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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 7, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas PORTS Payback time? Can Texas finally beat Oklahoma? FHE DAILY r-l-C-K-E-T 27-4A football begins Defending champ Lake Travis is at NB; Canyon visits Burnet to start league play. Time: 7:30p.m. Cougarettes at Lady Cavs Canyon volleyballs are abo on the road; will continue 27-4A play at Lake Travis. Time: 6:30 p.m. Astros continue playoffs At home, Houston tries for 2-1 lead over Braves in NL divbional series. Time: 7:05 p.m. (FOX) Friday, October 7, 2005 — HERALD-ZErruNC — Page 5A Herald-Zeitung To have your sports event publicized, contact Will Wright at 625-9144, ext. 223, or by e-mail at [email protected] NL DIVISIONAL SERIES Braves vs. Astros (Series tied 1-1) Wednesday Houston 10, Atlanta 5 Thursday Atlanta 7, Houston 1 Saturday Atlanta (Sosa 13-3) at Houston (Oswalt 20-12), 7:05 p.m. (FOX) Sunday, Oct. 9 Atlanta at Houston, 12:09 p.m., if necessary (ESPN) Monday, Oct. 10 Houston at Atlanta, 7:09 p.m., if necessary (FOX) PLAYOFF RESULTS LATE WEDNESDAY American League Los Angeles 5, New York 3 (series tied 1-1) THURSDAY National League St. Louis 6, San Diego 2 (Cardinals lead series 2-0) TODAY’S GAMES American League Chicago (Garcia 14-8) at Boston (Wakefield 16-12), 3:09 p.m. (ESPN2; Sox lead series 2-0) Los Angeles (Byrd 12-11) at New York (Johnson 17-8), 7:09 p.m. (ESPN) Braves hammer Clemens, Houston Memories of Burnet fire up Canyon By Rick Breland Staff Writer BURNET — Canyon coach Les Davis has a headache. On Thursday, the second -year coach was hunkered down in his office, feeling the aches and pains from one of life’s most common infirmities. And while it is pure speculation as to the cause of Davis’ headache, it could be the fact that Canyon will face its toughest test of the season tonight when the Cougars open District 27-4A play at Burnet. Last year, the Bulldogs handed Canyon its first loss of the season, a 36-34 quadruple overtime slugfest that was more damaging to Canyon’s playoff chances than its confidence. That loss, along with the Wurst Bowl defeat by New Braunfels, kept the Cougars from advancing to the playoffs, despite their 8-2 record. “That was a big loss,” Davis recalled. “We can look back at that game and know that if we had won that game, we would have made it to the playoffs.” Much of the storyline from last year’s match-up is present again this year. Canyon (5-0) is undefeated heading into this game for the second year in a row. Burnet (3-2) has a winning record just as it did last season. Once again the Bulldogs’ strength lies in their mammoth offensive and defensive lines. “They’re very big up front on both sides of the ball,” Davis said. “They match up pretty well with us along the line.” The line of scrimmage isn t the only similarity between the teams. Both rely on the same philosophy to winning games — ground control offense backed by solid defensive play. “They do a lot of the same things we do,” Davis said. “Offensively, they want to line up and primarily run the football. The thing is, they can get you off-balance and throw the ball well, too." Burnet won’t have an advantage in several individual match-ups, but the Bulldogs’ pick of the litter is a kicker. Sophomore Ross Evans, a former soccer standout, has one of the strongest legs in the state. Three weeks ago against San Marcos, Evans hit a 53-yard field goal. While that is impressive enough for a high school kicker, he reportedly has hit from as far as 65 yards, although never during a game. Evans booted field goals of 32 and 27 yards against the Cougars last year. Another standout for Burnet include running back Darius Nesby. Although only a sophomore, Nesby has been productive in the starting role and has had several long runs this season. “He’s young, but he looks like a real good one,” Davis See COUGARS, Page 6A MANDY REARY Herald-Zeitung Canyon quarterback J.D. Kunz, who has passed for 408 yards and threeTDs this season, will lead the Cougars in their District 27-4A opener tonight at Burnet. Breanna Ortega plays flute for the New Braunfels band. ATLANTA (AP) —The Braves rocked the Rocket, John Smoltz picked up where he left off six years ago, and Atlanta finds itself all even with the Houston Astros in the NL playoffs. Rookie Brian McCann hit a three-run homer in Rp9er his first Clemens postseason at-bat, which were all the runs Smoltz needed to lead the Braves past Roger Clemens and the Astros 7-1 on Thursday night, tying the best-of-five series at one game apiece. Smoltz broke a one-day tie with Houston’s Andy Pettitte to reclaim the title of baseball’s winningest postseason pitcher. The right-hander improved to 15-4 with seven strong innings in his first October start since the 1999 World Series. With the NL East champion Braves having bounced back from a 10-5 loss in Game I, the series shifts to I louston. Itoen-ty-game winner Roy Oswalt is set to go against Atlanta’s surprising 13-game winner, Jorge Sosa, on Saturday. The Astros hope Oswalt looks better than Clemens, who led the majors in ERA (1.87) at age 43 but was bothered late in the season by a sore hamstring. McCann sent the Turner Field crowd into a frenzy when he connected with two outs and two on in the second, driving a fastball into the right-field seats to put the Braves up 3-1. The Braves stretched their lead to 5-1 in the third. Clemens left after the filth, his line showing five runs, six hits, three walks and only two strikeouts. It equaled the most earned runs he allowed during a regular-season game, and Houston’s offensive support was about par for the course. In 20 of the Rocket’s 32 starts coming into the playoffs, the Astros scored three runs or less — including nine shutouts. Unicorns take aim at Lake Travis Rangers to reach for running game against MacArthur By Will Wright Sports Editor New Braunfels footballers have enjoyed the past two weeks, glowing in their first win of the season. “We feel pretty good coming off the big win over Del Valle,” receiver Josh Smith said of the 45-7 decision Sept. 22 that snapped the Unicorns’ four-game season-opening losing streak. “That definitely helped our morale a lot. We know Lake Travis has a good team with a lot of good players. We’ll have to be pretty well prepared for them.” Today’s the start of a new season for the Unicorns, who will host ninth-ranked Lake Travis in their District 27-4A opener at Unicorn Stadium. The players were relaxed going through Thursday’s final walk-through practice, and happy they’ll be playing at home for only the second time this season. The Unicorns are the underdog tonight, and some believe they’ll have an uphill climb to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996. They were in the same position last year, when they faced must-wins in their final two games to make the postseason, so being here is nothing new. “We need to play it one week at a time,” offensive lineman Garrett Mechler said. “This week it’s Lake Travis, and we’ll worry about the rest of them as they come.” Each of these next five games are important, but the Unicorns get three of diem at home — all against the district favorites. In addition to tonight, theres Burnet on Oct. By Will Wright Sports Editor SMITHSON VALLEY — It’s a wide open race in District 26-5A, and two of the contenders will strap it on again tonight at Ranger Stadium. San Antonio MacArthur gave Smithson Valley a scare last season before falling 21-14. The Brahmas, 2-8 a year ago, are now a year wiser and in the hunt for their first playoff berth since 1999. “Smithson Valley was one of our better games last year,” Mac coach Van Fuschak said. “We moved the ball on them last year, and we played a lot of people close last year—we just needed to find a way to win.” Last year’s angst has turned into this year’s feast for MacArthur, which came out of the Trent gate 3-0 with wins Rios over SA Clark and Boerne. “The kids have played well, except for a slip up against Reagan a few weeks ago when we just didn’t play well,” Fuschak said of the Brahmas’ lone loss, 22-20 to the Rattlers. Smithson Valley ~°dy    coach Larry Hill McKinney    sajtj qle Brahmas are plenty able to make the playoffs. “They have a couple of good backs, two quarterbacks who play well and a lot of other guys who have helped them this year,” I fill said. Both enter with 4-1 records and are two of five teams that are I -1 and tied for third in 26-5A. Madison is 2-0; Reagan is 2-1 after its 45-0 victory over Lee Thursday night. Leading the Brahmas are alternating quarterbacks Kevin Schmid and Erie Udell. Udell also plays receiver and is the place-kicker. Both have led Mac’s offense to 309.6 yards and 25.6 See RANGERS, Page 6A MANDY REARY/Herald-Zeitung It will be a battle of quarterbacks tonight, featuring New Braunfels' Zach Rhodes, above, who has passed for 1,092 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, against LakeTravis'Todd Reesing, who has thrown for 1,325 yards and 20 scores. 21 and archrival Canyon on take advantage,” Mechler and can score a lot of points Nov. 4. “ibis is the point in the season where you have to play well against everybody — if you don’t, then anybody will added. It’s a sure bet that Lake Travis (5-0) won t be Del Valle (0-5). “Lake Travis is very talented in a hurry. They are underrated on defense, I think, they do a good job of not giving up big plays,” New Braunfels head coach Chuck Caniford LAKE TRAVIS (SO) AT NEW BRAUNFELS (1-4) 7:30 p.m., Unicorn Stadium Radio: KGNB-AM 1420 Last year: Lake Travis 38, New Braunfels 31, 2 OT Tickets: $7 reserved: $6 general admission THE UNICORNS Coach: Chuck Caniford (1-4 at New Braunfels; 8-27 in his fourth season overall) Last week: New Braunfels 45, Del Valle 7 (Sept. 22) Offense: Multiple Defense: Multiple Top players: QB Zach Rhodes; WR-DB Kurtis Kostan THE CAVALIERS Coach: Jeff Dicus (16-10 in his third season at Lake Travis: 46-32 overall) Last week: Lake Travis 45, Elgin 7 Offense: Spread and one-back Defense: Eagle Top players: QB Todd Reesing; WR Fred Robinson; RB/WR Joshua Joseph GAME OUTLOOK Lake Travis: Reesing has been almost unstoppable for the ninth-ranked Cavs, having thrown 110 passes without an interception. He’s totaled 1,325 yards and 20 TDS thus far. Robinson is his main man, with 35 catches for 715 yards. With star RB Luke Lagera out (torn ACL), Reesing has run for 261 yards on 40 carries; Mike Dewitt has 284 yards on 20 carries. Lake Travis is scoring 44.8 points and averaging 424 yards per game. New Braunfels: The Unicorns finally got into the win column, but this week they'll be facing a team a lot stronger than Del Valle. Averaging 314.8 yards on offense, New Braunfels has been led by Rhodes (86-151-98 1,092 yards, 11 TDs) and Kostan (30-478). The defense, yielding 327.8 yards per game, is led by back Brooks Radla (52 stops) and linemen Calven Ayala (39 tackles) and Austin Wendell (38). It will certainly have its hands full against one of the most potent offenses in the state. said. “But the thing with them is controlling the ball to keep their offense off the field and make them work See UNICORNS, Page 6A ;