Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blowing in the Wind, Part 1...

Saturday was a rare home playoff doubleheader both Abilene High and Cooper were playing home playoff games and oddly enough against two Mansfield schools. Both AHS and Cooper won the home-and-home coin tosses. Abilene High had the early game Cooper had the night game. It was also the coldest game of the year. That couple with 30+ mph winds all day made for not only miserable shooting conditions, but also awful playing conditions. It also negated both teams' kicking games and made passing the ball a helluva lot tougher.
Cooper had been playing everyone of its playoff games this year down to the wire. Their first game they won on the last play of the game, so who was to think this one would have been any different? So, when Cooper went ahead of Mansfield Timberview with just more than 2 minutes left in the game everyone in the stadium knew this one wasn't over, it was just a matter of whether Cooper's defense would be able to hold on long enough to either kill the clock or make a stop. If it wasn't for a really dumb late hit penalty and some bad missed tackling on a really tough touchdown run for the winning touchdown Cooper might have made history having another home game the following week, but it just wasn't meant to be.








Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Friday Doubleheader & Why I Hate the Option...

The best thing about football season in Texas is since schools are out there are usually afternoon football games on Friday, which means I get to miss shooting Black Friday shopping in exchange for shooting an afternoon football game. That deal works just fine for me. So, on Friday while the masses were fighting crowds for doorbuster deals I went to Colorado City to shoot Munday's game against Crosbyton and in the nightcap it was Cisco playing Idalou.
The first game was barely even a game. Munday came out guns blazing scoring early and often. By halftime the score was 49-0 and even then it looked like Munday had called off the dogs late in the second quarter. Most of the starters never even saw the field in the second half and even a few of the JV players made in the game late and still Munday ended up scoring two more touchdowns. The final score was 63-14, and I'm pretty sure they could've put up 100 easily if they wanted to.
The second game, Cisco vs. Idalou was the big reason I went out there. Cisco, a perennial power was playing Idalou, the defending state champion. Just looking at Idalou's stats they play great defense, they hadn't given up more than one touchdown to a 2A team all season including not giving up a point the whole month of October. Cisco, on the other hand, could score at will and averaging more than 40 points a game. Something had to give...
Cisco in the past has been a running team, basing out of the I-formation. That made them rather easy to shoot. This year, however, they've started running the zone read option. Well, the problem with running the option was where I shoot from behind the line was I really had no idea who was getting the ball. When the option is run well it's meant to confuse the defense as to who has the ball. Well, the problem was, it also confused the photographer too! I hadn't shot many option teams lately and had almost forgotten how much I hated shooting option teams. Well, luckily Cisco was playing great defense as well, because Cisco, like their counterparts were playing great defense and causing lots of turnovers. On paper, the game was an upset, but Cisco played great and dominated the defending state champs and pulled out a well-deserved win.





Monday, November 28, 2011

Painting the Town Blue...

Wednesday afternoon I went up to Stamford to shoot a story about two rival towns playing in a playoff game on Friday. The Stamford High School cheerleaders were painting windows and putting out balloons and ribbons to show the town's support for the team in preparation for the big game against their district rival they were meeting in the playoffs. I hung out with them for a little while following them around town. It was a really interesting portrait of the fanatacism showing how a whole town can rally around the local high school team making its run in the playoffs. And while the sports is football, which does draw more fans than the other sports, the really cool thing is a lot of these small towns will come together and support all their teams that make deep runs in the playoffs and it doesn't discriminate around gender roles either, it's really kind of cool to see.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

State Volleyball, Championship Day, Game 2...

I'll be honest, after seeing Lucas Lovejoy the day before I didn't expect Wylie to have a much of a chance in this game. I was thinking this would be three quick games and Wylie being "just happy to have made it there." I mean, Lovejoy had 5 players over 5'11, most being 6'1-6'2, and they could just KILL the ball. Wylie on the other hand, has no one taller than 5'11 and only one that tall. Wow, I must say the humble pie that I ate at the end of the match was rather bitter. Watching them play was sort of a David vs. Goliath moment. It was really good to see they went down fighting, and Lovejoy was a lot more sore than they had expected.
Given the way that Wylie started out slow in their previous two matches I'd seen them play at state, I thought it would happen again. But the Lady Bulldogs came out swinging and played one hell of a match. The first game they ended up losing very close. Then, they came back and won the next one. I must say, as much as I've complained about volleyball in the past, this may have been one of the best matches I've ever seen. Much like the way my views on soccer changed last year, I think I may be coming around on my views of volleyball (at least the well-played types of games).
They ended up going back and forth and Lovejoy's size difference was mostly being negated by Wylie playing really great and using the great fundamentals that got them there, the good passing, setting and digging that many teams take for granted. In the fourth game Wylie game out guns blazing, taking a big lead quick and while they nearly lost the lead there at the end, they pulled it off and forced a fifth game.
Game five, however, didn't go as expected. Lovejoy took a quick lead, and when the final game only is played to 15, a quick lead is a high mountain to climb. They ended up losing the match, but they did prove they were the second-best team in Class 3A, and with a few breaks the results may have been a little different, but they showed a lot of heart in going down fighting and since the core of the players on the team were juniors or sophomores, I may be making another trip to San Marcos next year. Though I doubt it will be kicking and screaming like I have in the past when given volleyball assignments.










Thursday, November 24, 2011

State Volleyball, Championship Day, Game 1...

The first match I had to shoot Saturday for the state volleyball tournament was Water Valley playing Iola in the Class 1A state championship. It was a 9am match and since I wasn't too worried about having to put together a big slideshow like I needed to for the Wylie match and since the shot I know I needed to get wasn't going to happen until the end of the match I figured I didn't need to shot up right when the match started. But, at the same time I didn't want to shot up literally for the last shot. So, my plan was to make sure I shot a couple of games. I got there about 20 minutes after the match started and the first game was just about to end.
Water Valley looked like they were on a path of destruction to win the match and quickly. The good think about this is it was pretty easy to make nice photos of Water Valley, the bad thing is Iola couldn't seem to do anything and the match was flying by. One thing I was sure to be conscious of was where I shot from and to be sure to vary it up while I did unlike the day before. So, even though things flew by I had a nice mix of photos. I wasn't super thrilled with the celebration shot, but considering how bad Water Valley beat them I guess I should be happy they celebrated at all. I ended up sending what I figured to be way too many photos with 10. Then when I got back in town and saw their pages I found out they ran a photo page and huge 6 column photo on the sports front. The Wylie game I shot for our paper... we ran two photos.






Wednesday, November 23, 2011

State Volleyball, Day 1...

Wylie was making their second trip to the state volleyball tournament in as many years. I also had to shoot photos of the Class 1A match earlier in the day for another paper. After last year's trip, Wylie was hungry to get back. Their first trip to state didn't start out real well, it's obvious they were playing tight in losing the first two games, but made a comeback to take the match to five games, but lost the last one. Not the kind of outcome they wanted in their first trip to state, so it was obvious they were wanting some vindication.
The first match I shot was Water Valley playing Cayuga in the 1A match for the San Angelo paper. It's a little over four hours from Abilene to San Marcos and they were playing at 11am. Needless to say, getting up to leave at 7am was not real thrilling. I got there a little after the first game had started. The good thing about it was it gave me some time to get a little practice in before the Wylie game. I had a couple of nice shots, but Water Valley beat them so bad, it didn't make for really fabulous photos.
When the Wylie match started it didn't look so good. They went down 5-1 and all of the sudden it was starting to look like deja vu from last year. Then it seemed like they woke up and in a quick way. After, their little hiccup at the start of the match, there was no looking back. Wylie pretty much controlled everything after that and won the match in three games.
One problem I noticed that I had tried really hard this year to do while shooting volleyball was vary things up. When I got to editing my photos, I noticed I never shot any photos from the floor, everything was shot from up high. Now, my previous problem was I would shoot everything from the floor and nothing from the stands. Oops, well the good thing about it was since Wylie won I'd have a chance to vindicate myself the next day since Wylie had won.