades, I decided to join the journalism class.
It was in this class that I met my future wife Betty, who somehow has kept me around for 60 years.
After graduating in May, my English teacher, Mrs. Bryant, alerted one of the editors at the Wichita Falls Record-News that I had enrolled at Midwestern University. I was hired to join the sports staff to work nights (3 p.m. until midnight) and go to school during the day.
Over a year later after marrying Betty, I got a call from the sports editor at the Odessa American and decided to join his staff. He and I spent time playing with the college’s golf coach, who had made a habit of winning national junior college championships. He found out I had eligibility left and offered a partial scholarship to me. I peaked at just the right time during weekly qualifiers and became a member of his next national championship team.
The next step was to join the Abilene Reporter-News two years later as the No. 6 man on its staff that produced morning and afternoon issues. When the editor got fired six months later as I was taking classes at Hardin-Simmons University, the rest of the staff all quit. Suddenly, at the age of 22, I was the sports editor of the paper, a job I kept for seven years.
That’s enough for you to realize how I got started doing something I love doing.