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East, West quarterbacks provide similar sparks (VIDEO)

By Julie Garcia
Oct. 12, 2013 at 5:12 a.m.

Victoria West quarterback Tony Navarro kisses the boot trophy after the Warriors defeated the Titans 47-43 to win for the first time since the football rivalry started Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

Victoria West quarterback Tony Navarro burst into tears after the Warriors won against their crosstown rival Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

While emotions were high for all involved in the down-to-the-last-play 47-43 win over Victoria East (2-4, 1-2), the senior team leader was initially speechless when the final buzzer sounded for the victorious Warriors (5-1, 2-0).

"Words can't express how I feel right now," Navarro said as sweat and tears continued to pour down his face. "This is one of our biggest games of the season. We've got one championship out of the way; now we have our eyes set on the second."

Coming off a three-year losing streak, Navarro and his team finally gained bragging rights over the crosstown rivals.

Navarro and East quarterback Jonathan Ortega are similar players - physically and statistically.

Both are 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-9 and about 165 pounds. Each started at different positions in their varsity careers - Navarro at wide receiver and defensive back, and Ortega also at wide receiver - before switching to quarterback.

On Friday, Navarro had 16 carries for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Ortega had similar numbers with 17 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns.

In their passing games, Navarro threw 21 times with 14 completions for 214 yards. He threw one passing touchdown to Dillon Lippe late in the first half.

Ortega also threw 21 times and connected with receivers 11 of those for 213 yards. The junior quarterback threw two interceptions, one of which was caught by West's wide receiver Jacob Armstrong late in the fourth quarter.

East coach Roland Gonzalez is proud of Ortega's performance in the back-and-forth battle.

"He's an outstanding athlete, quarterback and a better person," Gonzalez said. "I'm extremely proud of him. He always steps up to the plate, and tonight was another night where he stepped up."

Many East players had tears in their eyes following the loss. It was the first time the Titans had tasted defeat against their rivals, and Gonzalez said it was emotional for everyone.

"They left it all out on the field and put a lot into it," Gonzalez said. "Ultimately, we couldn't put more points on the board than them."

West coach Leonard McAngus said that moving Navarro to quarterback this season has made all the difference.

"He's the kind of guy you want leading your team; he's just a tremendous leader of these kids," McAngus said. "I feel like he did a great job running our offense and playing with emotion."

It was last spring that McAngus and his coaching staff moved Navarro to the quarterback position for extra depth.

"He's stepped up and become 'The Man,'" McAngus said.

In West's first five games of the season, Navarro threw for a total of 578 yards and seven passing touchdowns. Out of 71 passing attempts, he connected with a receiver 36 times.

"I think it comes like second nature to me because I was once a receiver," Navarro said. "I know where the ball needs to be. I'm not saying I'm the best, but I can understand and relate to the wide receivers."

Ortega has similar passing stats for the first half the season (a total of 635 passing yards and six passing touchdowns) but has also rushed for 622 yards and seven rushing touchdowns.

With the game still too fresh to analyze, Gonzalez said his team will regroup, review tape and get back to work for its game against Beeville next week.

McAngus said his team will revel in its victory for the night then get back to work Saturday.

"We're elated; it's a big monkey off our backs," McAngus said. "Somebody said this was an upset, but I don't think it was. I think it was a great game between two evenly matched teams. I thought they did a great job, too."

Navarro agrees that there's no time to rest. The Warriors face Calhoun next week to continue to battle for a spot in the playoffs.

"Tomorrow, we have to get back to work," he said. "It's an everyday thing. We have to constantly strive to get better. We weren't perfect tonight, all but perfect, but we got the W, and we'll work off that."

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