This was the year that was
Rockdale had its share of successes, sending athletes to both the state track meet and the state cross country meet. In its first foray into Class 2A in a decade, Thorndale struggled to crack that playoff ceiling in one of the toughest districts in the state. In Milano, the Eagles polished off what could arguably be the best sports year in its history.
JANUARY—Rockdale’s Le’Raven Clark played in the Under Armour All- American game in Florida... Former Green Bay great and Thorndale native Lee Roy Caffey’s pro football memorabilia— including three Super Bowl rings— was on display at Thorndale High School.
FEBRUARY—Rockdale’s Le’Raven Clark officially signs to play football at Texas Tech... The Milano Lady Eagles clinched their first basketball playoff berth in 11 years... Le’Raven Clark was named first-team, all-state by the TSWA... In the very first Rockdale- Cameron alumni football game, the Tiger veterans crushed the Yoemen 24-0 behind P.J. Williams’ two touchdowns... Bailey Timmerman—the oldest living Tiger football player— died at the age of 99 in Houston... Playing for Blinn, former Tiger football star Logan David switched his commitment from Texas Tech to Texas A&M... The Lady Tigers finished the basketball season with a win and an 8-21 record... The No. 6 Milano Eagles clinched a playoff berth with a pair of 60-point victories... The Thorndale Lady Dogs also earned a playoff spot... Both the Milano and Thorndale girls dropped first round playoff games... The Rockdale Tigers ended their basketball season with a loss and a 9-16 record... The 1962 Rockdale American Legion team that went to the state finals, held a reunion at the Tiger baseball alumni game... The Thorndale boys basketball team (20-7) missed the playoffs for the first time since 2002... The Milano Eagles completed a clean sweep of District 27A at 10-0 and awaited a playoff opponent... Former Rockdale standout Mike Lankford died of cancer at age 57... Rockdale was set to open the season on a refurbished baseball field... Former Thorndale basketball standout Brandon Irwin was named the player of the year in the American Southwest Conference at Howard Payne.
MARCH—Jaxson Robinson threw in a three-pointer at the buzzer to lift Milano past Mumford and former teammate Aubrie King 46-43... Longtime Rockdale assistant James Saegert was named the Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s Coach of the Year... No. 4 Lucas Lovejoy won the 4th annual Bell Rivals Classic baseball tournament... Rockdale’s Daniel Brooks set a Rockdale Relays record by winning five events and earning 50 points as the Tigers won back-to-back Relays for the first time in 11 years... Brooks was then offered a football scholarship to Oklahoma... Milano fell to Evadale 48-35 in the regional quarterfinals to end their season at 27-4... The Lady Tigers’ leading hitter Megan Hearn was lost for the year after suffering a torn ACL... Milano powerlifter Jamie Czajkowski earned a trip to the state meet... The Rockdale track team finished second at both the Lexington and Giddings Relays... Behind Duke Schneider’s double and single, Rockdale upset state ranked Giddings 5-3... All-State linebacker Derek David was arrested on sexual assault charges.
APRIL—230 players showed up for the first day of Rockdale Youth Baseball League... Daniel Brooks won four events at the Caldwell Relays... The Rockdale boys golf team captured the District 23-3A title... Rockdale also successfully defended its District 23-3A track crown as Daniel Brooks grabbed five gold medals... The Rockdale doubles team of Dylan Carter and Ginny Flores fell in regional play... The Rockdale Lady Tigers crushed Caldwell 10-3 in a district playoff game to earn another playoff berth... The Rockdale golf team earned its second straight trip to the state tournament by capturing the Region III championship... The Tiger baseball team finished the season at 7-18... The Milano baseball team picked up its first playoff spot since 2000 by placing second in District 26A... The Thorndale missed out on the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
MAY—The Lady Tigers were clipped by Bellville in the first round of the playoffs 5-3... Senior distance man Jacob Gerren joined returnees Le’Raven Clark and Daniel Brooks at the state track meet. Clark would compete in the shot put and the discus, Brooks in the 110-meter hurdles, the 100-meter dash and 300-meter hurdles... 359 girls celebrated opening day of the Rockdale Youth Softball League... The Milano softball lost 16-6 to Ganado in the first round of the playoffs... Milano’s Brandon Garza and Thomas Sanders earned a trip to the state track meet... Milano ripped Riesel in bi-district baseball play... Despite a second round surge, the Rockdale golf team finished seventh at the state golf tournament... Daniel Brooks won a gold medal in the 100-meter dash and a bronze in the 110-hurdles. Le’Raven Clark grabbed a bronze in the shot put. Jacob Gerren was eighth in the 1,600... Milano’s Thomas Sanders was fifth in the long jump... Milano disposed of Fayetteville in area baseball... Mart ends Milano’s baseball season at quarterfinals... All-state linebacker Derek David was arrested on drug charges.
JUNE—Eleven new inductees were announced by the Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor committee, including coaches (Fred Johnson, Lew Simmonds, Dick Wiegand) and players (Randy J. Morgan, Robert Luetge, Jackie Thompson, Don Wesley, James Russell, Kerry Locklin) from the 1976 state championship team. Former manager Mike Korth was also honored... The Rockdale 7-on-7 team earned another trip to the state tournament... Cameron captured the Class 2A state championship in baseball by nudging Nacogdoches 7-3 at Dell Diamond... Rockdale’s Dillan Schnerr was named third-team all-state in baseball... Newspaper reports had Rockdale star Daniel Brooks transferring to Port Lavaca Calhoun which turned out to be true... Texas Football tabbed the Tigers for a fourth place finish... Thorndale head football coach Kade Burns resigned to take the head job in his hometown, Mason. Thorndale received 120 applicants for the job... Longtime Rockdale assistant coach James Saegert retired after 16 years... Biffy Cook, who played on Duane Vincent’s 1966 state tournament team, died at age 63.
JULY—Thorndale hired Brent Brevard as its new coach. He had been at Odessa Permian... Tiger assistants Jarad Richards and Jim Kerbow resigned... The Rockdale 7-on-7 team bowed out in the consolation round of the state tournament... RISD Athletic Director Jeff Miller hired four new coaches... Austin Eastside Memorial’s cancellation of its season had Miller scrambling for a opening-game replacement.
AUGUST— Ninety-seven players attended the first day of football practice... The 32nd Rockdale Open tennis tournament was played despite a 111 degree heat index... The Lady Tiger volleyball team opened their season with a victory over Granger... 11-year old JaQualyn Crawford of Rockdale blazed to a national championship in the 400-meter dash at the AAU Junior Olympics in New Orleans... The annual “Meet The Tigers” cake auction raised $5,400... Big Blue lost its season opener 35-14 to Abilene Wylie at Tigerland Stadium... New quarterback Tyler Miller threw for 290 yards in Thorndale’s 41-8 opening win... Milano whacked Waco Christian 42-7.
SEPTEMBER—Junior quarterback Ethan Brinkley shredded the Tiger record book by passing for 444 yards and four touchdowns on 29 completions (all records) in Big Blue’s 52-41 come-from-behind victory over Salado... In their 81st meeting, Thorndale ran past rival Thrall 21-7... Milano continued to pour on the points with a 45-6 win over Central Texas Christian... Markus Hayes’ two-point conversion after Ethan Brinkley’s two-yard sneak with 2:25 left lifted Rockdale past Cameron 11-10 in the 57th annual Battle of the Bell... A scoreless second half doomed Rockdale in a 27-20 road loss to Liberty Hill... Thorndale quarterback Tyler Miller accounted for six touchdowns in the Dawgs 48-7 victory over Bremond... Milano ran roughshod over Giddings St. 51-0... The Tigers registered their third come-from-behind win over Madisonville 13-10... John Jentsch’s 33-yard field goal with 21 seconds left lifted the Eagles past perennial powerhouse Chilton 27-25 for a 5-0 record... Thorndale kicked off District 12-2A play with a 26-9 win over Bruceville-Eddy... Rockdale runner Juan Rubio was first at Cameron and Navasota meets.
OCTOBER—Suffering their first setback of the year, the Thorndale Bulldogs were ravaged by No. 6 Rogers 74-26 at home... Accumulating nearly 500 yards of offense, Navasota ran past Rockdale 53-14 to open District 23-3A play... Milano beat No. 8 Burton 14-13 in the district opener to remain unbeaten on the season at 6-0... Behind Steven McKendrick’s 137 yards and three touchdowns, Thorndale rebounded to jack up Jarrell 54-12... The Rockdale Lady Tigers volleyball team registered their first district victory over Navasota... Smithville bested Rockdale 21-14 for just the second time overall in a series that began in 1954 and the first time since 1990... Milano moved to 7-0 by handling Holland at home behind quarterback Toby Sanders’ 233 total yards... Trailing at halftime, Thorndale rallied for a 49-26 victory over Rosebud-Lott as quarterback Tyler Miller ran for a touchdown, passed for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass... Early turnovers doomed Rockdale in a 24-14 loss to 1-6 LaGrange... No. 14 Milano clinched a playoff spot with a 41-14 win over Bartlett behind 329 rushing yards... Thorndale’s 48-23 loss to Lexington put the Dawgs in position where they had to win to get in next week... The No. 12 Milano volleyball team captured the District 25A championship with their 14th straight victory... A loss to ranked Rogers ended Thorndale’s volleyball season... The Lady Tigers (8- 23) ended their season with a win.
NOVEMBER—Eleven new members were inducted into the Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor... Joseph Glenn scored four times to lead Giddings past Rockdale 28-3... Thorndale suffered through deja vu as they fell to Franklin 63-32 for the second straight season to miss the playoffs despite going 7-3... No. 14 Milano skunked Snook 46-0 and moved to 9-0... Rockdale’s Juan Rubio captured his second straight district championship in cross country. The junior was second in regional to earn a trip to the state meet... Granger handed Milano its first loss of the season with a 6-0 win to clinch the District 13A championship... Markus Hayes turned in Rockdale’s first 100-yard rushing game of the year as the Tigers avoided the District 23-3A cellar with a 49-34 win over Caldwell to finish 4-6... The No. 11 Milano Eagle volleyball team was stunned by Utopia in the first round of the playoffs... The Rockdale Texans captured the Tri-County Super Bowl 12-6 over Elgin at Tigerland Stadium... Juan Rubio finished 47th at the state cross country meet, the first Tiger athlete to appear at the meet since 2000... Milano bombarded Burkeville 55-0 in the first round of the playoffs... The Eagles were then undone by defending state champion Falls City 47-13 in area to finish 10- 2... Thorndale girls basketball coach Bradley Dickerson chalked up his 300th win... The No. 23 Rockdale Lady Tigers got off to their best start since 1998 at 5-0... Texas and Texas A&M faced each other for possibly the last time on Thanksgiving night in College Station.