CORPUS CHRISTI — Tyvon Hardrick was hungry for redemption.
Hardrick got a taste of the playoffs as a sophomore, but Victoria West came up short last season.
“It was so important to me to get back to the playoffs,” Hardrick said. “It’s been itching me since the preseason. I needed it, we all needed it. It took a lot of weight off my shoulders and it feels good. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
The Warriors overcame the rain and captured a 22-6 win over Corpus Christi Ray their District 15-5A, Division I finale on Thursday night at Buccaneer Stadium.
West (6-4, 6-2) claimed the second seed and secured home field in next week’s bi-district playoff game.
The Warriors will play the third-place finisher in District 16-5A, Division I.
“It’s just tremendous, having a home crowd for a playoff game is a totally different atmosphere,” said West quarterback Donovan Harris. “Back in my sophomore year, we had a home playoff game and the whole environment was just great.”
The weather forced both teams to keep the ball on the ground throughout.
The first score came in the second quarter when Harris ran 18 yards for a touchdown.
West takes the field for its game against Corpus Christi Ray on a rainy Thursday night. pic.twitter.com/xmo6iP34m0— Tyler Tyre (@TylerTyre) November 8, 2019
Then, the Warriors defense scored on back-to-back possessions, first on a Jonathan Buckner fumble recovery and then on a safety.
“Early on we controlled the field-position battle and then getting that touchdown and safety really helped us control that first half,” said West coach Courtney Boyce. “Then in the second half, when they got some field position and momentum, our defense stepped up and rose to the challenge.”
Harris added another touchdown on a 1-yard run in the third quarter to extend the Warriors lead.
Michael Almeida scored on a 23-yard run in the fourth quarter to help Ray (2-8, 1-7) avert the shutout.
“It was like playing backyard football out there,” Harris said. “We had a lot of fun out there tonight, but at the same time we had to execute the game plan and focus on holding on to the ball.”
Donovan Harris on playing both offense and defense and the Warriors clenching home field next week. pic.twitter.com/DCqnegEMZg— Tyler Tyre (@TylerTyre) November 8, 2019
Hardrick carried 31 times for 146 yards, and Harris rushed for 68 yards.
Harris also intercepted a pass, his first interception of the season.
“I’m glad they gave me the opportunity to play both sides of the ball,” Harris said. “I just want to contribute every time I’m on the field. So, it’s great that they’ve let me play on both offense and defense.”
Boyce was encouraged by the Warriors' ability to take care of the ball in the wet conditions.
“They knew we were going to come out and run it, but our line did a good job of holding their ground,” he said. “The backs did a good job of running the football and most importantly, holding on to the football. I think in this type of weather that’s all you can ask for.”
The Warriors enjoyed their win, but want to make sure they are prepared for the postseason.
“We are going to get into the film room and study and see what we need to focus on next,” said defensive back Bryce Sitka. “So we’ll just be coming in tomorrow and looking to see where we can improve going into playoffs.”