The Cooper Cougars can clinch second place in District 2-5A Division II and a bi-district home game Friday night (Nov. 3) with a victory over Wylie in the Southtown Showdown at Shotwell Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in the renewal of a short rivalry that the Cougars have so far dominated. The Cougars lead the series 3-1 and have outscored the Bulldogs 118-44 in those four games, including a combined 78-0 in the first two meetings (48-0 in 2018 and 30-0 in 2019). The teams didn’t play in 2020 because of a COVID outbreak on the Wylie squad, and Cooper won again in 2021, 30-24. The Bulldogs beat Cooper for the first time last season, 20-10, in the regular-season finale, clinching Wylie’s first district title in Class 5A. The teams enter tonight’s game tied for second in the district at 3-1, one game behind Wichita Falls Rider (4-0). Rider has already beaten Cooper (4-5 overall) and Wylie (6-3 overall) and will be the No. 1 seed out of the district in the playoffs, which begin next Friday. The Cooper- Wylie winner will get a home game next week as the No. 2 seed, while the loser will be the No. 3 seed and hit the road to El Paso for a first-round game. That bi-district opponent for each team will either be El Paso Chapin or El Paso Andress. Those teams are tied for second place in District 1-5A Division II at 3-1, and they will play each other in the final week to determine second and third place. The winner of the game will host the loser of the Wylie-Cooper game, while the winner of the Wylie-Cooper game will host the loser of the Chapin-Andress game next week. You can listen and watch the Cooper game here or here.

The Abilene High Eagles clinched the football program’s first district title since 2016 Oct. 27 with a 24-14 win over Amarillo High in their regular-season finale. The Eagles – 8-2 overall and 6-0 in District 2-5A Division I – are off tonight and are awaiting the results of games tonight involving El Paso Parkland, El Paso Ysleta (each are 2-2 in District 1-5A Division I play) and El Paso Hanks (1-3 in district play) to determine which team will be coming to Abilene next week to take on the Eagles. Ysleta plays El Paso Hanks (fifth place in the district) tonight, while Parkland will play at El Paso Horizon (0-4) in the regular-season finale. AHS will host the fourth-place team from that district next week at Shotwell Stadium at a date and time still to be determined. The Eagles’ 6-0 district mark is their best since going 6-0 in 2016, and their eight wins in the regular season are the most since that 2016 team finished 9-1 in the regular season on their way to an 11-2 record.

The Abilene High and Cooper High School bands wrapped up the competitive portion of their marching seasons last Saturday at the area contest at Lowrey Field in Lubbock, with each narrowly missing a spot in the afternoon final. The top seven bands in the field of 12 advanced to Saturday evening’s final performance, and the top two in the final advanced to the Class 5A state marching band contest, which will be Nov. 6-7 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Abilene High finished ninth and Cooper 10th in the preliminary round, which Lubbock Cooper High School won and Lubbock High finished second. Those two schools flipped positions in the final, with Lubbock High winning the area championship and Lubbock Cooper coming in second. Both bands will now advance to the state marching contest.

Fine Arts Roundup: The Abilene High and Cooper marching bands will each participate in the Taylor County Veteran’s Day Parade, which is set for Saturday, Nov. 4, at 11 a.m. in downtown Abilene. … Also on Saturday, Middle School Regional Band auditions will be at Clack Middle School from 2-6 p.m. … Abilene High’s Theatre Department will host its Thespian Showcase from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the AHS Auditorium on Tuesday, Nov. 7. … On Thursday, Nov. 9, Bassetti Elementary School students will host the school’s annual Veteran’s Day program, at 9:30 a.m. They will repeat the program on Friday, Nov. 10, at 9 a.m. … That same day, Alcorta Elementary School students will host their annual 5th Grade Patriotic Assembly at 9:30 a.m.

The Abilene High volleyball season ended Tuesday night in Lubbock with a Class 5A bi-district playoff loss against Amarillo Tascosa. The Rebels – the second-place team out of District 3-5A – improve to 28-14 overall with the 25-12, 25-17, 25-12 win over the Lady Eagles, who finish their season at 14-23 overall. AHS loses seniors Amelia Carr, Makiah Cherry, Yasmine De La Garza, Kenzie Reyna, Paisley Lopez, Laila Brown, Maddie McMillon, and Page Braden off a squad that has made back-to-back Class 5A playoff appearances and last year reached the Region I-5A tournament.

Abilene High cross-country runners Andruw Villa, Marin Murry, and Zoe Vann will each compete Nov. 3 in the Class 5A cross country state championship meet at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock. Murray and Vann will compete in the girls’ race at 8:30 a.m., with Villa set to run in the boys’ racer at 9:10 a.m. Villa – a senior making his third trip to the state championship meet – was second at the regional meet, covering the 5000-meter course in 15 minutes, 08.8 seconds. He competed in the Class 6A state meet as a freshman in 2020 and a sophomore in 2021 (finishing 14th) but didn’t compete in the district or regional meets last year because of injury. He won the District 4-5A individual championship and finished second in this year’s regional meet, making him a contender for a top finish and all-state honors. Murray is also making her third trip to the state championship meet, having reached the Class 6A meet as a sophomore in 2021 (finishing 42nd) and the Class 5A meet as a junior (finishing 28th). She finished fifth at the District 4-5A meet, and 15th at the Region I-5A meet earlier this year to punch her ticket to the state championship meet. Vann is making her second trip to the state championship meet, where she finished 35th last year. She finished sixth at the district meet and 17th at the Region I-5A meet earlier this season to earn her way to the state championship meet. Grapevine is the defending Class 5A boys’ team state champion, and Lucas Lovejoy is the defending Class 5A girls’ team state champion. The Abilene High girls’ team finished ninth at last year’s state championship meet.

This is your reminder that you need to set your clocks back one hour when you go to bed Saturday night. Clocks will roll back one hour to standard time at 2 a.m. Sunday, ending the time change known as daylight savings time that began March 12 for most states. Daylight savings time more accurately reflects the actual daylight hours of the day. Turning back clocks in the fall allows for an extra hour of daylight in the morning but also means sunset and darkness descend earlier in the evening.

The annual Abilene ISD Retiree Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, November 28, at 11:30 AM in the Abilene Convention Center (1100 N. 6th St., Abilene, TX 79601). Doors will open at 10:30 AM and lunch service will begin at 11:30. If you or someone you know would like to attend, please RSVP by November 10 to or by calling 325-677-1444, extension 1685. Retirees who attend are welcome to bring 1 guest. Please note that the luncheon is on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving this year rather than Thursday!

The AISD Memorial Park honors the memory of deceased AISD students and staff who honorably served in the United States Armed Forces. The park is located on the grounds of Dyess Elementary School and includes a Veterans Memorial Wall commemorating the names of those who served. If you want to nominate a loved one who has passed away for memorialization on the district’s Veterans Memorial Wall, please click here to submit their information. If you’d like to search the AISD database for the 77 names that already have their names etched onto the wall, click here.

The Marine Corps Toys for Tots program is currently accepting applications for their program. Applications will be accepted through Sunday, Dec. 10. The program is for children 14 and under. Distribution to the community is planned for Dec. 19-Dec. 21. If you have any questions, email The Toys for Tots program distributed 18,425 toys last year, supporting 4,411 children in Abilene and the surrounding area. If parents need assistance with the application, they can call Abilene ISD School Social Worker Diana Hall at 325-677-1444, ext. 7123. The application can be found here. If you would like to make a financial donation, click here. If you want to donate a toy, click here to learn where to drop off your donation.

Abilene ISD Sports Roundup: The Abilene High and Cooper girls’ basketball teams will each start their regular seasons tonight (Friday, Nov. 3), with Cooper hosting Odessa High at 6 p.m. at Cougar Gym and the Lady Eagles playing at L.D. Bell at 6 p.m. … The Cooper boys – under first-year head coach Michael Bacon – will host Odessa High at 7:30 p.m. at Cougar Gym on Friday, Nov. 10, and the next day (Saturday, Nov. 11), Abilene High will play Del Rio at 12 p.m. at San Angelo Lake View.

Abilene ISD graduate Dr. Rusty Towell is the founding director of ACU’s Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing (NEXT) Lab, the country’s first university-advanced reactor. Dr. Towell has been named to the Powerhouse Texas Energy Policy Advisory Council, along with 11 other leading scientists across Texas. Powerhouse Texas is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that educates and cultivates policy leaders who will promote energy innovation, security, and sustainability. Powerhouse goes beyond partisanship so policymakers, legislative staff, industry experts, innovators, and public citizens can share solutions that will secure Texas’ position as a leader in energy and advance new technologies. Towell – who joined us for a Q&A last February – graduated from Abilene High School, earning his undergraduate degree from ACU and a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the University of Texas. He served in the U.S. Navy as a Naval Nuclear Power School instructor. He completed a postdoctoral research fellowship with Los Alamos National Laboratory, working at the Brookhaven National Lab.


Friday, Nov. 3 – End of 2nd grading period (early release)

Sunday, Nov. 5 – Clocks “fall back” one hour

Monday, Nov. 6 – Beginning of 3rd grading period

Monday, Nov. 20-Friday, Nov. 24 – Thanksgiving break

Friday, Dec. 22 – End of 3rd grading period (early release)

Monday, Dec. 25-Monday, Jan. 8 – Winter break

Monday, Jan. 8 – AISD Staff Work Day

Tuesday, Jan. 9 – Beginning of 4th grading period

Monday, Jan. 15 – MLK holiday (AISD closed)

Friday, Feb. 16 – End of 4th grading period (early release)

Monday, Feb. 19 – Student holiday / Staff Professional Development

Tuesday, Feb. 20 – Beginning of 5th grading period

Monday, March 11-Friday, March 15 – Spring Break

Friday, March 29 – Good Friday (AISD closed)

Sunday, March 31 – Easter

Monday, April 1 – Easter holiday (AISD closed)

Friday, April 5 – End of 5th grading period (early release)

Monday, April 8 – Beginning of 6th grading period

Sunday, May 19 – Baccalaureate Services, First Baptist Church

Thursday, May 23 – End of 2023-24 school year (early release)

Friday, May 24 – Abilene High graduation ceremony, Shotwell Stadium

Saturday, May 25 – ATEMS and Cooper High School graduation ceremonies, Shotwell Stadium