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Thursday’s Sports

UIL officials present Dodd City senior Journie Hilliard with her
state championship game MVP trophy. photo by Melissa Brent

MLB

The Texas Rangers could be the first team to return to full capacity.

The team hopes to have a full house for its home opener next month after debuting a new 40,518-seat stadium without fans in the stands for its games last season. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order took effect Wednesday, allowing businesses to operate at 100% if they choose.

Fans at Globe Life Field will still be required to wear masks, even though there is no longer a statewide mandate requiring them.

NFL

The Houston Texans have hired Lovie Smith as defensive coordinator.

Smith, who will also hold the associate head coach’s title, coached at Illinois from 2016 until fired in December. He coached the Bears from 2004-12, Buccaneers from 2014-15, and has been an assistant with the Rams in a decade-long coaching career. It all began at Big Sandy.

LSC

The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team clinched a season sweep of Dallas Baptist University on Wednesday night in the Burg Center with a 3-1 win, earning a spot in the Lone Star Conference Tournament in the process. The Lions are now 4-6 on the season, with two matches remaining. DBU completes its regular season at 3-9. A&M-Commerce hosts Texas Woman’s next Tuesday and Wednesday to end its regular season. Both games will begin at 6:00 pm.

The Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team is ranked third nationally in the national coaches’ poll released by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association on Wednesday. 

NTCC

Northeast Texas Community College Baseball returned home last Saturday to take on the Panola Ponies conference matchup. Panola defeated NTCC 6-2 in Game one and 9-3 in Game two to get the series sweep. Tuesday, Carl Albert took a game 6-4 from Northeast in non-conference. The Eagles open a conference series with Bossier Parrish Community College at Northeast Thursday, March 11 at 2:00 pm.

HIGH SCHOOL

Dodd City finally broke through to beat its playoff nemesis, Nazareth, 30-21, in the UIL Class 1A girls basketball state championship Wednesday at the Alamodome. All four teams came in the title game with four losses to Nazareth in 2002, 2017-19.

The area has lost two coaches this week. Longview’s Coach Christopher Douglas Lashley, 58, was with teams at Lufkin and Longview. He coached at Waco Connolly, Whitesboro, Sherman, and retired at Longview. According to head coach Joe Willis, Coach Tim Johnson from Tyler Legacy High School has died.

Mt Pleasant’s softball team did in Marshall Tuesday 9-0