For weeks all eyes have been on March 30. To some it would be just any other day, but to Atascocita High School it was the day they faced Kingwood in a District 21-5A baseball match-up. The Eagles came into the game with a 4-1 district record, sitting in first place tied with Baytown Sterling. Kingwood was just a game behind, waiting for a time to pounce on the young squad from AHS.
That time was now. Fans knew it was a big game as they crowded the stands and stood three and four deep at the fences. Kingwood faithful showed their support, as well, and the Mustangs did not disappoint.
Clay Shrader took the mound for the Eagles and sailed through the first two innings facing only seven batters. A strong defensive play by third baseman Grant Clyde in the second inning pumped up the crowd and appeared to confirm that fans were in for a showdown.
Things would change in the third inning. Shrader appeared to mirror the tentative attitude of the entire team and Kingwood jumped on it. Five runs later, capped off by a three-run home run off the bat of Brad Evans, Shrader was chased from the mound.
“Our kids came out and played scared today. They were intimidated from the first pitch and did nothing to overcome it,” Eagle Coach Eric Matthews confirmed.
The five-run third inning appeared to shell-shock the Eagles even more as Kingwood would add nine more runs over the next two innings off Eagle pitchers Stephen Davis and Chris Madden. Home runs by Geoff Perrot and David Tittle fueled the run explosion adding insult to an already emotionally injured AHS team.
“Tonight was the worst show of pitching I have seen from our team all year and, when you let that happen, nothing is going to go your way,” Matthews said.
Nothing went the Eagles way, but they did manage to scratch out one run in the fifth inning off a line drive double up the middle from the bat of Grant Clyde. Too little too late as Shrader would follow up with a line drive to the third baseman ending the game due to a run rule.
The fans lined the stands hoping for a win but left disappointed after Kingwood handed the Eagles their second district loss.
Riding high on emotion as they entered their first ever playoff game, the AHS Lady Eagles wanted to prove early that they belonged on the field with the big dogs. Up first for them was a real big dog in the form of the La Porte Bulldogs. Finishing third in District 22-5A, La Porte traveled to Charles Street in Humble with upset on their minds. Entering the playoffs with a 12-2 district record, the Lady Eagles were favored to win, but La Porte made them work for it for the first half of the March 27 game.
Atascocita put pressure on the Bulldog defense right out of the gate, attempting their first shot two minutes into the game. Freshman Kelsi Brown was the first to hit the back of the net with a hard shot through the legs of the La Porte goalie in the fourth minute of action.
La Porte shook off the early deficit with a matching goal off of a header from a corner kick just five minutes later. A turnover deep in the Eagles' own zone almost gave the Bulldogs the lead two minutes later as a shot went wide left and kept the score knotted at 1-1.
Accurate passing through the midfield by Lyndsey Gnatzig got the ball to an open Kayla King who dribbled across the top of the box and shot left-footed into the net for another AHS goal. Blowing their horn from the stands, the AHS boys soccer team and the fans’ celebration was short lived after watching La Porte score again just minutes later, tying the game at two goals apiece going into halftime.
At the half, Coach Donnie Bodron urged his girls to push the issue and initiate the action, “Our plan coming into the game was pressure and I felt we could get to them early. I told them in the playoffs anything can happen, and we have to make the most of our early chances and put the game away,” Bodron said.
His girls must have heard the message loud and clear as they controlled the midfield and did not allow any Bulldog possession into their zone until the last 10 minutes of the game.
Early in the second half, Bodron subbed in junior Frauke Schibilla and she immediately had an impact in the result of the game. With the score still tied 2-2, King stole the ball from the Bulldog defense and rocketed a shot at the goal. La Porte goalkeeper MacKenzie Montalvo was able to deflect the shot away. That deflection was right to Schibilla who kicked it in for an easy goal giving the Lady Eagles the lead for good.
Ten minutes later, Gnatzig kicked a long cross into the box where once again Schibilla’s foot was waiting and she quickly scored her second goal of the night off the outstretched fingertips of Motalvo.
La Porte got some pressure late in the second half but the stout defense of Brown, Gnatzig and Nicole Williams denied any Bulldog attempt at a shot until thirty-three minutes into the half.
After a short break, King subbed back in to the game looking to add to her one goal and assist on the night. After a missed Bulldog shot, AHS goalkeeper Liberty East rocketed a long goal kick into La Porte territory. Speed kills in soccer and King proved it as she out-ran two defenders to meet the ball and break away toward the goal, easily scoring her second goal of the game.
“I knew Kelsi could kick it far, so I took off running hoping to catch the defense off-guard”, King said. Apparently the Lady Eagle offense caught the entire La Porte team off-guard as they cruise into the next round of the playoffs.
Kelsi Brown steals the ball on her way to scoring the first goal of the game.
When the season began, Humble was looking to once again dominate competition in District 21-5A. Knowing that Kingwood would be a force to reckon with, the Wildcats hoped to pounce on all others and make a statement in the district. That would prove to be a tougher assignment with the emergence of Channelview, Baytown Sterling, Beaumont West Brook and newcomer, Atascocita High School.
The season did not start off like they wanted with losses to local powerhouses Kingwood, Bellaire and Northshore. Ties to Katy Taylor and a win over Memorial, 2-1, brought confidence back to the Wildcat team. Opening district play, Humble tied Sterling and would claim their first district victory over Atascocita, 3-1. The result of that game would serve as notice to the community that a new rivalry had begun and it was going to be a fierce one.
Losses to Kingwood and Baytown Lee put the Wildcats up against the wall in district but they fought like a wildcat does when it is cornered and claimed victory over Port Arthur Memorial, twice, and Channelview.
A second duel with the AHS Eagles was a heated contest as both teams played a more physical game and locked up in a 1-1 tie. A few heated words from fans on both sides after the game stoked the fire of this new rivalry and set the tone for next year.
Rounding out the year with another loss to Kingwood forced them to beat Baytown Lee to earn their spot in the playoffs. Earn that spot they did, and entered the Bi-district round as the third place team out of District 21-5A.
A first round match-up with District 22-5A runner-up Pasadena awaited them. A hard fought first half ended in a tie, but David Torres of Pasadena broke the tie in the second half. The lone goal of the game would be the undoing of the Wildcats as they walked away, losing 1-0.
Senior Bruno Miauro led the way for the Wildcats in scoring this season hitting the back of the net in over half of the games this year.
Photo: Wildcat teammates walk off the field after a win against Atascocita. Photograph by Kathy Parks
In preparation for the Shell Houston Open golf tournament at Redstone Golf Club, Dr. Travis Fox arrived in town to offer golfers a few last minute techniques designed to help them play their best game.
“Hypnotherapy won’t make a great golfer out of someone who is not,” said Fox, “But it will help a golfer to play his best game.”
Fox said he has been golfing since he was five years old. He said he played collegiate golf and even tried his hand at professional golf.
“That lasted about six weeks,” said Fox. “Then my father told me it was time to return to school.”
Fox said that he knew golf was, in large part, a mental game and that in the end, his interest in the conscious and the unconscious brain led him to study clinical hypnotherapy.
“I then spent 15 years working with hypnosis. I worked with smokers, those who had phobias and those who wanted weight loss.”
“I believe that 95 percent of golf is mental,” said Fox. “Yet, most golfers spend 95 percent of their time working on the physical aspects of golf.”
Fox said that he has filed for an intellectual property patent for his method of teaching a person to consistently play his best game.
“I believe that those who follow these methods can improve their game three to five strokes within 30 days without physical practice,” said Fox.
Fox described the process as refining a person’s automatic processes, allowing his subconscious to play the game rather than his conscious mind.
“The technique is not magic,” he said. “It works with natural brain processes which make performance a habit similar to the way a person drives a car without being consciously focused on the act of driving.
Fox, whose motto is, “changing golf one mind at a time,” said that he has launched the “Beat The Gogey Man Tour,” a two-year challenge to help one million “head” cases across the United States improve their mental game.
To do this, Fox offers a four CD and four DVD instructional-package for the price of $149 on his Web site www.beatthebogeyman.com.
Internet notes on Fox are not difficult to find. A quick Google of “Dr. Travis Fox” reveals 2,190,000 hits and interest in the area of mental golf in general is even more widespread. Googling “mental golf” produces 11,900,000 hits indicating that controversial or not, the idea of mental golf draws a crowd.
Photo: Dr. Travis Fox teaches golfers how to control the mental part of their golf game. Fox was in town to help golfers prepare to play their best game for the Houston Shell Open.
The Kingwood Mustangs boys soccer team advanced to the next round of the playoffs with a 5-0 defeat over the Dobie Longhorns last Tues., March 27. Kingwood ended their season as 21-5A District champions. In the first round of the playoffs they showed why they were division champs by controlling the flow of the game. The Longhorns were in defensive mode the whole game, with Kingwood getting most of the looks at the goal and took far more shots than Dobie. The first score occurred at the 1:10 mark of the first half, with senior forward Colin Crosby getting the goal. The first half ended with the score at 1-0 in favor of Kingwood. It was a very good defensive game for both sides in the first half. The second half was another story for Kingwood. The mustangs came out in the second half a lot more aggressive and seemed determined to put the game away. With 27:03 left, Senior Forward Ricky Gannaway increased the score to 2-0. Midfielder Blake Shannon throughout the game seemed to control the ball and keep it on Dobie's side for most of the game. At the 8:58 mark senior midfielder Tim Hord added another score to make it a 3-0 game. Thirty seconds later, at the 8:28 mark, junior midfielder Trenton Gay added yet another score. The fifth and final score came at the 4:14 mark by senior midfielder Scott Lindsay to solidify Kingwood's dominance in the game. The mustangs showed great ball handling skills and patience with the ball to take advantage of all of their scoring opportunities.
Next up for the Mustagns was Clear Brook high school and it proved to be another warm-up for Kingwood. Three goals in the first half all but put the game out of reach, but two more would be added in the second half as Kingwood walks into the Regional Quarterfinal after another 5-0 win. Luis Castillo led the way scoring three goals. Colin Crosby and Rick Gannaway each scored a goal to round out the attack. The Mustangs will next face a tough Clements high school opponent. Clements enters the quarterfinal with a 20-1-1 record after beating Pasadena in a shootout for their area playoff win. Check for updates on location and time of game at www.kingwoodmustangsoccer.com.
Photo: Blake Shannon breaks through the Longhorn defense en route to a rousing 5-0 victory.
The Mustangs improved to 12-5 overall and 2-1 in district with a decisive win over the Port Arthur Titans March 20. The starting pitcher, senior Chris Churchwell, had a good showing with five strikeouts and strong overall pitching.
The Mustangs finally got on the board with Churchwell hitting for a double and getting two RBIs to put Kingwood ahead 2-0. Kingwood's defense was in high gear, catching two players off guard between first and second base.
The bottom of the fourth inning was the nail in the coffin for Port Arthur. Churchwell started the action with a triple and a RBI; then senior outfielder Matt Brown hit a two-run home run.
Two batters later, senior Brad Evans hit another two-run homerun. Senior Mike Pierce and junior Jordan Raney each added a double, bringing in another run each. Port Arthur then pulled their pitcher after an eight-run, (two home runs, one triple, two doubles, one single and six RBI fourth inning.
The score at the end of the fourth was 10-0. Senior Mike Pierce came into the game in relief of Churchwell at the top of the fifth. The game was over four batters later with the final score 10-0.
“We are going to have to play good as a team. After two runs into the fourth inning, we did better. One hour and a half is pretty good for a victory," said coach David Denny.
Photo - Senior Chris Churchwell powers the Mustangs with his pitching and hitting against Port Arthur. Photo by Randy Botbyl