October 24, 2017 - Shelbyville 7th grade will play October 26 at 5:00 vs Garrison and 8th grade will play Cushing following in Shelbyville. The JV team will play West Sabine at 6:00 pm in West Sabine.

October 24, 2017 - Shelbyville Senior, Keanna Osby, advanced to the State Cross Country Championships for the 4th straight year. The State Competition will take place on Saturday, November 4th at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, Texas. The 2A girls race will run at 12:20.

We are Dragon Proud!
Coach Nigel Boyles

October 20, 2017 - Keith Combs' second annual Sam Rayburn Slam bass tournament held recently on Combs' home lake produced some big bites and big cash totaling more than $20,000 for donation to Warrior's Weekend military veterans and victims of Hurricane Harvey.

All total there were 18 sacks of 20 pounds or more bought to the scales, including the first-place bag of 28.76 pounds caught by Jason and Ty Moorehead. The winning sack, which including a 9.59 big bass, earned the Mooheads a new Ranger bass boat and gift certificates valued at $32,000. William Flournoy and James Chumley took second with 28.32.

Polk County archer Blake Laviolette with his career best 13 pointer taken on open range near Onalaska on Oct. 2. The buck grosses 179 B&C and nets 172 2/8. (Courtesy Photo)

October 20, 2017 - One of the main things I love about the dawn of another Texas deer season is the flurry of good story fodder that always seems to wind up in my lap.

The anticipation is sort of akin the feeling you get by tossing a topwater plug into a energetic group of burly school bass. Getting bit is a virtual certainty. You just never know when the strike is going to come or how big the fish is going to be.

Blake Laviolette of Onalaska delivered the first hit of the archery only season earlier this week, and it was a biggie.

On October 2, the 26 year-old hunter arrowed a remarkable open range whopper in Polk County that is sure to rank as one of the top scoring non-typicals reported in all of eastern Texas this year.

A main frame 10 pointer, the 5 1/2 year-old deer carried 13 scoreable points with split G3s, tall tines and exceptional mass totaling nearly 35 inches.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife biologist Chris Gregory of Livingston taped the buck for Texas Big Game Awards. The gross Boone and Crockett green score is 179; 172 2/8 net. The net score takes into account the lack of symmetry between both antlers. It's a stud of a whitetail any way you look it.

There's a intriguing story behind the deer, too, one that began with a hunt for a real estate sign and ended with another itty bitty deer lease kicking out a career buck that most deer hunters would love to have a crack at.

Here's what went down:

Laviolette is a real estate agent who likes to do some deer hunting on the side. His job often puts him in touch with property owners who are looking to sell their land, and the listings sometimes lead to temporary hunting arrangements before the deed changes hands.

Laviolette has spent the last several seasons hunting with his father on a pair of small tracts they have under lease in Trinity, San Jacinto and Walker counties. Both deals were cut through real estate relations.

Laviolette nailed down a third lease much closer to home a couple of months back. In fact, the gate to the 77-acre spread is located just down the road from his office.

The way Laviolette came into his newest lease, and a subsequent shot at the monster white-tailed buck that lived there, is somewhat bizarre. To here him tell it, it's sounds like something out of a fairy tale book.

Find That Sign

"It all started during November of 2016," Laviolette said. "My mother is the real estate broker where I work and one day she asked me to go out behind our office and look for an old 4X4 sign frame. There are about three acres back there."

As Laviolette rummaged around in the brush looking for the sign he discovered nearly a dozen rubs on small saplings about two inches in diameter. Curious to learn more about the dee, he returned to the spot with a bag of corn and a game camera. He also hung a lock-on stand in the area, just for good measure.

Five days later he returned to check his camera. The images he found on the memory card came as somewhat of a shock.

The big Polk County whitetail was killed off 77 acres just down the road from Laviolette's real estate office. The hunter said he had more than 300 images of the buck on game camera during three weeks leading up to the season opener. (Courtesy Photo)""He was in there on the second night and It was a biggest buck I'd ever seen -- somewhere in the mid-160s," he said. "I got several more pictures of him after that, but they were all at night. I never hunted back there the first time in 2016. He was only coming in there at night and I didn't want take a chance and mess him up. I definitely kept it quiet and didn't tell anyone about it. My plan was to hunt him the next year if he showed back up."

For Sale: 77 acres

The story took an interesting twist in August 2017 when a Polk County landowner contacted Laviolette about listing for sale the aforementioned 77-acre tract of property. He made arrangements to lease the land for hunting in the process and has since learned the property hadn't seen a legal hunter in close to two decades.

Located roughly 1/2 mile from Lavilolette's office, the heavily-wooded tract is dissected by a long pipeline crossing the hunter quickly discovered while scouting for sign during late summer. While walking the pipeline he found a 30-yard stretch that appeared to getting a lot of traffic.

"The pipeline hadn't been mowed in a while so it was pretty easy to tell where deer had been traveling from one side to the other," he said. "There were a whole bunch of trails right along that 30-yard stretch. I found a spot on one side of the pipeline where 4-5 trails converged and made sort of a bottleneck. That's where I put some corn out and set a camera to find out what was coming through there."

The hunter got a pleasant surprise when he returned a week later to check the camera. Several different bucks and does had passed through the area, including one with an all-to-familiar face and a kingsize rack. It was the same buck that was showing up behind his real estate office under the cover the darkness the previous season.

"There was no mistaking that buck and his split G3's," Laviolette said. "He was really tall, wide and he had put on quite a bit of mass from last year. I had him pegged at around 178 gross B&C once he shed his velvet. I was so fired up about it I told my dad he could have the run of the woods on the other two leases. I knew where I was going to be hunting."

Eye See You

Lavilolette said he spent the entire month of September watching the buck on game camera, patterning its movements and crafting a plan that he hoped would culminate with a clear shot during early days of the 2017 Archery Only season that got underway on September 30. The first order of business was hanging a lock-on stand 25 feet above ground near the bottleneck of trails. The next was keeping the area salted with corn and a homemade rice bran mixture Laviloette keeps in a 55-gallon drum.

"I was really careful how I went about my business," he said. "I only went in there once every four days to check my camera and replenish my corn and I always did it during the middle of the day, usually around noon. He was always in his bedding area by then and I'd get in and out as quickly and quietly as I could so didn't disturb anything."

The feeding regiment involved making three different corn piles with about 2 1/2 gallons of the special rice bran mixture dumped on top of each one.

"They were coming to it pretty good," he said. "I probably had pictures of 15 different does and five different bucks. They were eating 100 pounds of corn every four days. I never got the first picture of a pig."

The big buck was regular at the goodie station. Laviolette said he got more than 300 images of the deer before opening day rolled around.

"He was in there every day for three weeks leading up to the season opener and he always stayed for about an hour at a time," he said. "He would come through late in the afternoon when he was leaving his bedding area on the way to his feeding area, then again when he was returning to his bedding area, right at daylight. I felt like my chances were pretty good so long as something didn't go wrong and as long as the wind was right. That stand was set up for a east or north wind. Anything out of the south or west was bad."

Opening Weekend Blues

Laviolette arrived at his stand well before daylight on opening morning with understandably high expectations. It wasn't long before he noticed a dark silhouette around his corn pile, roughly 20 yards away. It was still much too dark to identify the deer with the naked eye, but Laviolette was able to see the animal clearly with the aid of his binoculars.

"It was him," he recalled. "Those 12X40 binoculars made him look twice as big from that distance and I was literally shaking like a leaf up there. I must have watched him for 20 minutes but I couldn't see well enough to put a pin on him through my peep sight."

Then something really frustrating happened. The buck walked straight away and faded into the darkness as mysteriously as it had appeared.

"There wasn't much I could do at that point," Laviolette said. "I went back that afternoon but he was later than usual coming back in. I got a picture of him about five minutes after I got down out of the stand."

Day 2 of the season brought more frustration, just a different kind. The wind was wrong when Laviolette arrived at the pipeline, forcing him to abort the hunt before it got started.

"It was just too risky," he said. "You normally only get one chance with a buck like that. Get busted and you may not ever see him again."

Worth the Wait

Lavoilette's exercise in patience paid off handsomely on the third morning of the season. With an east wind in his favor, the hunter went undetected as he entered the area and the big buck showed up at the corn pile right on schedule.

"He was there about 20 minutes before daylight again," Lavoilette said. "It was pretty nerve racking just standing there thinking whole time he was about to walk away any second, just like did opening morning. My blood was boiling."

Fortunately for Laviolette the buck made a fatal mistake and hung around a little too long. Laviolette finally had enough shooting light to see his sight pin at 6:57 a.m. and the all-new Rage Trypan expandable broadhead did its job. The hunter said the deer ran about five yards and crashed.

"I pretty much center-punched his heart," Laviolette said. "I was really impressed with that broadhead. I could put four fingers in the entry and exit holes. He never knew what hit him."

Big Buck, Small Acreage

Laviolette's buck adds credence to a theory many East Texas deer hunters are already familiar with: Big acreage isn't necessary to grow big antlers behind the Pine Curtain.

"All these deer need is some age them," he said. "This buck is a good example of what can happen when deer goes beyond 3 1/2 years of age. That place was perfect for a big ol' buck to hole up and hide out. It's a small tract but he had everything he needed there. Plenty of food, water, cover and lots of does. Plus, it hadn't been hunted in a really long time. There was no reason for him leave the area or venture off very far. I don't think he ever did. That was his core area. He lived there."

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

October 20, 2017 - Friday Night Football Schedule for October 20th, week 8.

Friday Night Football
Center 12 - Carthage 42, Final Score
Joaquin 31 - Shelbyville 0, Final Score
Tenaha 69 - Wortham 8, Final Score
Timpson 44 - Grapeland 20, Final Score

October 19, 2017 - CHS Varsity Tennis Named Area Champions - 

(Photos by Courtney Martinez) - The Riders led 5-2 after doubles and winning 2 out of 3 very close doubles matches gave the Momentum to the Riders going into Singles.
The first four singles matches would split with two wins for each team making it 7-4 with 8 singles matches still on the court.

Photo by CHS senior, Abram MoralesVan pulled out one more singles match, but the Riders would clinch the Victory with three consecutive boys singles wins to make it 10-5. An overall outstanding team performance.

Region Quarterfinal vs Spring Hill / Liberty Eylau winner will be played next Tuesday 10/24 at Carthage. Center looks to play the higher ranked Spring Hill team but also looks to use today’s match up as a springboard of momentum into the next round.

Go Riders!!

Varsity Tennis Coach, Leon Dykes

Varsity Participants include: 

Caitlyn Basham
Megan Dunn
Mackenzie Dykes
Mallory Fausett
Emma Locke
Katie Nehring
Maddie Russell
Caroline Scull
Keelan Williams

Alec Dykes
Juan Gonzalez
Sam McSwain
Abram Morales
Angel Pineda
Mauricio Rojas-Solis
Jack Callen Watlington
Keaton Watlington
Vaughn Whitley


October 18, 2017 - (Photos by Shelby County Today: Album) - Center played host to Gladewater for the BiDistrict round of 4A Region 2 Team Tennis playoffs Monday, October 16. The Riders swept all of the doubles matches to take a 7-0 lead going into Singles. The momentum of their doubles matches translated into 11 more wins in singles with only one loss. The final score would come out to 18-1 and BiDistrict Champions.

The Area match up will be Thursday against Van at Jacksonville HS 4pm. Center had an early season victory against Van 10-9 and it will be another tight match up this Thursday.

Go Riders!!!

BiDistrict Round of 4A Region 2 Team Tennis Playoff Results

Boys Doubles
M. Solis/K. Watlington (Center) vs. Teve/Williams (Gladewater) - Center 6-0, 6-1
J. Gonzalez/S. McSwain (Center) vs. Mitchell/Houston (Gladewater) - Center 6-2, 6-3
A. Morales/A. Dykes (Center) vs. Vickers/Rogers (Gladewater) - Center 6-0, 6-0

Girls Doubles
M. Dykes/C.Scull (Center) vs. Watson/Cahal (Gladewater) - Center 6-2, 6-1
K. Williams/M. Russell (Center) vs. Teve/Gomez (Gladewater) - Center 6-0, 6-1
K. Nehring/E. Locke (Center) vs. Rodriguez/Price (Gladewater) - Center 6-0, 6-0

Mixed Doubles
V. Whitley/C. Basham (Center) Def.
A. Pineda/M. Fausett (Center) Def.

Boys Singles
Keaton Watlington (Center) vs. Michael Teve (Gladewater) - Center 6-3, 6-3
Abram Morales (Center) vs. Collin Williams (Gladewater) - Center 7-6(2), 6-3
Sam McSwain (Center) vs. Gage Mitchell (Gladewater) - Center 6-1, 6-1
Vaughn Whitley (Center) vs. Chris Houston (Gladewater) - Center 6-1, 6-1
Angel Pineda (Center) vs. Brett Vickers (Gladewater) - Center 6-0, 6-0
Jack Watlington (Center) vs. Gabriel Rogers (Gladewater) - Center 6-1, 6-0

Girls Singles
Keelan Williams (Center) vs. Ketherine Watson (Gladewater) - Center 6-1, 6-0
Maddie Russell (Center) vs. Lily Cahal (Gladewater) - Center 6-2, 6-1
Emma Locke (Center) vs. Michelle Teve (Gladewater) - Center 7-6(5), 6-3
Mallory Fausett (Center) vs. Genifer Gomez (Gladewater) - Gladewater 6-3, 2-6, 6-
Katie Nehring (Center) vs. Valerie Rodriguez (Gladewater) - Center 6-0, 6-1
Caitlyn Basham (Center) vs. Brittan Price (Gladewater) - Center 6-0, 6-0

October 13, 2017 - Toledo Bend big stick Glen Freeman of Zwolle, La., is a threat in any bass tournament. This is especially true during the summer and fall on his home lake, when the big ones are often are set up far from the bank on underwater points, ridges and humps. 

Freeman used his offshore prowess to grab the top prize in the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League event held recently on the Texas/Louisiana border lake. The veteran guide sacked up 37-11 and won $8,074 in cash and bonuses. To hear him tell it, fishing old school tactics around time-tested sweet spots were the main keys to grabbing his ninth career BFL win and adding another trophy to his trophy case.

“I fished offshore ridges, just above the Pendleton Bridge, in 15 to 20 feet of water,” said Freeman. “The main thing for me this weekend was timing. They’d bite early in some spots one day, and the next day they’d bite late in those spots. You had to be in the right place at the right time.”

Freeman said he relied heavily one of his old favorites to reel in the winning sack -- a redbug plastic worm rigged Texas style.

“It was a lot of basic, offshore, old-fashioned Texas-rig worm fishing out there,” said Freeman.

Three Texans notched Top 10 finishes on a leader board dominated by Louisianians. Albert Collins of Nacogdoches finished second; Brian Martin of Hemphill, 9th; and Philip Crelia of Center, 10th.

Fall Shootout set Oct. 21-22

Sealy Outdoors will host its 2017 Fall Shootout big bass derby Oct. 21-22 on Sam Rayburn.

The tournament will pay 10 places each hour. The top prize for biggest bass of the event is a fully rigged Triton bass boat plus $5,000 cash. There also will be cash awards of $2,500 for the first 3.00 and 4.00 exact weight fish each day.

Entry fee is $160 for one day and $210 for two days. To enter or see more details,

October 13, 2017 - A lawsuit filed by two deer breeders seeking to turn the tables on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's authority to govern over deer contained by high fence breeding operations as public property was recently spoiled by a Texas district judge.

The lawsuit was filed after the state agency - alarmed by the discovery of chronic wasting disease in numerous white-tailed deer with ties to Texas breeding facilities the last few years - implemented a set of transportation and testing guidelines for Texas deer breeders to follow that some saw as way too restrictive and heavy handed.

CWD is a nasty, neurological disorder that affects deer, elk and other cervids. Progressive-but-slow moving in nature, the disease can be spread by animal-to-animal contact or through contact with a contaminated environment.  Researchers say an animal may carry CWD for years without indication, but in the latter stages signs may include listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns, and a lack of responsiveness. The disease isn't believed to pose a risk to humans or domestic animals.

First recognized 50 years ago in captive mule deer in Colorado, CWD has since been documented in captive and/or free-­ranging deer in 23 states as well as Canada. It was first documented in Texas in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer in West Texas.

Since then CWD has been discovered in nearly three dozen white-tailed deer that either occupied or originated from Texas breeding pens. Earlier this year the first case of CWD in free-ranging deer was confirmed in Medina County.

Though opinions vary as to how contagious it is, many scientists agree that CWD is always fatal once contracted and that eradication is next to impossible once the disease becomes well established in a population. It is also believed that, left unchecked, CWD can lead to a decline in deer numbers over time.

TPWD claims its response and regulations related to CWD are justified, and Travis County District Judge Tim Sulak obviously feels the same way.

Sulak sided with the state in the lawsuit and ordered two plaintiff's who challenged the rules to fork over nearly $426,000 to pay the state's attorney's fees, according to a court order signed and dated Sept. 21, 2017.

You would have to believe that the folks within TPWD's wildlife division are pleased with the outcome. Even so, they are remaining tight-lipped about it, more than likely on the advice of their attorneys and possibly because some sort of appeal could be coming down the pike.

When asked to issue a statement about the judge's decision, TPWD Big Game Director Mitch Lockwood declined. "At this time TPWD cannot comment as the litigation is still pending," Lockwood said via e-mail." 

Attorney General Ken Paxton was much more vocal in a Sept. 25 press release issued by his office.

“TPWD’s lawful rules regulating the movement of breeder deer reduce the probability of CWD being spread from deer-breeding facilities, where it may exist, and increase the chances of detecting and containing CWD if it does exist,” Paxton said. “The rules also serve to protect Texas’ 700,000 licensed deer hunters, along with the thousands of people in rural communities across the state whose livelihoods depend on deer hunting.”

Austin attorney Jennifer Riggs represented the deer breeders in the case. Riggs was unavailable for comment at press time, but reports in the Austin American Statesman indicate she was not pleased with the court ruling.

"We are very disappointed that the trial court declined to recognize very basic property rights,” Riggs told the newspaper.

In the meantime, TPWD wildlife officials continue to monitor Texas' free ranging deer and breeder operations in hopes of keeping the disease confined to its known zones through mandatory and volunteer testing within those zones and beyond.

The department recently created new regulations for the 2017-18 hunting season including the establishment of CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones in the Trans-Pecos, Panhandle and South-Central Texas regions.

Hunters who harvest mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, red deer or any CWD susceptible species within those regions are required by law to bring the animals to a TPWD check station for sampling within 48 hours of the harvest. The department also is urging hunters outside those zones to present their deer to state wildlife biologists for testing on a volunteer basis.

Micah Poteet, acting district leader for Pineywoods region, says thousands of hunter harvested and road kill deer have been tested statewide over the last several years. Poteet says the department's goal number for testing in the Pineywoods this coming season is 400 animals.

According to TPWD reports, hunters need to be aware of rules banning importation of certain deer, elk, and other CWD susceptible species carcass parts from states where the disease has been detected, as well as the movement of the same carcass parts from CWD zones.

To learn more about CWD and the state's management plan, see

October 13, 2017 - Edmond, Okla. is a far piece from eastern Texas, but the whopper buck story that played out there just prior to the Oct. 1 archery season opener in the Sooner state is sure to grab the attention of whitetail hunters across the region and beyond. My guess it will probably make some feel a little bit sick.

Sadly, there wasn't a broadhead, bullet or licensed hunter involved in the kill. This big boy met his maker as the result of a collision with a car, truck or SUV that occurred on dark Sunday night in late September, smack the middle of an upscale subdivision in the town of 100,000 north of Oklahoma City.

"Nobody knows for sure what happened, because the driver of the vehicle didn't stop and the collision wasn't reported," said George Moore, the Edmond resident who reported the road kill to local game wardens. "When something happens around here involving a big deer I'm usually one of the first to hear about it."

Oklahoma game warden Wade Farrar with the massive 28-point rack from a road kill buck hit by a vehicle in an upscale subdivision in Edmond, just north of Oklahoma City. (Photo courtesy of George Moore)Moore is a former fish and game commissioner for the Edmond  area, an avid bowhunter and an official measurer with the Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young clubs. His phone rang bright and early on the morning of Sept. 25, but there wasn't an excited deer hunter on the other end of the line. 

"It was the animal control people - the dog pound," Moore recalled. "They told me they had a deer that had been hit and killed by a vehicle sometime the night before. They told me it was a big buck - one that I would definitely want to take a look at."

When Moore arrived what he saw was a monster of a buck with a truly spectacular rack, one that deer hunters everywhere dream about lining up their peep sights or rifle scopes.

"It was a friggin' giant," Moore said. "The animal control people said from what they could tell he made it about 60 yards away from the road before he died in somebody's driveway. It's a very upscale area of town with 5-10 acre lots and $1 million homes."

At that point Moore did what any responsible B&C measurer would do. He contacted a local game warden, pulled out a measuring cable and note pad and proceeded to measure the gargantuan rack for all it was worth.

And it would have been worth a lot to a hunter with a rifle or bow in his hands. 

A main frame 10 pointer with 28 scorable points and main beams of 26 and 26 4/8 inches, the big non-typical rack ran up a gross "green" score of 236 3/8 inches. The buck was aged at 4 1/2 years old, Moore said.

Deer must be re-scored after 60 days drying in order to be eligible for entry to the B&C record book, and Moore has no doubt the Oklahoma County bruiser had the goods to make it had it been killed by a hunter. The minimum score required of non-typicals is 195 net.

"He's going to be right there at 236 once he's dry - he won't miss it far," Moore said. 

Interestingly, this isn't the first B&C caliber buck to set up camp within the city limits of Edmond, whose city slogan is "A Great Place to Grow."

In 2010, Moore arrowed a 206 inch non-typical less than four miles from where the road kill took place. The area also produced a former state record typical in the 1990s.

"There are definitely some big deer around here," Moore said. "There was a kid who actually had this buck on game camera and he had permission to bow hunt for him. I'm sure he was sick about the whole deal when he found out, because archery season opened up the following weekend."

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