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Thanks to a former NFL player, Duncanville’s Barak Gurnell has found his niche and passion in football


TEXAS CLASS 6A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW


DUNCANVILLE, Texas — Tamara Gurnell was going on and on Wednesday morning about how her son, Barak Gurnell, doesn’t routinely watch football.

“He doesn’t watch a whole lot of football,” Tamara Gurnell told Making Headline News. “I could turn it on a game and he’ll go in another room. He’s just not into watching football like that.”


EYE OF THE PANTHER 

HEART OF A CHAMPION — A little more than two years removed from having become thoroughly active in competitive football, Barak Gurnell has made some pretty immeasurable strides for a Duncanville High team (15-0) that has re-emerged as a national standout and will square off against Houston’s North Shore (15-0) for the Texas Class 6A championship Saturday at 7 p.m. CST at AT&T Stadium.

That certainly isn’t the case for her son on the field.

A little more than two years removed from having become thoroughly active in competitive football, Barak Gurnell has made some pretty immeasurable strides for a Duncanville High team (15-0, ranked No. 8 nationally by MaxPreps.com) that has re-emerged as a national standout and will square off against Houston’s North Shore (15-0, ranked No. 10 nationally by MaxPreps.com) for the Texas Class 6A championship Saturday at 7 p. m. CST at AT&T Stadium.

Led by former Dallas Skyline coach Reggie Sample, Duncanville is ranked No. 1 in Texas Class 6A, according to MaxPreps. North Shore is ranked No. 2.

A 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior defensive tackle, Gurnell has practically held his own and made a name for himself as a marquee player for a Panther defensive unit that denied perennial power Allen of a second consecutive state title with a 44-35 win in the state semifinals.


“Football has become a very important part of my life in a very short period of time and I honestly can’t see going to college without it. It pushes me to be a better version of myself every day.” — Duncanville senior defensive tackle Barak Gurnell 


STOCK IS RISING — What a difference two years have made for a young, gifted kid whom, to his credit, has managed to attract interests from a host of college, a trend he expects to increase much sooner than later.

Football alone isn’t the only factor that has greatly inspired Gurnell to maximize his potential as he continues to lobbies for a full ride scholarship as a member of a nationally-ranked Duncanville team that’s loaded with Division 1-caliber players and is back in the state championship for the first time in two decades.

Amongst those who essentially spearheaded Gurnell’s quest to consider football is former NFL player Roderick Lewis.

A former Dallas Bishop Dunne Catholic and University of Arizona star, Lewis, 47, played four professional seasons for the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans from 1994-1997.

PIVOTAL EXTRA POINT — Amongst those who essentially spearheaded Gurnell’s quest to consider football is former NFL player Roderick Lewis. A former Dallas Bishop Dunne Catholic and University of Arizona star, Lewis, 47, played four professional seasons for the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans from 1994-1997.

As Tamara Gurnell recalled, Lewis was rather direct when suggesting that her son — who already exhibits the size of an NFL defensive lineman — should serious consider giving football a try.

“My friend, Rod Lewis, hadn’t seen Barak for some time until his daughter’s 17th birthday party,” Tamara Gurnell explained. “Rod’s face lit up with excitement and he began to pat Barak on the back and chest, commenting on how big he had gotten.”

As it turns out, it seemed that divine intervention essentially couldn’t keep Barak Gurnell off of Lewis’ mind days after the two had crossed paths.

MOM KNOWS BEST –— Come Saturday night, amongst the things that will likely come to mind for Gurnell when he sets foot on Texas high school football’s biggest stage is how his willingness to embrace wise counsel has ultimately allowed his gift to make room for him.

“A few days later, Rod called me to discuss Barak’s future, highly encouraging (him) to consider football as a viable option to add to his high school portfolio,” Tamara Gurnell recalled.

And the rest, as they say, was history.

That’s because not only did Barak Gurnell heed the pertinent advice of Lewis but, much to his delight, it’s safe to assume that competitive football, by all accounts, has become an integral part of his life.

Come Saturday night, amongst the things that will likely come to mind for Gurnell when he sets foot on Texas high school football’s biggest stage is how his willingness to embrace some wise counsel has ultimately allowed his gift to make room for him.

Yep. What a difference two years have made for a young, gifted kid whom, to his credit, has managed to attract interests from a host of college, a trend he expects to increase much sooner than later.

“I have spoken to Lyon College over the phone and Texas State University (scouts) in person,” said Gurnell, adding that Oklahoma State and SMU have expressed interests in his services.

REMEMBER THE NAME — A 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior defensive tackle, Gurnell has practically held his own and made a name for himself as a marquee player for a Panther defensive unit that denied perennial power Allen of a second consecutive state title with a 44-35 win.

Surely, Gurnell’s short list of schools, in all likelihood, will expand, considering just this past summer, he attended camps at SMU, OSU, Baylor, TCU, the University of Houston, Rice University, and Texas A&M Commerce, among others.

“There will be no problems off the field,” said Gurnell, when asked what direct message he’d like to send to college scouts and recruiters. “I always make sure to conduct myself in a respectable fashion and that my grades are never a problem. Right now, I’m preparing for the state final game against North Shore, and I plan to continue to lift weights through the winter and do some conditioning once it gets warmer.”

If nothing else, for a youngster who’s a relatively newcomer to football, Gurnell certainly has become knowledgeable of the prerequisites essential for landing an athletic scholarship.

“The coaches give honest feedback,” Tamara Gurnell said of her son’s constant progression to the sport. “Essentially, Barak is a diamond in the rough. Because he is so new to the sport, the learning curve is massive.”

All things considered, one would be hard-pressed to discover just how “massive” of a curve it is, given the sustained success Gurnell has enjoyed in such a brief timeframe.

“He is a quick study, and in football, intellect is key,” said Tamara Gurnell, sounding very much like a prep football insider. “(The Duncanville coaching staff) believe he will be offered a (partial) scholarship, if not a full one, mainly because there is limited film due to his late start in the sport. They believe he will surely be an asset, because of his character and great grades.”

PUTTING IN WORK — If nothing else, for a youngster who’s a relatively newcomer to football, Gurnell certainly has become knowledgeable of the prerequisites essential to landing an athletic scholarship.

Something even a former NFL player had recognized at a birthday party.

Speaking of party, expect the Gurnells to host one if the Panthers upend North Shore Saturday night in Arlington, which is roughly two towns over from Duncanville.

Heck, expect them to throw an even bigger party if Barak Gurnell pulls off the unthinkable by signing a National Letter of Intent in the foreseeable future , which undoubtedly would be a massive, remarkable feat for a relatively newcomer to the sport.

“I will be proud (if he earns a football scholarship), because he is one step closer to his independence,” Tamara Gurnell said. “I am enjoying the man he is becoming.”

A youngster who already exhibits the frame of an NFL defensive lineman.

Talk about impressive.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Tulsa-area Pastor Haniqua Hill to host her inaugural The Dressed In Love Experience conference March 15-17


MAKING HEADLINE NEWS WELCOMES PASTOR HANIQUA HILL


Pastor Haniqua Hill’s reputation is such that she routinely demonstrates having a heart for people.

To her credit, that is amongst the reasons Hill is going to great lengths to share with the masses a faith-based event that figures to help advance the kingdom unlike never before.


PURCHASE CONFERENCE TICKETS HERE: https://abovetherockchurch.ticketspice.com/the-dressed-in-love-experience

“This event is open to all within the U. S.,” Hill, a Tulsa, Oklahoma-area minister, told Making Headline News this week.

Pastor and Jamal Natasha Miller

Widely known also as an accomplished motivational speaker and entrepreneur, Hill will host the inaugural The Dressed In Love Experience from March 15-17 at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Powered by the slogan, “You’ve Never Done Dating Like This Before,” this three-day event will take place at 100 Civic Center in Tulsa and is organized by Hill in conjunction with Above The Rock Church, the institution she founded.

Pastor Carrington and Ashley Brown

A conference that is available exclusively to singles, Hill and Co.’s chief objectives include, among other things, bringing awareness to interpersonal relational skills, relationship enhancing, etc.

“We believe (this conference) will help in building healthy long-term relationships to decrease the divorce rate and increase the act of marriage throughout the communities,” said Hill, explaining the purpose for her inaugural conference.

Hill’s The Dressed In Love Experience will be highlighted by six featured married couples (or speakers), each whom will share of their wealth of knowledge through marriage and relationship building.

Kevin and Melissa Fredericks

The speakers during Hill’s The Dressed In Love Experience are:

  • Pastor Jamal and businesswoman Natasha Miller, the co-creators of The One University. The Millers’ exclusive membership program is comprised of more than 4,000 members for single men and women, who aspire to prepare themselves for marriage. Interestingly, the Millers are widely known for their Facebook love story that was originally posted on YouTube and had ultimately gone viral.

  • Pastor Carrington and businesswoman Ashley Brown, the co-creators of Ashley’s YouTube channel entitled, “AshleyEmpowers.” Also, this couple host what is known as the “8:02 GAMETIME,” during which they customarily discuss a variety of pertinent issues and concerns, particularly as it relates to dating and marriage.

  • Comedian Kevin and author Melissa Fredericks of KevOnStage and The Love Hour. The Fredericks are widely known for having co-authored the written document entitled, “25 Tips For A Healthy Marriage.”

  • Pastor Calvin and businesswoman Tiffany Appleton of GodFamilyWorks.com. The Appletons co-authored a pair books: “From Sarah’s Daughter To Hagar’s Servant” and the “GodFamilyWorks Marriage Mentorship Manual.”

  • Pastors Jerry and Tanisha Flowers the co-founders of Redefined TV. Interestingly, the Flowers have produced several online devotionals and are also co-founders and co-creators of “Wife Academy” and “The Return Of Kings For Men” and,

  • Tobias and Briana Jackson of Memphis. A Dallas/Fort Worth-area life coach couple who met on social media while simultaneously building careers in Business Development and Network Marketing, Tobias Jackson has been ministering prophetically for more than two decades. His wife, meanwhile, serves as an international business funding specialist, as well as a credit repair maven.

Also, during The Dressed In Love Experience, there will be a black tie dinner for which Hill refers to as “the single hopefuls.” During this part of the conference, attendees will be allowed to meet and interact with other singles in a different element, Hill said.

Pastor Calvin and Tiffany Appleton

“We will conduct a panel discussion with other married couples, (during which they will explain) how they did it God’s way and provide tips and tricks on making their marriage last,” Hill said.

On March 16, a workshop will take place, during which the featured guests will discuss with the masses the importance of loving yourself first. In addition, Hill said three of her guest couples will give attendees some hands on tools to dating, communicating, and personal skills.

Pastor Jerry and Tanisha Flowers

Later that day, the event will resume with a group outing, during which attendees will be afforded the golden opportunity to date each other and, according to Hill, “just have an overall good time.”

Hill’s inaugural The Dressed In Love Experience will culminate with attendees attending a morning worship service that will be geared toward singles.

Tobias and Briana Jackson

A certified life coach and motivational speaker, Hill is a graduate of Oral Roberts University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ministry and Leadership.


For more information on Pastor Haniqua Hill’s inaugural The Dressed In Love Experience, log on to: https://abovetherockchurch.ticketspice.com/the-dressed-in-love-experience, or connect with her via Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/nikki.hill.961. Also, send email to: abovetherockchurch@gmail.com.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Lewisville High football standout Tahj Martin: ‘It is a dream for me to play college football’

LEWISVILLE, Texas — Tahj Martin is just a tender 15-year-old student athlete.

A great, big gigantic one, that is.

Consider, for instance, Martin’s massive frame that is comprised of his standing 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 261 pounds which, to his credit, is practically equivalent of an NFL lineup.


FRESHMAN SENSATION

UNDER THE RADAR — Assuming roles on both sides of the ball as a left tackle and defensive end for Lewisville coach Michael Odle’s squad, Tahj Martin enjoyed a significant amount of action this past season for the Farmers as his stock amongst college scouts and recruiters increased mightily in the process.

Speaking of the NFL, Martin doesn’t shy away from the notion that playing football on Sundays undoubtedly is amongst his major long-term ambitions.

But first thing’s first: blossoming as a rising prep footballer.

“I am a hard working athlete, who has come from very humble surroundings,” Martin told Making Headline News during a weekend interview. “I am a magnet and people gravitate to me, because of my winning personality and attitude.”

A triumphant mentality certainly highlights Martin’s assortment of key attributes as a true freshman for Lewisville (Texas) High’s football team.

 

STOCK IS RISING — With so much high school football ahead of him, Martin has already garnered interests from Texas Christian University and the University of Texas.

Martin, in fact, is coming off of a productive and breakthrough season for an upstart Lewisville team that finished the 2018 campaign with a 9-3 mark, including an impressive 6-1 record in 6A Region I District 6, second only to conference rival Flower Mound.

Assuming roles on both sides of the ball as a left tackle and defensive end for coach Michael Odle’s squad, Martin enjoyed a significant amount of action for the Farmers as his stock amongst college scouts and recruiters increased mightily in the process.

No one, it seems, can attest to his notion more than his father, Geoffrey Grant Martin, who’s thoroughly convinced that his son is making a strong case that his prep football career will culminate with him signing a National Letter of Intent.

TEXAS-SIZED IMPACT — Martin is coming off of a productive and breakthrough season for an upstart Lewisville team that finished the 2018 campaign with a 9-3 mark, including an impressive 6-1 record in 6A Region I District 6, second only to conference rival Flower Mound.

“Tahj has grown tremendously both on the field and off,” Geoffrey Grant said. “He’s gained a level of confidence and passion for not only his role on the team, but for the entire team itself, all while maintaining his grades academically.”

All things considered, Martin’s favorable display as a true freshmen for the Farmers has, in fact, given way to a few college scouts deeming it essential to thrust him under their radar.

With so much high school football ahead of him, Martin has already garnered interests from Texas Christian University and the University of Texas.

DOING IT BIG IN TEXAS — Martin’s massive frame that is comprised of his standing 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 261 pounds which, to his credit, is practically equivalent of an NFL lineup.

Given the immeasurable impact he’s had thus far in his prep career, expect that list to expand much sooner than later.

“It is a dream for me (to play college football), because I am made and built for the sport of football,” Martin said. “I know that all the years I have been playing will pay off and a college scholarship would be the ultimate satisfaction of all.”

Although he did not attend any camps this past summer because of unforeseen circumstances, Martin was especially active, particularly as it relates to conditioning regularly and monitoring his weight.

“(I would typically workout) Monday and Wednesday mornings and in the afternoons, (and would take part in) cardio training on Saturdays and Sundays,” Martin said. “I also work on healthy eating habits that include making smoothies and protein snacks to build a strong muscle mass.”

DON’T LEAVE ME HANGING — A triumphant mentality certainly highlights Martin’s assortment of key attributes as a true freshman for Lewisville High’s football team.

Despite his overall body of work on and off the field, coupled with the impressive resume he’s established to this point, Martin also doesn’t shy away from the notion that no one has to persuade him not to hit the cruise control button at this point.

Not with so much prep football ahead of him.


“I performed exceptionally well (during the 2018 season), but I still have more work to do. I’ve got to work more on dropping into coverage. I have to work on that. My speed needs to improve, but with growth, I know I will get faster.” — Lewisville freshman Tahj Martin


WAITING HIS TURN — All things considered, Martin’s favorable display a true underclassmen for the Farmers has, in fact, given way to a few college scouts deeming it essential to thrust him under their radar.

A pretty wise and thorough assessment, this coming from a tender 15-year-old student athlete.

A great, big gigantic one, that is.

One whose short list of interested colleges undoubtedly is expected to expand much sooner than later.

So stay tuned.


For more information about Lewisville (Texas) High School football standout Tahj Gabriel Martin, connect with him via social media at:

Instagram: @tahjmartin12

Snaphat: tmahal_878

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tahj.martin.1

Twitter: @martin2Tahj


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.