March 19, 2018 - Congratulations Desere Cooper who is a back-to-back State Powerlifting Champion. Desere competed in the 198 weight class in 2A State Power Lifting meet on Saturday, March 17th in Waco. She was able to total 1,010lbs at the State meet. She was able to squat 425 lbs, bench 180 lbs, and deadlift 405 lbs.

Desere has qualified for the State Meet in all 4 of her high school years and was able to bring home gold in her last 2 trips.

Congratulations Desere! We are so proud of you.

March 19, 2018 - The Shelbyville Lady Dragons had an outstanding showing at the Girls State Powerlifting Meet in Waco, TX on March 17, 2018 led by four-time State Champion Katie Casey.

Casey became a four-time State Champion after posting a new record for Squat of 500 pounds and the deadlift at 425 pounds. Her total of 1,105 pounds also set at new state record.

Madison Taylor won a 3rd place medal in the 165 pound weight class. She lifted a personal best in the bench and dead lift and finished with an 820 total.

Brittany Payne finished in 6th place narrowly missing out on a 5th place medal. Diana Valencia had an 8th place finish. Both Brittany and Diana competed in the 97 pound weight class and both lifted personal best in all 3 of their lifts. Freshmen, Jada Moore finished 9th.

Katie and Madison are seniors and their leadership will be missed.

The future is bright for the Lady Dragons Powerlifting with 3 state lifters returning to compete next year. Coach Taylor is so proud of the girls’ commitment and hard work this year. Dragon Pride!


March 12, 2018 - The start time for the Joaquin High School softball game scheduled for today (March 12th) vs. Timpson has been moved from noon to 2:00 pm.

San Antonio Alamodome, Saturday, March 10, 2018 –

On Friday the Shelbyville Dragons Varsity Basketball season ended with a 70-61 state semifinals loss to Stinnett West High School at San Antonio’s Alamodome.  Shelbyville’s season ended with them posting a 32-4 record. Stinnett-West (34-2) will now face the Thorndale Bulldogs (35-3) today, Saturday March 10, 2018, at 1:30 p.m. in the State Championship game, at the Alamodome.

Friday saw the Comanches jump out early and they led the Dragons 27-12 at the end of the first quarter. Shelbyville outscored Stinnett-West 15-12 in the second quarter to pull to trail 27-39 at halftime.

The Dragons cut the Comanches lead to just ten points by the end of the third stanza and they trailed 40-50 going into the final quarter of play.

The final period saw Shelbyville pull closer to the SWHS but the Comanches sank big shots, and free throws when needed. The Comanches scoring attack was led by Jalin Conyers with 28 points and Dalin Williams added 13. The Dragons were led by three players in double figures.  Jordan Boykins had 25, Jacovian Buckley 18, and Cole Ferguson added 10 points.

The Dragons were coached by Head Coach David Schmitt and Kyle Tindol, Assistant. Shelbyville’s Superintendent is Ray West and Mario Osby is the school’s principal. Shelbyville was co-champion of District 22 2A with an 11-1 conference mark at the end of the regular season.

February 10, 2018, Timpson ISD Softball Complex –

The Timpson Lady Bears Varsity Softball Team left no doubt who was the better team Friday when they defeated the visiting Mount Enterprise Wildcats by a 18-0 score, in a 2 1/2-inning, run-rule shortened game. The win was Timpson’s first District 22 2A district game and moved them to 3-0 overall for the season. This was only the second game played at their new ballpark.

Coach Jerrod Campbell said, “The girls played well today. We haven’t gotten a lot of practice due to wet weather and some of our girls being in the basketball playoffs just a couple of weeks ago. We are working hard to improve and I feel it showed today. We like our new field. Our old ballpark would have been very wet today.”

After Timpson retired the Lady Wildcat with the bases loaded in the first inning, they wasted no time jumping out to an early lead. Jasmine Rodgers scored Timpson’s first run early in the bottom of the first inning, after reaching base on a walk, and scoring when a teammate doubled. Timpson eventually got nine free bases off of walks from the Lady Wildcats and hit safely seven times in the inning. They went into the second inning with a 15-0 advantage.

Mount Enterprise had their lead off runner reach base. They did not catch a break as she was picked off and they would only see three runners come up to bat before they were retired before scoring.

The Lady Bears used three walks, a Wildcats error, and a hit to score three runs in the second inning and expand their lead to 18-0. The Timpson defense then set down the Lady Wildcats in 1-2-3 fashion. This enforced the leagues 15-run mercy rule and ended the game.

Timpson will play the Joaquin Lady Rams at Rams Ballpark, on Monday, March 12, 2018, at 12 p.m. The early start time is afforded because of spring break.

March 9, 2018 - Following an outstanding basketball season, the 2017-18 District 16-4A Boys All-District Awards results have been released. 

The District MVP is Jaterious Evans; Offensive Player of the Year is Kaleb Parks; Defensive Player of the Year is Reggie Daniels; and Coach of the Year is Center High School's Hiram Harrison.

All award recipients are listed below:

2017-2018 District 16-4A Boys Basketball
District MVP: Jaterious Evans – Center (Sr)
Offensive Player of the Year: Kaleb Parks – Center (Sr), Drake Smith – Tatum (Sr)
Defensive Player of the Year: Reggie Daniels II – Center (Sr)
Newcomer of the Year: Kai Horton – Carthage (Fr)
Coach of the Year: Hiram Harrison – Center

1st Team All District 
Athlete – School (Class)
Jayden Hicks – Center (Soph)
Kameron Elmer – Center (Sr)
OB Jones – Tatum (Jr)
JaKobe Mitchell – Tatum (Jr)
CJ Vandre – Tatum (Sr)
Darrian McDuff – Rusk (Sr)
Joseph Francis – Rusk (Jr)
Anthony Hunter – Rusk (Sr)
DeWaylon Ingram – Carthage (Sr)
Tyrek Blanton – Henderson (Sr)
Caleb Medford – Henderson (Soph)

2nd Team All District
Athlete – School (Class)
Jamar’h Johnson – Center (Sr)
Jeremiah Hightower – Center (Sr)
Jamaurie Wilson – Tatum (Sr)
Colby Peters – Rusk (Sr)
Dee Bowens – Carthage (Sr)
De’Aundrey Bowman – Carthage (Soph)
Mekhi Colbert – Carthage (Sr)
Quinton Owens – Carthage (Soph)
Treylun Blanton – Henderson (Sr)

Honorable Mention
Athlete – School (Class)
Jakivian Calhoun – Center (Jr)
Jimmie Jakubowski – Tatum (Sr)
Jacob Davis – Tatum (Sr)
Koby Henry – Rusk (Sr)
Antone Tilley – Rusk (Sr)
Montrell Smith – Carthage (Fr)
Keaontay Ingram – Carthage (Sr)
Andrew Lowrie – Henderson (Jr)

Academic All District
Athlete – School (Class)
Kameron Elmer – Center (Sr)
Raman Randhawa – Center (Jr)
Jamar’h Johnson – Center (Sr)
Chris Jackson – Center (Jr)
Alex Hooper – Center (Jr)
Jacob Davis – Tatum (Sr)
James Jakubowski – Tatum (Sr)
Obadiah Jones – Tatum (Jr)
Jakobe Mitchell – Tatum (Jr)
Colton Vandre – Tatum (Sr)
Matt Ham – Carthage
Hunter Royce – Carthage
Ahmad Brown – Carthage (Sr)
Dee Bowens – Carthage (Sr)
Quinton Owens – Carthage (Soph)
Kai Horton – Carthage (Fr)
Callam Barber – Carthage

Jerrod Miller of Springtown with the heaviest bass turned into the revamped Toyota ShareLunker program thus far, a 12.79 pounder caught from Marine Creek. (Courtesy Photo)March 9, 2018 - The height of the Texas big bass season isn't even here yet and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Toyota ShareLunker program has already set a new record for total entries.

It's not that monster bass have been overly active this year. The record pace has evolved because the department this year lowered the bar on the minimum weight required for entering a fish, created several more ways for anglers to play the game by following a simplified entry process that can carried out electronically using a Smartphone or home computer and put some really nice prizes on the table to lure them in.

Dating back to 1986, the big bass spawning and genetics research program has historically required that fish weigh 13 pounds or more to be eligible. The minimum weight for entry was set at 13 pounds based on the belief that jumbo bass have superior genetics offering the best shot for producing more giant bass though selective breeding.

While "13" remains the magic number for entering a fish in the spawning phase of the program, bass as small as eight pounds are now eligible for entry under a revamped framework aimed at drumming up more angler support.

The new format appears to be working on that front.

As of Feb. 21, program coordinator Kyle Brookshear said the program had accepted 47 entries over eight pounds from two dozen different lakes located from Panhandle to deep South Texas. That's 11 more than the 1994-95 record season that saw 36 entries over 13 pounds sent to the program headquarters in Athens.

The smallest fish entered this year is an 8.04 pounder. The biggest is a 12.79.

Lake Conroe has produced the most entries (9) of any lake thus far, including a 12.65 pounder. Lake Fork is second with seven and Lake LBJ has four entries.

ShareLunker staff are expecting the pace to pick up steam in coming weeks as more anglers learn about the program expansion and warming water temperatures beckon armies of big bass towards the shallows to spawn.

There are now four categories in which anglers can enter fish.

The program's lowest level category is called "Lunker Class." It is open for bass as small as eight pounds or 24 inches in length.

The next category up the ladder is for fish weighing between 10 and 12.99 pounds. It's called the "Lunker Elite."

There are two categories for fish weighing upwards of 13 pounds. "Lunker Legend" is for fish caught outside the Jan. 1 - March 31 spawning window, or fish caught inside the spawning window by an angler who for some reason declines to loan the fish to the state for spawning.

The "Lunker Legacy" category is for bass that carry on the heart and soul of the the program. These big girls weighing 13 pounds or more must be caught during the spawning window and loaned to the state for spawning.

Anglers who enter fish in either of the four categories are automatically registered in year-end drawings for cool prizes including fishing licenses and $5,000 shopping sprees to a national outdoor retailer. Also, each angler who plays the game earns a Toyota ShareLunker Catch Kit including fishing tackle, commemorative decals and ShareLunker branded merchandise. Enter a 13 pounder and you get a free replica of the fish. Lunker Legacy donars also get VIP access at the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest.

To learn more about the program, rules and qualification process, see
Lake Conroe Big Bass Classic

The 2018 Lake Conroe Big Bass Classic set for March 2-4 with more than $63,000 guaranteed to be given way in hourly payouts and a new Nitro Z19 going to the angler that catches the biggest bass of the event. Weigh-ins will be held at Papa's on the Lake.

Entry fee is $110 for one day, $160 for two and $240 to fish all three days. Printable entry forms are available or you can register online at

Salvinia on Athens

Texas Parks and Wildlife recently reported that Giant salvinia has been discovered at Lake Athens in eastern Texas. The Athens find, which spans roughly one acre, marks the second time in roughly three weeks that the invasive plant has been found on an East Texas reservoir. Earlier this month the aquatic fern was discovered at Lake Nacogdoches in area spanning roughly 30 acres.

TPWD's John Findeisen says the department's aquatic invasives team surveyed the impacted area at Athens and deployed a containment boom to contain the floating plants. 

With the plant contained by the boom Findeisen says experts can better evaluate the situation and determine whether or not eradication is possible using herbicide.

TPWD chose not use herbicide on the Lake Nacogdoches infestation because the salvinia is intermingled with cut grass, torpedo grass and other more desirable types of aquatic vegetation.

“The containment boom is a critical component of our rapid response efforts to eradicate giant salvinia at Lake Athens,” Findeisen said. “Concentrating giant salvinia in an area helps prevent further spread and increases the efficiency and effectiveness of herbicide treatments, which is the next phase of our response at Lake Athens. Following that we should know fairly soon if eradication is a real possibility at the lake.”

As is the case with most new infestations, it is believed the plant was introduced to the 1,800 acre lake by a careless boater or angler carrying it on their boat, trailer or other equipment.

Giant salvinia is aggressive floating plant from South America that was first discovered in Texas on Toledo Bend in 1998. It has since been found on several more lakes throughout the region.

In addition to current infestations at Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and Caddo Lake, the invasive plant has been newly introduced or reintroduced at six Texas lakes since 2017: Lake Murvaul, Lake Palestine, Martin Creek Lake, Lake Fork, Lake Nacogdoches and now Lake Athens, according to TPWD reports.

TBGA entry deadline nearing

March 1 is the deadline for scored entries to the Texas Big Game Awards Program.

TBGA is a hunting heritage program jointly run by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Wildlife Association. One of its main purposes is to promote quality big game management programs by recognizing hunters who take quality big game animals over the course of the season, and the landowners/land managers responsible for producing them.

TBGA has scored entry categories for whitetail deer, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and javelina in eight geographical regions. There are divisions for low fence, high fence, youth and first harvest.

All scored entries must be scored by a TBGA certified scorer and meet a minimum net Boone and Crockett score for the specific region in order to qualify. The minimums for whitetail deer taken in the Pineywoods and Post Oak regions of eastern Texas are 125 for typicals, 140 for non-typicals.

Sasser hunted and fished with folks from all walks of life during an outdoor writing career spanning four decades, but his favorite partner by far was his wife of 48 years, Emilie. (Courtesy Photo),

March 9, 2018 - Texas sportsmen lost a powerful and colorful voice on Feb. 21 when veteran Dallas Morning News outdoors writer, Ray Sasser, passed away in a Dallas hospital after a multi-year battle with lymphoma. He was 69.

Well known as "Sasser" among his friends and colleagues, Ray was a masterful story teller who could string words together in a colorful, meaningful way like no other. He also had a staunch nose for news, didn't mind asking the hard questions and had the tenacity of a pit bulldog when it came to chewing through the fat to get to the truth. He was pretty darned handy with a camera, too.

I always admired the guy. And so did a lot of others. But not just because he was top-shelf journalist who loved his work and handled his influential post responsibly.

Sasser was a straight shooter who didn't mind voicing his opinion even if he wasn't asked for it. He always looked out for the masses and saw his job as more of a privilege than anything else. If and when he was wrong, he wasn't too proud to admit it. 

Hunting and fishing weren't weekend hobbies or pastimes around Sasser's household. They were his lifeblood, passions he shared afield with hundreds of partners from all walks of life ranging from youths to blue-collar workers to billionaires.

Through it all his wife, Emilie, gained steady praise as his most favorite partner of all. She joined him in all sorts hook and bullet adventures during their 48 years of marriage. 

"Ray Sasser was the most wonderful man on the planet," she told the DMN. "And nobody had a passion for the outdoors like him. He just loved it."

What many may not know about Sasser is that his big city career was actually rooted to deep East Texas. He grew up in the rural community of Pineland in the 1950s and 60s - a time when squirrel camps ruled and it was somewhat of a shock to run across a white-tailed deer in woods of Sabine County.

"It stunned you when you did see one - it was almost like you'd seen Bigfoot or something," Sasser said. "There probably weren't 200 deer in the entire county at that time, and those were laying low for fear that somebody was fixing to fry them up."

Sasser (left) with T. Boone Pickens following his acceptance of the T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award in 2009. (Courtesy Photo)

After graduating high school, Sasser attended Stephen F. Austin State University and worked at the Lufkin Daily News before moving to Port Arthur where he wrote full-time about the outdoors for the local newspaper. He later joined The Dallas Times Herald and in 1986 began a full-time tenure at the DMN, where his Thursday/Sunday columns were destination reading for thousands for 29 years until a retirement buy out took place in 2015. He continued writing part-time for the newspaper until Jan. 2018 with his last column appearing on Jan. 21.

Additionally, Sasser authored hundreds of magazine articles and nearly a dozen books that are just as informational as they are enjoyable to read.

The strong respect Sasser commanded within the outdoors industry across Texas and beyond became readily apparent as word of his death spread among friends, peers and acquaintances via social media and e-mail.

Dr. James Kroll, professor emeritus for Forest Wildlife Management and Director of the Institute for White-tailed Deer Management and Research at SFA made a Facebook post holding Sasser personally responsible for his "Dr. Deer" nickname. 

"We had so many fine days afield and I shall miss him,!" Kroll wrote. "He was a scholar and a word smith. He once wrote an article about a bird hunt we had, he opened with this phrase: 'The German shorthair was locked tighter than the lug nuts on a junkyard Chevrolet!' The world will never again enjoy such prose."

Dr. Dale Rollins, executive director of the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch, told about a spectacular quail hunt he and Sasser shared on a Coke Co. ranch. Rollins' dogs pointed 28 different coveys of bobwhites in 3 1/2 hours that day. Sasser jokingly gave the hunt a 198 on a Boone and Crockett scale.

"Ray has been called the "Dean of Outdoor Editors" . . . and rightfully so," Rollins said. "He was also one of the few outdoor writers (in TX anyway) whose passion for quail and quail hunting was omni-evident. Rest in peace, Ray - we in the quail brotherhood will miss your insight and abilities to paint those vivid mental images. Thanks for being our champion to the masses."

Sasser's love for the sprightly little game bird led to his being named the recipient of the 2009 Park Cities Quail T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award. Not surprisingly, the wealthy Texan oil tycoon for which the award is named had nothing but good things to say about his quail hunting buddy from Meridian. 

"Ray Sasser was not just one of the greatest outdoor writers in Texas, he was one of the most respected outdoor writers in the country," Pickens said. "His success and following were rooted in the fact he didn’t just cover the outdoors, he loved all that it meant to hunters, fishermen and conservation as a whole. To me he was much more than a talented writer who cared about the outdoors, he was a good friend who I will miss. We should all have such a passion for life and our chosen professions."

Sasser's contributions to the fishing world didn't go unnoticed, either. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department inland fisheries director Craig Bonds called Sasser a "true icon of the Texas Outdoor industry."

In June 2016, Sasser was inducted to the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Athens. Sadly, he was in the hospital and couldn't be present for the ceremony, but his wife and two children, Jenny and Zach, were there on his behalf. His daughter read his acceptance speech.

TPWD put together a 6 minute video about Sasser prior his HOF induction. It can be viewed at

RIP, Sasser. Your eloquent style, words of wisdom and friendship will be dearly missed.

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

March 7, 2018 - The Dragons will play the West TX High School Comanches, in the UIL State Basketball Semi-Finals, on March 9 at 8:30am in the Alamo Dome, San Antonio, TX. Send off for the Dragons will be at 9:30 am on March 8 at Shelbyville High School.

March 5, 2018 - Shelbyville ISD is proud to announce and congratulate five Lady Dragon Powerlifters who are state qualifiers.

State Qualifiers are:

  • Brittany Payne (97 lb weight class)
  • Diana Valencia (97 lb weight class)
  • Madison Taylor (165 lb weight class) - She also finished 4th place in Regionals with an (845) total. 
  • Jada Moore (220 lb weight class)
  • Katie Casey (259 lb weight class).- She is also the Regional Champion. She broke the record in Squat (480), Dead Lift (415), and had a total weight lifted of (1075).

The State Meet will be March 16 and 17 in Waco at the Extraco Convention Center.

The team is lead by Coach Michael Taylor.