THORNDALE DECADE

Celebrations abound in Bulldog dynasty
In what could be described as the best decade in school history, it is easy to

Clockwise from the top, Austin Falke converts a reverse layup in the state championship game during the Bulldogs 2007 title run. Top right, Lindsey and Morgan Youngblood try to deal with the anguish of not being able to return to the state tournament after a loss to unheralded Normangee in the regional finals. In the middle on the right, Cody Schneider was a four-sport star in the decade and was a state track meet entrant three years in a row, winning a bronze medal in 2009. At right, pitcher Angel Bigan was one reason the Lady Dog softball team was able to capture its first district championship and first post-season victory in this decade. Above, Eric Carrizales and his teammates celebrate the Bulldogs second state title in baseball in 2005 behind former Bulldog player Scott Holder. Above middle, Cody Schneider shakes hands with Brandon Irwin seconds after the Bulldogs collected their second straight hoop title and the school’s seventh overall. Irwin was the Class A player of the year in 2008 and tournament most valuable player. Clockwise from the top, Austin Falke converts a reverse layup in the state championship game during the Bulldogs 2007 title run. Top right, Lindsey and Morgan Youngblood try to deal with the anguish of not being able to return to the state tournament after a loss to unheralded Normangee in the regional finals. In the middle on the right, Cody Schneider was a four-sport star in the decade and was a state track meet entrant three years in a row, winning a bronze medal in 2009. At right, pitcher Angel Bigan was one reason the Lady Dog softball team was able to capture its first district championship and first post-season victory in this decade. Above, Eric Carrizales and his teammates celebrate the Bulldogs second state title in baseball in 2005 behind former Bulldog player Scott Holder. Above middle, Cody Schneider shakes hands with Brandon Irwin seconds after the Bulldogs collected their second straight hoop title and the school’s seventh overall. Irwin was the Class A player of the year in 2008 and tournament most valuable player. count up the Bulldogs’ successes: just review their state tournament itineraries.

Hoop dreams

Jeff Lieberman and the Bulldogs had so much fun winning a state title in 2007, they thought let’s do it again in 2008.

After just making it to the Final Four in 2006, the Bulldogs returned with a vengeance in 2007 and with an old school style of play that made basketball purists giddy with anticipation.

Class A player of the year and tournament MVP Austin Falke’s steal with 13 seconds left in the game sealed the 39-37 win over Martin’s Mill in front of a fanatic Superdrum crowd of 10,500 to finish 28-2.

With just one returning starter in Brandon Irwin the next season, Lieberman plugged in four new players and off the Bulldogs went in even more impressive fashion.

Thorndale completed the year at 36-1 with its second trophy in tow after disposing of Big Sandy 53-42 in the championship game.

Following closely in his good friend Falke’s footsteps, Irwin was named the 2008 Class A player of the year and the tournament MVP.

Despite the program’s success, Lieberman resigned before basketball season in 2009 in a dispute with the school board and is now retired.

Hardball the easy way

In 2005, under former Bulldog Scott Holder, Thorndale pencils in its second baseball title by crushing New Deal 200 in the semifinals and then holding off Harleton 11-5 in the finals. Jeff Kiesling was the series MVP after going 4-for-7 with four RBI for the 33-5 Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs have also made it to state in 2006, 2007 and 2009 under Kelly Kuhl without getting out of the semifinal round and will most probably be the pre-season No. 1 in Class A in 2010.

Girls talk

Led by the Youngblood twins, Morgan and Lindsey, the Thorndale girls program reached new heights, highlighted by the Lady Dogs basketball team, which reached the regional finals three straight times.

The 2008 trip resulted in a state tournament appearance, the first by a girls team in school history.

While there, poor shooting against an experienced Sudan team sent them home early and they were determined to make their way back the next season.

It wasn’t meant to be.

Ranked No. 1 most of the season, the helpless Lady Dogs watched as a fiesty Normangee squad pulled out a last-minute victory in the regional finals and made its first trip to state.

A heartbroken team and town was left devastated in the wake to deal with the loss.

The Youngbloods were named all-state for the second year in a row and signed with Angelo State.

In the past four years, the volleyball team dug up two district crowns and made three post-season appearances.

The Lady Dog softball team recorded its first district championship and first playoff victory in the past three years

The track team rang up its very first regional championship last spring.

Football

Under three coaches, the Bulldog football team has made six straight playoff appearances and seven overall in the decade.

The post-season showing was highlighted by an 11-2 mark in 2002 when the Bulldogs were in Class 2A.

Todd Doughty led Thorndale to a 10-4 record in 2006.

Kade Burns took over for the departed Doughty this season and guided Thorndale to its first district championship since 2005 before falling to eventual state champion Goldthwaite in the first round of the playoffs.


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