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Sports

September 22, 2017 - Several more hunting seasons are set to open in coming weeks and one is set to close as summer gives way to fall.

The first is the Youth Only squirrel season on Sept. 23-24. The two-day season is intended to give young hunters age 16 and under an early crack at the bushytails before the regular season gets underway on Oct. 1.

Also on tap are the Archery Only seasons for white-tailed deer, mule deer and Rio Grande turkey, which runs Sept. 30 - Nov. 3. The general deer season for whitetails opens Nov. 4.

The early archery season is typically plays right into the hands of East Texas whitetail hunters because it offers the opportunity to get in the woods ahead of the rut, before bachelor groups of bucks start busting up and changing their movement patterns. It also gives hunters the chance to hunt before acorns start to fall, thus boosting chances of success while hunting in relation to corn feeders.

The 16-day early teal season will close on Sept. 24.

September 22, 2017 - Friday Night Football Schedule for September 22nd, week 4.

Friday Night Football
Center 42 - Diboll 45, Final Score
Joaquin 47 - Huntington 0, Final Score
Tenaha 62 - Clarksville 6, Final Score
Timpson 38 - Hawkins 14, Final Score
Shelbyville Open

September 17, 2017 - (Coronation, Game Photos: Album1, Album2; Parade Photos: Album1, Album2, Album3) - The Timpson Bears took on the Cross Roads Bobcats during their 2017 Homecoming game Friday, September 16, 2017 at John Herbert Eakin Stadium in Timpson.

Before the game began the Homecoming court walked onto the field and were introduced. Crowned Timpson Bear Homecoming Queen for 2017 was Jasmine Rogers.

An exciting game between the Bears and Bobcats ended with Timpson taking the win, 28-8.

September 16, 2017 (Coronation Photos, Game photos: Album1, Album2) - It was homecoming weekend in Center and Friday, September 16 the coronation ceremony was held prior to the game. Congratulations to Jennifer Huichapa who was crowned the 2017 Homecoming Princess and congratulations Elizabeth Chavez for being crowned the Center HS Homecoming Queen!

During halftime, the Center Alumni Association recognized their 2017 Hall of Honor inductees who are Joy Ann Weaver Havran, a 1967 CHS graduate, and Luke Motley III, a 1957 CHS graduate (Center Alumni Association Honors Havran, Motley as 2017 Hall of Honor Inductees). They were both honored at the Annual CHS Alumni Association meeting held Saturday morning. (Photos coming Sunday)

Although the Center Roughriders lost to the Gladewater Bears, the game was a hard fought battle with the Roughrider defense holding the Bears to only two touchdowns and a field goal. The score was 0-0 until 9:18 in the second quarter and the Bears were the first to score a touchdown. Several plays later the Bears have possession but fumble the ball and the Riders recover placing them within scoring range. The Bears defense remains a problem and the Riders fail to get into the end zone. With 5:54 in the second quarter, Center makes a field goal attempt and its good bringing the score to Center 3 and Gladewater 7. Gladewater manages to score again as the clock runs out for the first half for a score of 3-14. The Bears kick a field goal with 3:39 left in the game for the final score of 3-17.

Friday, September 16, 2017. Garrison Bulldogs’ Stadium –

The Shelbyville Dragons Varsity Football Team found it hard to keep the first-down chains moving offensively, last Friday night. The Dragons played well, against Garrison High School, at times but were not able to hang with the hometown Bulldogs who took the 28-0 win, which boosted the Bulldogs’ pre-district record to 1-2.

The loss moves Shelbyville’s record to 0-3. They will use an open week to regroup, and heal some injuries, in preparation to host Corrigan-Camden for the Dragons’ Homecoming on September 29, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs last lost to Shepard High School and have a 0-3 season mark as well.

Garrison wasted no time getting on the board in last Friday’s contest. While going for it on fourth-down-and-short yardage, with 10:30 left in the opening period, Bulldog quarterback Makedric Collins broke free on a 41-yard run which moved the ball from the Bulldogs’ end of the field to the Shelbyville 29-yard line. On, first down, the Bulldogs recovered their own fumble. Three plays later saw Collins go in for a 15-yard touchdown run with 8:34 left in the opening period. Aidan Britton added an extra point kick to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 advantage.

The first Shelbyville drive saw the GHS defensive line held Shelbyville to just four yards on two runs. On third down, the Dragons got an illegal substitution penalty, and then a false start. The drive was cut short and SHS was forced to punt the ball back to Garrison with almost seven minute still remaining in the opening quarter. Garrison took over at their 19-yard line.

Bulldog running back Sebastian Porter gained a total of 22 yards on three consecutive runs but the Shelbyville defense eventually forced Garrison to turn the ball over on downs at the ‘Dogs 41-yard line with 4:58 left in the opening stanza.

Shelbyville gained their first first-down on runs by Jacobi Jackson and Kyle Tindoll to start the drive. A 12-yard pass completion negated a false-start penalty and gave SHS their second first-down which moved the pigskin to the Bulldogs 17-yard line. The Dragons turned the ball over on downs at the Bulldog 9-yard line four plays later. The first period ended with Garrison leading 7-0.

Sawyer Hendricks helped Shelbyville out when he recovered the football near midfield on Garrisons’ next offensive drive.

Caleb Campbell made a 27-yard reception which gave Shelbyville a first down at Garrisons’ 22-yard line with 11 minutes left in the first half. The Shelbyville offensive drive was cut short when they fumbled at the Bulldog 18-yard line with 10:50 remaining in the first half.

Sabastian Porter scored Garrisons’ second touchdown of the night when he went in the end zone on a 10-yard scoring run with 5:29 left in the second quarter. Britton added his second extra point kick of the day to put GHS up 14-0.

Kasper Hodge scored Garrisons’ third touchdown on a 51-yard touchdown reception from Drew Wise just 35 seconds before the halftime buzzer. The two teams went in for the halftime intermission with Garrison up over the Shelbyville Dragons by a score of 21-0.

Porter scored the game’s final touchdown when he broke a tackle at the line-of- scrimmage and raced 69 yards to the end zone with 4:11 left in the third stanza. Leading 28-0 at this point, the Bulldog defense stiffened. Garrison controlled the clock offensively and only allowed SHS three first downs for the remainder of the contest, while relaxing to prevent-style defensive formations.

Garrison held a 14-7 advantage in gaining first downs. Shelbyville was penalized 30 yards and Garrison 25. Garrison rushed for 447 yards and allowed Shelbyville 128 rushing yards. Shelbyville completed 3 passes on 7 attempts for 17 yards, and SHS was intercepted once.

Garrison completed 2 passes on 5 attempts for 38 yards. GHS held a 605 to 145 yard advantage in total offense.

Shelbyville Head Football Coach Charles Tindoll stated, “We will have to work on running a more diversified multiple option offense. We will work hard and we aren’t ready to hang things up yet! We expect Corrigan- Camden to have some good athletes. We will use the off-week to heal some injuries but I don’t think we are looking at anything that’s season ending.”

September 15, 2017 - Friday Night Football Schedule for September 15th, week 3.

Friday Night Football
Center 3 - Gladewater 17, Final Score
Joaquin 43 - Lovelady 28, Final Score
Shelbyville 0 - Garrison 28, Final Score
Tenaha 53 - Gateway Charter 0, Final Score
Timpson 28 - Cross Roads 8, Final Score

Hunting from elevated tree stands is a great way to help beat the whitetail's keen eyesight and sense of smell, but they also can be dangerous unless proper safety measures are taken to prevent falls. (Photo courtesy of Hunter Safety Systems)September 15, 2017 - David Clifton of Wells has shinnied up dozens of trees and spent hundreds of hours perched on lock-on, climbing and ladder deer stands over the years. All it took was a split second to show him how quickly things can go bad up there, especially when you thumb your nose in the face of safety.

Shift to Fall of 1996.

Archery season was just around the corner and Clifton and a friend, John Allen, were in the woods hanging stands at their lease in western Nacogdoches County. In the process, Allen learned he was missing the ratchet strap used for securing the platform on his stand.

Rather than retrieving a replacement, Clifton elected to loan Allen his ratchet strap on the spot. That meant the platform on Clifton's stand would be left unsecured after he placed it.

Clifton's original idea was to bring a ratchet strap and secure the platform when he returned to the spot to hunt. Unfortunately, things didn't work out that way.

"When I went to hunt the stand for the first time I realized I had forgot the ratchet strap," Clifton said.

In hindsight, Clifton says the smartest thing he could have done would have been go to a different stand or abort the afternoon hunt altogether. Instead, he elected to take a huge risk that would ultimately change is life forever.

Clifton made up it up the white oak and onto the unsecured platform with no problem, nocked an arrow and laid his arrow quiver at his feet. He wasn't wearing a safety harness and didn't have a safety strap of any sort to support his weight in case the stand happened to give way.

Moments later, the hunter accidentally kicked the quiver off the platform and it fell to ground, 22 feet below. Arrows scattered everywhere.

"I knew there was a good buck in the area and I was afraid he would show up and spook if he happened see or smell that quiver on the ground," Clifton said. "I had to go get it."

Clifton said he hung his bow on a limb, exited the stand and retrieved the quiver.

"I climbed back up and laid the quiver across the platform," he recalled. "When I went to get back onto the platform is when it happened. I stepped on the edge of the platform and it kicked out to the opposite side. The last thing I remember is sort of jumping backwards and reaching out trying to grab the tree before I fell."

Using a good LifeLine keeps the hunter connected to the tree 100 percent of time. (Photo courtesy of Hunter Safety Systems)Clifton, a 25-year-old firefighter at the time, said the fall knocked him unconscious for about five minutes. When he awoke he felt excruciating pain in both of his feet and back. Fire ants were eating him alive.

Luckily, another hunter who was hunting about a 1/4 mile away heard his calls for help and was on the scene within minutes. Friends transported Clifton back to camp on an ATV, then loaded him in the back of a pick-up for the ride to the hospital.

X-rays showed both of his heels had been shattered and two bulging disks in his back. Once released from the hospital Clifton was bedfast for three months. It was six months before he was finally able to return to work.

"I remember getting out of bed and having to drag myself to the bathroom," Clifton said. "I spent a lot of time in a wheelchair and wearing walking boots just to get around. The doctors told me then that my feet and back would give me trouble the rest of my life. And they were right. I still feel it every single day."

Clifton offered no excuses for what happened to him 21 years ago this October. To hear him tell it, his pride caused him to make a very bad decision and take a chance that he never should have taken.

"I was a risk-taker back then," he said. "I could run up a tree like a cat squirrel and I would hang stands without tying off or taking any safety precautions. I knew full well what I was doing that day and it cost me dearly."

As a rule, most hunters today are way more conscious about playing it safe in the woods than they were 25 years ago. The push for exercising safety is particularly obvious among those who utilize tree stands.

That's largely because numerous organizations are spreading the word that there is no such thing as being too safe when hunting above the above the ground. In addition to heightened awareness, there are a wide variety of innovative safety products on the market today like safety harnesses, safety straps and lifelines that didn't exist years ago.

The Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation recently declared September as Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month. It's a timely designation because September is the month when thousands of hunters flock to the woods to hang stands, trim shooting lanes and do other odd jobs that are frequently performed 20-30 feet above ground.

In keeping with the safety message, TSSA has launched an educational campaign called the ABC's of Tree Stand Safety. The three step message goes as follows:

     A.) Always remove and inspect your equipment.
     B.) Buckle on your full body harness.
     C.) Connect to the tree before your feet leave the ground.

By following those three simple steps "tree stand users can virtually eliminate their risk of falling to the ground as the majority of falls occur outside the stand," the campaign says. "TSSA encourages all hunters to take tree stand safety seriously, every time you hunt from, hang, or remove a tree stand."

Based in Roanoke, VA., the non-profit TSSA foundation was formed a couple of years ago by a group of outdoor industry leaders and hunting enthusiasts for the purpose of helping to reduce tree stand accidents through the promotion of tree stand safety and educating hunters about the best use practices.

TSSA president Glen Mayhew of Bedford, VA., has worked tirelessly for the cause and has helped assemble some eye-opening data about tree stand hunting accidents, how frequently they occur and the primary causes.

According to Mayhew, there were roughly 4,000 tree stand fall incidents nationwide in 2015 alone. While that number is relatively small in comparison to the number of hunters who utilize tree stands, it indicates that quite a few hunters aren't getting the important message about safety and/or making good use of products intended to prevent falls from happening.

"Depending on where you are in the country, there are more tree stand incidents than there are firearm incidents," Mayhew said. "From a deer hunting perspective, tree stand falls are the No. 1 cause of injury and death of our deer hunters on national level, not firearms."

Mayhew has spent a significant amount of time crunching numbers and factors related to tree stand incidents.

Not surprisingly, his data shows that nearly 86 percent of the accidents involved people who were not wearing a safety harness at the time. Another 14.5 percent had a harness with them that was either not connected, taken off, improperly used or properly used with only a minor injury.

The data shows more than 90 percent of the fatalities resulting from tree stand falls involved people who were not wearing a safety harness; 85.2 percent of those injuries were not wearing a safety harness. The average fall height for injuries was 16 feet; 19 feet for fatalities.

As earlier mentioned, there are a variety products on the market today that do a great job of enhancing tree stand safety without impeding on comfort.

One of best products a tree stand hunter can buy is a safety harness. The harness should be attached to a safety strap of some sort that is hard connected to the tree.

The best safety harnesses are made from heavy-duty nylon straps that provide support for the entire upper body, not just the waist. The harness should have two shoulder straps, a chest strap and two leg straps that fasten together as a single unit to keep you hanging upright in the event of a fall.

Another really good investment is some sort lifeline like the Hunter Safety Systems Lifeline. The heavy-duty rope device features two attachment points -- one for above the stand and one for the safety harness.

Use correctly, the LifeLine is advertised to eliminate the possibility of falling from a tree stand, because it keeps the hunter attached to the tree 100 percent of the time while ascending and descending from a stand platform.

You can never be too safe when it comes to hunting from a tree stand. All it takes is a split second to commit a fateful mistake that can change your life forever, or worse. David Clifton will testify to that.

"Safety awareness is a good thing," he said. "Those tree stands will sure get a fella'."

Matt Williams is a freelance writer based in Nacogdoches. He can be reached by e-mail, mattwillwrite4u@yahoo.com.

September 11, 2017 - Tenaha ISD 2017 Junior High and Junior Varsity football schedules. 

Junior High

Junior Varsity

September 8, 2017 - Friday Night Football Schedule for September 8th, week 2.

Friday Night Football
Center 17 - Gilmer 56, Final Score
Joaquin 58 - Maud 7, Final Score
Shelbyville 14 - Hemphill 18, Final Score
Tenaha 28 - Kerens 9, Final Score
Timpson 6 - Price Carlisle 30, Final Score

September 6, 2017 - The Joaquin Cross Country team competed at the Shelby County Practice meet held Tuesday, September 5th in Shelbyville. Their first invitational is Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at Broaddus HS for the Broaddus Invitational. Click here for the Joaquin Cross Country meet schedule.

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