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GAME ONE: Cisco vs. Clyde

Game One of the Eighth Annual Action Sports Medicine Champions Classic will spotlight a match between two teams that have developed an intense rivalry in just a short period of time – the Clyde Bulldogs and the Cisco Loboes.

Last season’s state finalist Cisco lost 16 seniors to graduation, but key players are back, and the Loboes - who lost by one point, 36-35, in the 2011 state championship game - are poised to definitely return to the playoffs.

Leading the pack are returning seniors quarterback Colten Gayle (5-9, 160) and OL Derek Schaefer (6-4, 190). Gayle (1,133 yards passing and 15 TDs, and 1,117 yards rushing and 9 TDs) was district offensive MVP last season, and Schaefer was a big part of that. Others to watch include junior running back Mason Reed (145-1,500, 26 TDs) and speedy wide receiver and defensive back Colton Kent.

“The biggest worry we have isn’t losing the 16 players, but in only having six incoming seniors,” head coach Brent West (117-28) told the Abilene Reporter-News.

The Clyde Bulldogs return 14 lettermen, and they will be beefy on the front lines, which will give a new quarterback – probably senior Clint Lesley (6-0, 155) or junior Mason Burson (6-2, 180) – some comfort on Friday nights.

Other Bulldogs to watch in this game are senior receiver Montel McKinley (6-5, 200), who caught 11 catches for 202 yards last season, and senior Jon Seabourn (5-7, 140) another speedy wide receiver who also doubles as defensive back.

“We’ve got some players, who if you get them the ball in space, can make some plays,” said first-year coach Rocky Smart, who hinted that the ‘Dogs will probably be throwing “more than Clyde ever has in the past.”

This game will be a big test for both teams and will no doubt be one of the most competitive of the entire Classic.

“This year will prove to be really interesting,” said Abilene Reporter-News Big Country sportswriter Evan Ren. “You’ve got a team (Cisco) that made an appearance in the state championship game last season and knows what that feels like again, and you have a club with a new coach headed in a new direction. There’s a lot of optimism in Clyde right now.”

The Classic is headed into its 8th year and is promoted by the Sports Alliance Committee of the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is an affiliate of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce. The Sports Alliance was formed to increase the economic impact in the Abilene community through sporting events. One goal is to raise money for scholarships awarded each year to graduating seniors from each of the local high schools. To date, the Champions Classic has awarded $52,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors from Abilene High, Cooper High, Wylie High and Abilene Christian High schools.

2012 Featured Games

Game 1: Thursday, September 6 - Clyde vs. Cisco, 7:00 p.m.

Game 2: Friday, September 7 - Abilene High vs. Duncanville, 7:30 p.m.

Game 3: Saturday, September 8 - Quanah vs. Miles, 10:30 a.m.

Game 4: Saturday, September 8 - Abilene Christian University vs. A & M-Kingsville, 6:00 p.m.

STORIES (coming soon)

Abilene | Duncanville | ACU | Kingsville | Clyde | Cisco | Quanah | Miles

Abilene vs. Duncanville | ACU vs. Kingsville | Quanah vs. Miles

until the next Classic begins!