Aug

31

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 31, 2014

Monitor Photo/James Robertson Senior David Dennis takes on double duty as the Kemp Yellowjacket’s runnng back on offense and cornerback on defense. Dennis is getting attention from Division 1 and 2 coaches to play football for them at the next level.

Monitor Photo/James Robertson
Senior David Dennis takes on double duty as the Kemp Yellowjacket’s runnng back on offense and cornerback on defense. Dennis is getting attention from Division 1 and 2 coaches to play football for them at the next level.

Ready to lead the Yellowjackets to playoffs and build a legacy in Kemp

By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor

KEMP–Coming back from a devastating football injury isn’t easy. It takes an athlete months of rehabilitation and training to get their muscles and joints back to their pre-injury condition. A determined athlete can do it –and Kemp’s David Dennis fits that description perfectly.
The injury happened last year, in the second game of the season against Ferris. Last September Head Coach and Athletic Director Brandon Hankins was an assistant coach in Kemp, and he was looking to help the orange and white win against his former employer. It didn’t take long for disaster to strike.
On Kemp’s first possession, Dennis took his usual place in the Yellowjackets backfield. The handoff went smoothly, but everything collapsed after that. Ferris had a particularly large defensive lineman sneak by his blocker and flatten him as he approached the line of scrimmage. There was a hit and a crack.
The lineman fell on Dennis’ shoulder, and he knew right away it was bad. He was later diagnosed with a broken collarbone. Just like that, after one game and one play, one of Kemp’s brightest star players was out.
Not to be deterred by a broken collarbone, Dennis got right to work with rehabilitation. He spend the next two months strengthening his muscles and joints to perform the rotations needed for a football player. Dennis managed to make it back on the field for week nine’s game against Winnsboro. The timing was key for the Yellowjackets, as Kemp was trailing Eustace by just one game for the final playoff spot in 2A Region II District 7.
In the next two games the Kemp offense scored 71 points against Winnsboro and Grand Saline, including a 43-18 romp over the Grand Saline Indians. The 71 points were the most Kemp had scored in consecutive games all year, and frankly, was more than they had scored in the previous four games combined.
Although Dennis scored four touchdowns in those two games, the Eustace Bulldogs won their final two games against Lone Oak and Grand Saline to take the final playoff spot.
Now a senior, Dennis is healthy and has renewed goals after the struggles of last year.
“Kemp hasn’t made the playoffs in awhile,” Dennis said. “And I want to be part of the group that gets us back in there. This is my last year here and I want to lead my team. It’s a big goal for me.”
Dennis says making the playoffs isn’t just a pipe dream for Kemp. They have the drive and work ethic needed to succeed. He gives credit to Coach Hankins for motivating the team and pushing them to accomplish more.
“Practice and training have been so much harder this year under Coach Hankins,” Dennis said. “Practice and workouts are about ten times harder than last year.”
All the work has visible results for Dennis. His maximum bench press has shot up from 185 pounds at the time of his injury last year to 240 right now.
Dennis hopes all the training he has been doing will help him set a school record this year.
“I want to set a Kemp High School record for interceptions this year,” he said.
While Dennis’ short term goals include school records and a Kemp playoff game, he has his sights set on football after high school.
Several Division 1 and 2 schools have shown interest in Dennis playing college football for them next year, including: SMU, Midwestern State University, University of Central Oklahoma, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Southern Arkansas University and Henderson State University.

Aug

28

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 28, 2014

Monitor Photo/Summer Simpson The Mabank Lady Panthers volleyball team took second place in the championship bracket at the Eustace Tournament Aug. 23. Pictured are: (front row, left to right)  Gabby Duncan, Brii Young, Katie Gilbert, Miranda Gonzales, Meagan Holyfield, (back row, left to right) Kailey Currington, Haley Mashburn, Maddie Park, Bailey Swain, Madison Holyfield, Shyanne Vinson and Payton Costlow.

Monitor Photo/Summer Simpson
The Mabank Lady Panthers volleyball team took second place in the championship bracket at the Eustace Tournament Aug. 23. Pictured are: (front row, left to right) Gabby Duncan, Brii Young, Katie Gilbert, Miranda Gonzales, Meagan Holyfield, (back row, left to right) Kailey Currington, Haley Mashburn, Maddie Park, Bailey Swain, Madison Holyfield, Shyanne Vinson and Payton Costlow.


By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor

MABANK–Only former district rival Canton stood in the Lady Panthers way of taking the top spot at the Eustace Tournament last weekend. Mabank (10-5) finished the tournament with a second place finish in the championship bracket.
Mabank went 2-1 in pool play Aug. 21 against opponents Jacksonville, Canton and Scurry-Rosser. The Lady Panthers blew out Jacksonville 25-8, 25-12 and Scurry-Rosser 25-7, 25-15 before losing to the eventual champion Canton 23-25, 23-25.
Canton took first place in the pool with a 3-0 record, but Mabank finished as the top overall second place team due to its dominating wins against Jacksonville and Scurry-Rosser. The performance earned them a spot in the championship bracket.
Mabank returned to the court Aug. 23 for championship bracket play. The Lady Panthers faired well against the tournament’s best teams, defeating Brookhill 25-16, 25-16 and Palmer 25-22, 25-22 before facing Canton again in the championship bracket final. Canton bested Mabank again 14-25, 16-25.
Head Coach Stacy Shelton said the pool play series against Canton was very competitive and could have gone either way. Shelton attributed Canton’s success to their powerful middle blocker and hitter.
“Their middle blocker and hitter played a great game,” Shelton said. “We couldn’t keep up with her size and they took advantage of our weakness. Our size is our biggest handicap when we play big teams.”
Shelton noted the preseason is all about adaptation and is moving Bailey Swain back to the middle (where she has played for the past three seasons). In the meantime players are competing for Swain’s former outside hitter spot.
Shelton is proud of the way the Lady Panthers are playing.
“They played more cohesive in the past two tournaments than I thought they would this time of year,” she said. “It bodes well for the future. I can just imagine how we may be doing when district play comes around. We are really gelling.”
The Lady Panthers travel to the Tyler Tournament this weekend, Aug. 28-30 and face some of their toughest competition of the year. They will compete against Longview, Lufkin and Arp in pool play.
“We won the silver bracket last year,” Selton said about the Tyler Tournament. “We are looking to do the same or better this year.”
Mabank volleyball Eustace Tournament stats:
Meagan Holyfield: 7 kills, 3 digs, 2 aces, 48 assists
Madison Holyfield: 16 kills, 7 digs, 1 ace, 1 assist
Payton Costlow: 10 kills, 3 blocks
Brii Young: 9 kills, 3 digs, 2 aces, 1 assist
Bailey Swain: 14 kills, 20 digs, 1 block, 2 aces
Shyanne Vinson: 6 kills, 1 ace
Maddie Park: 12 digs, 3 aces
Gabby Duncan: 8 digs

Aug

24

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 24, 2014

Monitor Photo/James Robertson Kemp senior Jesus Perez finished 10th at the state 2A cross country meet last year. He predicts a better finish this year due to consistent training.

Monitor Photo/James Robertson
Kemp senior Jesus Perez finished 10th at the state 2A cross country meet last year. He predicts a better finish this year due to consistent training.


By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor

KEMP-Kemp senior Jesus Perez proved himself as one of the premier long distance runners in the Cedar Creek Lake area last year.
“JP,” as he is affectionately called by peers and coaches, consistently topped the leaderboards with the best times, even beating out individual runners at cross country powerhouse Eustace.
Perez won a close district race before having some knee problems and running what he calls a “poor regional race,” finishing seventh with a time of 17:13:80. The finish was good enough to qualify him for the state meet, which is the race Perez was saving his energy for to be in top form.
“I was feeling very horrible in the regional race,” Perez said. “So I made the decision to just hold onto my position in regional and just place for the state meet.”
He ran an “amazing race” at state, finishing with a 16:42 clip, good enough for 10th place.
Perez has been working hard to improve his times and gain a place on a university cross country team. He credits the techniques and advice given to him at Baylor and University of Dallas summer camps for improving his times.
“I’m surpassing what I did last year by far,” he said. “I’m already running better because of my increased mileage and better training.”
Perez sites sleep, nutrition, stretching and workouts among the most important things for a long distance athlete. “You don’t want to just be ready for the first race,” he said. “You want to be ready for the last race.”
To get ready for the last race, Perez begins his training with a base mileage, gradually increasing it as the months roll on, adding hills about a month into the season and eventually starts sprinting to be at his peak for the state tournament in November.
Perez hopes to attend a Division 1 university after his days at Kemp are done. “I’m talking with some schools and trying to get in,” he said. The frontrunner for his college picks is Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches. “It’s a great running school,” he added.
Perez is confident in himself individually, but also believes in his team.
“I think we are going to surprise a lot of people in the new district,” he said. “We will have a good chance to win it.”