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UIL Football Championship Games Kick Off: Your Texas Roundup

Plus: A champion of gay marriage runs for state Senator, former State Representative Ruth Jones McClendon dies, and Texas brewers battle it out in court.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY


“I was stuck, and I kept going up. I figured I’d get the dang cat and figure out how to get down later. The cat kept going up also. The little thing just sat there. It was like she was laughing at me.”

—Abigail Montalvo, of Victoria, to the Victoria Advocate. After Montalvo’s cat, Lyla, got stuck in a tree outside her house, she decided to climb the tree to go get her. But Montalvo accidentally kicked away the stool she used to climb the tree and found herself stuck up there with Lyla. Both Montalvo and Lyla had to be rescued by the Victoria Fire Department.


BIG NEWS


Sweetwater celebrates with the Class 4A Division II Region I football championship trophy after defeating Seminole on December 2, 2016, in Midland, Texas.

Jacob Ford/Odessa American via AP

Legends of the Fall
This year’s Texas state high school football champions will soon be decided, with title games kicking off Wednesday and continuing through Saturday. The action starts at 11 a.m., when Gail Borden County (14-0) takes on Jonesboro (13-1) for the Class 1A Six Man Division I title. Balmorhea (13-0) and Strawn (14-0) will play for the Class 1A Six Man Division II title at 2 p.m., and Mart (14-1) will battle Refugio (13-1) for the Class 2A Division I title at 7 p.m. Wednesday. There are plenty of storylines to follow in these smaller class championship games—Strawn kicker K-Lani Nava will become the first female player to suit up in a UIL championship game, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, while Refugio plays for a county still reeling from Hurricane Harvey. According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, many Refugio players were living in hotels 35 miles away from school for most of the season. The action continues with three more title games on Thursday: 15-0 Muenster plays 15-0 Tenaha for the Class 2A Division II championship; Brock (13-2) plays Rockdale (12-3) for the Class 3A Division I championship; and 15-0 Gunter plays 14-0 Newton for the Class 3A Division II title. The Class 5A Division I title will be decided between 14-0 Manvel and 14-1 Highland Park on Friday, the same day Kennedale (14-1) and Carthage (15-0) complete for the Class 4A Division I championship and Texarkana Pleasant Grove (15-0) plays West Orange-Stark (13-0) for the Class 4A Division II title. 15-0 Aledo plays 13-2 College Station for the Class 5A Division II championship at 11 a.m. on Saturday, followed by Allen (15-0) and Lake Travis (13-2) at 3 p.m. for the Class 6A Division I title and Waco Midway (15-0) versus Cy Fair (14-0) for the Class 6A Division II championship at 7 p.m. There are plenty of big-time players to watch this weekend. Aledo running back Jase McClellan is one of the top-ranked recruits in the class of 2020, and he has already committed to Oklahoma after being named the 2016 MaxPreps National Freshman Football Player of the Year in 2016. Fellow Oklahoma commit Theo Wease caught sixteen touchdowns for Allen this year and is one of the wide receiver top prospects in the 2019 class. Lake Travis quarterback and future Ohio State Buckeye Matthew Baldwin completed more than 70 percent of his passes and threw for 44 touchdowns this year.


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


New Challenger
Mark Phariss, who was a plaintiff in the 2013 lawsuit to overturn Texas’s ban on gay marriage, announced his campaign for state Senator on Tuesday. “When I was accepting the fact that I was gay, there were two things I kind of thought I had to give up: one, getting married, and two, running for political office,” Phariss told the Dallas Morning-News. “I need to quit assuming what people will think. I need to allow them the choice.” The Plano business lawyer said he chose to run after seeing Democrats win in other Republican strongholds, including Virginia and Alabama. Phariss and his partner, Victor Holmes, were among four plaintiffs who sued the state in 2013 in an attempt to overturn Texas’s gay marriage ban. The case was in progress when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015. Phariss is running for the the District 8 Senate seat, which represents Collin County.

Rest in Peace
Former state Representative Ruth McClendon passed away on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. The San Antonio Democrat represented District 120 for twenty years, and was widely respected on both sides of the aisle. She made Texas Monthly‘s list of best legislators in 2015, continuing to pass legislation even after brain surgery left her so weak that she used an electric scooter to get around and found it difficult to speak during the session. She was also named one of the Dallas Morning News‘ Texans of the Year in 2015. She resigned in January 2016, after passing a bill that created an innocence commission to review wrongful convictions. She was a person of principle and decency who spoke for those whose voice is too often not heard,” House Speaker Joe Straus said, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “Every one of us who served with Ruth was inspired by her integrity and tenacity, especially in the difficult final days of her service.” She was 74 years old.

Beer Battle
A Texas beer battle is brewing in the Texas Supreme Court. In 2014, three Texas brewers—Dallas’s Peticolas Brewing Company, Revolver Brewing of Granbury, and Austin’s Live Oak Brewing Company—sued the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission, arguing that a recently passed law stating who could sell a brewery’s distribution rights was unconstitutional. The law barred breweries from accepting payment for contracting with a distributor, but allowed distributors to get a payout if it sold those same territorial rights to another distribution company. The breweries claim that since they can’t profit from selling distribution rights, their businesses suffer millions of dollars that would otherwise go back into the companies. The battle has made its way through the courts: a judge gave breweries a victory last year, but the Texas Third Court of Appeals reversed that decision earlier this week. Now the case will head to the Texas Supreme Court, according to the Dallas Morning News.


WHAT WE’RE READING


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

A racist propaganda campaign rattles Texas State University Vice News

Someone messed with Houston’s famous “Be Someone” graffiti again Houston Chronicle

A candidate for El Paso County clerk was disqualified over a returned $1,250 check El Paso Times

Austin has a new city manager Austin American-Statesman

Customs agents found more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana in an avocado shipment on the Pharr bridge McAllen Monitor

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  • St. Anger

    Congrats to all players, teams, and families who qualified for extra weeks of brain damage this season. Sorry from the rest of us for watching it happen.

  • anonyfool

    That was an old story about the racists posting flyers on college campuses. Texas State refused to press trespassing charges for lack of a spine.