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Hallettsville to battle defending state champ

Keldy  Ortiz

By Keldy Ortiz
Dec. 5, 2013 at 6:05 a.m.

Hallettsville quarterback Nate Kowalik, left,  scrambles away from Yoakum's defensive tackle Marvin Davis  during the Brahmas' game against the Cowboys in September. The Brahmas will face Cameron Yoe in the Class 2A, Division I quarterfinals Friday.

HALLETTSVILLE - Tim Sheppard left Bastrop Memorial Stadium last season in disappointment but not just about himself.

At the time, Hallettsville was handed its first loss of the season and was eliminated in the Class 2A, Division I quarterfinals by Cameron Yoe.

"I wanted it for the seniors," Sheppard said. "I knew I had another year because I was a junior."

Fortunately for Sheppard and the other players on the team, the Brahmas (13-0) will have a second chance for a run at state.

Friday night at Bobcat Stadium will be a rematch of last season's quarterfinal game against the Yoemen (12-1).

The winner will face the winner of the White Oak (12-1) vs. Franklin (13-0) game in the semifinals next week.

The Brahmas will make their fourth quarterfinal appearance since 1976.

"I'm glad that (Cameron Yoe) made it this far," Sheppard said. "This time, we're going to be a lot more focused and be ready for them."

Sheppard, a three-year varsity player, has been through ups and downs in a Brahmas uniform.

In 2011, the Brahmas lost to Hempstead in the Class 2A, Division I regional round. In 2012, the Brahmas lost to the Yoemen. Both Hempstead and Cameron Yoe made it to the state final game in their respective years. Hempstead lost to Melissa in the state final in 2011.

This season, the Brahmas picked up where they left off, winning their second straight district title for the first time since the 1959 and 1960 seasons.

"Everything is meant to be the way it is set up. I feel like God has a sense of humor," said Brahmas coach Tommy Psencik. "He's going to put you in different battles in life, and I feel like this is one of those battles."

Two-year varsity junior Jimario Grounds looks forward to the opportunity to play the defending state champion.

"We wanted to play Cameron again from last year," Grounds said, adding that the loss last season to the Yoemen was "a heart dropper. I really didn't speak to anyone after the game. I felt bad because of the seniors that played. It was their last game."

Yoe coach Rick Rhoades will be making his fifth quarterfinal appearance, his second against straight against Hallettsville. He believes facing the same team could be difficult.

"Hallettsville is one of the better teams in Region IV," Rhoades said. "We're going to have to play extremely well. It's going to be a very difficult game."

The Brahmas and the Yoemen appear to be mirror images of each other, as they have similar spread offenses.

Psencik felt playing the Yoemen was going to be unavoidable.

For him, it's fine. For the Brahmas to make it to the state final, they would have to beat the defending champion.

"If you want to be the best, you've got to play the best," Psencik said. "You're not going to get past Cameron Yoe (or) whoever is going to be in this position. We're not worried about them; we're worried about taking care of our own business."

Though Sheppard will play Friday without the seniors from last season's team, he will keep them in mind.

"From last year to this year, we had another year to work harder, push ourselves a little harder," Sheppard said. "With this rematch, I want to be able to redo it again."



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