Titans, Warriors to battle for the Sword
Oct. 10, 2013 at 5:10 a.m.
Updated Oct. 11, 2013 at 5:11 a.m.
Victoria East and Victoria West play Friday for the fourth time since they were split into two schools.
Up to this point, both the Warriors (4-1, 1-0) and the Titans (2-3, 1-1) have struggled early in the season, but have now turned up their playing ability in their district games.
With four teams in the District 30-4A able to move on after the regular season, one of these two teams may not make the playoffs.
But before the game, here's how they match up on offense, defense and special teams.
The Titans have shown glimpses of potential to score when the opportunity has presented itself.
Junior quarterback Jonathan Ortega has helped, running the ball and throwing to junior receivers Cameron Williams, Laken Williams and Dillon Lippe.
They've also worked most of their offense without senior receiver Deondric Lofton. The senior did not play for the first four games of the season. He has since come back and has already accumulated 209 receiving yards and a touchdown in two games.
Ortega, however, can run if needed. He's already rushed for more than 500 yards.
Unlike the Titans, the Warriors take their chances passing the football.
In five games, senior Tony Navarro has thrown the ball 71 times and completed 36 of those passes. Most of those passes have been to senior receiver Jacob Armstrong, who has caught the ball 16 times. Junior Malcolm Peoples has also been a target for Navarro's throws.
Warriors offensive coordinator Courtney Boyce said all players have contributed offensively even when it's not necessary.
"Our kids play their game, but also adapting to what the defense gives them," Boyce said. "Players run routes, when it necessarily is not for them. That's a testament to the kids."
Titans first-year defensive coordinator Chris Lackey has enjoyed the recent success from his players.
After giving up 98 points between Gonzales and San Marcos, both of which were losses, Lackey believed the team has come together.
"We've come a long way," Lackey said. "The kids are feeling confident. They understand where they need to be."
The Titans have been able to rattle opposing offenses, causing fumbles and preventing them from converting on third and fourth downs.
For the Warriors, with a cast of young defensive players - juniors Peoples, Jeremiah Sodia and sophomore Johnathan Jimenez - they have been able to hold teams.
After shutting out Beeville 35-0, the Warriors have allowed 102 points, while scoring 175. They've also held teams twice to 21 points or less.
The Titans have been a force on kickoff returns.
Both Ortega and Cameron Williams have had kickoff returns for touchdowns.
Last week, Williams returned an 85-yard kickoff for a touchdown in the Titans' 56-48 win over Gregory-Portland.
Senior Kelsey Ferry has been the teams' primary extra-point specialist and has missed two extra points all season.
The Warriors, meanwhile, have not had as much success scoring on kickoff returns, but they have been a force to reckoned with.
Sophomore Gamarquis Girdy has received the ball on kickoffs and has positioned the Warriors well on the field.
During the victory against Bay City, Girdy ran 60 yards to put the Warriors in the Blackcats territory.