Panthers pounce on Pirates, but Pirates get the victory

By Mark Anderson

John Salcido came up short of the goal line by a yard on this play Friday against Liberty.  John sustained a neck injury and had to be removed by EMS a short time later.  The good news is he is once again on his feet. (Photo by Mark Anderson)John Salcido came up short of the goal line by a yard on this play Friday against Liberty. John sustained a neck injury and had to be removed by EMS a short time later. The good news is he is once again on his feet. (Photo by Mark Anderson)LIBERTY, TX. — “Don’t quit.”

“Finish what you started.”

“It’s not over till it’s over.”

These are a few adages of our sports world. They are used mainly by coaches, and sometimes parents, to encourage athletes to give their best, never give up, and under no circumstances to quit.

Well, let’s say almost any circumstances. There is always an exception to the rule. That exception happened last Friday night at War Memorial Stadium in Liberty, on the Shepherd Pirate sidelines. With just under four minutes left, the exception to the rule came into play.

On this play, Keegan Turner scored to make it 34-12. But it is what happened during the play that changed everything.

John Salcido was doing what he had been taught — to never give up on a play. Keegan Turner burst into the open, and Salcido, although he had no chance to catch him, never gave up.

However, on the chase, he got caught awkwardly as he tried to catch Turner, and another hit he received took him down.

“Well, when the hit happened, I was confused why my neck was hurting,” Salcido told the San Jacinto News-Times. “Then, as I stumbled to the sideline, my neck was just hurting so bad I had to take my helmet off.”

He was immediately met on the sidelines by the trainer.

“She felt something was wrong with my neck, and made me stay in one position,” Salcido said.

Hushed Silence

At this point, head coach Miles Robison radioed the press box at War Memorial Stadium and asked that EMS be sent immediately. Everyone — players and fans alike — got extremely quiet as Salcido began to receive the first medical attention of the night — but by no means the last.
That’s when the players for both the Pirates and the Panthers gathered in a circle to pray for John. It was not the first time these two teams prayed together on the football field. Last season, both gathered before the game to pray for a Panther player who had cancer.

The good news, according to Coach Robison, is that player is in total remission.

It Got Very Emotional

Back on the sidelines with Salcido, things were getting very emotional, and not without reason. An ambulance was called, and remarkably, got lost on the way. Meanwhile, Salcido’s thoughts started setting in.

“The only thing I could think of at the time is I’m done with football — something I have worked extremely hard at,” Salcido said Sunday. “I had never expected to get injured like that. I got extremely emotional.”

Something happened as the wait for the ambulance was going on that Salcido distinctly remembers.

“This girl had come behind me and asked to pray over me,” he said. “I didn’t know who it was. I have never heard the voice before, I felt, and she prayed over me.”

That’s when Salcido’s emotions kicked in.

“I just got so emotional. I did not know what to think,” Salcido said.

A Time. . . to Quit

Meanwhile, a decision was being made by both coaches after the prayer. Coach Taylor asked if Coach Robison wished to continue. They both agreed that with the delay in the ambulance getting there, the players being distracted, and the emotions that all were feeling, the game needed to end right there.

That is exactly what happened. After Salcido’s injury, both sides mutually agreed to call the rest of the game off.

It is not something you see every day. In fact, it’s a rarity that either team will quit during a game. To have both teams agree to end the game — not just Shepherd — is both surprising, and shows a great deal of sportsmanship on both sides.

If there ever was a time to stop a game, that was it.

Not the End for Salcido

Many times, when a player sustains an injury that requires a player to be transported to the hospital on a stretcher as Salcido was, they almost certainly have played their last game.

Meet John Salcido.

Salcido is not finished playing football. As soon as the effects of his neck injury are healed, he will strap on the pads once more and rejoin his teammates on the field. The miracle is that he will be able to do that.

Salcido has bigger dreams, however. One of those dreams is to serve in the military. Once in the military, his ambition is to be a Navy Seal.

One thing you can say about Salcido — he has heart. He plays with it, and has great dreams for himself — but not just for himself — to serve as a part of a team.

That is John Salcido, in a nutshell.

The next W is for Salcido

Salcido has been the embodiment of this team at its’ core — a bunch of hard-working athletes with high ambitions and a “don’t quit” spirit.
Nick Truelove clearly expects to see him back on the field.

“Prayers went up, and blessings came down,” Truelove said, “but while he’s getting to 100 percent, we’ve got to step up to fill his place.”
Offensive lineman Zachariah Taylor put it best.

“The next W is for John,” he said.

It is not often you see a young man get carted off the field, as John was who will have a chance to resume his normal life. This young man will — and he asked to make sure he thanked both San Jacinto and Liberty counties for all the phone calls, emails and messages he has received. While the two schools will always remain rivals, in a very real sense, Salcido brought both communities together in a way that could not have been predicted.

However, Salcido’s story is proof that in athletics, there truly is a right time to quit. Both teams made that mutual decision last Friday night. Liberty walked away with the win, but today, Salcido walks with something greater — his life.

Pirates win in runaway from Tigers, 30-6

This is what is known as a look out block, especially when three Shepherd Pirates have sacked your QB. (Photo by Mark Anderson)This is what is known as a look out block, especially when three Shepherd Pirates have sacked your QB. (Photo by Mark Anderson)

By Mark Anderson

SHEPHERD — It’s not often that you see a pirate (think peg-legged pirate here) outrun a tiger. Last Friday night; however, that is what happened in Shepherd as the Pirates, behind Trevor Moye’s two touchdowns, pounced on the Tigers in a runaway, 30-6, at the “Field of Pain” in Shepherd.

Tone Set Early
The opening kickoff set the tone for the entire game in two respects. “Hercules” Moye fielded it and took off up the Trinity sideline. Somewhere in the path to the end-zone; however, a Pirate got called for a facemask penalty. That drive stalled out and Trinity got the pigskin back backed up deep into Pirate territory.

One thing that became very apparent very early in the game is the two interior lines were completely mismatched. Even though the touchdown by Moye was called back, the offensive line created holes for Devin Withers (73 yards on 12 carries), got it to the four-yard line. A false start moved the ball back five yards, and then Truelove was sacked and intercepted.

Trinity could not do any better on the next series. Trinity seemed to want to throw, but could not even hit the wide-open photographer on the sidelines.

When Trinity punted, Shepherd moved back down the field in short order, thanks to a long Moye run. With a first and goal this time, OC David Benbow gave it to Moye, who scored easily a misdirection play, that, combined with a two-point play, put the Pirates up, 8-0, with 1:05 in the first.

On the next series, Brayden Greer appeared to have beaten his opponent from Shepherd, but the best chance for excitement for Tiger fans died a hard death when the ball overshot him by a good three to four yards.

As the Quarter Turned
The Pirates got the ball back at their 28-yard line, and immediately fed their horse, Trevor Moye, on the second play. Moye galloped to the end-zone to put the Pirates up by a score of 16-0 after the successful two-point play with just over 11 minutes left in the second quarter.
Trinity finally seemed to get their offense out of granny gear, with a key play being a catch and run down the Shepherd sidelines by the giant-sized Trinity tight end, whose name is not locatable at press time. Even this big play by the big fella could not do anything more than give Trinity a sniff of the end zone from where he was tackled.

When Shepherd got the ball back, the offense, after sputtering on a fumble on the first play, kicked it into overdrive, with Devin Withers carrying for the first down, Moye carrying it down to the seven-yard line on the next play, and then John Salcido punching it in with 8:13 left to make it 24-0 after the successful two-point play.

The Tigers looked a gift horse in the mouth on the next series, when an apparent quarterback sack was wiped out by yellow carpeting by the zebras for offsides against Shepherd. In spite of the break, Trinity could do nothing that remotely represented a threat, and turned it over again.

When Shepherd got the ball back, they had 55 yards between them, the Trinity defense, and the end zone, with time winding down in the half. Offensive coordinator David Benbow cranked up the big rig known as the offensive line, and turned his horses loose. John Salcido scored for the second time in the game with 45 seconds left in the half to put the Pirates up by a score of 30-0.

When Shepherd kicked off, Justin Standley fielded the kickoff, and after a few stops, starts and turns, he went the distance for the touchdown, with 27 ticks of the clock left. The two-point try was unsuccessful, and that made the half time — and the final score — 30-6.

There is one other play that is worthy of mentioning. David Yates came past me after nearly blocking a punt, looked at this reporter, and said, “I’m going to block one. You watch.” Two punts later, he did.

A great deal of the credit for Shepherd’s offensive explosions to date go to the offensive line. As John Schubert told me, “Coach White always makes sure we have pride. Without pride, we wouldn’t be who we are today.” Schubert has a favorite quote from Coach White: “The offensive line does the dirty work to keep the pretty boys clean.”
Great line, Coach White — and very true.

Next week, Shepherd travels to Liberty to take on a much-improved Panther team. Game time in Liberty is scheduled for 7:30 pm.

Trojan athletic practice times set for August

By Cassie Gregory

COCISD Athletic Director Mark Byrd and the coaching staff welcomes the 2017-18 fall athletes back to practice after summer break.

Trojan Football Camp for athletes entering grades sixth through eighth is set for Aug. 2-4, from 9 to 11 a.m.

Trojan football players report in on the following dates at 1 p.m.
Incoming 11th and 12th graders - Wednesday, Aug. 2
10th graders - Thursday, Aug. 3
9th graders on Friday, Aug. 4.

Regular COHS football practice starts Monday, Aug. 7, at 8 a.m.

Coldspring-Oakhurst High School volleyball players report for training at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 1.

Volleyball players should report to the COHS gym, and football players report to the COHS Field House.

For more information on COCISD, visit

No joy in ‘Mudville’

The dugout open and waiting for Pirates to enter, but the condition of the field was not good for the rescheduled game on Saturday.The dugout open and waiting for Pirates to enter, but the condition of the field was not good for the rescheduled game on Saturday.

by Mark Anderson

SHEPHERD (a.k.a “Mudville”)—In the year 1888, Ernest Thayer authored a very famous poem called “Casey at the Bat.” The last two lines are the infamous words, “There is no joy in Mudville; mighty Casey has struck out.”

If Ernest Thayer had lived in Shepherd, Texas over this past week, the poem would not have had such a dramatic ending. After the spring deluge of 2016, Thayer’s words might well have been, “There is no joy in Mudville; a wet field won’t let Cody Crowder bat.” Yes, Thayer would probably have written it better, but this writer makes no claim to being a poet.

The deluge of 2016, which began a week ago Sunday, dropped eight inches of rain onto the baseball field in Shepherd, Texas. While rumors of players paddling life rafts on the field are unsubstantiated, the fact is, the baseball field is a royal mess. The rain did not let up this week. A game was rescheduled for Saturday at Shepherd against Liberty. Saturday may have been the prettiest day for a baseball game this entire calendar year. Because of the rain, and the wet field, the game was cancelled—again.

There is a good chance, that if polled, the Shepherd Pirates would all agree on one thing right now. If there is anyone in Shepherd praying for rain—make that anyone in Texas—please stop. Now. The rain certainly was not stopping.
There are some benefits to all this rain, however. The first benefit is to the field itself. The grass has not been greener the entire spring as it is right now. In that respect, the field is beautiful.

A second benefit is to the players themselves, at least in the short term. The pitching staff has been beleaguered with sore arms, and pitching has been as thin as ice in a glass of warm tea in Texas in mid-July. This week off may give at least one of the ailing pitchers the extra week needed to recover.

Just as surely as there are benefits, there are also drawbacks to all of this rain for the Pirates. The first drawback may come in the form of timing. Hitting in particularly is about timing. With a week off, and players not able to hit live pitching, whatever sense of timing they may or may not have had may evaporate when—or if—play resumes Monday.

The bigger drawback, however, is the effect on the scheduling of the rest of the season. In an effort to not lose too much ground to the deluge, the Pirates are scheduled to play not two, but three games this week: Liberty on Monday, Splendora on Wednesday, and Huffman on Friday.

That schedule is rather tentative at best at this writing. Sunday brought a bit more rain—and the possibility of yet another rainout—to the Shepherd area. If those rains are as heavy as what Houston experienced earlier in the day, the chances of the field being ready for play Monday are very slim, and that is stating it very optimistically at best.

There’s little doubt the Pirates are looking for the life preservers for this 2016 season, both literally and figuratively. There’s not enough drying element in Shepherd to keep up with this deluge, which seems to have a “will” to continue. Hopefully, the monsoons will pass by Mudville soon enough for the Pirates to salvage what is left of their season.

Right now, there is no joy in Mudville, for Cody cannot come to bat. Hopefully, that will change soon. When it does, a word of advice to those attending the games: bring insect repellent. Remember, Noah forgot to swat the two mosquitoes on the Ark. As wet as that baseball field has been, it is an absolute certainty there will be more than two of them there.

That is what happens here in Texas when baseball fields get flooded and games get cancelled. It is about the only certainty going forward for the rest of the 2016 Pirate season.

It may not get much better. What is the forecast for Wednesday and Friday? You guessed it—rain and more rain.
Welcome to Mudville.

Trojans take Pirates in extra innings

By Charles Ballard
San Jacinto News Sports Reporter

A bit inside.  Dawson Bennett, second baseman for the Trojans keeps an eye on Holloway’s low inside pitch.  (Photo by Charles Ballard)A bit inside. Dawson Bennett, second baseman for the Trojans keeps an eye on Holloway’s low inside pitch. (Photo by Charles Ballard)COLDSPRING: Baseball -The Coldspring Trojans hosted the Shepherd Pirates, in a re-match of earlier in the season. Coach Sloan said, “We are just going to play good baseball with nothing special on the game plan.” Well, it worked to a “T”, the Trojans took the Pirates in a very close district match up with a 4 to 3 win in the late innings of the game.

Dominique Richie, pitcher for the Trojans got the first batter for Shepherd, Royce See hit a towering fly ball to the short stop and Richie gets the first Pirate out. After throwing three straight balls, which were close, but just a bit off plate, he sends Shepherds Crowder to first base with a base on balls. A Shepherd runner is now on base, and things tighten up just a little bit. With Richie trying to settle in he throws a pitch just a little too outside for Casey Moore, the Trojan Catcher to stop, and Crowder takes second on a pass ball. Shepherd’s Reeves, now at bat hits one just inside second base and records the second out of the inning. A second pass ball to the Catcher sends Crowder to third in scoring position. Richie during a stretch sends another fast ball past the catcher and Crowder walks across the base for the first score of the night. Shepherd 1 Coldspring 0.
It wasn’t until the third inning, that Coldspring bats lite the sky. Dillon Bennett, Center Fielder for the Trojans steps in to the batter’s box with one thing on his mind, “I have to get on base”. Ball one is called by “Blue”, Dillon steps out of the batter’s box and gets the call from Coach Sloan. Dillon hits a towering fly just outside the park but is foul. All Dillon had to do is just straighten the last hit out and he is in business. The next pitch was in Dillon’s wheel house, he hit it in to deep right field. The ball almost had to file a flight plan with the airport. It did stay in the park; but not by much. Dillon is on with a double. Craig Elanson, is hit by a pitch, and is put on first, Runners are on first and second. Dillon sees a chance to steal third on a pick off pitch and runners are on the corner. The Pirate pitcher sends a pass ball by his catcher and scores Dillon. The game is tied up, but the momentum of the game is clearly in Coldspring advantage. Noah Williams is now the batter and has two strikes on him. Craig steals second and sets up Noah for a good hit. Noah slams a “Texas Leaguer” between second and third just outside the reach of the shortstop and center fielder. Dominque Riche, decides to help his cause by sending a nice hit between second and third. This hit by Richie scores Craig and Noah. The score is now Coldspring 3 and Shepherd 1.
During the Seventh inning the Pirates scored 2 unanswered runs to tie the game up. In the 9th inning the Trojans managed to squeeze one extra run to keep the win at home.

On April 19, the Trojans will visit Tarkington and then on Friday take a trip to Huffman. The Trojans will return home for Senior night, April 26, against Cleveland. And ending the district play in Liberty on April 29. The Trojans are going to have to win several of the remaining games and hope for a little help from other district teams to make the fourth spot in the playoff season. It has been a rough couple of years for the baseball team, three Head Coaches in three years. Each Coach having a new plan of attack to learn. The Trojans have always had a winning attitude and I see no difference in this season. That is the way I see it “From the Dugout”.

Crowder & Pirates turn the ship around

By Mark Anderson, Staff Reporter

Tarkington —The Shepherd Pirates began their quest for the 2016 state playoffs on Monday night when they turned the ship around behind the stellar relief pitching and timely hitting of Cody Crowder to sail away from Tarkington’s prairie with a rather impressive 11-6 win.

The game, originally scheduled for Tuesday, was pushed back to Monday because of what turned out to be an all-too-accurate forecast of the weather.

The game did not start off so well for the visiting Pirates. Josh Cronin started the game on the mound for the Pirates. However, 18 pitches and no outs into the second inning, Cronin had given up four runs. First-year coach Curtis Fox brought in Cody Crowder, an all-tournament selection at the Cleveland Rotary Club Tournament recently, to try and put out the fire on the prairie and the base paths.

Crowder put out the fire in the Longhorn bats. While Cronin had given up 4 hits in one-plus innings of work, Crowder got very stingy, and gave up only two hits the rest of the game.

Crowder’s pitching performance was, in a word, impressive. Crowder pitched 6 innings, giving up only two hits and two walks while corralling 10 Longhorns via the strikeout. Even more amazing was Crowder’s pitch count. It took only 84 pitches to put the Longhorns away.

With Crowder on the mound, the Pirates began to swing the lumber. Down 4-1, the Pirates rallied for 3 runs in the third inning to tie the game, and surged ahead in the fourth inning when they scored 4 more to go up 8-4. They added 2 runs in the top of the fifth inning to go up by a score of 10-4. The Longhorns got to Crowder for the first, last, and only time in the bottom of the fifth to make it 10-6, but the Pirates added another run in the top of the fifth to go up by what would prove to be the final score of 11-6.

The Pirates righted the ship with Crowder on the mound. He muzzled the bellowing Longhorn offense from the first pitch. Because of Crowder’s strong performance on the mound, in the middle innings the Pirates were able to turn it around and eventually sail away from the Longhorns. Crowder was again the key, going 2 for 3 with a double, a triple, 2 walks, and two runs scored on this evening.

This Pirate team, however, is exactly that—a team. While Crowder was instrumental, he could not have saved the ship from sinking in the first district matchup had it not been for his fellow Pirates. One who was a catalyst in this game was Lane Reeves. Reeves went 3 for 5 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored as well.

Another Pirate who contributed to the win on Monday was Colby Holloway. Holloway went two for two with two walks and a run scored, as well as two RBIs on this night. Royce See also made his presence felt with a triple, a walk, and two runs scored on the night, and in true “Pirate” fashion, he also stole a base.

Finally, Josh Cronin may have had a less than stellar outing on the mound, but did contribute at the plate, going two for three, with an RBI and a run scored. Trey Harper also contributed with a hit and a run scored.

With the win, the Pirates are now 8-4 for the season, including a 3-0 record on the road and 1-0 in district play. Both of those records will be tested on Tuesday night as the Pirates travel to Cleveland to face the Cleveland Indians, who have not had much good fortune this season. Their record coming into Tuesday night’s game is 1 win, 4 losses, and a draw. Game time in Cleveland Tuesday night is at 7 pm.