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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Plowboy Football Workouts Begin Monday

Are you ready for some football? Despite the complications of coping with Covid-19, the 2020 edition of the Roscoe Plowboys begins in earnest on Monday, August 3, with two-a-days at Plowboy Field.

Never has a football season looked more uncertain than the one this year, and it will have all sorts of conditions and restraints to overcome to achieve a successful outcome. But the will to proceed is there in school districts all over the state, so a tentative green light has been given, and we will just have to see how far we can go with it.



The Plowboys have been predicted to finish third in 5-2A-II this fall. Every other year, the UIL changes the make-ups of its districts, and this is one of those years. Roscoe’s district for this year and next is District 5-2A-II with five schools primarily to Roscoe’s north and west: Crosbyton, Hamlin, Lockney, Ralls, and Roscoe Collegiate.

Hamlin, after playing in the state finals last year, will be the overwhelming favorite to win the district crown. Here’s the way Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, the state’s premier publication for high school football, predicts the teams will finish:

          1.       Hamlin
          2.       Ralls
          3.       Roscoe
          4.       Lockney
          5.       Crosbyton

However, as we all know, predictions can often be wrong, and anything can happen. I’m guessing nobody will be able to deprive the district title to Hamlin, which Texas Football currently ranks second in state for Class 2A-II, but the rest is still pretty much up in the air, and the Plowboys will be in the hunt for a playoff slot.

In its discussion of the Plowboys, Texas Football notes that they are junior heavy this year with few seniors, that the QB position is still undecided between Antonio Aguayo and Gunner Helm, and that Kolten Hope, a senior, will be a leader on defense.



The Plowboys will once again face a tough schedule. Texas Football expects Hawley to win their district, 3-2A-I, and ranks them 7th in state in 2A-I. Christoval is also picked to win their district, 14-2A-II, and ranked 13th in state in 2A-II, and Stamford is always tough. Ralls was a 10-2 area finalist last year and returns several key starters, and the final game is against Hamlin, state finalist last year and ranked 2nd in state this year.

Date                 Opponent              Location               Time
Aug. 20            Forsan***             Roscoe                  6:00pm
Aug. 28            Hawley                  Hawley                 7:30pm
Sep.  4              Stamford               Roscoe                 7:30pm
Sep. 11              Miles                      Roscoe                 7:30pm
Sep. 18             Christoval             Christoval            7:00pm
Sep. 25             New Home           New Home          7:00pm
Oct.  2              Seagraves**          Roscoe                 7:00pm
Oct.  9              Bye
Oct. 16             Ralls*                     Roscoe                 7:00pm
Oct. 23             Crosbyton*           Crosbyton           7:00pm
Oct. 30             Lockney*              Roscoe                 7:00pm
Nov. 6              Hamlin*                Hamlin                7:00pm

          *** = Scrimmage
          **   = Mum Night
           *    = District Game


Aug. 20            Forsan***             Roscoe                5:00pm
Aug. 27            Hawley                  Roscoe                5:00pm
Sep.  4              Stamford              Stamford            6:00pm
Sep. 11             Miles                      Miles                   6:00pm
Sep. 18             Christoval            Roscoe                 6:00pm
Sep. 25             New Home          Roscoe                 6:00pm
Oct.  2              Seagraves             Seagraves            6:00pm
Oct.  9              Bye
Oct. 16             Ralls                      Ralls                     6:00pm
Oct. 23             Crosbyton            Roscoe                 6:00pm
Oct. 30             Lockney               Lockney               6:00pm
Nov. 6              Hamlin                 Roscoe                 6:00pm



Over 5,000 people have now died from Covid-19 in Texas, with over 1,000 of those coming this past week. Public health experts say that the reported totals are likely an undercount because not all people who died with Covid-19 symptoms were ever tested.

The worst hit area continues to be south Texas in the Rio Grande Valley and the Coastal Bend. Cameron County (county seat: Brownsville) has had over 130 deaths so far this month, 81 one of them last week. It and Hidalgo County, the next county over, got over 1,000 new cases this past week, and hospitals are full to overflowing. In the state, Harris County continues to have the most cases with Dallas County second.

Things aren’t nearly as bad in the Big Country as it continues to be one of the lighter hit areas. Even so, Taylor County still has 454 active cases (457 last week) with 45 Covid-19 hospitalizations (42 last week) in Abilene facilities with 24 of those patients from outside Taylor County. There have been 15 total Covid-19 deaths.

As of yesterday, Nolan County has 49 active positive cases with 2 more in the prison system. That’s a drop of 3 from the 52 of last week as recoveries outnumbered new cases. Mitchell County has 14 active cases (11 last week) with 3 in the prison system, and Scurry County has 78 active cases (77 last week) with 253 in the prison system.

These are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Jones, 621 (659); Scurry, 396 (371); Erath, 389 (300); Brown, 331 (289); Howard, 130 (98); Nolan 127 (90); Runnels, 90 (44); Comanche, 83 (50); Knox, 44 (17); Mitchell 42 (31); Eastland, 41 (34); Callahan, 38 (36); Coke, 35 (10); Haskell, 30 (25); Stephens, 28 (18); Fisher, 23 (22); Shackelford, 17 (18); Coleman, 10 (7), Stonewall, 4 (4); Throckmorton, 2 (2); Kent, 2 (2).

Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 5,150 (4,556); Ector (Odessa), 2,158 (1,643); Tom Green (San Angelo), 1,493 (1,226); Midland, 1,364 (1,199); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 824 (751).

Texas now has 394,265 cases (341,739 a week ago), 143,939 of them active (151,059 a week ago), and 5,877 deaths (4,151 a week ago).



Editor’s note: I wrote about eating careless weeds a few years ago and thought it was about time I did it again, especially since I cooked some up for supper yesterday.

The careless weed (Amaranthus Palmeri) is one of the most common weeds in this area. To local farmers and gardeners, it is about as popular as mosquitoes or scorpions, and countless gallons of Roundup have been used in the attempt to get rid of it. However, it always seems to come back, and, with the possible exception of Johnson grass, is probably considered in these parts about as worthless as one could imagine.

However, what many don’t know about the careless weed is that it is an edible green and, when cooked, is tasty and just as nutritious as other greens such as collards or kale. It was eaten in various forms by Aztecs, Navajos, and other Native Americans and was also known to Mexicans and American pioneers.

In his memoir of growing up in Roscoe during the depression, Herschel Whittington mentions his mother gathering careless weeds when food was low and cooking and eating them as edible greens. In Spanish, they are referred to as quelite, which also means greens.

Probably the simplest way to eat careless weeds is to gather the leaves, clean them, and then cook them as you would with spinach or Swiss chard. That’s what I did yesterday from a healthy patch growing in the alley behind my house. I brought them in, washed them, boiled them, sprinkled a little vinegar on them, and then ate them. They were tender and tasty.

Try them sometime. You may be surprised. Bon app├ętit!



Summer clouds.
The past week was a welcome break from the heat wave we experienced for most of this month. Temperatures were not exactly cool with highs in the low to mid-nineties, but after all those triple-digit days, they did feel more pleasant.

And on Thursday afternoon, a cloud sprang up out of nowhere, cooled things down, and then rained off and on from about 4:30 to 7:30. It wasn’t a lot, but for farmers who dry planted sunflower seeds, it was enough to get them up and running. Here in town, I got .7”. West of town got from three-quarters to an inch, and I heard that as much as two inches fell in places around Hermleigh and Snyder. Then, yesterday a big cloud made up southeast of town, and it looked like some were getting rain over there, but I haven’t heard anything, so I can’t report on where or how much it rained.

The forecast for today is for partly cloudy skies and a hot afternoon, reaching a high of about 98°F and southwest winds with a slight chance of scattered thundershowers. Tomorrow is projected to be even hotter at 99° or 100°, but that will all change on Friday when a weak cool front moves through, bringing a light north breeze and an afternoon high of 91°. Saturday and Sunday will also be similar with a high of 91° on Saturday and 93° on Sunday. Monday should even be cooler with a high of just 88°, although there is little likelihood of rain. Lows for the weekend could drop into the upper sixties.



A private family gathering and services will be held at some time in the future for Julian Nunez, 56, who passed away on Tuesday, July 28, at his home in Sweetwater.

Mr. Nunez was born in El Zacaton, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. He spent much of his life in Roscoe and Sweetwater providing for his family as a rancher. He loved his family tremendously, enjoyed caring for farm animals, especially cattle, and playing baseball in his youth.

He is survived by his wife, SanJuana Nunez; children, Julia Nunez and Marcos Nunez.

If you wish to celebrate Julian in some way, please consider donating to Hendrick Hospice Care in his memory.



A memorial service will be held at a later date.for Danny R. Coker, 73, who passed away Sunday, July 19, at his home in Roby.

Danny was born on May 22, 1947, in Rotan to Denziel L Coker and Lucille Myrle Parsons. He attended Monterey High School and achieved his GED while in the military. He served in the Marine Corps from 1965-1969. While serving in Vietnam, his unit established the Khe Sanh Military Base. Danny completed the Border Patrol Academy in 1971. During his career, he served as a Border Patrol Agent and advanced to Senior Special Agent with the Federal Drug Enforcement Task Force. He retired from the Department of Justice in March 1999. Danny was very athletic and was active in organized softball, the Law Enforcement Rodeo Association, and loved to play golf. He was a member and officer of the American Legion Post 227 in Roscoe and a lifetime member of the VFW.

He was predeceased by both of his parents.

Survivors include his children, Wendi Fleer, Ryan Coker, and Scott Coker; his grandsons, Blake and Tyler Fleer, and Cash James Coker; his brothers and sisters, Donald Coker, Darlene Moore, Debbie Trotter, Davey Coker, and Della Jane Tolbert; son-in-law, Rob Fleer; and daughter-in-law, Jacqueline Coker. He is also survived by multiple nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and many friends who loved him all dearly.

The family would like to thank all who helped in his care, especially Todd Coker, Amy Trotter Wilson, Crystal Coker, and Dave Coker.



Graveside services for Ted Wyman Early, 80, were at 2:00pm on Sunday, July 26, at the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Sweetwater with Todd Snyder officiating. Interment followed directed by McCoy Funeral Home in Sweetwater. He passed away on Friday, July 24, at an Abilene Nursing Home.

Ted was born March 19, 1940, in Sweetwater to Cliff and Lena (Henry) Early. He married Dorothy Vernell Swofford September 4, 1959, in Roscoe. He graduated from Roscoe High School in 1959. Just out of high school, Ted spent the next five years working for the State of Texas helping build I-20 from Roscoe to Abilene. His railroad career began with the Roscoe, Snyder, & Pacific and later the Union Pacific Railroads where he spent 37 years before retiring. He resided at Lake Fort Phantom near Abilene the past three years, moving there from Big Spring after 23 years. He was a lifelong Methodist who enjoyed being with his family.

He is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Vernell Early of Lake Fort Phantom; a son, Keith Early and wife Cheryl of Plano; and two granddaughters, Hannah and Ava Early, both of Plano.


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