In the world of sports, a season of absence can seem like an eternity.
So, it’s no wonder coach Desiree Shahan and the Granbury Lady Pirates volleyball team are excited as they near a return to the postseason after missing out in 2022. It was the program’s first time to miss the playoffs since 2008.
But now it’s back to a familiar feeling for the coaches, the team, the school, and the community - and it feels great, Shahan said.
“The support and love that we feel from the school and community right now is amazing,” she said. “Everyone is onboard with the goal of us playing through November, and it feels great having so much support.
“The girls are putting the work in to grow, not only as athletes, but also as young women. We love this school and this community and appreciate all the love we have received.”
The Lady Pirates fell out of a share of first place in District 5-5A with a 3-1 loss to league-leading Aledo at home on Oct. 6, ending a five-match winning streak. After a bye on Oct. 10, they were looking to start a new streak last night when they hosted Brewer (16-11, 3-4).
Against Aledo (27-8, 8-1), ranked No. 19 in the state, Rachel Poirier (14 kills, 9 digs) and Sienna Watts (12 kills, 12 digs) stood out on offense and defense, while Allyson McCabe had 16 kills and 38 assists.
The Lady Pirates (15-21 overall) fell to 6-2 in district. At press time they were tied for second with Northwest (23-9, 6-2), whom they play in Justin on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 6 p.m.
The Lady Pirates defeated Northwest, No. 25 in the state, 3-2 when the teams met in Granbury on Sept. 22. The Lady Texans split their two matches against Aledo, and the Lady Pirates are 0-2 against the Ladycats.
However, the title chase turns out, the Lady Pirates are in a strong position to return to the playoffs after missing them last season.
The Brewer match is Granbury’s last at home this season, barring hosting a postseason match. Following their trip to Northwest, they visit Azle (15-24, 3-5) on Oct. 20 and Wichita Falls Rider (10-13, 1-7) on Oct. 24, both 6 p.m. contests.
A pair of teams looking to keep slim playoff hopes alive will meet when the Pirates (3-3, 1-3 in District 4-5A Division I at press time) travel to Killeen to face the Ellison Eagles (1-5, 1-3 at press time) on Friday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.
Granbury was hosting Lake Belton (6-1, 4-1) last night, while Ellison was playing at Killeen (4-2, 2-2).
The Pirates were coming off a 49-15 loss at district-leading Midlothian (6-1, 5-0) on Oct. 6. Running back Anthony DeBello had his best game of the season, rushing seven times for 96 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown and a 54-yard run.
Also, quarterback Hayden Meyer threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jace Kelley.
The Granbury defense was led by Chase Cantrell with nine tackles, including one for a loss. Linebackers also stood out as Rylan Brenish had six tackles (one for a loss), while Augie Zapata and Matthew Gifford each had a sack.
On special teams, punter Christian Paddock averaged 44 yards on four kicks.
“Midlothian is a very good football team. We made mistakes that can’t be made against a team like that,” Pirates coach Sonny Galindo said. “Our team has enough players that will continue to play hard and fight for each other.
Through six games the Pirates were outgaining their opponents in total yards by an average of 296-262. The offense was averaging 226 rushing yards.
Eleven different players had carried the ball this season, led by Tyler Rodgers with 369 yards and five TD, along with Jadon Rogers with 306 yards and six TD.
Meyer had 301 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. While the Pirates don’t throw much, he had thrown for four more scores and 417 yards. His 17 completions had been spread among nine players, led by Carter Riley with six for 189 yards and a TD.
The defense had posted 23 tackles for a loss, led by Brenish with five and Zapata with four. Zapata also had four of the team’s seven sacks. Brenish (50) and C. Cantrell had combined for 97 tackles.
Daryl Cannie Jr. led the Ellison running attack through six games with 239 yards and two TD. The Ellison defense has been led by Kesean Meeks (90 tackles, 14 for loss, 2 sacks).
The Rattlers (5-1, 2-0 in district at press time), No. 3 in the state, returned home just long enough to make a statement with a 43-0 victory against Coleman (5-2, 2-1) in a key District 5-2A Division I contest on Oct. 6. Then, they were back on the road for the third time in their past four games at DeLeon (6-1, 3-0) last night.
Now, they are home again next Friday, Oct. 20, to face Bangs (1-5, 0-2) at 7 p.m. for homecoming. The Dragons were hosting San Saba (2-5, 1-2) last night.
The win over Coleman was the second consecutive shutout for the Rattlers defense.
Meanwhile, the Tolar offense got 261 yards of offense and five touchdowns from quarterback Isaac Blessing. He threw for 141 yards and three TD, along with rushing for 120 yards and two more scores.
His touchdown passes went to Brylen Feist (3 catches, 38 yards), Matthew Behrens (44 yards) and Braylen Rice (5 yards). Also, Clayten Stembridge had four catches for 42 yards.
Linebacker Drake Owens led the defense with a dozen tackles, while Ty McClure had eight, Jaxon Riddle had seven and Cash Clark had six. The Rattlers had seven tackles for a loss from seven different players. Also, Cutter Cain and Brooks Stone each had a sack.
Rice and Owens also had an interception each and Hunter Michels recovered a fumble.
Through six games, Blessing had eight touchdowns passing with only two interceptions, along with rushing for 624 yards and eight TD. Running back Garrison Nation had 350 yards and five TD rushing, with two receiving TD. Behrens had 14 catches for 244 yards and two TD.
Riddle’s 57 tackles was leading the defense with Owens right behind with 53. Riddle also had five tackles for a loss, while Clark had 40 tackles with a team-leading two sacks. The Rattlers’ pass defense has forced nine interceptions, including four by Stembridge.
The Lady Rattlers (17-13 overall) began District 8-2A play with a 3-1 road loss at Hamilton on Oct. 7 before coming home for a 3-0 victory against Hico.
Standouts against Hamilton were Maddie Rue (13 kills, 12 assists), Allie Terrell (9 kills), Abbie Soileau (2 aces, 18 assists) and Senne Imel (7 kills, 14 digs). Imel was also named a standout against Hico.
As the regular season is winding down, the Lady Rattlers were playing at DeLeon last night and will host Hamilton on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m.
GRANBURY CROSS COUNTRY
The Granbury Pirates won a team title for a second consecutive week as they claimed first in the Brewer Invitational on Oct. 6. Meanwhile, the Lady Pirates finished third.
Jaxon Glenn and Bryan Hailey led the way for the Pirates, finishing first and third, respectively. Glenn clocked a time of 16 minutes, 54 seconds over the 5K course, while Hailey posted a 17:09.
The Lady Pirates were led by Kambry Zschiesche, who was seventh in 21:43.
Also running for the Pirates were Bryce Young, 13th; Aiden Lemens, 15th; Alec Wilkinson, 19th; Jacob Wolfe, 27th; and Aidan Turpin, 39th.
Also running for the Lady Pirates were Alexie Patrick, 13th; Zaeda Sedgwick, 18th; Emery Kirby; Josefina Berry, 26th; and Aubrey Ward, 27th.
The junior varsity Pirates had two runners finish in the top 10. Sam Valdez was runner-up in 19:41 and Kolden Rand was ninth with a time of 20:20. Nolan Segars was 12th.
Presley Davis finished 12th for the JV Lady Pirates.
The race was held at Central Park in White Settlement, the same site as the District 5-5A Meet, which was being held at press time. The top three teams and top 10 individuals qualify for the Region I Meet in Lubbock, Oct. 23-24.
The Pirates/Lady Pirates (3-7 overall, 2-4 in District 5-5A) ended the fall team season on a high note as they defeated visiting Brewer 12-7 on Oct. 3.
“After graduating so many last year and roughly 14 players being new to varsity team tennis, we are really proud of how this season went this year,” said coach Athan Laskaris. “We improved tremendously, and these kids were just a joy to be around. Coach (Debbie) Hiler and I are very thankful for the opportunity to coach them, and we really look forward to getting to work with them this offseason.”
Granbury victories were:
Boys doubles - Roland Krause/Oakley Boyd, 6-2, 6-2; Tyler St. Don/Colten Whitefield, 6-2, 3-6, 10-2; Justin Rios/Kaden Bohney, 6-4, 6-2.
Girls doubles - Katie Childs/Ava Hamrick, 6-4, 1-6, 10-5; McKenna Moreno/Allie Kazmier, 6-3, 6-3.
Boys singles - Krause, 6-2, 6-3; Whitefield, 6-3, 3-6, 10-3; K. Bohney, 7-5, 7-5; St. Don, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5; Boyd, 6-3, 6-1; Rios, 0-6, 6-4, 10-5; Chase Bohney, 8-1 (did not count in team score); Braxton Bailey, 8-4 (did not count in team score).
Girls singles - Hamrick, 6-3, 6-3.