Victoria West sophomore quarterback Braden Luedeker wasn’t perfect, but he wasn’t far from it in his first start in the Battle of the Boot.
Luedeker opened the game 6 of 6 passing for 122 yards in the first quarter against crosstown rival Victoria East.
He would finish the game 21 of 31 for 357 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 85 yards and three touchdowns rushing to lift the Warriors to a 63-46 District 15-5A, Division I win over East.
West (3-2, 2-1) makes it consecutive wins in the rivalry game, coming on top in the highest-scoring game in the rivalry’s history.
It was also a breakout game for the 5-foot-9-inch quarterback.
“He works extremely hard. There’s no doubt,” said West coach Courtney Boyce. “He works hard in film study, the weight room, everything he does. He’s an intense, young man and I’m very proud of how he came out and executed.”
Luedeker’s first of five touchdowns came on a 6-yard run in the first quarter after East junior Jadon Williams ripped a 77-yard run to open the scoring.
After Williams, who would account for 470 yards and five touchdowns for the Titans, opened the scoring in such a way, West knew it needed to stay calm and Luedeker delivered.
“Our message was to put the ball in the end zone and this game was ours to take,” said West running back Kibreante Williams, who rushed for three touchdowns on 18 carries.
Luedeker wasn’t shy about hitting his weapons. Dion Green and Darrian Lacy each caught seven passes while D’Andre Fillmore had four receptions and Jeremiah Baldwin had three.
Green would total 163 yards and a touchdown on those catches. He was named the MVP of the game.
Green and the Warriors were inspired by Luedeker’s performance.
“He was a leader,” Green said. “He kept the intensity and kept us going. He has a lot of potential. The way his mindset is, he has grown a lot.”
West was efficient when in the red zone. The Warriors made 10 trips inside East’s 20-yard line and scored eight touchdowns and a field goal on nine of those drives.
“East does a great job inside the red zone and they made it pretty tough,” Boyce said. “Our kids had to make some big plays. I’m just proud of our kids for staying with it and gutting it out, making big plays.”
Friday’s win marked consecutive weeks that West scored 60 points and the Warriors had 538 yards of total offense.
After the Week 3 loss to Flour Bluff, the Warriors feel they’ve turned a corner.
“We had a great bye week,” Boyce added. “We’ve just got to stay focused and come back and get after it. There’s going to be plenty to learn from this film. I just think it’s their dedication to each other and being a family.”
West’s win was made easier by East’s mistakes. The Titans (3-3, 2-2) committed 12 penalties for 95 yards and turned the ball over four times.
“The turnovers killed us,” said East offensive coordinator Jeff Hurta. “We came into the game saying we can’t have any turnovers and we had four. I’m not putting the blame on the guys that had the turnovers. West just did a good job of creating turnovers and that was the main difference in the game tonight.”