Pair of Lions headed to next level

A pair of Brownwood Lion seniors will be continuing their sports careers at the next level as Grant Fanara is headed for Midland College to play baseball and Blaine Hughes is bound for Navarro College to play football. A signing ceremony was held for the duo Wednesday morning at Warren Gym on the Brownwood High School campus.

Hughes was a 5-4A second-team all-district football selection at wide receiver, hauling in 13 receptions for 290 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Hughes also received honorable mention at cornerback, tallying 51 tackles with one interception and one fumble recovery. The Lions finished as district runners-up and reached the second round of the playoffs.

Fanara and the Lions are currently in second place in the District 5-4A baseball standings as they look to make their first postseason appearance since 2014. Through 19 games, Fanara is batting .458 with 13 RBIs, nine doubles and 17 runs scored. Fanara also owns a 1-2 record on the mound with five starts and a 1.26 ERA over 16.2 innings.

Brownwood baseball head coach Blandon Hancock attended both Navarro and Midland. During the ceremony Wednesday he said, “I started at Navarro and transferred to Midland, so I’ve been to both and tried to give them an outlook on both, and they’re both great programs.

“I appreciate the work they’ve done for us in other sports, but especially baseball. They’re a big part of what we have going on right now, and what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s going to be hard to replace their work ethic, demeanor and being a good person in general. They’re great leaders, great role models and they’ll thoroughly be missed.”

Brownwood High athletic director Kyle Maxfield said, “I’ve only known these guys for about a year to the day. They’re both multi-sport athletes and we appreciate everything they’ve contributed and we wish them the best of luck in the future. They have bright futures and they have what it takes mentally to get it done.”

Hughes, who plans to pursue a degree in Radiology, selected Navarro over Sul Ross and Angelo State, among other options.

“I chose to go to Navarro because I heard good things about it, I felt like it was the right decision for me, and one of my best friends Corleone (Pressley) is going,” said Hughes, who will line up at receiver for the Bulldogs. “Hopefully we’ll on be on opposite sides of the line like we were here at Brownwood.”

Among his fondest memories of his playing days in Brownwood, Hughes said, “I remember the first time walking out at Gordon Wood Stadium and getting butterflies. I looked up to a lot of the guys from 2010 and before and always wanted to be like them. The last two years, playing under the lights on Friday, going as deep as we did in the playoffs and playing with my best friends was fun for me.”

“Blaine was the most dependable receiver we had on offense and made a lot of big plays on both sides of the ball,” Maxfield said. “We’re going to miss him next fall, but I’m proud for Blaine and his family.”

Fanara, who intends to major in Kinesiology, will play catcher at Midland as he’s currently manning third base and pitching for the Lions. Fanara chose Midland after receiving attention from various schools, from Cisco Junior College to Sam Houston State University.

“My ultimate goal is playing at the Division I level, not just being on a Division I team,” Fanara said. “I wanted to go to a junior college and develop and work on my craft a little bit and see where I can go from there.”

Fanara has played for both Brownwood and Early in high school and has, “put together a pretty good resumé over the years,” he said. “I’ve worked hard and had some great coaches and teammates, and I’ve learned that something is easier to achieve if you really work hard at it.”

“It’s been fun for me to watch him play on the diamond this spring,” Maxfield said of Fanara. “I know it was a dream of his to play college ball, and I’m proud he gets to do it at a great program like Midland College. You’ll have good days and bad and obstacles in the way, but you’ve faced them before. We wish you the best of luck and know it’s going to be great for you.”