Justin Hartojo | VYPE Media
Winning the turnover battle and stronger production in the run game have Fort Bend Bush on a four-game winning streak after starting the season 0-3. More leaders and better buy-in from players have the Broncos already three wins better than they were last season.
"We're just more committed to each other. We're playing more as a team and we're getting these wins we need," senior running back Adrian Cormier said. "I think we have more leaders. More players that want to play football and coaches who all buy in to the program and want to see the best in all of us."
Bush, coming off a 1-6 2020 season, had a challenging non-district slate that consisted of Fort Bend Hightower, College Station and Alief Taylor. The Broncos were blown out by Hightower and College Station, who have a combined record of 13-1. They fell by a touchdown to 3-4 Taylor.
"We talked at the beginning of the season about improving every week and improving on mistakes," coach Allen Aldridge said. "The guys have stayed on top of that, along with the coaches. We had some tough games at first, but they prepared us for district. We've learned to stay consistent every game."
What's mattered most is the Broncos' play in District 20-6A. They've run rampant. Bush is 4-0 in district, thanks to a furious defense that has allowed a total of 15 points on an average of 111.5 yards allowed per game.
"We hang our hat on our defense," Aldridge said. "My defensive coordinator, Coach (Javin) Thornton, has been with me since 2008, and he's very good at what he does. Teams know what we're going to do. We're a very attacking defense. We're going to bring pressure. We play a lot of man."
Bush's defense is ignited by its secondary, and the secondary is led by versatile senior free safety/cornerback Dantonio Hackworth Jr. Hackworth is tied for the district lead in interceptions with four.
I know somebody needs a CB/S with IQ like this……..C/O 2022 #21 Dantonio Hackworth @21_dantonio #THEBushHS https://t.co/lqpR6Ec031— Coach Jerome Wilson (@Coach Jerome Wilson) 1633879977.0
"Everything is different," Hackworth said of the defense. "We all got big in the weight room, and our coaches give us a great game plan to execute against our opponents. It starts with the D-line making plays and the linebackers putting pressure on the quarterback to get the defensive backs interceptions. We all click as one."
Hackworth, whose added strength has enabled better physicality jamming receivers, is being humble. Aldridge said the defense goes as Hackworth goes.
"He's our leader. He can go," Aldridge said. "He can tackle, he can cover. He's rangy, sideline to sideline. He's becoming a leader and embracing all that comes with that. He's leading our captains leadership meeting every Monday morning. He's vocal on the field and the sidelines."
Offensively, Cormier has been a rock of stability. With the loss of senior running back Nelvens Borgella two games ago to injury, Cormier has carried the brunt of the Broncos' run-oriented offense.
Cormier has 638 yards and three touchdowns on 118 carries, an "outstanding year," Aldridge said.
"I have shown the team I'm giving 100 percent, and they will follow," Cormier said. "I think this year I have a bigger voice on the team, with a leadership role."
665 yards rushing , 4 TDS Mid Season highlight - https://t.co/BuW9bpzUsd— adrian cormier (@adrian cormier) 1634732035.0
Bush has significant momentum. It is undoubtedly playing great football, its best in quite some time.
But the Broncos aren't in the clear just yet. The toughest portion of their schedule remains, as George Ranch (2-2 20-6A), Ridge Point (4-0) and Clements (2-2) linger.
Still, Bush will be no easy out. Just ask Travis, which is 3-1 in district play, with that one loss coming to the Broncos.
"It's going to take our dedication and how bad we want it to keep it going," Hackworth said. "It's been unreal. Everybody is starting to notice what we can do now, but we're not going to let it distract us from our main goal."
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20 Oct, 2021
DeSoto Girls Basketball Twitter (@DeSotoEaglesGBB)
There's no doubt that DeSoto has a slew of stars on their girl's basketball team. Earlier this week, two of the reigning state champions made big-time commitments to college programs. Three-star senior guard Michayal Gatewood and four-star all-state Sa'Myah Smith took to Twitter earlier this week to announce their commitments to different universities.
Previously commited to Texas Tech, Gatewood took to Twitter on Monday to announce her commitment to Kansas State:
Gatewood missed last season due to a torn ACL. Prior to her injury, Gatewood was leading DeSoto in scoring. Her commitment falls in line with teammate Ja'Mia Harris who de-commited from Texas Tech in September and commited to Kansas State on October 3. The three-star recruit will return to the DeSoto squad this season and can be expected to be back at the top of her performance.
Smith, the No. 1 recruit in the DFW area and ESPN's HoopGurlz's fifth best player in the state took to Twitter to announce her commitment to play college ball at at LSU:
Despite a season-ending torn ACL during her sophomore season, Smith had an outstanding junior season last year where she was named as the MVP of the UIL Class 6A State Title game after scoring 10 points and nabbing 14 rebounds in DeSoto's win. Smith can be expected to continue her regular dominance on the court this season for DeSoto.
DeSoto's D1 Commits
With the commitments, DeSoto girls basketball now has seven returning athletes who are committed to Division I programs. The Lady Eagles return SMU commit Jiya Perry, Kansas State commits Gatewood and Harris, Mississippi commit Ayanna Thompson, Kentucky commit Tionna Herron, LSU commit Smith, and Texas commit Amina Muhammad.
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amina muhammad dallas fort worth high school sports desoto basketball desoto eagles desoto eagles basketball desoto girls basketball desoto lady eagles basketball dfw high school sports girls basketball ja'mia harris jiya perry kansas state lsu michayla gatewood sa'myah smith smu texas tionna herron desoto
By Justin Hartojo
New Concordia Lutheran coach Branden Smeltzer is a self-proclaimed numbers nerd.
He sees the game in percentages and as a chess match.
"If you understand the numbers, you will have success," Smeltzer said. "We are very detailed in the data. Our serve retrieve numbers were down in the middle of the season, so worked on passing all that week. Setting our middle percentages should be higher so we do a ton of reps slow down our offense to get those up.
"If you don't know the numbers, you don't know what to work on. It's like the 'Money Ball' movie."
Smeltzer has also brought a new culture inside the locker room of accountability and learning.
"We teach the game much more," he said. "Look, I'm a player's coach but I have very defined boundaries. For instance, if you are late to practice or the bus, you sit. If you don't pick up the classroom after our pregame meal, it's burbies for everyone. That just the deal."
His stars are shining even more brightly as well. Sophia Keene is doing "Sophie Keene" things. The Baylor-commit had 22 kills in three-set win over The Village School. Sydney Whitfield is becoming a "breakout star" this season before heading to Liberty University.
The surprise has been hitter Caitlin Stein.
"She has been a stud," he said. "Everyone focuses on Sophie and Sydney but now you have to deal with Caitlin. She has been killing it."
The setters, Addy Polk and Anna Schatz, have improved greatly and will be key on the 'Saders playoff run.
In the middle are Haley Manjack and Faith Wilkins, who could be difference-makers as they get fed more with sets.
"They are way under set. They are set 18-percent of the time and I need that about 30-percent," he said. "That middle-setter relationship is really improving."
He's happy with his defense.
"Kylie Bray a beast on defense and Brooke Austin comes in to help," he said.
The numbers don't lie as Concordia Lutheran is 30-7 and wrapping up regular season play. Their only loss came to state-power St. Agnes in a 5-set classic. They could meet again in the postseason.
"I think we are a dark horse for state," he said. "We should get to the show but there is some improvement we still have to make to get there."
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