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Friday, October 28, 2011
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Is it just me or have the Thursday night games in Leo Buckley Stadium felt a little strange? Last week when the team walked out of the dressing room to take the field, Coach Spradlin said it was so quiet he thought the spectators were having a ‘moment of silence’. They weren’t!
This week when the Wildcat Warriors line up against the Ellison Eagles, please excuse me if I’m screaming my head off! Our fierce cats have been sharpening their claws since February. They have worked harder than most know to overcome many obstacles and now for the first time in awhile, playoff opportunities are within reach. Will you join me in exercising your legs and your lungs to applaud their tremendous accomplishments. They will love it!
The above, is something Coach Spradlin says every now and then, and I believe without a doubt, he’s right!
I know Aisley and Brennan Ransleben, daughters of Coach Wayne and Kim Ransleben certainly are a couple of amazing young ladies. These lovely sisters are two of the most helpful teenagers I know! They film and photograph football practices and games for the Wildcats, entertain the younger kids at after game parties, and babysit whenever needed. Their thoughtful kindness, generosity and helpful hearts have wowed me and many others. Last Sunday, after arriving at our house for Caramel Apple Day, they stepped right up to the plate, I mean burner and single handedly made several batches of caramel from scratch. They were so helpful, they were happy, who am I kidding, they were life savers! Then they ran outside and played with the younger kids! Thank you Aisely and Brennan for the many things you do. For inspiring those around you and for making a difference in your corner of the world. Your warmth and willingness is greatly appreciated and I look forward to watching your grace continue to grow….and being your friend.
Monday, October 24, 2011
October is a difficult month for a coach’s family, for the season has begun to grow long and lonely. Reality
has settled in. So over the years, Caramel Apple Sunday has become a tradition we all look forward to.
We washed apples, poked in the sticks, and turned on the stove. You won’t believe how easy it is to make
your own caramel. A cup of cream, a cup of sugar, 1/4 cup dark Karo and 2T. of unsalted butter. Try it!
Everyone brought their own toppings. Nuts, toasted coconut, crushed peppermint and toffee, mini
sprinkles, chocolate chips, Reese's pieces and M & M’s made an appearance this year. There were lot’s
of smiles! There’s nothing quite like women getting together for an afternoon of fun. I’m so thankful for each of you special ladies and your precious children. You have enriched my life greatly! October has never felt better! Thanks for the sacrifices you and your children make, that your husband can have a lasting effect on the lives of young men. The future looks bright in Temple, Texas. Go Wildcats, Go!!!
Friday, October 21, 2011
KILLEEN — The Temple Wildcats would rather win ugly than lose pretty any day of the week, including a lazy Thursday night in front of a sparse crowd at Leo Buckley Stadium.
And against a Killeen Shoemaker program whose Grey Wolves are extremely hungry to break a frustrating losing streak that Temple began three years ago, the Wildcats came up with the goods when they had to.
Johnny Jefferson’s third touchdown run in a brilliant 207-yard performance put Shoemaker up 18-13 with 6 minutes left, and first-year coach Channon Hall’s Grey Wolves — denied by Bryan and Belton in agonizing, back-to-back home defeats — were within striking distance of stopping their skid at 29 games.
But Temple’s Troy Healy recovered a key fumble with 4 minutes remaining, Zach Allen ran for a 19-yard touchdown and fired a 2-point pass to L’adarius Thomas, and Brandon Gamboa made an interception to seal the Wildcats’ white-knuckle 21-18 victory for their third straight District 12-5A win.
―They are this close, and they haven’t given anything to anyone. Channon’s doing a heck of a job,‖ Temple first-year coach Mike Spradlin said of Shoemaker (0-8 overall, 0-5 12-5A).
Highly impressed by the Wolves’ speed and effort, the Wildcats’ boss almost needed to remind himself to commend his own team for prevailing as Temple moved to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the league — tied for third place — with two regular-season games left.
―I couldn’t be prouder of our guys,‖ said Spradlin, whose squad will move closer to Temple’s first Class 5A state playoff berth since 2008 if it beats winless Killeen Ellison next Thursday at Buckley. ―We were coming off of a very emotional win over Belton last Friday and had the quick turnaround for a Thursday game.
―We took a win we needed to take tonight, and that showed me this team has the maturity to make our mark with what we’re trying to do.‖
Temple junior running back Gaylon Sanders rushed 23 times for 158 yards to surpass the 1,000-yard mark, but Shoemaker’s speedy, sure-tackling defense kept him out of the end zone.
Junior quarterback Allen threw his first two interceptions of the season — Temple also lost two fumbles — and passed for zero yards after halftime. But his well-blocked 19-yard TD dash with 3:20 left made the difference as the Wildcats recorded the one statistic that truly matters — one win.
Shoemaker deserves credit, but we came out flat tonight and took them for granted,‖ said Allen, who ran for 76 yards and threw for 110, including an 8-yard score to tight end Erick Arizmendi in the second quarter. ―Our defense stepped up and played their hearts out, and then we executed (on offense) at the end.‖
Perhaps the best player on the field on this evening, exciting junior Jefferson — who blends speed, power and moves — had mixed emotions after Shoemaker absorbed its 30th consecutive loss.
Asked whether he was encouraged or discouraged, he said, ―We’re really very happy with where we’re at right now. Temple probably thought they were going to come over here and get an easy win. But everyone is seeing that the Grey Wolves are a different team this year, even though we lost another close game.‖
Jefferson, Hall and Shoemaker face co-leader Copperas Cove next week, but they figure to have a prime opportunity to end their losing streak when they battle Ellison in Week 10.
Temple entered Thursday averaging 462 yards total offense per game to Shoemaker’s area-low 180, but the combination of Jefferson’s effectiveness and the Wildcats’ mistakes led to the visitors producing only a 379-307 advantage by night’s end.
―They get there in a hurry on defense. "They’re fast," Spradlin said. "―In the first half we were our own worst enemy and shot ourselves in the foot."
On the first play from scrimmage, Allen’s deep pass on the right side was deflected and intercepted by Alex Saint Louis – Allen’s first pick of the year on his 155th attempt.
Shoemaker drew first blood 4 minutes into the second quarter, when Jefferson followed his 39-yard run to the 4-yard line with an easy 1-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead.
Temple’s potent spread offense was scoreless until the first half’s final minute. After the Wildcats recovered a Shoemaker fumble at their 34, Allen’s passes of 21 and 24 yards to Sanders drove Temple to the 8. Allen then rolled right and fired a short pass to Arizmendi, who crashed through a defender at the goal line for the tying touchdown with 42 seconds left.
Joseph Pickett kicked the extra point that put the Wildcats up 7-6 going into halftime.
Pickett booted a pair of 30-yard field goals in the third quarter, the latter with 2 seconds left for a 13-12 Temple edge. But in between those kicks Shoemaker took advantage of two 15-yard facemask penalties to drive 80 yards, capped by Jefferson’s 2-yard TD keeper out of the ironically named Wildcat formation.
Jefferson’s quick, tough running plus his 34-yard pass to Zacchary Greening moved the Wolves from their 20 to the 4 before Jefferson coasted in for his third TD, though the 2-point pass failed to leave it an 18-13 Shoemaker lead with 6:16 left.
Sophomore Dominick Thompson’s 23-yard return of the ensuing squib kickoff gave Temple superb field position, and Sanders’ 27-yard burst helped the Wildcats reach the 5. But from the 3 Sanders lost a fumble.
The Wolves returned the favor, with nose guard Healy pouncing on Jefferson’s fumble at Shoemaker’s 17 with 4 minutes left. On third-and-15 from the 19 Allen darted off right tackle and used stellar blocking for the go-ahead touchdown, then he fired a low, accurate pass to Thomas just across the goal line to make it 21-18.
Shoemaker still had a shot, but on third-and-11 at its 24 quarterback Ziere Banner collided with Jefferson and then threw a pass that linebacker Gamboa easily intercepted. A block in the back negated his 24-yard TD return, but Temple simply ran out the clock to secure its too-close-for-comfort victory — and, unfortunately for the game Grey Wolves, Shoemaker’s 30th straight defeat.
By Greg Wille – Temple Daily Telegram
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Final Score- Temple 21 Killeen Shoemaker 18
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Wildcat ‗D‘ battles back: Improving Temple defense key in team‘s recent surge
Temple‘s defense began the season by allowing 490 yards to Pflugerville Connally, 658 to Georgetown (437 passing) and 493 to San Antonio Churchill, games in which the Wildcats permitted 141 points.
―It didn‘t surprise me,‖ he said Tuesday afternoon. ―If we can get lined up and play hard, which they‘re doing, we knew it would eventually happen. These kids show up and work hard every day.‖
Apparently Temple didn‘t like that feeling very much, because it didn‘t allow a touchdown — or points of any kind, for that matter — during the remaining 38 minutes as the Wildcats defeated the Tigers for the first time since 2008.
On that night the Wildcats lost by 11 points even though they scored 51.
Temple first-year coach Mike Spradlin knew he needed to keep the Wildcat defenders‘ confidence up and focus sharp.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Right coach can make a difference — ask Temple
Sunday, Oct. 16 2011 12:03 AM
It doesn't take long.
Mike Spradlin has proved that.
In his first season as the head football coach at Temple, he has taken the program from one of the worst 5A programs in Central Texas to the cusp of a playoff berth.
The 23-8 win Friday over Belton proved that the Wildcats are back.
And that good coaching makes all the difference.
Now, Temple isn't going to win the state championship anytime soon. But, back-to-back wins over Harker Heights and Belton put them in the driver's seat for a one of the last couple of playoff spots — after Copperas Cove and A&M Consolidated, who play each other Friday in a game that should decide the District 12-5A championship.
And the quick turnaround shows what the problem the last few years at Temple really was. And here is a hint — it wasn't a lack of talent.
District 12-5A just got a lot tougher. There are no easy wins anymore.
Temple is on the rise already and not even Shoemaker, which has lost 28 games in a row, can be circled as a guaranteed win.
Sure, the Grey Wolves still have not won a game, but at least they are watchable.
And to be fair, Channon Hall has a much larger project on his hands than Spradlin did.
He has no depth and only a few really talented players on that team. Temple had at least little bit of both — running back Gaylon Sanders is the real deal as is quarterback Zach Allen.
Regardless, though, Hall should lead the Grey Wolves to a win this season — Ellison you are officially warned. Shoemaker isn't the same team it was when the Grey Wolves started the season with a 22-game losing streak.
They have been creative on offense and have found a way for the defense to be even better. Yes, the Grey Wolves always had a sound defense. But ever since Jameill Showers went down with a broken collarbone before the 2009 season, they have not had an identity on offense.
Hall has slowly been giving them one, installing wildcat formations with speedster Johnny Jefferson. And until Friday, when they lost 37-0 to A&M Consolidated, it had been working.
Yes, every program has its ups and downs over the course of its history. But, it is always a coaching that makes the difference.
In the early 90s, Copperas Cove was the doormat of the district — the laughingstock. They won a combined seven games from 1990-93.
Enter Jack Welch and it turned around.
Sure, it took a bit of time. It didn't happen that same season, like what Spradlin is doing in Temple.
But, it didn't take that long. In 1994, Welch's first season, Copperas Cove went 5-4-1 and tied an Ellison team that had beaten them 35-0 the previous season. Three years later, the Bulldawgs made the playoffs for the first time since 1960 — 38 years of futility. Cove has made it every year but one (2003) since.
Belton coach Rodney Southern inherited a team much in the same way. While Belton had actual success in its history, in the three years before Southern took over the Tigers they were a dismal 4-26, and had two winless seasons.
Now, five years later, Belton is fighting to make the playoffs for the third straight season, and if they can beat Bryan, will indeed make it.
Why? Rodney Southern is a darn good coach.
It is that simple.
Mike Spradlin? Darn good coach.
That's why he outfoxed Southern on Friday. That is why Temple edged a solidly coached Harker Heights team two weeks ago.
That is why the Wildcats seem poised to make the playoffs.
And that is why District t 12-5A just got a lot tougher.
EDITOR'S NOTE: To find out how these coaches built these programs for success, check out our three-part feature series "Building a Program," beginning Friday in the Blitz.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
A big CONGATULATIONS to the 2010 Wildcats! What an amazing group you are! Your journey has been an interesting one, full of ups and downs, twists and turns. Your determination and dedication to unite and conquer has materialized. Wow! You are a good team. I'm so happy your hard work is paying off. Your family and friends love watching you. Aren't you glad live in a town that cares and gets excited!
I sure am! I love it when my family comes to watch. It everything more fun!
I'm so thankful for our family. We are so grateful for their love and support...and helpful!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
WE’RE BEHIND YOU ROOTIN’ FOR YOU. GO, GO!
WE’RE BEHIND YOU ROOTIN’ FOR YOU. FIGHT, FIGHT!
WE’RE BEHIND YOU ROOTIN’ FOR YOU. WIN, WIN!
WE’RE BEHIND YOU ROOTIN’ FOR YOU. GO, FIGHT, WIN!!!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Pardon me, Wildcat Nation, for the delayed introduction of Coach Tommy Felts! I’m sure many of you wondered why I had neglected to mention this new addition to the Wildcat Coaching Staff. At first I thought he might be a bit shy, but it turns out his just been too busy!
Football season is a long stretch of long days! Impressive is a coach’s commitment and dedication.
So over the weekend I was able to ask Coach Felts a few questions. When I mentioned him to Coach Spradlin, he had many good things to say about his character, but in addition, he said, “He’s a great guy, coach, teacher and competitor.”
RS- Coach Felts, where did you grow up?
TF- I grew up in Brownwood, TX and played football at Brownwood High School through my sophomore year. My family moved to Abilene after my sophomore year and I played football at Wylie my last two years of high school.
RS- What other sports do you like?
TF - Football is my first love, but I got a scholarship to run sprints at Texas Tech out of high school so I ran. I ended up transferring back to Abilene Christian University to run track when Don D. Hood (our pole vault coach at Tech) was hired as ACU's head track coach. I graduated from ACU in 2008.
RS- Tell me your coaching experience?
TF - My first two seasons coaching football (2008-2009) were at Midlothian High School under head coach Robby Clark. Following the 2009 season I had a great opportunity to work at Ennis High School for a man that I have so much respect for, Sam Harrell. I was only at Ennis one year, but I'm so grateful for that opportunity and the friendships made during that time. Coach Harrell retired after last season due to health reasons. A few months after that Coach Spradlin was hired as the new Temple Head Coach. I knew Coach Spradlin through a number of people, one being Coach Harrell. I had had a few conversations with him prior to last spring. I actually talked to him about a job at Cooper during my final semester at ACU, but he did not have any openings at the time. When the receivers job opened at Temple I jumped at the chance to be a Wildcat.
I count my blessings every day that I am a Temple Wildcat! This is a special place. Great things are going to happen here!
RS- What hobbies do you enjoy?
TF - When I'm not coaching you can usually find me hunting, fishing, or spending time with family.
By the way, Coach Felts is an eligible bachelor. We coaches wives love to fix up our single guys –so we have more ‘coachettes ‘ to cheer with us! So ladies, don’t be shy.