The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX


December 13, 2013

Surprising Leonard Tigers prepare for state semifinals


GREENVILLE —   Every high school football team expects to do well before the season starts.

  But the Leonard Tigers have exceeded expectations with their climb to the Class 2A Division II state semifinals. The 11-3 Tigers will play 14-0 Cisco at 4 p.m. Saturday at Chisholm Trail Stadium, which is in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD but is located on Northwest College Drive in Fort Worth.

  The winner of that game advances to the state finals against either Waskom or Refugio or at 8 p.m. Thursday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

  “You have dreams of being where we are each season,” said Leonard head coach Shane Fletcher. “But until it’s reality, then it hits you in the face. We’re just grateful being where we’re at.”

  After going 7-3-1 and reaching the bi-district playoffs in 2012, the Tigers were picked to finish second in District 7-2A. They finished third behind S&S Consolidated and Gunter.

  But the Tigers picked up steam once the playoffs started, being Edgewood 43-36 in overtime, Blooming Grove 35-21, S&S 55-44 and Cooper 28-20 on Saturday in Royse City. S&S and Cooper were both undefeated before losing to the Tigers.

  Fletcher said the Tigers continue to improve with each outing.

  “Their football IQ is just high,” he said. “Our kids are smart and we ask them to play several positions. They don’t let things bother them. They just keep on rolling. They just keep getting better the longer we play.”

  Fletcher said the Tigers’ playoff success “says a lot” about Leonard’s team chemistry.

  “We’re all like a family,” said standout lineman Dylan Pelton. “We’re all bonded together. We call each other family. I really stick by that.”

  “We have a great team chemistry,” said senior quarterback Justin Bennett. “We’ve always had it since two-a-days (preseason practices).”

  Bennett said the Tigers’ season has been “great.”

  “A good way to end a career, going out with a bang,” he said.

  Leonard’s standout running back Solomon Titus said this season’s been “like a dream.”

  “I knew we were good,” he said. “Everybody doubted us. We proved everybody wrong.”

  Titus has been a force in the playoffs, rushing for 175 yards against Edgewood, 255 versus Blooming Grove, 125 against S&S and 194 in the win over Cooper.

  “I improved my game because I know fully what I can really do,” he said.

Leonard’s facing a Cisco team that has outscored the opposition by an average margin of 50-12. Abernathy has played Cisco the closest, falling by 27 points (41-14) in the quarterfinals. Cisco won its other playoff games by margins of 54-10 over Stanton, 37-6 over Spearman and 42-14 on Monday over Canadian.

  “They are blue collar, tough West Texas kids,” said Fletcher. “They’re going to formation you to death just like we do.”

  Fletcher said the Loboes aren’t as fast as the Cooper Bulldogs.

  “Just solid football players and they’re well-coached. They’ve been to the state championship game four times since since 2000. Hadn’t won it but they were there.”

  Either Leonard or Cisco will realize one more dream by reaching next week’s state finals.


Text Only
  • No. 19 state-ranked Lone Oak claims regular season finale

      The 19th state-ranked Lone Oak Lady Buffaloes added to their nine-game winning streak by shutting out Quitman 9-0 in District 14-2A softball on Tuesday.
      Freshman pitcher Mariah Nichols got the win, striking out 14 while only walking two in a two-hitter to wrap up the regular season.

    April 16, 2014

  • Lady Lions earn all-district soccer honors

    Brinkley Henson, Greenville’s top goal scorer, also earned top honors for the Lady Lions on the All-District 19-4A soccer team.

    April 13, 2014

  • Quirl, Godwin earn top honors in All-District 15-A basketball

    Wolfe City’s high-scoring post player Colten Quirl earned top honors on the All-District 15-A basketball team.

    April 13, 2014

  • McKinney North shuts out Lady Lions

       Celeste Verdelivo shut down Greenville on one hit as McKinney North claimed a 12-0 District 13-4A softball victory over the Lady Lions on Friday.

    April 12, 2014

  • Fired coach unjustly accused of visiting porn sites

    April 12, 2014

  • Big win for college coach wrongly accused of child porn

    An emotional saga that began with a child pornography accusation 18 months ago ended in final victory Thursday for the ex-football coach of Minnesota State University-Mankato who was fired even though the charges against him were found groundless and dismissed.

    April 11, 2014

  • Carandall Hale jumps A.jpg Hale, Himes lead Greenville tracksters

      Carandall Hale repeated as the boys long jump champion and Savannah Himes took the girls discus title to lead Greenville High School on Wednesday’s opening day of the District 13-4A track and field championship.

    April 10, 2014 4 Photos

  • David Weaks tees off 17.jpg Greenville's Lions finish third in 13-4A golf

      Greenville’s Lions gave way to a very strong wind and to the Wylie Pirates while finishing third on Tuesday at the District 13-4A golf tournament.
      The Lions entered the final round at Hurricane Creek Country Club with a four-shot lead over Wylie in the race for the second regional playoff berth. But the Lions lost ground to Wylie while batting wind gusts up to 44 miles per hour.

    April 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • Greenville Lions rank second in district golf tourney

      William Strickland fired a 78 to lead the Greenville Lions to second place in Monday’s opening round of the District 13-4A golf tournament at Hurricane Creek Country Club.
      The Lions carded a 337 team score to trail only McKinney North (323) in the battle for two spots in the Region II-4A tournament. The final round is set for today.

    April 8, 2014

  • Two Lions make 19-4A first team

      Two Greenville Lions made the top team on the All-District 19-4A boys soccer squad.
      Greenville senior Riley Cox and Lion junior Isaac Ramirez were selected to the first team.
      Luis DeLeon and Douglas Gutierrez of Greenville made the second team.

    April 6, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads

What's your favorite spring high school sport?

Swimming and diving
Track and Field
     View Results
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Real Estate News