TUCKER'S TURF | LARRY TUCKER

Congratulations

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There are some congratulations to go around for Wood County athletes.

First, we want to say a big “way to go” to Yantis cross country runner Maddie Hooker. Yantis Coach Christy Beech is pretty proud these days. Hooker went to Round Rock for the state meet and came home with a Class A fifth place medal. What makes this even more amazing is that Hooker played in a five set area volleyball match on Friday prior to driving to Round Rock’s Old Settlers Park for the state event Saturday.

Congrats to Coach John Walker and the Lady Owl volleyball team for taking Leverett’s Chapel to five sets before finally losing to one of Class A’s better teams in the area round. Congrats on a good showing in the playoffs.

Speaking of cross country, the Mineola girl’s team made their first ever trip to the Class 3A state meet also held at Round Rock. Cross country is one of the toughest of all UIL competitions. Training is hard and the meets are tough. The future looks bright for the Lady ‘Jacket cross country program.

I would like to add a congratulations to Quitman’s Lady Bulldog volleyball team. They handily defeated Dallas Madison in bi-district before falling to one of Class 3A’s top ranked teams in Callisburg. Callisburg is not only ranked fourth in Texas, but they are the defending state runner-ups. They had almost the entire team return from last year’s 40-2 team that fell to Goliad in the finals.

Coach Ashlee Lingo loses three seniors, but has a great front line returning and she is already looking forward to next year’s team. Although Callisburg won in three sets, the match was closer than it reads in print. Every point was contested and the Lady Bulldogs fought hard each time the ball was in the air. They hustled and hit the floor when they had to. Hats off on a great season!

Football playoffs are just around the corner. If the Mineola Yellowjackets get by Winnsboro Friday night the projection is they will take on the District 9-3A DI champion Jefferson in bi-district. Tatum defeated the ‘Jackets last Friday and are 5-0 in district play, but they play Gladewater who has only lost to West Rusk 28-27. As it stands at this time, Gladewater will take on Atlanta, Tatum will face Hughes Springs and West Rusk will battle Mt. Vernon in the first round of the playoffs.

In Class 3A DII the projection for District 10-3A DII has Harmony taking on Bells, Winona facing Cooper, Troup battling Blue Ridge and Grand Saline going against Paris Chisum. I really believe the District 10 could come away with four victories in bi-district.

For those teams not making the playoffs, basketball season begins. This year finds Quitman, Mineola, Grand Saline, Alba-Golden and Edgewood being joined by Lone Oak and Rains in Class 3A District 12.

Once again on the boy’s side, Edgewood will be the favorite, but Mineola has some great talent and made the playoffs last year. The Yellowackets have several several players who will be involved in the football playoffs and won’t be full strength for a while. Rains is dropping from Class 4A and has traditionally had a strong basketball program. Alba-Golden returns a nucleus of solid players and is always hard to beat at their gym.

Coach Jim Reid at Quitman will have no seniors this year, but returns several players who started at one time or another last year. All District player, and last year’s leading scorer as a sophomore, Jace Reid returns for his third year on varsity. The Bulldogs will be much improved and are hungry for a playoff spot.

The Yantis Owls lost three starting seniors and stellar athletes, but return several players who got valuable playing time last year. The Owls are in an eight team district that includes powerful Miller Grove, Ector and Dodd City.

Owl Athletic Director Mike McMinn has taken over the girl’s team full time this year and has all five starters returning from last year’s playoff team. The Lady Owls will be led by Montana Wetzel, Ashton Burnett along with Maddie and Maggie Hooker.

The Mineola girls under Coach Tony Riley got a taste of the playoffs last year and should be very good this season. Sabrina Dean is one of East Texas’ best female players and big things are expected from this group.

Alba-Golden and Coach Blake Hamrick will be good again this season and Edgewood is always a contender. Rains has some great athletes and dropping down from Class 4A should be a boost for their program. Quitman’s Coach Amanda Hodge returns most of her team from last year and she is expecting a run at a playoff spot with several experienced players. The Lady Bulldogs will still be young, but those youngsters played at the varsity level last year and are ready to make a playoff push.

Get ready for some basketball, it’s here!

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