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More than bragging rights at stake for Cuero, Yoakum

MIKE FORMAN

By MIKE FORMAN
Oct. 13, 2011 at 5:13 a.m.
Updated Oct. 14, 2011 at 5:14 a.m.

Streaks abound as Cuero and Yoakum prepare to play for the 101st time.

Cuero has won 42 consecutive district games and nine straight over its DeWitt County rival.

But the most important streak on the line when Cuero (2-4, 2-0) and Yoakum (4-3, 1-2) meet in a District 28-3A game Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Yoakum's Bulldog Stadium is the chance to advance to postseason play.

A win would put the Gobblers one step closer to their 10th straight playoff appearance. The Bulldogs need a win to avoid missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

"As I told the kids, our playoffs start Friday night," said Yoakum coach Brent Kornegay. "They're aware of it and understand the situation."

District losses to Gonzales and La Vernia have put the Bulldogs in a virtual must-win situation in games against Cuero, Poteet and San Antonio Sam Houston.

"Coach Kornegay wanted us to get our legs back under us and we were just going to go in shorts one day and one kid made the comment that we don't need to go in half-pads we need to work as hard as we can to make the playoffs," said senior Brice Lauer. "I agree with him too. It's tough when you go in and work so hard to try and win and make the playoffs and you just fall short."

Cuero is coming off a bye week. The Gobblers won their first two district games after starting the season with four losses.

"We just stepped it up better and our captains are leading better as the season has gone on," said senior Vann Davis. "We've just had to go hard through practice everyday to get better and better and try and push forward."

Wins over Yoakum and Poteet would put the Gobblers in position to claim a playoff berth as it concludes district play against Sam Houston and Gonzales.

"This isn't the game, it's one of the games," said Cuero coach Rick Owens. "We made it a point not to go watch the Gonzales-Sam Houston game. I don't like to watch film of opponents ahead of the week we're playing them. We want our kids to stay focused on who we're playing and this week it's easy."

The rivalry has tilted Cuero's way since Yoakum won in 2000 and 2001, but it remains important to the participants.

"This is the game I've been waiting for since sixth grade," Lauer said. "This is what you look forward to is Cuero and Yoakum. Game of the year. Probably the game of my life."

Kornegay has been impressed by the size of Cuero's offensive line and its depth at running back.

"I think we need to tackle, that's the main thing," he said. "We can't get driven off the ball. We've got to stay low and create piles and get people to the football."

Owens is concerned about playing at Bulldog Stadium. The Gobblers had to rally to pull out a 26-23 win when the teams played in Yoakum in 2009.

"They've played well at home," he said. "I'm sure they'll pull out all the stops. I'm sure they'll have great emotion. I think a big key for us is to take the momentum right off the bat."

Yoakum lost the momentum it gained in a win over Pleasanton by losing to La Vernia last week and the Bulldogs are desperate to get it back.

"This is our playoff game," Lauer said. "This is it. We've got to do the best we can this week so we can come out with a win and keep playing after the season's over."

Cuero has the same thought despite a difficult start.

"We're just trying to see the big picture," said senior A.J. Bustos. "Usually we have so much more talent. This year everybody's been working their butts off to get better."

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