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  • A STORYBOOK CAREER

    IMG 20201116 132120COURTESY PHOTO Coldspring-Oakhurst running back Contavious Parker-Harden (20) set his school’s all-time rushing record with 4,578 yards in four seasons. Parker-Harden is the only player in school history to have more than 4,000 yards throughout his career.

    Coldspring senior boasts school rushing record

    By Jason Chlapek

    COLDSPRING — Throughout the Coldspring-Oakhurst football team’s history, many great running backs have come and gone.

    There was Ray Fisher, who ran for 3,542 yards throughout his career (1990-92), including a single-season record 2,791 yards in 1992 when the Trojans lost to Southlake Carroll in the Class 3Å state championship game. A few years later, Isaac White broke the school’s all-time rushing record with 3,615 yards in three years (1996-98).

    More than two decades later, the C-O all-time rushing record has been broken again. Contavious Parker-Harden now has that distinction with a grand total of 4,578 yards in four years.

    “When I first came in here, it was looking at the whole picture and I saw some big kids,” C-O coach Ken Stanley said. “When you make a transition into the double-wing, you know you’re going to have to have some guys up front. We had a young man in Liberty that was a lot like Tay and we did very well with him when we put that offense in. I thought Tay had everything that kid had, only Tay was bigger and stronger. Tay was the icing on the cake and the cherry on top. He’s a big kid that has some speed and he made it very easy for me to pull the trigger on this whole double-wing. That made me very excited knowing what I know about the offense. I knew with a kid like Tay that sooner than later we were going to have success. He was a big part of that.”

    In Parker-Harden’s four seasons, he ran for more than 1,000 yards three times, including a 1,635 in 2020 — his final in a Trojan uniform. He also rushed for 1,049 yards as a freshman in 2017 and 1,031 yards in 2018 his sophomore year.

    In the year prior to Stanley’s arrival, Coldspring-Oakhurst was 3-8 in its only campaign under previous coach Jim Bird. Once the coach arrived from Liberty, where he served as the offensive coordinator, he thought he was going to have something special.

    “Tay and his fellow seniors were the group that put their cleats in the ground and said they weren’t going to settle for 3-8,” Stanley said. “In two years, they won a district championship.”

    For Parker-Harden and his teammates, Stanley was the third coach the team played under going into his junior season. Mark Byrd was the coach Parker-Harden’s freshman year and Bird coached him as a sophomore.

    Both Byrd and Bird had one thing in common — the spread offense. But Stanley proved to be an answered prayer for the school running back.

    “I felt more calm in the double-wing,” Parker-Harden said. “In the spread, I wasn’t able to read as much as I could before the snap. In the double-wing, I was able to read the defense and see who I have to beat on the play. It calmed me down a lot.”

    Parker-Harden recently committed to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. He also talked a little bit about his running style.

    “I ask for the ball on the first play of the game because on that first play I’m going to give them everything that I’ve got,” Parker-Harden said. “Pretty much every team that we play, I’ll look at them and I’ll start laughing because if I want it I can get it. I don’t let one guy tackle me. I want all 11 guys tackling me. Coach Stanley and I talked all year about how I’ll never let just one guy tackle me. If I allow just one guy to tackle me, then I don’t deserve to be in my spot.”

    Stanley talked about a particular play when the Trojans met Diboll in the regular season finale. The play was pivotal in C-O’s 20-12 victory that clinched the district championship.

    “We had a critical moment in our season against Diboll where we were on our own 30-yard line and it was fourth-and-two,” Stanley said. “It would’ve been real easy to punt right there, but we went for it. If they can stop us, I’ll tip my hat to them and put our defense back on the field. The Diboll coach called a timeout before that play and tells his team, ‘you know No. 20 is going to get the ball.’ They knew it, we knew it, and everybody in the stands knew it that Tay was going to get the ball on that play, and we still got the first down.”

    When Parker-Harden was in seventh grade, Bryan Barbay was the Trojans’ head football coach and athletic director. Barbay employed another run-oriented offense — the wing-T.

    “The double-wing is actually a lot different than the wing-T except for the misdirection,” Stanley said. “In the wing-T, you have a lot of double teams up front and a lot of buck sweep with pulling guards and trap. The double-wing is more of a gap-control offense and it kind of lends to all offenses now where you have a power/counter scheme. The beauty of the double-wing for us is we feel like you have to balance on us, and we can always put one more man on you. Our quarterbacks have to be blockers. By having that extra blocker, running that tunnel sweep gets us over the top. We also emphasize the weight room and we get guys who can get good technique and move on people. We want two-and-a-half yards a play. When we get to fourth-and-two, we’re going to go for it. The fullback in our offense is primarily a blocker. They block on our tunnel sweep and counter play. We get a kid who’s gritty and tough hat fullback.”

    One thing that helped the Trojans — and Parker-Harden — during the last two seasons was fellow senior Greg Terry. With Parker-Harden’s power style and Terry’s finesse, C-O gave opposing defenses headaches.

    “I like to get a kid like Tay on one side and a quick, slasher type runner on the other side,” Stanley said. “It gets down to if we’re getting 6, 7 or 8 yards on our tunnel sweep play, I’m going to keep running that play. When a defense does something to adjust, then we hit them out the backdoor with our slasher. It was a lot of fun with these guys. They made it easier to call the offense. A lot of teams tried to make us beat them with someone other than Tay. Greg Terry in his own right had great seasons. Defenses had to respect him on the counter and it kept Tay honest. It was a good combination.”

    Just another group of great Coldspring-Oakhurst running backs.

  • Annual car show granted weather delay

    cabmaFILE PHOTO

    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — Weather is responsible for another delay, this time the annual Car, Truck and Bike Show sponsored by the Coldspring Area Business and Merchants Association.

    CABMA’s Car Show Committee voted to move the event to July 31.

    According to information from the meeting posted on the group’s website, vehicle owners will not show the cars in rain, and musicians and DJs will not risk damage to their equipment.

    Sponsors for the event, Bourland Land Surveying, Paradise Grille, Bear AC & Heating, Farm Bureau Insurance and Matticks Real Estate, have been contacted and have agreed to the delay; however, the food purchased for the event will not be used, and it is non-refundable.

    Vendors that have been booked for the event will not be charged to set up on the new date, and were allowed to set up Saturday if they so chose.

    In the release, members stated it was a very hard decision to make as a new board, and that some people will be disappointed, but Mother Nature is 100 percent out of the board’s control.

    The board cannot take of chance of losing or wasting hard-earned money to possible thunderstorms, the release states, and postponement of any event is not the end of the world, it’s a compromise.

    More information is available at cabma.org.

  • Board discusses PD’s outreach efforts

    040121 COCISD PDCOURTESY PHOTO BY CASSIE GREGORY COCISD Police Chief Roosevelt Joseph and his team gave a year-in-review presentation at the COCISD school board meeting on Monday, March 22.

    By Cassie Gregory
    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — The highlight of the March 22 COCISD Board of Trustees meeting was the yearly report given by COCISD Police Chief Roosevelt Joseph and his team of officers.

    They reported on the year's events and outreach programs that have been implemented to build relationships with students, families and the community.

    "A lot of what we've been doing is to foster the relationship between the public and police officers," Joseph said. "This has been a tough year with all of the things going on around the country. We are community based — that's what we are all about."

    Some of the programs include Cops Who Care at the beginning of the school year, where officers give away free backpacks filled with school supplies, and Shop with a Cop at Christmas, which helps to provide gifts for students in need at Christmas.

    "We don't want any child to wake up on Christmas morning without a gift under the tree," Joseph said.

    The department also works with organizations and other police departments to acquire equipment, technology and software at no cost to the district. Recently, hey were awarded a grant for a sophisticated report-writing system that has cut down on the time it takes to record reports and has greatly increased the security of confidential information. Another grant provided equipment designed to teach students about the danger of vaping, and they also received new radios as a donation, saving the district $12,000.

    "We work very hard every day to make this a safe environment, and we are going to continue," Joseph said.

    Also at the meeting, Coldspring-Oakhurst High School advanced culinary arts students served a delicious meal to board members and staff under the direction of Chef Joel Casiday. The selection included chicken and dumplings, mixed greens salad and a fresh, multi-berry crisp topped with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream.

    The meeting began with the pledges of allegiance led by Coldspring Intermediate students.

    Interim Superintendent Walter Key introduced and thanked the culinary arts students, followed by a presentation given by Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction Vikki Curry and campus principals on benchmark scores.

    In other business, trustees approved:

    • •The adoption of pre-kindergarten instructional materials to be implemented in the 2021-22 school year.
    • •The TASB Localized Policy Manual Update 116.
    • •Recommended revisions to board policies.
    • •A digital learning agreement with Apex Learning.
    • •The purchase and installation of a paint booth for Coldspring-Oakhurst High School.
    • •The purchase of interactive televisions.
    • •Participation in the Region 7 purchasing cooperative.
    • •Construction of a tennis court.
    • •Proposals for facility projects.
    • •To temporarily delegate hiring authority for contract personnel to the superintendent.

    The next regular meeting of the COCISD Board of Trustees is set for 6:30 p.m. April 26 at the Jones Educational Complex Auditorium.

  • Board makes it official

    060321 cocisd board 2COURTESY PHOTO | CASSIE GREGORY Executive Administrative Assistant Cindy Elliott administers the oath of office to new school board members William Baker and Ashney Shelly during the May 24 COCISD board meeting.

    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Board of Trustees officially hired Dr. Bryan Taulton as Superintendent of Schools at a special meeting on May 27.

    Taulton was named lone finalist on May 4, but due to state law, there was a 21-day waiting period before the Board could formally vote to approve him for the position. 

    Taulton has 15 years of professional experience in public education and has served as a teacher, assistant principal, junior high principal, high school principal, and assistant superintendent before taking the position of superintendent at Goodrich ISD.

    He currently teaches graduate courses at Houston Baptist University in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, specializing in school law, school business management and finance, instructional leadership and evaluation, and interpersonal communication and public relations.

    At the board’s regular meeting on May 24, the board swore in two new members, elected in the May 1 general election.

    Other items discussed by the board include:

    • the annual review of board policy on ethics.
    • a proposal for the construction of stadium restrooms.
    • awarding the depository contract for the 2021-2023 biennium.
    • revisions to summer school supplemental pay rates.
    • the COCISD 2021-2022 compensation plan.
    • a resolution regarding ESSER III grant funds.
    • the purchase of technology devices and components.
  • Career month offers alternatives

    031121 ctec 016 COEF PHOTO BY CASSIE GREGORY COCISD CTE Director Jeff Eichman, pictured right, presented Computer Science teacher Robert Mills with a gift bag from the COCISD Education Foundation for CTE Month.

    By Jessica Caso
    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — For the month of February, Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD celebrated Career and Technical Education Month, which is a public awareness campaign that celebrates the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of such programs.

    In addition to celebrating CTE staff and programs, the month also brought awareness to different career paths by providing videos or in-class presentations on engineers, project developers, branches of military, law enforcement and director of academic success.

    The month began with gift bags from the Health Center of Southeast Texas and the Coldspring-Oakhurst Education Foundation. Sprinkled throughout February were sweet treats, plants and a Taco Tuesday.

    The Yokogawa Corporation ended the celebration by providing breakfast to the program’s 21 staff members and student teachers.

    Each day CTE staff were spotlighted as "CTE Staff of the Day" for their contributions to the school and community, and featured on the COCISD CTE Facebook page.

    Special thanks were given to the Healthcare Center of Southeast Texas, the COEF, and Yokogawa for their contributions to CTE this month.

    Although CTE month is over, COCISD will continue to work with partners to produce career videos throughout the school year. This will provide families access at any time to explore options with their children and know what training, certifications or education is needed for potential careers.

    The goal is to empower students with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve personal and career success and reach their fullest potential as respectful, responsible citizens.

    Businesses, people and organizations participating in career video project include Angelina College's Director of Academic Success, Jennifer Balduaf; Solar Power Project Developer, Aaron Arriaga; Yokogawa Corporations Human Resources, Engineering and Marketing Team; U.S. Marines; Texas National Guard; software engineer at Amazon AWS, Lauren Elkins; U.S. Navy; and Westpoint Academy.

    Jessica Caso is the COCISD College, Career and Military Readiness Counselor.

  • COCISD settles on single candidate

    Dr. TaultonCOURTESY PHOTO Dr. Bryan Taulton

    SJNT staff

    COLDSPRING — On Tuesday, May 4, the Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name Dr. Bryan Taulton as the lone finalist for the position of COCISD Superintendent.

    Dr. Taulton is the current superintendent of Goodrich ISD.

    Due to state law, there is a 21-day waiting period before the board can officially hire Dr. Taulton. The board is scheduled to meet about the matter May 27.

    According to Taulton’s LinkedIn profile, he currently is the superintendent of Goodrich ISD in Houston, and had previously been an adjunct professor at Houston Baptist University.

    He holds a Ph.D. in education administration and supervision, which he obtained in 2014.

  • COCISD Supt steps down

    COCISD Superintendent Dr. Leland R. MooreCOURTESY PHOTO COCISD Superintendent Dr. Leland Moore will resign from his post effective Dec. 31, 2020.

    Special to the News-Times

    Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD will be looking for a new leader.

    After serving as COCISD superintendent for nearly five years, Dr. Leland Moore has tendered his resignation, effective Dec. 31. Moore’s resignation was accepted by the board at the December meeting, which took place during the COCISD Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Dec. 14, at the Jones Auditorium.

    “As I begin a new season in my life, I am ready to pursue new opportunities. I have given five years of service to the COCISD and every day of that time has been rewarding for me. My heart tells me it’s time for a change,” wrote Moore in a message to staff. “I have been privileged to serve with a great team of educators and staff who are loyal and dedicated to the children of the COCISD. And I’m thankful for the opportunity to have worked with trustees who are on a vibrant and exciting mission.”

    The Board of Trustees held its regular December meeting a week earlier than usual due to the Christmas and New Year holidays.

    After formally accepting Moore’s resignation, the board approved the appointment of education consultant and former San Augustine superintendent Walter Key to serve as interim superintendent. Also approved was the engagement of Haglund Law Firm, P.C. to perform the superintendent search.

    In other business, the meeting opened with a public hearing to present the 2019-20 Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR). Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Vikki Curry gave the presentation, explaining that due to the TEA response to COVID-19, the report was essentially the same as the previous year. There were no public comments. The TAPR may be viewed on the district website at cocisd.org > District > Accountability.

    Under New Business, the board discussed and approved the following:

    Renewal of a legal services agreement with Walsh, Gallegos, Trevino, Russo & Kyle P.C. 

    Extension of additional COVID-related leave to COCISD employees. 

    Adoption of a formal board resolution urging TEA to cancel the STAAR tests for the 2020-21 school year.

    A Verizon operation connectivity contract.

    The next regular meeting of the COCISD Board of Trustees will be held at the Jones Auditorium on Monday, Jan. 25, at 6:30 p.m.

  • COHS sending 14 entries to region meet

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I SJNT Coldspring-Oakhurst athlete Crystal Ramos finished fourth in the pole vault during last week’s area meet.

    By Jason Chlapek

    COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst boys and girls track and field programs each qualified seven entries for the Region III-Class 3A Meet this weekend in Waco.

    The Trojans finished third in the team standings of last week’s Districts 23/24-3A Area Meet, while the Lady Trojans finished fifth. The meet took place on April 12 at Trojan Stadium in Coldspring.

    The top four finishers in each event qualified for the region meet, which takes place Friday and Saturday at Midway High School’s Panther Stadium in Waco. The top two finishers and top third-place finish statewide in each event qualify for the Class 3A state meet, which takes place May 6 in Austin.

    TROJANS

    A trio of first-place finishes kept C-O in the hunt for the area championship. Edward Brown and Curtis Parker, Jr., won the 100 and 400-meter runs, respectively, and the quarter of Parker, Reagan Roberts, Gavin Trejo and Jared Curry won the 1,600-meter relay.

    Dante Eldridge took second in the shot put, while Carter Currie was the runner-up in the pole vault. Troy Fortenberry finished third in the pole vault and fourth in the 300-meter hurdles.

    C-O had 79 points in the standings to finish third. East Bernard (96.5) and Boling (94) finished 1-2.

    LADY TROJANS

    Five of the seven regional-qualifying entries for C-O took place in the field events, including a pair of first-place finishes. Alexis Moore and Amanda Ready won the shot put and high jump, respectively, to lead the Lady Trojans’ charge.

    Shanaya Gilbert finished second in the shot put, while Alexis Chandler was third in the triple jump, and Crystal Ramos took fourth in the pole vault. Miya Ellis qualified in two events as she finished third in the 100 and fourth in the 200.

  • Coldspring board recognizes top talent

    050621 cocisd 003CASSIE GREGORY | COURTESY PHOTO Coach Thaddeus Gordon with some of the COHS track team members who qualified for Regionals, including Troy Thortenberry who qualified for the upcoming UIL Track & Field State Meet in the Pole Vault event. Shown from left: Troy Fortenberry, Edward Brown, Dante Eldridge, Jared Curry, Curtis Parker, Stephen Torres, Coach Gordon and Carter Currie.

    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Board of Trustees recognized students and staff for outstanding achievements at its regular monthly meeting on April 26

    Band Director Trent Graves and the Coldspring-Oakhurst High School band were commended for earning a superior rating in Sightreading at the 2021 UIL Concert & Sightreading Contest.

    Additionally, Track Coach Thaddeus Gordon introduced track members who qualified for UIL Regionals, including Troy Fortenberry, who qualified for the state meet. Asst. Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction Vikki Curry also gave recognition to outstanding teachers who earned Distinguished Trojan awards.

    050621 cocisd 002CASSIE GREGORY | COURTESY PHOTO The Coldspring-Oakhurst High School band was given special recognition for earning a Superior (1) rating at the 2021 UIL Concert & Sightreading Contest on Monday, April 26.

    In other business, the board:

    •discussed a staffing and salary review presentation from the Texas Association of School Boards;

    •approved a shared services agreement with Conroe ISD's Regional Day School Program for the Deaf for the 2021-22 school year;

    •approved the 2021-22 school calendar;

    •certified the 2021-22 Allotment and TEKS Certification;

    •approved the purchase and installation of a greenhouse for Coldspring-Oakhurst High School;

    •approved the 2021-22 CTE Programs of Study;

    •approved repairs to the Coldspring-Oakhurst High School sanitary sewer system;

    •approved a proposal for preparation and repainting of campus exteriors, interiors and entries;

    •approved a student athletic insurance policy;

    •approved an engagement letter for financial audit services for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31;

    •discussed making mask/face covering requirements optional on district campuses and buildings; and

    •authorized the school superintendent to hire a firm to conduct a safety and security audit of all district facilities.

    The next regular meeting of the COCISD Board of Trustees is Monday, May 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the Jones Educational Complex.

  • Coldspring downs rival Trinity

    040121 baseball 1TONY FARKAS | SJNT Coldspring-Oakhurst hurler Easton Dean delivers a pitch to a Trinity batter during the team’s 18-1 win over the Tigers on Friday.

    News-Times staff

    TRINITY — Hot bats gave the Coldspring-Oakhurst Trojans a commanding win over the Trinity Tigers on Friday.

    Trojan Head Coach Austin Riddell said it was a great overall team win, defeating the Tigers 18-1 in five innings.

    Easton Dean, who also carried pitching duties, went 4-for-5 and hit for the cycle, including his first high school-career home run. He also put up three strikeouts while allowing only two hits.

    Trinity managed to put up a few hits, but couldn’t string together enough to counter Coldspring-Oakhurst.

    Tiger head coach Chad Kinney said senior Sam Allen gave up a total of 4 earned runs and 1 RBI at the plate, and junior Cole Caldwell went 2-for-2 with a triple and a run scored. Freshmen Remi Lassman and Cole Hortman each went 1-for-2 with a double, and freshman David McKendree walked twice.

    Riddell said this week is going to be a tough test, as they were to play New Waverly on Tuesday at home, and then travel to Anderson-Shiro on Thursday.

    “This will be a great measuring tool to see where we truly stand in our district and we are excited for the opportunity,” he said.

    Kinney said that due to having players out, the next game — Onalaska on Thursday — they will be starting five or six freshmen.

  • Coldspring FFA Member Awarded National American FFA Degree

    Rylee American PictureColdspring-Oakhurst alumnus and Southwestern University sophomore Rylee Rudloff earned her FFA American Degree last week.

    INDIANAPOLIS – Each year, the National FFA Organization honors FFA members who show the utmost dedication to the organization through their desire to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

    The American FFA Degree is bestowed upon a select group of students in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence. This year 4,136 American Degrees were awarded. Rylee Rudloff of Coldspring, who is a member of the Coldspring FFA chapter, was awarded the American FFA Degree at the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo Oct. 27-29, which was held virtually.

    Rudloff was a Coldspring FFA member for four years during high school. She served as an officer of Coldspring FFA for two years, as the Vice President for 2017-2018 and President for 2018-2019. 

    Rudloff showed Market Goats and Breeding Heifers at the San Jacinto County Fair. She also showed registered Brahman heifers at Fort Worth Livestock Show, San Antonio Livestock Show, Houston Livestock Show, and the Star of Texas Livestock Show in Austin. 

    Rudloff competed in Livestock Judging for 4 years and Public Relations for three years and Greenhand Quiz one year. She received her Lone Star FFA Degree from Texas FFA in 2018. 

    Rudloff has continued her involvement in Agriculture after high school through her registered Brahman Heifers. She is currently attending Southwestern University in Georgetown, where she is studying to become a physical therapist and playing outfield for the softball team.

    Sponsored by Case IH, Elanco Animal Health and Syngenta, the award recognizes demonstrated ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing or service programs. To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program in which they own their own business or hold a professional position as an employee.

    Recipients must also complete 50 hours community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement through completion of a long list of FFA and community activities. Less than one percent of FFA members achieve the American FFA Degree.

    Each recipient of the American FFA Degree receives a gold American FFA Degree key and certificate after being recognized at the national convention.

    About National FFA Organization
    The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 760,000 student members as part of 8,700 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at FFA.org and on Facebook and Twitter.


    The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. A separately registered nonprofit organization, the foundation is governed by a board of trustees that includes the national FFA president, educators, business leaders and individual donors. For more, visit FFA.org/Give.

     

  • Coldspring runs past Shepherd, 73-51

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Coldspring-Oakhurst guard Duke Lawniczak (with ball) puts up a shot in traffic against a host of Shepherd defenders.

    By JASON CHLAPEK

    COLDSPRING — It was nothing new for the Coldspring-Oakhurst and Shepherd boys basketball teams when they faced each other last week in Coldspring.

    The Pirates operated out of a half-court set and got the ball inside to 6-foot-11 post Bradley Davis, while the Trojans ran and pressed. In the end, Coldspring’s full-court press proved to be too much for Shepherd as the Trojans forced 42 turnovers, including 33 steals, to run past the Pirates, 73-51, on Dec. 1.

    “We always press,” Coldspring coach Greg Devers said. “That’s our thing since we’ve always been here. Two years ago, we averaged about 99 points a game in district. Last year in the state semifinal, we pressed the No. 1 team in the state (Dallas Madison). That’s our bread and butter. We don’t like to get in a half-court game. We like to play up-tempo and take as many shots as we can.”

    Shepherd coach Jeremy Bennett knew what to expect as well. He also said last week’s game wasn’t the first time his team saw the full-court press.

    “They’ve been pressing since forever and it’s nothing we haven’t seen,” Bennett said. “Every team we’ve seen has pressed us.”

    The presence of Davis is one of the main reasons why teams press the Pirates. Nonetheless, the senior post still recorded a triple-double — 24 points, 13 rebounds, 10 blocks.

    The main culprit for Shepherd’s turnovers may not have been Coldspring’s full-court press, however. It may have been the absence of point guard Trey Stacey.

    “One thing that hurt us is we didn’t have our starting point guard,” Bennett said. “That hurt us with turnovers. He was in close contact with someone who tested positive. Trase Thiessen has handled the ball for us. It hurt a lot not having him. We got after them, but not having our full roster hurt us. I’d love to play them again with my full roster. It might be a different story.”

    The Pirates led once in the contest, 13-12, late in the first quarter. But the Trojans closed out the quarter on a 6-2 run, which included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Luke Monroe, to take an 18-15 lead after one frame of play.

    Monroe’s 3-pointer was the start of a 13-0 run for Coldspring (4-0), who built a 28-15 lead that would not be relinquished. The Trojans led 34-23 at the half and 54-41 after three quarters.

    Duke Lawniczak led all scorers with 37 points for Coldspring. Cameron Shaw-Rucker had a double-double with 11 points and 10 steals to go with seven assists, while Dante Eldridge chipped in with 11 points and nine rebounds.

    “Practice makes perfect and I watch Trae Young a lot and the way he flicks his wrist,” Lawniczak said. “Just pray that it goes in. I like to go in the paint, but I like to take the shot when I feel like I have it. We need to play with the same energy. We’ve won district every year since I was a freshman. We haven’t lost a game in district and I pray that we can do it again.”

    Shepherd (5-2) also received 8 points and 10 rebounds from Dillen Johnson. Carlos Renovato and Christian Castillo also contributed with 8 and 7 points, respectively.

    The Pirates bounced back from their loss at Coldspring with a 56-40 victory at Madisonville last Saturday. Davis led the way with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Johnson and Renovato had 13 and 10 points, respectively.

    Prior to last week’s loss, Shepherd’s only other defeat was a 64-53 setback at the hands of Class 5A Kingwood Park. The Pirates also have victories against defending 2A state champion Shelbyville; 5A teams Montgomery and Cleveland; and fellow 4A West Orange-Stark.

    Coldspring followed up its double-digit win with a pair of nail biting victories against 4A programs Bridge City and Orangefield last week. The Trojans defeated BC, 65-59, last Thursday and edged Orangefield, 64-62, last Saturday.

    In the win against BC, Lawniczak led with 28 points, while Eldridge recorded a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Statistics were not available from the win at Orangefield.

    “This is my sixth year at Coldspring,” Devers said. “I like to press — 32 minutes of full-court pressing. We pressed when I was at Manvel and Stafford. I learned it from Earl Berry at Channelview. There was a year where we scored 100 points 14 times in a season.”

    After qualifying for the state tournament a year ago, the Trojans seem to be in reloading mode as opposed to rebuilding.

    “Our record the last two years is 71-9 and my junior varsity’s record is 40-3,” Devers said. “I have four returnees — all four of them start. I also have three move-ins that have helped us out as well. I have 11 guys who I can put on the court and they’re going to give 120 percent.”

    The biggest obstacle isn’t an opponent on Coldspring’s schedule, according to Devers, who’s team hosts 2A No. 1 Martins Mill at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. It’s Covid-19.

    “Our schedule changes every day and every time I receive a phone call from a coach, I think he’s going to cancel,” Devers said. “Anytime an administrator comes into my classroom, I think one of my players has Covid. We’re playing it day-by-day right now.”

  • Coldspring schools going back to on-site learning

                                   PHOTO BY JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Coldspring-Oakhurst High School is one of two COCISD campuses that will do away with distance learning on Monday. Lincoln Junior High is the other.

    By Jason Chlapek

    COLDSPRING — Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD trustees voted to remove distance learning from Coldspring-Oakhurst High School and Lincoln Junior High during a special meeting on Nov. 2.

    While students at the high school and junior high in COCISD will no longer have distance learning beginning Monday, students at Coldspring Intermediate and James Street Elementary schools will still have the option of participating in distance learning. Students at the high school or junior high with underlying health conditions will still be eligible for distance learning.

    “The board met and heard input from the community, parents and teachers,” COCISD Superintendent Dr. Leland Moore. “We ultimately decided to go back to face-to-face in the high school and junior high, but leave it up to the parents for the intermediate and elementary. After talking with the principals and campus representatives, the board felt like some campuses needed to go back to face-to-face, while others were doing fine. We did this to maximize the learning process.”

    Moore said combating Covid-19 is, “an everyday job.” But, he believes the district has a great person in charge of health services — department director Kristi Benestante.

    “There’s something happening with Covid every day. It’s a struggle and we are experiencing some positive cases, but we have a very thorough process. Kristi has a process that keeps the kids healthy and safe. We listen to her. We had several kids identified as positive and she runs down the close contacts.”

    During October’s monthly meeting, COCISD trustees approved the holiday and vacation schedule. According to Moore, “TASB suggests that employees who work 240 days get paid holidays and vacations.”

    COCISD meets again at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

  • Coldspring students excel at Black History Month projects

    003 COHS law enforcement studentsPHOTO BY CASSIE GREGORY Capt. Kim Webb's law enforcement students in front of their Black History Month project displays. Shown are (back row, from left) Adrienne Steede, I'Kra Bryd, Kynadee Benestante, Stephen Torres, Stormie Payne and Brandon Harris; and (front row, from left) Luckie Poppenhusen, Natalynn Ramirez and Webb.

    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — February's Black History Month offers the Coldspring-Shepherd CISD a special opportunity to spotlight and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans to the nation and the world.

    LJH students created bulletin boards featuring profiles of prominent African Americans throughout history in many different fields, including education and invention.

    Students in B.K. Harrison's education classes conducted research and created two displays; the Child Guidance students, including Ann Bennett, Abigail Casy, Triniti William and Ashlee Trujillo, created an African American Educators bulletin board; and the Education and Training Practicum students, including Paige Barton, Kandis Martinez, Lila Stevens and Brianna Warren, created an African American Inventors board.

    Students studying law enforcement under COCISD Police Capt. Kim Webb did a display on law enforcement professionals.

    "To celebrate Black History Month the students wanted to go back in time and research some pioneering and inspirational events of African American officers,” Webb said. “Our class found several who have held key criminal justice positions and influenced progressive law enforcement activities.”

    Student Stormie Payne said she enjoyed learning about Georgia Ann Robinson, the first Black female police officer to work for the Los Angeles Police Department, and may have been the first Black female LEO in the country.

    Robinson started out as a volunteer before becoming a full-fledged officer when she was hired as a jail matron in 1919. She also worked as an investigator in juvenile and homicide cases and set up a much-needed women’s shelter in the city during her time as a cop, Payne said.

    “These are individuals who paved the way during a difficult era for law enforcement and Black Americans,” Payne said. “These stories of unwavering dedication to policing serve as strong examples all LEOs can aspire to. (Robinson) had an obvious passion to help her fellow citizens.”

    Black History Month began as the brainchild of Dr. Carter G. Woodson after he participated in the national celebration of the 50th anniversary of the emancipation of slaves. While there, he witnessed thousands of African Americans gathered to view exhibits showcasing the accomplishments and progress their people had made since the abolishment of slavery.

    Woodson had the idea to create an organization specifically for the scientific study of Black life and history. He and four others formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, or the ASALH) on Sept. 9, 1915. Eleven years later, Woodson announced "Negro History Week" in February of 1926.

    Eager for the movement to gain ground, Woodson chose the month of February for Negro History Week because it coincided with celebrations already held in many African American communities to celebrate the births of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. His aim wasn't just to include it in the traditional celebrations, but to encourage these communities to use the opportunity to extend their study of Black history in general.

    His goal was to change the focus of the celebrations from only two men to the greater view of the multitudes of African American men and women who had impacted history and humanity. His ultimate intention was for the study and celebration of Black history to continue not just for a week, but throughout the year.

    Beginning in the 1940s, African Americans in West Virginia began to celebrate February as Negro History Month. By the late 1960s, African American college students led the charge to replace the name "Negro History" with "Black History" and to extend it to a month-long event.

    In 1976, President Gerald Ford issued the first Black History Month proclamation. Since then, the celebration has grown to include similar observances in Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and the Netherlands, though not always in February.

    The study of Black History should not be relegated to one specific month, but should be studied year-round. It helps to teach people about the African American experience beyond stereotypes. Learning more about Black History and the unique struggles faced and overcome by African Americans, both in the past and in the present, is the bridge to understanding. Understanding is the bridge to a better future.

  • Council set on cleaning up the town

    coldspringcityFILE PHOTO Coldspring town hall sign

    By Tony Farkas

    COLDSPRING — The Coldspring City Council is making bold moves to clean up the city.

    At its regular meeting on May 3, council members approved starting the process to have the property owners of three properties within the city remedy the violations of the city’s nuisance law.

    According to Mayor Pat Eversole, one property is an abandoned home on Slade Street, and the city has received complaints from neighbors about it being an eyesore and dangerous.

    The remaining two, both on Highway 150, are vacant and full of parked cars and litter, Eversole said.

    The properties and complaints have been turned over to the city’s attorney to start the process for remediation, and the for the attorney to contact the landowners.

    In other business, the council:

    • discussed a draft ordinance to ban private and civil helicopters landing within the city limits, which will come up for approval at the next council meeting;
    • discussed a planned ballpark expansion, and the council’s hope to find some additional property to expand the Dixie Youth Park fields and construct another entrance. Also, portable toilets with handicapped access were ordered for placement at the park;
    • approved the repair of a sewer line that had been damaged by a vehicle; and
    • tabled a discussion about removing an ADA-compliant handrail section on the town square at the intersection of Highway 150 at Church Street for further discussion.

    The Coldspring City Council meets the first Monday of every month, beginning at 7 p.m. at Coldspring City Hall.

  • Court holds special session on flood infrastructure

    SJchildabuseawareness1EMILY KUBISCH-SABRSULA | SJNT The Courthouse lawn is festooned with Marvel and DC comic book characters and stars in honor of Child Abuse Awareness Month.

    By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula
    SJNT staff writer

    COLDSPRING — Residents of San Jacinto County can soon expect to see prescribed burns and surveyors with the U.S. Forest Service wrapping up their jobs around the Sam Houston National Forest, with improvements to come from them.

    During a special session on Wednesday, the court discussed plans to bid on CDBG-DR Harvey Round 1 projects, including on streets in the Waterwood subdivision and other roads in the county including Butch Arthur, Jeanette, Pelican, and Chipmunk roads.

    Improvements include plans to install culverts, clean neglected ditches and perform other means of flood mitigation, since several roads and bridges in the county historically flood via the San Jacinto river and several of its creeks.

    Pending the completion of the surveys and updates of county records, that information will be used to complete Harvey related projects as well as other potential areas of improvement including running new power lines and means to reduce speeding on the county’s curvier roads.

    Those still seeking to receive their first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine, either Pfizer or Moderna depending on availability, can reach out to the San Jacinto Office of Emergency Management at (936) 653-8714 for upcoming clinics.

    Those seeking a vaccine do not need to live in the county to receive one. This includes those participating in the ongoing Save Our Seniors Initiative, which aims to prioritizing getting the vaccine to those 75 years or older.

    The Enterprise Lease program continues to provide Chief Tim Keen with weekly check-ins but production cutback from pandemic-related problems have left the department without new vehicles, something that has been ongoing since late 2020.

  • Did you know?

    did you knoePHOTO BY YVONNE CONES The Coldspring community center is open for operation.

    By Yvonne Cones

    Did you know that Coldspring Community Center is open for business? This is the center at 101 E. Cedar Ave. near the courthouse and not the community shelter recentlybuilt.The Coldspring Center was created by a small group of residents who saw the need for a meeting place for the community. It is 65 years old.

    Beside it, a piece of land was developed into a beautiful garden by San Jacinto County Master Gardeners. It is the perfect place for small weddings (80 guests approx.), parties, events, anniversaries, and meetings.The Garden Club has been meeting there for two months or so, socially distanced and masked, and it is very affordable. For a full day, the cost is $150; $90 for half a day with a deposit of $250.

    This is fully refundable after leaving the premises in good condition. Call 936-433-6783 or go to Facebook.

    Things are moving along even with the pandemic. Workforce Solutions will hold a virtualjob fair on Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are looking for employers who want to hire people and also people who will host sites for applicants.

    Some will be able to use library computers, but some do not own a computer and cannot get to a library and will need help. Call Misty Spears at 936-327-5421 ext 5634.

    I wrote before about the webinars and courses run by the Small Business Development Center. They held a webinar for business owners this week on “Cyber Security For YourBusiness.”

    These subjects come round on a regular basis, so call and ask for details. On Oct. 28 the title is “Restaurant Reality - Digital Age of Marketing.” These webinars are free. Go to their website to register.

    K & C Fleur - Creative Cooking are based in Shepherd and deliver delicious meals to your home in the area. Their Facebook pages show some tempting photos of the meals they serve, they specialize in Cajun cuisine and salads.

    Courtney Taylor who runs the business with her husband is very community-minded and will hold a Cancer Awareness Benefit at Shepherd Gazebo Square next to the Fire Station on Oct. 24 from noon to 5 p.m. You can order on line or call 936-252-2736.

    Saturday, Dec. 5, will be Shepherd's Christmas Event. This year we hope to make it the best ever with the help of the community and Children’s Impact Center, Pastor Branch, and his church, and Shepherd ISD.

    The Impact Center will kick off the day with a Chili Cook-Off and will hold various contests for Best Dressed Pets, as well as adults, in Best Christmas Dress-Up, Best Sunday Best, and Children’s Dress ups. There is a lot more being planned.

    Contests for Best Decorated Business and Vehicle are also on the list. Call 936-499-2632 or 936-628-6397.

    Entry forms are available at the Impact Center Resale Shop and from Shepherd Chamber.

  • Eagles fly past Trojans, 41-28

    KentreveyionPOP28p2COURTESY PHOTO The Trojans’ season came to an end last Thursday with a 41-28 playoff loss to Woodville.

    By Jason Chlapek

    CROCKETT – Ken Stanley had a hunch that the Coldspring-Oakhurst football team would have its hands full with Woodville last Thursday.

    The head coach of the Trojans proved to be right. The Eagles used a balanced offensive attack and took advantage of a handful of Coldspring turnovers as they soared past the Trojans, 41-28, in a Class 3A-Division I bi-district contest at Monte Jack Driskell Stadium in Crockett.

    “It was one of those tough nights where once we would get something going, we couldn’t get a stop or something wouldn’t go our way,” Stanley said. “It is what it is. We have to make plays and they made more than we did.”

    Coldspring finished the season 8-3. Woodville (8-2) advanced to the area round where it faces Columbus at 7 p.m. Friday at Merrill Green Stadium in Bryan.

    Last week’s playoff contest was a role reversal from two years ago albeit with the same end result. In 2018, the Eagles were the champions of District 12-3A-DI and defeated the Trojans, 34-7, in the bi-district round.

    Coldspring was the fourth-place team out of 11-3A-DI and operated out of the spread offensively. Woodville ran the double-wing offense in 2018.

    This season, the Trojans ran the double-wing and won 9-3A-DI, while the Eagles operate out of the spread and were the No. 4 seed out of 10-3A-DI. However, Woodville was in a three-way tie for second with Anahuac and Buna, but was the No. 4 seed because of a points tiebreaker.

    “We knew they were pretty good and we had a pretty good game plan going in, but we didn’t anticipate a three-and-out or fumbling the ball,” Stanley said. “We were doing what we wanted to do, we were running the ball and moving the chains, but when we put the ball on the ground, we had to get in the spread and we were able to get some big plays out of that.”

    A three-and-out and a lost fumble on Coldspring’s first two offensive drives led to a pair of Darrius Bean-to-Jaylen Kibble touchdown passes that put the Eagles up 13-0 midway through the first quarter. A second lost fumble on the Trojans’ third drive had Woodville smelling blood and gunning for a bigger lead, but Luke Monroe intercepted a Bean pass in the endzone on the opening play of the second quarter to give Coldspring possession at its own 20-yard line.

    The Trojans needed just six plays to get on the scoreboard. Contavious Parker-Harden received a pitch from quarterback Duke Lawniczak, cut to his right and ran through a hole made by the offensive line for a 61-yard touchdown run that cut the Eagles’ lead to 13-7.

    But Woodville answered. Bean connected with Jacory Hyder for a touchdown pass and Pop Prejean added the two-point conversion run to increase the Eagles’ lead to 21-7. Coldspring drove to the Woodville 8 as time expired on the first half behind Lawniczak completing passes to Tavaress Chambers and Dante Eldridge.

    After blocking a punt on the opening drive of the third quarter, the Trojans set up shop at the Eagles’ 27. Lawniczak connected with Parker-Harden for 18 yards before the senior running back had an 8-yard run to the 1, the drive-capping 1-yard score and the two-point conversion run to trim the Coldspring deficit to 21-15.

    The Trojans appeared to have caught a huge break when Bean threw his second interception of the night. But a fumble during the interception return was recovered by Woodville, and the Eagles responded with the first of Prejean’s three touchdown runs to increase their lead to 28-15.

    Woodville struck again following a Coldspring interception as Prejean added a second touchdown run to give the Eagles their biggest lead of the night, 35-15, midway through the third quarter. Lawniczak scored on a 27-yard run to trim the Trojans’ deficit to 35-22.

    Following a Woodville punt early in the fourth quarter, Lawniczak threw a pass that was deflected twice before being hauled in by Eldridge in the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown that pulled Coldspring within seven, 35-28, with less than nine minutes in the contest. But Prejean took over from there.

    The Woodville junior ran the ball 10 times on the 12-play drive, including the drive-capping 7-yard touchdown run. Prejean ran for 138 yards in the second half.

    “They kept moving the chains, picking up first downs and scoring,” Stanley said of Woodville. “Tip your hat to them.”

    Parker-Harden ran for 155 yards and two touchdowns, while Lawniczak completed six passes for 122 yards and a score, while rushing for a touchdown. Eldridge caught two passes for 54 yards and a touchdown, while Greg Terry ran for 48 yards and caught a 35-yard pass.

    “We had 10 seniors and they all played,” Stanley said. “They’re good kids and we’re going to miss them. We hope to get some of them to sign.” 

    Eldridge, Lawniczak, Parker-Harden and Terry were four of the 10 seniors who suited up on the gridiron for Coldspring for the last time. The others were Bobby Bishop, Joseph Lemon, Matt Martinez, Caleb Monroe, Reagan Roberts and Trevor Vaughn.

  • FFA hands out honors

    006CASSIE GREGORY | COURTESY PHOTO The 2020-21 Coldspring-Oakhurst High School FFA Chapter Banquet was held on Thursday, May 13.

    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst High School FFA Chapter celebrated a year filled with firsts, lasts, and hope for the future.

    At the FFA banquet on Thursday, 2020-21 Coldspring FFA President Brelynn Ellisor opened the emotional evening.

    "We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for making this a successful year," Ellisor said. "The hard work and dedication of each member has played a role in making all of these accomplishments possible."

    The invocation was led by FFA member Cinco Bailes, followed by a meal prepared and served by Mary Gray Catering with assistance from the FFA Booster Club.

    007
    011
    American FFA Degree
    Certificates of Merit
    Chapter Degrees
    Fundraiser Award
    Greenhand Degrees
    Honorary Member Degree
    Junior FFA members
    New Officers
    Outstanding Member
    Star Chapter Award
    Star Greenhand
    Star Lone Star Award
    State Degrees
    Top Hand Awards
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

    The 2020-21 FFA officers — Ellisor, Vice President Camilla Fussell, Secretary Kimberly Blackmann, Treasurer Kylie Curri, and Reporter Kaylen McAdams, with Advisor Ashlie Taylor — presented the year's awards and scholarship winners.

    The evening wound down with a touching end-of-year slideshow and the ceremony for retiring seniors, who hung up their FFA jackets as a symbol of the end of their high school FFA years.

    Before closing the meeting, the names of the 2021-2022 Coldspring FFA Officers were announced: President Kimberly Blackmann, Vice President Brelynn Ellisor, Secretary Cinco Bailes, Treasurer Hayden Richardson, Sentinel Mayci Whitten, Reporter Camilla Fussell and Student Advisor Kaylen McAdams.

  • Funds needed for scholarships

    chamber logochamber logo

    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — The Coldspring Chamber of Commerce will again host its annual Best of Coldspring scholarship banquet, and some help is needed.

    In 2020, the chamber gave $2,800 in scholarships to the graduating seniors of Coldspring through donations alone.

    This year, the chamber again will host a silent auction, as well as seek donations from area businesses and chamber members.

    Office Manager Mindy Blankemeyer said the chamber needs donations of auction items.

    “We are now accepting donations from our members to auction off to help give more to our graduates than ever before,” she said. “We do have seven items that were donated last year and we were unable to auction those, so they will be added to this year's.”

    Blankemeyer also said that since many residents are still leery about gathering in groups, the silent auction will be held online at coldspringtexas.org. She or Board Member Christina Mallet, chairperson for the banquet, are available to pick up donations.

    She also said that those interested in giving a monetary donation can fill out a form and drop it by the chamber. Three levels are available: Gold ($1,000), Silver ($500) or Bronze ($250).

    Deadline for donations is March 5.

    The banquet is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, March 13.

    For information, contact the chamber at (936) 653-2184.