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,

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.

September 2, 2017. Tenaha's Raymond Jackson Stadium –

The Tenaha Tigers Varsity Football Team trailed the Joaquin Rams 22-16 with merely 7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The Rams had regained the lead moments earlier due to a 52 yard touchdown reception by Conner Bragg, from Rams quarterback Tray Wilkerson. Joaquin added a two-point conversion run by Tre Burns to gain the 6-point advantage. The Tigers used a multiple pitch kickoff return during the fleeting seconds ending with Jay Lloyd taking the final toss at the Rams 46-yard line and racing to the end zone.  The score tied the game at 22-22, after time had expired. Christian Castillo added the extra point to give Tenaha the final 23-22 home win.

The Rams defense held the Tigers to just 8 yards on their opening drive. Tenaha punted the ball to Joaquin were the Rams took over at their 30-yard line early in the first quarter. The Rams’ opening drive saw them gain three first downs but the drive ultimately stalled when they failed to gain enough yardage, on fourth down at the Tigers 40 yard line, with seven minutes left in the opening period.

Tenaha capped a 60-yard drive with a 9-yard Jay Lloyd touchdown run, with 4:59 left in the first quarter. Castillo added the extra point kick to give THS a 7-0 advantage. Cahl Horn recovered a Joaquin fumble moments later and Tenaha controlled the ball until Castillo kicked a 22-yard field goal at the start of the second period. Tenaha then led 10-0.Joaquin pulled to within 10-7 when Hunter Gates scored on an 11-yard touchdown run which capped a 60-yard drive with 8:20 left in the first half. Joaquin gained their first lead after intercepting the football at midfield and returning it to the Tigers’ 26-yard line. The Rams used only four plays before Kase Yates scored on a 7-yard run, with just 6:14 left before the midway intermission, JHS led 14-10.

Castillo added a 27-yard field goal kick for Tenaha to pull the Tigers to within one point at halftime. The teams came out for the second half with the Rams ahead 14-13.

Joaquin was forced to punt after their first third-quarter drive stalled at midfield. The Rams returned the favor when they held Tenaha on their next drive by tackling a Tiger for a loss on fourth –and-four near midfield. The third period eventually ended with the hometown Tigers still trailing by a single point.

Castillo gave Tenaha a narrow 16-14 point advantage with a booming 17-yard field goal with 2:18 left in the game.

The Bragg touchdown for Joaquin and the final return for a touchdown by Lloyd, were the fourth and fifth lead changes in an explosive county rivalry contest which will likely be talked about for years to come.

Tenaha totaled 309 yards of offense, and 16 first downs. Trai Garder led THS with 67 yards on the ground and 60 receiving.

Joaquin had 279 yards of offense and Kase Yates and Hunter Gates led their team with 48 yards rushing each. Conner Bragg had two catches for the Rams gaining 93 yards.

Tray Wilkerson passed for 107 yards going 3-5 with no interceptions. CJ Horn passed for 106 yards going 7-10 with one interception.

Tenaha Head Coach Craig Horn said: “We were proud the team played hard to the final whistle. Joaquin threw the ball well. I told our kids that three years ago the Rams beat us by throwing the football well. We were blessed to have a great kicker who helped get us some points on the board. God definitely blessed us there at the end. I don’t know what we did to deserve the win. I don’t feel like we really beat Joaquin, they played just as hard. I feel like two hard working teams did what they needed to do to get better.”

The Rams (0-1) will host the Maud Cardinals, at Rams Stadium next Friday, September 8, at 7:30 p.m.

Maud lost 20-8 to Ore City on Friday.

The Tigers (1-0) travel to Kerens Stadium for a Friday, September 8 game at 7:30 p.m. Kerens beat Jewett Leon 42-0 on the road on Friday.

September 1, 2017 - Friday Night Football Schedule for September 1st, week 1.

Friday Night Football
Center 21 - Rusk 48, Final score 
Joaquin 22 - Tenaha 23, Final score 
Shelbyville 23 - Elkhart 40, Final score

Saturday Football
Timpson 48 West Sabine 6 Final, played at Shelbyville

September 1, 2017 - The September 1 opener of dove season is always a big deal with Texas hunters, but it will be especially big this year because opening day falls on a Friday. For those lucky enough to escape the wrath of Harvey, it could mean a four-day hunting weekend with the September 4 Labor Day holiday figured in.

If that's not reason enough to celebrate, I don't know what is. Just play it smart out there and don't get so caught up in the all the excitement that you let your guard down or make a serious mistake that you can't take back.

Dove hunters tote shotguns loaded with shotshells capable of throwing a spray of lead pellets a considerable distance before they fall to the ground under the laws of gravity.

Shotguns are deadly weapons at close range, even when loaded with light field loads. They can cause serious injuries at long range, too. One stray pellet could put somebody's eye out from 100 yards away, possibly farther.

There were 24 hunting-related accidents reported in Texas last year, 14 of them involving shotguns. Five of the accidents were fatal and 19 non-fatal.

(Hunters on Trailer) Day hunt operations will often transport hunters to and from hunting locations. Keep your eyes peeled for potential trouble before it develops, especially when hunting around large groups of strangers. (Photo by Matt Williams)Dove hunters were involved in more of those accidents (7) than hunters of any other game. Quail hunters accounted for the second highest total with four.

Dove and quail hunters are typically shooting at flying targets that are prone to dart, dive or change flight course erratically. Some bird hunters get so caught up in tracking the birds that they forget where their hunting buddies are at.

Bad things can happen if the trigger is pulled at the same time the shotgun muzzle crosses paths with another hunter in the line of fire.

Poor hunter judgement has a long history of being a major contributor of hunting related accidents in Texas, and the trend continued last year.

Five accidents came as the result of swinging on game outside the safe zone of fire and another five happened because the victim was out of sight or moved into the line of fire. Two more involved hunters who were shot after being mistaken for game.

A quick review of Texas Parks and Wildlife's 2016 Texas Hunting Incidents Analysis report shows just how quickly accidents can happen out there. Here is a synopsis the reported incidents involving dove hunters and how the accidents may have been prevented.

* Accident 1 (Fatality)

How it Happened: Right after firing a shot from his double-barrel shotgun, the shooter turned towards victim with a loaded second barrel, which went off just as the muzzle was pointed at the victim. The shot pellets penetrated victim’s right back torso at extremely close range.

Prevention: Always point muzzle in a safe direction; keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot. Remember that in semi-automatic and double-barrel firearms, the chamber may be loaded immediately after taking a shot and that the ‘safety’ is usually in the ‘off’ position.

* Accident 2 (Non-Fatality)

How it Happened: Shooter shot at a dove, and as he went to retrieve it, the dove flew away. The shooter again swung on the dove, but this time outside of a safe zone of fire, towards the victim who was standing in a nearby ditch. About 25 pellets struck victim in head and upper torso from 50-60 yards.

Prevention: Always maintain a safe zone of fire; communicate with hunting companions; know where others are positioned at all times; make sure to identify the target clearly; identify what is in front of and behind the target before shooting.

* Accident 3 (Non-Fatality)

How it Happened: Victim was “peppered” by pellets by an unknown shooter, causing bleeding from his neck area.

Prevention: Same as above.

* Accident 4 (Non-Fatality)

How it Happened: Shooter swung on victim outside of his safe zone of fire. Victim was sitting behind some cover and was struck by pellets in his upper right shoulder area from about 25-30 yards.

Prevention: Same as above.

* Accident 5 (Non-Fatality)

How it Happened: The victim was retrieving a downed bird when he was peppered by pellets by an unknown shooter.

Prevention: Same as above.

* Accident 6 (Non-Fatality)

How it Happened:  Victim was in the line of fire of three other hunters and was struck by a pellet in his eye. It was determined that the pellet came from one of the hunter’s direct line of fire; however, it could possibly have come from all three of the other hunter’s shotgun blasts. Alcohol may have played a role in the incident.

Prevention: Same as above; avoid using alcohol and drugs.

* Accident 7 (Non-Fatality)

How it Happened: Shooter had loaded shotgun on the ground between him and victim and it discharged as he picked it up, shooting the victim in his right buttocks.

Prevention: Always point muzzle in a safe direction; keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot; handle firearms carefully; always unload before placing firearm on the ground or against a secure rest.

The message here is for hunters to use their heads out there. Watch out for others and watch out for yourself.

Dove hunters can reduce the odds of being involved in an accident by careful positioning and communicating among themselves.  Never set up in front of or behind another hunter. Speak up if you see a shooter move into a location that could put you or someone else in the line of fire. If the shooter refuses to change locations, move yourself.

Dove hunters should space out in a horizontal line a considerable distance apart. Multiple hunters positioned too close together or in a crossfire is a recipe for disaster. 

Dove hunting is a fun sport. Hunters can enhance the experience by doing their part by doing some police work to make sure the field is kept safe for themselves as well as others.

(Ryder Wicker big bass) Larry Mosby's 13.06 pounder out of Lake Naconiche was one of two ShareLunkers turned in last season there were found to be the offspring of previous ShareLunkers. The program's traditional start date of Oct. 1 has been moved to Jan. 1 this year. (TPWD Photo)September 1, 2017 - The details are sketchy at this point, but more changes are coming down the pike with Toyota ShareLunker this season as Texas Parks and Wildlife's inland fisheries division works to refresh a popular conservation program that seems to have become stale with time. ShareLunker is a spawning and genetics research program run by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department since 1986. The program solicits anglers who catch Texas bass weighing 13 pounds or more to loan the fish to the state agency for spawning and genetics research.

ShareLunkers are always females. The big fish are paired with hand-picked males for spawning in hatchery raceways. A portion of the offspring are retained for research and the rest are stocked into donor lakes.

The minimum weight for entry was set at 13 pounds based on the belief that jumbo bass have superior genetics and would offer the best shot for producing more giant bass though selective breeding. The concept makes good sense, but more than three decades down the road things haven't panned out as well as a lot of people had originally hoped.

Texas bass fishing hasn't seen a new state record since 1992 and only handful of Top 50 fish have been documented over the last decade.  Even so, the program has been a great public relations tool for promoting Texas bass fishing and getting the word out about catch-and-release. It also has provided researchers gobs of opportunity to learn more about proper handling techniques for heavyweight bass. To date, the program has taken in 570 entries.

The program got a confidence boost last season when genetics testing showed that two of the five entries turned in were the offspring of former ShareLunkers. One of the fish was caught last February at Marine Creek Reservoir near Ft. Worth. The bass weighed 13.07 pounds. Genetics testing linked the 11-year-old fish to a 2006 stocking of ShareLunker prodigy.

The other ShareLunker - a 13.06 pounder reeled in from Lake Naconiche - was linked to a 2009 stocking of ShareLunker offspring. Both fish were in excess of six inches when they were stocked.

ShareLunker kicked off its 31st season last October under a set of revamped guidelines from previous seasons. The changes were implemented under new leadership following the program's worst participation year on record. Only two entries were turned in during the 2015-16 season. The all-time high was 36 entries in 1994-95.

Changes put in place last year included a three month spawning season beginning Jan. 1, accepting non-pure Florida bass entries for spawning and eliminating private lakes as recipients of ShareLunker offspring.

Another noteworthy change was to begin relying strictly on ShareLunker offspring from pure Florida bass entries to rebuild TPWD's Florida bass hatchery program within 6-7 years. There wasn't any headway made towards that goal last season because none of the fish pulled off successful spawns in hatchery raceways.

TPWD is holding its cards close the vest regarding additional program changes that are coming this season, mainly because all the details aren't ironed out just yet. But one change that has been confirmed is that the season's traditional Oct. 1 starting date will shift forward four months to coincide with the new spawning season of Jan. 1 - March 31 put in place last year.

The new spawning season was implemented because data showed  nearly 90 percent of successful Sharelunker spawns occurred during that time frame, and 75 percent of Sharelunker entries were caught during the months of January, February and March.

TPWD inland fisheries director Craig Bonds says additional tweaks will be announced long before the season opener and he is hopeful the changes will be well received by the angling public. One thing that won't change, however, is the threshold for entering a bass in the spawning phase of the program. Only fish weighing 13 pounds and up will be accepted. 

"TPWD is in the process of relaunching the Toyota ShareLunker program to expand participation and increase engagement with our bass anglers," Bonds said. "We are very excited about the changes and will be sharing more news about the new program this fall."

There was plenty of chatter circulating last year that ShareLunker's new direction may lead it in the direction of a 12-month gig that would mirror Florida's TrophyCatch program in a lot of ways. If that is what winds up coming down the pike, it could be a good thing.

Run by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, TrophyCatch is an incentive-based conservation program designed for anglers who catch-and-release largemouth bass heavier than eight pounds, in Florida. The FWC describes the program as a "citizen science partnership" instrumental in ensuring that FWC biologists are able to make informed decisions for the management and improvement of Florida’s lakes and rivers.

Anglers can enter TrophyCatch electronically by providing quality photos of the fish, including one that shows it on a scale with the recorded weight in clear view.

Participants are eligible to win all sorts of cool prizes like gift cards, fishing rods, decals, tackle discounts, etc….. The value of the prizes varies with the club level in which a fish is entered. The bigger the fish, the bigger the club and the bigger the prize. Everyone who enters a fish is automatically entered in a drawing to win a fully-rigged Phoenix bass boat at the end of the season.

Not surprisingly, TrophyCatch has been very well received by its constituents. Through four seasons more than 5,325 catches have been approved, and it continues to grow.

It will be interesting to see if Texas bass anglers respond likewise to tweaks in Toyota ShareLunker, once regarded as one of the most innovative freshwater fisheries programs in America.

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

September 1, 2017 - Timpson's football game against West Sabine for today has been rescheduled to be played in Shelbyville at 12noon on Saturday, September 2, 2017.