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West, East to battle for victory (video)

Keldy  Ortiz

By Keldy Ortiz
Oct. 10, 2013 at 5:10 a.m.
Updated Oct. 11, 2013 at 5:11 a.m.

Victoria West wide receiver Jacob Armstrong catches a pass against a block from junior varsity defender Blane Tupa during practice Wednesday at Memorial Stadium. The Warriors will try to beat their crosstown rivals, Victoria East High School, on Friday for the first time since the schools were built.

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Jacob Armstrong and Tony Navarro have more in common than being teammates: They're winless against Victoria East.

The two Victoria West (4-1, 1-0) players have thought about being winless because they know time is not on their side. Both are seniors, and Friday will be their last shot at being victorious over their crosstown rival in a District 30-4A matchup.

"A lot of us grew up playing together," Navarro said. "For the most part, it's all about bragging rights. It's everything. It's what this city wants. It's what we want."

With the exception of the first game between the two schools, which the Titans (2-3, 1-1) won 48-21, the last two have been decided by 10 points or fewer.

"We had mental errors," Armstrong said about last year's loss. "Last year, they came out with (Jonathan) Ortega at quarterback. We were expecting him at running back. That kind of threw us off right there."

For Warriors fourth-year coach Leonard McAngus, all district games are important to the team as they decide who moves on to the playoffs.

Their next game happens to be against a team that is 4.7 miles away.

"It's a rivalry. Both sides get really ready for this game," McAngus said. "It's important in our community that we do well. Everybody has to do their job and handle the football. It's as simple as that."

After catapulting to a 54-48 victory over the Warriors last season, the Titans reached the playoffs before losing to San Antonio Harlandale 35-26.

Last season, the Warriors, meanwhile, lost three of their last four games and were on the outside looking in when playoffs arrived.

Friday, there will be no surprise for the Warriors as to who will be throwing the football for the Titans.

For the Warriors, the question that lingers - and has for three years - is whether they will prevail.

"I don't know who has the most pressure, but I can tell you we're going to push a lot harder just because we haven't met that standard yet," Armstrong said. "We need to keep ourselves calm so we don't get frustrated."

Titans coach Roland Gonzalez said the team will be up to the challenge of making it four straight victories. Last season was his first taste of defeating the Warriors as the first-year coach for the Titans.

"It's like I told them in the huddle: The stage is set," Gonzalez said during practice Wednesday. "Everybody in Victoria will be there. We've got to be well prepared."

Gonzalez said he believed the team has improved week by week, and by overcoming Friday's game, the team will be closer to the mission it set forth at the beginning of the season.

"Aside from this being the East-West game, our goal is to make the playoffs," Gonzalez said. "If we keep playing like we did last week, we're on track to do so."

During the week, the Warriors practiced at Memorial Stadium, the site of Friday's game.

Armstrong and Navarro looked at each other and looked at the empty stands, which will be filled with spectators Friday.

"I've never beat East; neither has Jacob," Navarro said. "We both never beat East. We just got to go out with a bang. We got to make memories."

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