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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 15, 1991, New Braunfels, Texas Sports Unicorns Volunteers Matchup: New Braunfels (8-2,5-1 astrict champion of District 25-SA) vs. Robert E. Lee (8-4,3-2 third-place playoff representative of District 26-5A) at North East Stadhim In San Antonio, 2 p.m. Saturday. Last year’s playoffs: New Braunfels lost 35-15 to Madison in ^district; Lee Od not qualfy. Last week: New Braunfels beat Seguin 31 -21. Lee lost to Madison, 28-14. Game notes: This bkflstrict contest pits two schools which have had vasty afferent playoff experiences in tie past several years. While Lee clinched its first playoff berth in 12 years, New Braunfels won its third consecutive astrict tie and Is playoff-bound for the ninth time in 10 years. Lee prevented New Braunfels from meeting former ooach Jim Streety and his MaO-son team in the first round when the Volunteers lost to MaOson last week in a game that determined 26-5A's second-place team behind Converse Judson. The two schools are competing in the Division ll (Small School) SA playoffs and are both the smalest playoff queriers in tteir respective astricts. Lee. however, has more than 2,300 students while New Braunfels has fewer than 1,500. The Unicorns are the smalest school kl District 25-5A and tie smallest SA In the area except for Sam Houston, which has 4A numbers but plays up. Lee, despite being a amal school representative, has a few hundred more kids than 25-5A’s largest school (Harfandale). New Braunfels' situation could be worse, however — 25-5A runner-up McCollum faces Judson for the second year in a row, with the Rockets having almost 2,000 more students to draw from than the Cowboys. The winner of the New Braunfels vs. Lee contest could run into a brick wa! in the second round of the playoffs: the bkfistrict survivor gets the dubious honor of playing the Sam Houston vs. Marshall winner. That game is Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Alamo Stadium, and It should be the best of the area's bidistrict contests. It pits the two premier 5A running becks In the area In Houston's Vincent Yates and Marshall's Anthony Holmes, with the latter returning from an injury that probably cost him a state rushing title. It is unusual for New Braunfels to have a Saturday afternoon game, but Coach Lew Simmonds said the Unicorns are such a good practice team that he believes they wM perform well at a time of day when they are accustomed to being productive. Lee was guided to the playoffs by first-year ooach Jimmy Burkholder, a member of the Volunteers' 1971 state championship team. Tommy Kramer was the quarterback of tost team, going on to a stellar pro career as a Minnesota Vldng. The Volunteer players have used that team as an inspiration on the 20th anniversary of the championship, with star quarterback Matt Lynch wearing Kramer's number. Lee's allude going into the playoffs should be dramatically afferent than the MaOson team New Braunfels faced last year. After entering ta playoffs with a 4-5-1 record, a San Antonio newspaper ooiumn said the Mavericks were a prime example of why the three team 5A playoff system diluted the quality of the post-season A solid Madison team answered by going three rounds in the playoffs, routing New Braunfels and advancing in a tie with Sam Houston Lee, on the other hand, has been celebrated as a Cinderella team alf season because of its railes and unforeseen success — the Volunteers. 0-5 in 26-5A in 1990, were uniformly picked to repeat as ta cellar team. Lee's four losses are al to big.. quality playoff teams: Judson. MaOson, Taft and Marshall The Volunteers have also defeated two playoff teams In East Central and EOson. Players to welch: Lee’s Matt Lynch is the second-rated 5A quarterback in San Antonio, behind Vie Holmes quarterback and probably the tad best overall behind Alamo Heights' Glenn Winship He is probably the best quarterback New Braunfels has laced — at least sinoe before district started, as the Unicorns played some good ones early in PSugervNto's Peter Brand and Dei Valle's Erie White Lynch has thrown for 1,437 yards and rushed tor 323 Lynch's favorite target is wide out Danny Mota, who is very effective as a possession receiver. Mota was the leading receiver in 26-5A with 33 catches, but he averaged just 12 5 yards per catch tor 411 total yards The Volunteers have a big fatback in Richard Rub. who has rushed tor more than 1,000 yards and can hurt teams that play the pass too heavty Lynch is abo a major threat against defenses tat spread out too much to stop the pass — ta team's best play is an option run to tat situation. The skill players operate behind a huge and talented offensive line Tackle Jason Sands is an exceptional player — at 6 5 and 260. he is also very active Center James Moreno (6-0,225) is also a very capable offensive lineman tor Lee. Defensively, be best players are the front people — specificsVy be interior linemen and two inside linebackers. The TNT provides a lot of impact up front, wHh nose guard James Osborne weighing 2.5 and tackles Joey Cuellar and Kenneth Kirksey respectively tipping the scales at 215 and 220. At linebacker. Mike Hekft is a big kid at 5-11 and 215, white his opposite ILB. Ben Schenk, is also good Hekft is an aggressive player who reeds offenses well.    r New Braunfels' top player to the last several games has been Dennis Bryan, who scored on a Michael Sierra pass and a punt return last week. Bryan weighs about 140 pounds, but has been the impact player for be Unicorns as a br ae-way player on offense, defense and special teams. Jacob Leos has done an outslandtog jab of rushing since Kyle Herman's ankle Injury — Leos averaged right at 100 yards per game late In the season. New Braunfels' inside linebackers have also been extremely consistent players: Jason Turner and Shawn Juries have bob had remarkable seasons and have mads a great deal of plays. The team has abo enjoyed outslandtog play from Its offensive Ina of late, wib David Walter, Matt Pusafari and Todd Kadtog having very strong district seasons. Friday, November 15 1991Page 8    HerakJ-Ze/funp,    New    Braunfels,    Texas Cook returning to state meet NB runner aiming at top 15 finish By JOE BELK Sports Editor ** Amy Cook of New Braunfels qualified for her third state cross country ■(neet in a row at last Saturday’s Reg-Iron IV meet, with the Unicom junior [hoping for a good race against the •tough SA competition. I “I feel like I’m a lot stronger this lyear. Last year, even though I’d been ;to the state meet, it was my first year •going in 5A,” Cook said. “Now, I have experience in 5A and experience 'at the state meet. I’ll know what to expect and ITI know what I have to •do.’’ I Cook will compete in the 5A girls race at 1:20 p.m. Saturday, at the usual state cross country course on the Southwestern University campus in Georgetown. The Unicom runner is familiar with the course: after a top IO finish in 4A as a freshman. Cook placed 26th last year after New Braunfels moved to Her regional finish, however, was much stronger this year — she passed several runners down the stretch to plier* fourth in the region. 'I think she’ll do pretty well,” Coach Noel Hansen said. “From a time standpoint, she could be somewhere (in the top IO or 15). She could also have a great day and surprise everyone.” Cook also believes she can improve her time and place at state, and has set specific goals to that effect. “I want to get into the top 15,” she said. “In 5A, that’s a good goal for me. I might be able to get into the top IO.” She said it could be a deference of just several seconds between a top IO and top 15 finish. “There really wasn’t that much of a difference (between the runners),” she said. “Hopefully I’ll have a better race than I did last year.” Hansen said among the favorites in the race should be two of three triplets, the Sangaiangs, from Houston Cypress Creek, along with Region IV champion Marina Flores of Edinburg North. The Unicom team just missed accompanying Cook to state, placing fourth by four points behind the third-place qualifier at regionals. “That’s the way cross country works,” Cook said. “But we’re a young team, and we learned from it. New Braunfels* Amy Cook will compete in her third state cross country meet Saturday, with the Unicorn junior scheduled to run in the 5A race at 1:20 p.m. at Southwestern University in Georgetown. Next year, our goal from the beginning will be to go to state.” She said the younger runners will at least have a chance to see the state meet for themselves this year. “They’re going to all go to the state meeL” she said. "That way, they’ll know what it’s like instead of just hearing about it." Hansen said that knowledge benefited Cook, being prepared for things such as the big crowd for the 5A race. “I think she’s a lot more ready this year," he said. Cook said she felt much better and more confident entering the state meet this year than was the case last season. “This year, I’m not as tiled as I was last year. I feel like we scheduled it just right,” she said. “I’m looking to peak Saturday.”Unicorns finished with rebuilding, ready to compete By JOE BELK Sports Editor After learning about District 25-5A basketball the hard way last season with a young, short and inexperienced learn, New Braunfels now has the advantage of reluming a lot of players familiar with the tough district. "We took our lumps last year, but it paid dividends as far as maturity and knowing what lo expect,” Unicom Coach Cliff Wilkins said. ‘‘We’ll still be liny — there s nothing we can do about that except play even harder as a team We have a chance to be real good by the end We should be able to compete a lot belter ” The Unicorns return three starters and five additional lettermen who played on the varsity for all or much of the season Wilkins said that while the team played hard last year, this season he believes the Unicorns will be more conscious of setting their own tempo rather than reacting to other teams. “Last year, we would play great against a great team and (not so well) against a team closer to our level. We never really estab fished a personality,” he said ”1 think we’ll be able to develop our own personality and play within our own style this year “We want to develop our own tempo and have other teams be conscious of us rather than vice versa Because of our youth, we’re going to have some breakdowns But we’re developing a lot more composure each and every day.” in addition to the eight returners. New Braunfels lips several talented players moving up from the junior varsity. ”1 feel like we’ve got the program in the best shape it’s been in in a king time,” Wilkins said. ‘‘We’re solid from the freshman level on up. lf we do have a real strength on paper, it would be with depth.” He said the returning varsity players and the ones just starting on the varsity have all made great strides during the off season. Schedule New Braunfels Boy* Basketball Dele - Opponent Time 11/23 el Westwood 330 11/26 McCaMum 7 30 11/26 el Travis 7 30 12/3 Tivy 8 00 12/5 7 Gonzales Tournament 12/10 Boerne 730 12/12 14 Alamo Heights Tournament 12/17 at Alamo Heights 7 30 12/19 21 Canyon Tournament 12/28 Smitaon VaSey 830 12/30 Canyon 600 1/3 at Boerne 730 1/7 •at Hallandale 730 1/10 ’San Marcos 730 1/17 •ai South San 730 1/21 •East Central 7 30 1/24 •atMcCoium 7 30 1/26 •Seguin , 7 30 2/4 'Hallandale 730 zn •at San Marcos 730 2/11 •South San 7 30 2/14 'to East Central 730 2/18 •McCoMum 7 30 2/21 •al Seguin 7 30 * District 26 5A gam* “Everybody, to mc, looks just so much belter than they were.” Wilkins said. “I really feel comfortable with this group We have a lot of fun. “We played our first year in 5A with, agc-wise, a JV team, and we look our lumps,” he said “We had some kids that did good jobs sporadically. It seems like we have developed a lot more consistency.” Wilkins said that consistency — at a high level — will be needed in District 25-5A, which is extremely strong this year despite losing at least five college players. “Even though we were young last year, a lot of other learns were almost as young,” he said South San is the projected favorite, with the Bobcats reluming all of their players after a rebuilding year last season The only team with no returning starters is East Central, a regional finalist last year and the district's only true perennial powerhouse with one of the strongest programs in San Antonio. “Their program is such where each year they primarily have a senior ball club, even though they have three sophomores on varsity this year,” Wilkins said. “Everyone says they’ll be down, but I look for them to be real good by the end — they’re so quick and athletic.” Seguin, which won the district last year after tying Fast Central and w Tining a playoff game, lost six of its lop players bul still has three very strong people returning: Rodney Carter, James Medrano and Marcel inc Leal. “Our district may not be quite as strong as far as the first two teams,” Wilkins said, after both 25-5A learns won bidistrict last year and were eventually eliminated by state finalist Jay. “Whoever wins may not be quite as good as Seguin was last year, or as good as Fast Central was But the district will be better all around.” San Marcos returns several good players, including 6-8 Chris Such. McCollum brings back 6-6 Delton Green, arid Mar I anda lire turns three starters. “By what everyone’s returning rosier-wise, South San would have to be the favorite. East Central will probably be the most athletic. and Sari Marcos has die best big man — so you can’t ever count them out,” Wilkins said. “We know it’s going to be extremely difficult. But ai the same time, we know that’s what we play the preseason for. The type of teams we’re playing will prepare us for our district.” New Braunfels has numerous playoff teams on its preseason schedule, including 4A state finalist Alamo Heights, Boerne, Westwood and Austin McCallum. Among the Unicorns’ returning starters is Isabel! Bustos, a 5-10 player who will move from guard to wing this year bul could play any of the outside positions in a pinch “Bell had a tendency to play a little out of control, but this year he seems to have developed the maturity necessary to be consistent,” Wilkins said. "He’s probably the quickest player we have. Bell should be a real fine player.” John Drury, another returning starter, plays in the low post but is extremely versatile. “He could probably play any number of positions for us,” the coach said of Drury, a junior. “He always goes I IO percent. Everybody hales to practice against John because he is so aggressive. He’s the most aggressive player on the team and probably in the area. He’s not a tremendous athlete by any means, but he hustles and plays with such (intensity) that lie’s invaluable to our team.” Unicorns 1991-92 This is ta rosier tor the 1991 92 New Braunfels Unicorns boys basket)all town, with players, heights. classifications and positions listed Player HI Pos Ct Esp Is tall Bustos 5-10 F Sr 11 Andy Cakferell 510 G Jr IL John Drury 6 1 C/F Jr IL Kevin Hudgins 6 1 F Sr IL Brad Lybrand 6 1 F Jr 11 Reagan Overall 5-10 G Jr IL Bret Riedel 6 1 G Soph JV Lance Roes cfi 62 C/F Sr JV James Sargent 5-11 G/F Jr JV Mictiael Sierra 6 1 G Soph IL Dustin Simons 6 1 C Jr IL Dean Smite 60 C/F Jr JV The other returning starter is sophomore Michael Sierra, who played point guard as a freshman “Having Mike out there is like having a coach on the floor. He always plays under control,” Wilkins said. “He was put into a position last year that not many 14 or 15 year olds are put in, and he responded with a tremendous amount of poise and character. “He really improved during the offseason and summer. He does the little things to win you ball games and keep you in ball games And he loves basketball. I look forward to him having an outstanding year.” Another returning senior is Kevin Hudgins, who will play more on the wing this year after seeing most of his time inside last season. “He should be a solid performer for us off the bench — he’ll give us much-needed depth,” Wilkins said of Hudgins, who he said had improved his outside shooting and is working to improve off the dribble. The team’s third senior is 6-2 Lance Roesch, who can play either inside position and was one of the leading scorers on the JV last year, Another returner is Reagan Overall, who will miss the first few weeks of the season after recent arthroscopic surgery. Overall can play either guard position well. “He’s always beat — and is even more so now — a great three-point shooter,” Wilkins said. “And he’s developed into a good leader.” Dustin Simons returns this season after being moved up to varsity last year. Wilkins said he gives the team a lot of strength and aggressiveness down low. Brad Lybrand is another junior who played on both the JV and varsity last year. Lybrand is one of the best athletes on the team, and has improved his shot since last ytm. One of the team's point guards is junior Andy Caldwell, who also split time between the JV and varsity last season. “He does a good job of running our offense,” Wilkins said, adding that Caid veil is a capable shooter and ball-handier. “He has improved his all-around game. He will definitely see loci of minutes.” James Sargent moves up from the JV, giving the varsity a good athlete who runs the floor well. “He really comes to play on game day,” Wilkins said. “James is another one who really needs court time — that ought to allow him to play a little more under control,” Bm UNICORNS, Rags 10 ;