Warriors clinch playoff berth (VIDEO, GALLERY)
Victoria West High defeated Gregory-Portland, 55-35, at Memorial Stadium in Victoria on Thursday evening.
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There have been more than a few memorable moments on the Memorial Stadium field for Victoria West senior Jacob Armstrong this season.
Armstrong was named homecoming king when the Warriors beat South San Antonio back in September, and a month later, the Warriors captured their first Battle of the Boot against Victoria East.
Now, the four-sport letterman can add one more major achievement to his senior season: a playoff berth.
The Warriors (7-3, 4-2) are headed to the playoffs for the first time since their inaugural season in 2010.
West solidified their playoff spot in a 55-35 win against Gregory-Portland (4-6, 2-4) on Thursday night at Memorial Stadium.
"It makes me feel great," Armstrong said after what could be his final game at Memorial. "It makes me feel like I can keep my season going."
Armstrong has 30 receptions for 403 yards this season, two of those receptions being in the first quarter of Thursday's game.
West coach Leonard McAngus said Armstrong hardly leaves the field during any game.
"He's a very important part of our program." McAngus said, as the Band of Warriors geared up for a postgame performance on the field.
Approximately 40 freshmen were in the West football program when it started four seasons ago; Armstrong is one of the 20 who have remained in the program all four years, McAngus said.
"We've had some ups and downs over the last few years; this senior class has stuck with us and stuck with the program," he said. "They're going to reap some benefit of it now. I'm really proud of our seniors."
With the prospect of this being Armstrong's final game at Memorial Stadium, he said he'll miss it. The Warriors play all of their home games at Memorial but also practice at the stadium about once a week.
"I've shed a lot of tears and blood on this field," said Armstrong, who joined varsity when he was a sophomore.
But the all-around athlete (football, basketball, baseball and track) is ready to move on to other stadiums and playoff wins.
"We stepped us as seniors this year," he said. "I'm going to take the tempo of us getting this win and going to playoffs for my first year, taking over and hopefully getting another win."
McAngus is excited for the playoff berth but said he feels great for the kids and West coaching staff.
"It's neat to see our seniors. ... They're a great group of kids, and I'm really proud of how they've stuck together," McAngus said.
West had control of the majority of the game, scoring on all but three of its possessions.
Quarterback Tony Navarro kept the ball for many plays but handed off to running backs Gamarquis Girdy and Zevaughn Shelton, who ran hard and fast for big yardage.
Girdy had six carries for 75 yards and one reception for 28 yards during the game, bringing his reception yardage total to 383 for the season.
Girdy scored the final Warriors touchdown of the game with an interception that turned into a 65-yard touchdown return with little more than a minute left.
McAngus was relieved after that play, he said.
"You never know - this day and time, a two-touchdown lead is not a big lead," he said. "Getting a little bit more of a lead with just seconds to go is big."
A jubilant Girdy sat on the sideline watching the West band perform after the game.
"It was a great win ... great feeling," Girdy, a sophomore, said. "We're going to playoffs, baby!"
McAngus will find out who West faces in their first playoff game Friday.
"It's a new season; everything's anew," he said. "We're going to take some confidence into the playoffs, which is a good thing."
All season, the four-year coach has talked about playing "one game at a time." He plans to keep that strategy.
"Everybody is 0-0 going into playoffs, and we're going to take it one step at a time," McAngus said.
Victoria West 55,
|Victoria West||14||14||7||20 -||55|
W-Anthony Navarro 9 run (Ernesto Perez kick), 7:16GP-Tanner Geiser 16 run (kick failed), 3:25W-Jeremy Law 1 run (Perez kick), 0:00
W-Gamarquis Girdy 34 run (Perez kick), 7:12GP-Geiser 1 run (Geiser run), 5:38W-ZeVaughn Shelton 1 run (Perez kick), 4:49
GP-Steven Starcher 6 run (Cory Gagliano kick), 8:47W-Shelton 10 run (Perez kick), 4:02GP-Eric White 10 pass from Geiser (Gagliano kick), 0:29
W-Shelton 58 run (Perez kick), 11:47GP-Starcher 5 run (Gagliano kick), 4:07W-Shelton 18 run (Perez kick)W-Girdy 65 interception return (kick failed), 0:24
RUSHING - Gregory-Portland, Steven Starcher 25-244, Devin Bisby 13-86, Tanner Geiser 18-69, Victoria West, Jeremy Law 1-1, Anthony Navarro 23-184, Zevaughn Shelton 13-167, Gamarquis Girdy 6-75,
PASSING - Gregory-Portland, Tanner Geiser 32-15-108-1, Victoria West, Anthony Navarro 11-7-104-0,
RECEIVING - Gregory-Portland, Steven Starcher 5-42, Miguel Vasquez 3-24, Triston Favor 2-25, Eric White 1-10, Victoria West, Jeremy Law 1-9, Gunner Olszewski 1-11, Gamarquis Girdy 1-28, Jacob Armstrong 4-48,