High School: Mansfield Timberview

The Mansfield Timberview football team may have picked up a new head coach after the team’s best playoff run in school history, but don’t expect much to change.

The Mansfield ISD athletic department named former North Forney head coach James Brown as the new football coach and athletic director at Timberview on Wednesday, replacing Mark Walker, who took a position as the school district’s assistant AD earlier this month.

Brown said he acknowledged that Timberview was a program that is still on the rise, which attracted him to apply for the job. Now that he has it, he said he doesn’t foresee changing much to a football machine that already runs beautifully.

“There are going to be some things that are different,” Brown said. “You’re going to put your stamp on the program yourself, but the reality is the program is in good shape. It’s not like coming into a program that’s struggled for years and years. It’s a program that’s on the rise and a program that holds itself to high character.”

Walker was directly involved with Brown’s selection and said what stood out to him about Brown was his experience at the 5A level as a head coach and an athletic director, which included trips into the state playoffs.

Brown had stops as an assistant coach in El Paso, Houston and Sugarland before taking the head coach job at North Forney before last season.

“You’re not just a football coach because you’re in charge of the men’s side of things, and that’s important in this district, that we have quality people doing those things,” Walker said.

Brown said he will begin his full-time duties April 9, in plenty of time to begin spring football practice.

The returning Timberview football players met Brown on Wednesday for one of a few meetings Brown will hold before April 9, and Brown instituted a mantra to not change a thing.

“Maintain the level of structure and integrity we’ve got.” Brown told his new team. “Continue to think about raising expectations every year. We’re not going to be the underdogs, we’re going to be the one’s with the target on our back.”

High school baseball in 2012 has a whole new look and sound.

Gone are the bloated offensive numbers and high-pitched pings that had been the norm since metal bats made their way into the game in the 1970s.

With new "deader" bats now the standard, emphasis has shifted from power to strategy ... from long ball to small ball.

A look at the science behind the BBCOR bats now being used in Texas high school baseball.

Watch Video
“This is my third year as a head coach here and this is the first year I’ve called a hit-and-run,” South Grand Prairie coach Dennis Pelfrey said. “Typically we run and steal bases and a not worry about sacrifice bunting or hitting-and-running. This year we’ve called more sacrifice bunts than I ever have and more hit-and-runs that I’ve never called before.”

The bats now outlawed from the high school game fell under a standard known as Ball Exit Speed Ratio. For a bat to be eligible for use, it needed the BESR stamp of approval, stating that the exit speed of the ball off the bat, depending on the speed of the pitch, was not too great for fielders to have a chance to react.

Safety issues still arose under the former standard, resulting in the NCAA and eventually the National Federation of State High School Associations to change to a new standard -- Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution. As part of the NFHS adopting the BBCOR standard, the UIL and TAPPS followed suit for the 2012 season.

BBCOR, in laymen’s terms, measures the trampoline effect of the bat as the ball makes contact. The standard governs the amount of energy lost in contact at a measure of 0.5, which is just slightly greater than that of a wooden bat.

Easton, one of the top metal bat manufacturers, offers this explanation on its website:
In the past, when a pitched ball made contact with an alloy or composite bat, the barrel would flex inward ever so slightly and the ball would retain some of its energy resulting in farther hits. Wood bats don’t have as much “give” to them and the ball loses much of its energy upon impact. Like BESR, the BBCOR standard ensures that non-wood bats perform more comparably to wood bats in an attempt to level the playing field.

“There’s definitely not as many cheap home runs and cheap hits,” Rockwall-Heath coach Greg Harvey said . “Those are now caught. It makes you focus on the fundamentals of the game.”

The NCAA was first to implement mandatory use of BBCOR bats in 2011 and offers the best statistical case study of the comparability of BBCOR bats to wood bats.

In 2011, the first season of BBCOR bat use, the batting average of all NCAA Division I schools fell from .305 to .282, the lowest it had been since 1976, the third year metal bats were used in the NCAA. Scoring was down from 6.98 runs per game in 2010 to 5.58, which is a low that hadn’t been seen since 1975. Home runs per game finished at a 0.52 clip, down from 0.94 from 2010 and also the lowest since 1975.

[+] EnlargeHigh School baseball bats
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comWhe the NCAA started using BBCOR bats in 2011, overall batting averages fell from .305 in 2010 to .282.
Through around 10 games for most Division I teams this year, the nationwide batting average was .267.

Although the sample size is smaller at the high school level, the downward trend in offense has been apparent.

For example, Rockwall-Heath featured two of the area’s top hitters in Jovan Hernandez and Jake Thompson, who helped the Hawks blast 48 home runs in 41 games in 2011. With Hernandez and Thompson both back for their senior seasons, the Hawks hit 12 home runs through their first 20 games of 2012.

Coaches say they're willing to scratch out runs one at a time rather than risk stranding runners while attempting to put up a crooked number in a big inning. That means more hit-and-run attempts, a willingness to give up outs to move up runners and utilizing squeeze bunts to push across runs.

“Is it going to be a 2-1 game or a 9-7 game?” Harvey said. “If we’re in a game where it doesn’t look like we’re going to score a lot of runs, we’re going to look for a run. Smaller innings are a bigger part of the game now.”

On the converse, the skipper in the opposite dugout must have his team defensively prepared to handle strategic hitting.

Highland Park’s Fred Oliver crafted a Hall of Fame coaching career by implementing the fundamentals of small ball into his strategy even when BESR bats were allowed. His focus in the dawn of the BBCOR era is preparing his players to defend against the bunt with greater consistency.

[+] EnlargeZach Williamson
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comMcKinney North's Zach Williamson lays down a bunt, a play that's more common at Texas high school games this year because of the new bats.
“I’ve seen a lot more bunting, so you have to be prepared for that with a good bunt defense,” Oliver said “They are just lower scoring games, like 4-3, 2-1 and 1-0. We’ve lost seven games this year by one run, so I think it has affected the game.”

Players around the area have noticed the changes and have been forced to make adjustments, big and small, for the new bats. Those adjustments range from completely changing a swing to not relying on the sound of the bat for judging whether good contact was made.

“It’s going to bring out the best hitters and helping to show what they’re going to do the next years in college,” said Mansfield Timberview center fielder Chuck Taylor, a UT-Arlington recruit and major league prospect.

Current San Jacinto Junior College player Justin Byrd spent his high school years in Dallas under the BESR standard, leading the area in hitting in 2010 with just under a .700 batting average at First Baptist Academy. He said he experienced some growing pains with the new bats in college last year.

“The spring rolled around and threw us for a loop,” Byrd said “Early in the season you still get the guys, and I did it myself, who tried to drive it out of the park and you come up short with these new bats. You can tell a difference in a good 10 to 15 feet. Balls I crushed that were no-doubters with the old bats were getting caught at the warning track.”

While hitters are being thrown for a loop, pitchers have been able to thrive.

Oliver said his pitchers have gained confidence knowing they no longer have to nibble around the corners. They can, instead, go after hitters, aggressively hitting different spots in the strike zone.

“You see guys that get jammed on inside pitches in years past who hit doubles down the line or even balls that leave the yard,” Pelfrey agreed. “Now you’re seeing actions like a ball would break a bat if they were using wooden bats in the big leagues. It’s the same type of actions where the ball doesn’t go anywhere.”

Pitchers with less-than-breathtaking velocity but above-average accuracy have become more valued.

“The guy throwing the ball in the low to mid 80s with control is a special commodity,” Oliver said.

Overall, coaches agreed that the new thud of BBCOR bats takes the game back to the way it was played when they were novices in the study of baseball strategy, which is a refreshing change in a time where young players can be more worried about the chicks who dig the long ball than the basics of the game.

"Our coaches have preached all season how the game has changed more drastically this year than it ever has for high schoolers," McKinney North outfielder Heath Beasley said. "Small ball is back for high school ball."
After a Cinderella trip to the 5A Division II state football semifinals, Mansfield Timberview now has an opening for a head football coach.

Mark Walker jumped on the opportunity to become the assistant athletics director for the Mansfield ISD last month, leaving his former post as coach and school AD currently open.

“From a business standpoint, staying in education, this is an opportunity that maybe wouldn’t happen again,” Walker said. “To get to work with the quality of people in our athletic department and the support of our superintendent we have here ... when opportunity knocks, you have to walk through the door.”

Timberview overcame the death of its offensive coordinator midway through the season and went 12-3 last season, making its first state semifinal appearance.

Walker said he was able to talk to his players before leaving his post at Timberview and said they understood his situation. Walker said the 2011 season allowed him to mark several coaching goals off his list of desired achievements, but when it came down to it, he had to live up to a mantra he preached to his team -- family comes first.

“We always talked about family first,” Walker said. “It’s just a chance to take care of my family.”

His time away from coaching will open up weekends he hasn’t had off in many years to spend time with his family and be a fan in the stands for Mansfield ISD games.

Walker said he would be actively involved in the search for a new coach and AD at Timberview, which Mansfield ISD administrators hope will be filled by the beginning of April.

“We’re in the process right now, the screening and interviewing," Walker said, "and by the end of the month or April we should have a new coach and athletics coordinator in place.”
MANSFIELD, Texas -- A triple by South Grand Prairie designated hitter Patrick Stratton in the top of the sixth put his team ahead of district rival Mansfield Timberview for good, leading to a 9-7 win Friday.

Stratton roped a triple to the left-center field wall, driving in two runs to give South Grand Prairie an 8-7 lead. It was the first lead change since the bottom of the first.

South Grand Prairie added on one more run in the sixth on a single up the middle.

Timberview scored seven runs in the first two innings and out-hit South Grand Prairie 11-9, but couldn't hold on.

South Grand Prairie reliever Austin Fleming picked up the win, while Timberview reliever Cody London took the loss.

South Grand Prairie exited with its first district win of the season. Both teams were 0-2 in district entering Friday.

Duncanville girls elevate to No. 12 in FAB 50

February, 28, 2012
Duncanville vaulted eight spots to No. 12 in the latest ESPNHS POWERADE FAB 50 girls basketball national rankings after Saturday's victory over previous No. 12 Irving MacArthur in the Class 5A Region 1 championship game.

MacArthur slipped six spots to No. 18 after being denied a chance to defend its state championship.

Boys brackets: 5A »   4A »
Girls brackets: 5A »   4A »
State tournament: Girls » Boys »
Defending 4A state champion Dallas Lincoln fell from No. 22 to No. 40 after losing to Rockwall in the 4A Region 2 quarterfinals. Plano West dropped from No. 28 to No. 43 after MacArthur ended the Wolves' season in the regional quarterfinals.

In the boys ESPNHS POWERADE FAB 50, defending Class 5A state champion Flower Mound Marcus maintained its position at No. 5. No. 13 Prestonwood Christian also held its position.

Arlington Grace Prep, which has reached the TAPPS 4A state semifinals, moved up three spots to No. 28. South Grand Prairie also moved up three spots and sits at No. 41.

Richland, which had been No. 46, tumbled out of the rankings after its bi-district loss to Mansfield Timberview.

Timberview ousts Coppell on late 3-pointer

February, 25, 2012
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- Mansfield Timberview hero Cornelius Hudson received an uncomfortable-looking celebratory ride around Amos Turner Gymnasium on the shoulder of teammate Jonathan Tate.

But Hudson, a 6-foot-3 junior, was much too happy to complain.

His 3-pointer from the left wing with five seconds remaining propelled Mansfield Timberview to a 53-51 victory over Coppell in a Class 5A Region I area playoff Friday night at Grand Prairie High.

Boys brackets: 5A »   4A »
Girls brackets: 5A »   4A »
State tournament: Girls » Boys »
Timberview (21-14), the fourth seed from District 5-5A, advances to a regional quarterfinal against defending state champion Flower Mound Marcus, a 65-37 winner over Duncanville on Friday.

“I felt it was going in as soon as I let it go,’’ Hudson said. “I practice shooting that shot every day.’’

For a final OK to launch, Hudson said he heard teammate Brandon Pye “hollering my name.’’

Pye, Timberview’s leading scorer this season, was limited to six points by Coppell’s blanketing defense, 10 points under his average. But Hudson in the second half and junior guard Chris Owens in the first half more than picked up the slack, combining for four 3-pointers apiece.

Timberview trailed 51-50 after Coppell’s talented post Jett Raines converted a pair of free throws with 32 seconds remaining. With 20 seconds to go, Timberview coach Duane Gregory called a timeout to discuss last-shot strategy.

“We had four guys on the floor that I would have been comfortable taking the last shot and Cornelius was one of the four,’’ Gregory said.

Said Coppell coach Brad Chasteen: “It was a great shot. I would have settled for him taking that shot in that situation. The game was on the line and it was on the end of the floor where he is shooting into the crowd. We didn’t just give it to him. We had someone challenging him. Our thought was we didn’t want Pye to shoot it.’’

Coppell (25-9) used the final five seconds to get a good look at a potential 3-point winner of its own, but Martin Kalev’s attempt from the left corner was a little too strong off the back rim.

Hudson, scoreless in the first half, finished with 16 points. He credited an intermission pep talk from teammates for his turnaround.

“The whole team told me to keep shooting,’’ said Hudson. “I just love those guys. We’re all like brothers.’’

Owens, a 6-foot junior, scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half.

Coppell’s Raines, a 6-foot-8 senior, went 9-of-12 from the floor and led all scorers with 24 points and added nine rebounds.

Coppell went on a 11-point run to open a 39-30 lead five minutes into the second half, thanks to an 11-point quarter by 6-foot-7 senior Austin Mankin.

Hudson scored eight points in the final two minutes of the third quarter, including a long 3-pointer at the buzzer, to cut the Coppell lead to three points going into the final eight minutes.

There were five lead changes in the fourth quarter. After being out-rebounded 16-13 in the first three quarters, Timberview owned a 9-2 edge in the final period, leading to a pair of second-chance baskets.

“We had some rebounds go out of our hands,’’ Chasteen said.

Mans. Timberview boys surprise No. 3 Richland

February, 22, 2012
Mansfield Timberview provided the area's biggest opening-round surprise of the Class 5A boys basketball playoffs by stunning Richland, 60-44, Tuesday night at Arlington High.

Richland, the District 6-5A champion, entered the playoffs with a 28-3 record and a No. 3 ranking in ESPN Dallas Class 5A Top 10.

Boys brackets: 5A »   4A »
Girls brackets: 5A »   4A »
State tournament: Girls » Boys »
“The key for us was our ability to handle Richland’s pressure,’’ Timberview coach Duane Gregory said Wednesday. “When we do three things, defend, block out and play at our tempo, we are a good basketball team.’’

Seasoned in a district that included South Grand Prairie, Duncanville and Cedar Hill, all bi-district winners Tuesday, Timberview (20-14) entered the playoff as the fourth-place seed from 5-5A.

The Wolves broke open a close game by outscoring Richland by 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Brandon Pye, a 6-footo-1 senior point guard averaging 16 points a game, riddled Richland by scoring 26.

“Brandon is our first four-year starter and when you consider what was on the line, that had to be one of his biggest games,’’ Gregory said.

Timberview, which has alternated between Class 4A and 5A since opening in 2004, is in the playoffs for the sixth time in its eight seasons. In 2009, Timberview reached the state tournament, falling victim to eventual Class 4A state champion Houston Yates in the semifinals.

The Wolves will meet Coppell (25-8) in an area-round playoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Grand Prairie High’s Amos Turner Gymnasium. Coppell got past Allen 43-41 in overtime in a bi-district game Tuesday night.
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas -- Just weeks earlier, Southlake Carroll freshman guard Kennedy Leonard had the opportunity to seal a victory over district rival Keller by hitting last-second free throws, but she wasn't able to convert.

To lift her spirits, her teammates told her she would have the same opportunity again some day and would be successful the second time around.

[+] EnlargeSierra Maykus
Travis L. Brown for ESPNDallas.comSierra Maykus finished with a team-high 13 points after going scoreless in the fist half for Southlake Carroll.
Little did the Carroll girls basketball team know that chance would come against Mansfield Timberview in the area round of the 5A playoffs.

Leonard hit a free throw with 5.9 seconds left in the game to tie the score at 38 and force overtime, where the Lady Dragons would hang on for a 48-46 victory.

“All the coaches were like 'you are going to get another chance to do it,' " Leonard said. "So I had to step up for my team and just had to make it.”

Leonard had spent the majority of the game sitting on the bench because of foul trouble, something Carroll coach Teri Morrison said was simply caused by freshman mental mistakes.

But with four fouls, Leonard played the majority of the fourth quarter, tallying six points in the frame, including a huge 3-pointer in the opening minute that brought her team within striking distance. She finished with nine points.

Once the game was pushed into overtime, senior Sierra Maykus took over where Leonard left off. Maykus drilled a 3-pointer that gave the Dragons their first lead of the game moments into the extra stanza and hit again on Carroll’s next possession to drive the margin to 46-42.

Boys brackets: 5A »   4A »
Girls brackets: 5A »   4A »
State tournament: Girls » Boys »
Maykus finished with a team-high 13 points after a scoreless first half.

“I just forgot about all the shots I missed and pretended like it was a brand new game,” Maykus said. “I was definitely getting frustrated, but I tried to forget about getting frustrated and it worked.”

Carroll barely has enough time to catch its breath before it faces ESPN Dallas 5A No. 2 Duncanville in the regional quarterfinals. The game will be played at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Fort Worth’s Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.

Four 5A districts in area undergo little change

February, 2, 2012
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas -- The makeup changed very little or not at all in four of the area’s nine Class 5A districts at Thursday's UIL reclassification and realignment.

*The current District 4-5A (five Arlington schools, Fort Worth Paschal, North Crowley and Weatherford) remained intact but, because of district consolidation in West Texas, changed its number to 3-5A.

That’s an agreeable change, said Anthony Criss, football coach at Arlington Sam Houston and former Arlington ISD assistant athletic director.

“It’s great for Arlington because it means we stay in the area for first-round playoff games instead of going to West Texas,’’ Criss said. “We’d still go west once, but not until the second round.''

*The current District 5-5A retained seven of its eight members in the new District 7-5A: Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Grand Prairie, South Grand Prairie, Mansfield and Mansfield Timberview. The only change is Mansfield Legacy drops down to Class 4A and powerhouse DeSoto takes its place.

“A tough district just got tougher,’’ said Grand Prairie coach Gary Bartel.

*In District 9-5A, Dallas Samuell dropped to Class 4A and was replaced by Richardson Pearce, which is moving back up to 5A. The other seven members are unchanged: Dallas Jesuit, Dallas Skyline, Dallas Sunset, Dallas W.T. White, Richardson, Richardson Berkner and Lake Highlands.

“I wasn’t sure Jesuit would stay in,’’ said Skyline coach Reginald Samples. “In fact, we had agreed to play them in a nondistrict game if they weren’t in our district.’’

*The seven Garland ISD schools that made up 10-5A in the last realignment are now without McKinney Boyd as they go forward as District 11-5A with this lineup: Garland, Garland Lakeview, Garland Naaman Forest, North Garland, Rowlett, Sachse and South Garland.

Cedar Hill girls dominate post vs. Timberview

January, 27, 2012
MANSFIELD, Texas -- No. 6 Cedar Hill’s forwards dominated the post to lead the Lady Longhorns to a 71-56 win at No. 9 Mansfield Timberview on Friday.

LaBrittney Jones scored a career-high 30 points and fellow forward and Texas commit Jada Terry added 19 for Cedar Hill (24-6, 9-2).

“That’s been our game plan all year,” Cedar Hill head coach Andrea Robinson said. “We have to get it to our bigs. They’ve been carrying us all year, and they did a good job.”

Cedar Hill moved into second place in District 5-5A, two games behind No. 2 Duncanville.

Terriell Bradley scored a team-high 21 points for Timberview (22-8, 8-3).

Timberview boys pound boards vs. Cedar Hill

January, 27, 2012
MANSFIELD, Texas -- No. 10 Cedar Hill had to feel nervous any time it missed a shot against Mansfield Timberview in Friday’s District 5-5A battle.

Anything Cedar Hill (19-8, 7-2) threw up that didn’t find the bottom of the net seemingly fell into the arms of a Timberview player, allowing Timberview to take the game off transition buckets, 56-44.

Timberview (15-12, 5-4) outrebounded Cedar Hill 24-15 and did not allow Cedar Hill an offensive rebound until the game’s final minute. Timberview managed six offensive rebounds to Cedar Hill’s two.

“It’s something we really focused on the last couple days in practice,” Timberview coach Duane Gregory said. “We knew that would be a big issue coming into this game because coach [Tim] Thomas’ teams always rebound well. We knew we had to at least match that effort, if not exceed it.”

Timberview big man Caleb Corbett had 10 points and sparked his team’s transition game with 11 rebounds.

“He’s played big all year,” Gregory said. “He’s our top defender and battles the best post defender. I’m so proud of him.”

Cedar Hill controlled the first quarter but only came out with a 13-12 lead.

Timberview strung together transition layups off rebounds to begin the second, putting together a 10-0 run to open the frame. They wouldn’t come close to relinquishing the lead the remainder of the game.

On the other end of Corbett’s rebounds was Brandon Pye, finishing layups en route to a game-high 18 points. Pye also pulled down three rebounds.

The win gave Timberview a two-game buffer over Mansfield for the district’s fourth and final playoff spot heading into its next district game against undefeated district leader South Grand Prairie.

“This is a big win and now we have to follow it with a game with [South Grand Prairie], which is one of the best teams around,” Gregory said, “but we’re going to see what we can do with them.”

Perry's double-double fuels Duncanville girls

January, 13, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kiara Perry doesn’t exactly fit the mold of physical Duncanville post players of the past, but don’t sell her short.

Schooled by a lifetime of driveway basketball against older brother Donnell, the 5-foot-11 junior can mix it up around the basket with anybody.

Perry scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Pantherettes to a surprisingly easy 74-44 victory over District 5-5A rival Mansfield Timberview Friday at the Wolves Den.

“Donnell isn’t a basketball player, he plays football,’’ Perry explained. “We used to play by the garage all day. We still play. He’s stronger than girls I play, so it has been a big help for me.’’

The win gave Duncanville (26-1, 7-0 in 5-5A), No. 2 in the ESPNDallas.com Class 5A Top 10, a perfect run through the first half of district play.

Timberview (17-7, 5-2), No. 7 in the rankings, lost at home for the first time this season.

“Kiara has a knack for stepping up against tough opponents,’’ Duncanville coach Cathy Self-Morgan said after recording her 901st career victory. “We don’t call her a post, but she is quick enough to play there. Her rebounding tonight was very impressive.’’

Said Perry: “We’ve got to come ready to play. We’re little, so we have to be in shape.’’

Another junior, 6-foot-1 post Antiona Robinson, provided a spark off the bench with 13 points and four rebounds.

“I was looking for defense from Antiona and she gave us help on offense, too,’’ Self-Morgan said.

Six minutes into the game, Timberview trailed by a point. Then Duncanville went on an 11-0 run over a four-minute stretch to open a double-digit lead, and Timberview never recovered.

Sophomore guard Tasia Foman used her speed to beat Timberview for some easy baskets on the way to 16 points.

“Duncanville shares the ball very well,’’ said Timberview coach Candy Harvey. “They don’t need a big post player.’’

In part because of injuries, Timberview started a lineup of three sophomores, a junior and a senior, but Harvey refused to use youth as an excuse. Sophomore forward JaLea Bennett and junior guard Lili Thompson led Timberview with 13 points apiece.

With the 900-win milestone in the rearview mirror, Self-Morgan said the future looks bright after assessing players in feeder schools.

“The 900 wins is really about the kids I’ve been fortunate to coach,’’ Self-Morgan said. “It is all due to them.’’

Mansfield Timberview boys 62, Duncanville boys 48: Ice-cold shooting at the start cost Duncanville any chance of a victory. The Panthers (11-12, 3-2) went scoreless for the first four minutes and didn’t connect on a field goal until 30 seconds into the second quarter.

Brandon Pye, a 6-2 senior guard, led Timberview (13-10, 3-2) with 24 points. Omar Sherman topped Duncanville with 13 points.

Offensive POYs: Timberview QB, Corsicana RB

January, 3, 2012

Class 5A: QB Chuck Taylor, Mansfield Timberview

The 5-9, 185-pound senior was the inspirational leader of a 12-3 Timberview team that became the first in Mansfield ISD to reach a state football semifinal.

Taylor, in his third varsity season, threw for 1,998 yards and 16 touchdowns, but it was his ball-carrying skills that set him apart. He rushed for 1,972 yards and 23 touchdowns and scored a team-leading 142 points.

Dec. 27: Coaches of the year
Dec. 28: Games of the year
Dec. 29: Newcomers of the year
Dec. 30: Best of the rest
Jan. 2: Defensive POYs
Jan. 3: Offensive POYs
Jan. 4: MVPs
The Wolves finished tied for third in the District 5-5A standings and had to deal with the mid-October loss of offensive coordinator Cody McCarty, who died from sudden heart complications. McCarty, 29, was Taylor’s position coach.

Taylor and his teammates kept the memory of their coach as a focal point in the their Class 5A Division II playoff run, taking down Colleyville Heritage, Flower Mound Marcus, Abilene and Abilene Cooper before losing to eventual state champion Spring Dekaney, 56-19, in a state semifinal.

In the 29-25 regional playoff win over Cooper in Abilene, Taylor ran 25 yards for the winning touchdown with 16 seconds remaining.

In November, the versatile Taylor signed a letter of intent to play baseball at UT-Arlington. He is an outfielder.

Class 4A: RB Cameron Washington, Corsicana

The 6-foot, 190-pound senior was a textbook example of an athlete raising his level of play when the postseason arrived.

In playoff wins over Manor, Sulphur Springs, Frisco Centennial and Kilgore, Washington carried 121 times for 1,085 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Corsicana (13-2) was eliminated from the playoffs in a state semifinal by eventual Class 4A Division II state champion Aledo.

Washington was a Tigers’ workhorse, carrying 352 times for 3,136 yards and 46 touchdowns. Along the way, Washington broke the school’s single-season rushing record. He averaged 8.9 yards per carry and scored 46 touchdowns, finishing the season with 286 points.

Washington crossed the 200-yard rushing barrier in 11 games with a high game of 320 yards in a 47-33 area-round playoff win over Sulphur Springs.

He scored at least one touchdown in all 15 of his team’s games and notched five touchdowns in a game twice, in the final regular-season game against Forney and in the bi-district win over Manor.

Washington was named to the Associated Press’ Class 4A all-state first team.

Timberview, Centennial coaches earn honors

December, 27, 2011

Class 5A: Mansfield Timberview's Mark Walker

Nothing can prepare a team for the death of one of its coaches. Timberview endured an unspeakable tragedy when assistant coach Cody McCarty passed away at just 29 years old.

Dec. 27: Coaches of the year
Dec. 28: Games of the year
Dec. 29: Newcomers of the year
Dec. 30: Best of the rest
Jan. 2: Defensive POYs
Jan. 3: Offensive POYs
Jan. 4: MVPs
The Wolves could have succumbed to their grief and let a promising season slip away, but head coach Mark Walker wouldn't let them.

The Wolves dedicated their year to McCarty, and Walker kept them focused on honoring their late coach.

The season, just Timberview's second at the 5A level, turned into one of the best in the school's history despite not making the postseason since 2008.

But the Wolves roared through the playoffs. They opened the postseason with upsets over Colleyville Heritage and Flower Mound Marcus, then defeated two strong west Texas teams in Abilene and Abilene Cooper before losing to eventual state champion Spring Dekaney in the state semifinals.

Class 4A: Frisco Centennial's Mark Howard

The opportunity to start a program from scratch excited Mark Howard when he became Centennial's first head coach in 2003. What he didn't know was that he'd have to start the program from scratch more than once.

Expansion in Frisco ISD split classes at Centennial throughout the 2000s, keeping the football program's numbers unstable. With expansion picking on other schools now, Howard has shown what kind of program he can build.

Howard turned Centennial into one of the best 4A defenses in the area as the Titans gave up just 11.4 points per game, which fueled an undefeated regular season in which the Titans breezed through District 9-4A.

A successful playoff run capped off what was easily the best season in school history. The Titans beat McKinney North and Dallas Conrad before falling to Corsicana in the regional semifinals.

Howard has Centennial's subvarsity programs humming, and with many key underclassmen set to return, the future looks bright for Howard and the Titans.

Mansfield Timberview's run ends in state semis

December, 10, 2011
AUSTIN -- Mansfield Timberview looked good for the first four minutes of the second half in its game against Spring Dekaney on Saturday afternoon.

Spring Dekaney’s Trey Williams looked great for the entire game.

The Texas A&M-bound running back rushed for 259 yards and six touchdowns to help lead the Wildcats to a 56-19 win over Mansfield Timberview in a 5A Division II state semifinal. Spring Dekaney, which is making its first-ever playoff appearance, will now play for a state championship next week at Cowboys Stadium.

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Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

Mansfield Timberview, which had advanced to the state semifinals in its first playoff appearance since the 2008 season, had its nine-game winning streak snapped Saturday. The Wolves had won seven of those games after the October death of offensive coordinator Cody McCarty.

“It was actually a good season that we had with all the things we’ve been through,” Mansfield Timberview quarterback Charles Taylor said. “We got so close we were expecting to get to that ring, but it didn’t happen that way.”

Timberview received the opening kickoff, but the Wolves’ first three drives ended in a lost fumble, a deflected punt and a failed fake punt from inside their own 20. A Timberview offense that was averaging 36.8 points per game was shut out in the first half and the Wolves’ two trips inside the Dekaney 25 yielded no points.

Dekaney, on the other hand, had no problem putting up points.

Dekaney’s first 10 offensive snaps led to three touchdowns and the Wildcats scored on six of their seven first-half drives. Dekaney’s only non-scoring possession was a drive at the end of the half in which D’Juan Hines took a first-down knee with a 42-0 lead on the scoreboard.

Williams rushed for 150 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries in the first half.

“It was a bad mood, a mood it shouldn’t have been. It wasn’t up like it always is,” said Taylor of the halftime atmosphere in the locker room at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex. “We came out good [in the second half], but we shouldn’t have started off like that.

Mansfield Timberview recovered an onside kick and forced Dekaney’s first punt within the first two minutes of the second half. The Wolves followed both of those changes in possessions with Taylor touchdown runs.

Trailing 42-12, Timberview recovered another onside kick after Taylor’s second touchdown run. But Taylor was called for an intentional grounding penalty and the senior quarterback ended the drive with three consecutive incomplete passes.

After the turnover on downs, Dekaney gave the ball to Williams on eight straight plays and Williams capped the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run.

“The biggest thing is finishing. We’ve got to have pride in who we are and what we do,” Mansfield Timberview coach Mark Walker said. “We came out and played a bad first half and so I told them that’s the challenge and we’ve got to get it done [in the second half]. Our kids did, and I’ve very proud of them.”

Mansfield Timberview was led by Taylor’s two touchdowns, and the Wolves scored the game’s final points on a 28-yard rumble by Daniel Ramos in the fourth quarter.

Timberview, which finishes its season 12-3, also got 102 receiving yards from Rickey Gross.