WACO, Texas — For highlights of the game, click here!
The Connally Cadets and La Vega Pirates renew their long-standing rivalry Friday night in a showdown between two Top 10 teams.
The Pirates host the Cadets at Willie Williams Stadium. It is the two teams first matchup since 2017, when La Vega beat Connally by more than 40 points.
La Vega Pirates:
La Vega enters the matchup riding high from another Top 10 victory a week ago. The Pirates beat the No. 5 ranked Calhoun Sand Crabs 20-7 to move to 1-0 and retain their No. 1 ranking.
The Pirates have made a point of playing high-profile early-season opponents since rising to the top of Class 4A-I. Last year, they fell just short of back-to-back state championships when they lost in the state title game to Carthage.
This year, one of those high-profile matchups comes from a team less than four miles away.
"They know the kids," Pirates Head Coach Don Hyde said. "We're right down the road. I mean, they've played against em in some form or fashion in JV or basketball or baseball for many years. So it'll be fun to get out there against people that they are familiar with."
The Pirates boast a physical, competitive squad with significant experience.
But, when you ask Hyde, he says he is not sure what the strength of this year's team is yet.
“We don’t worry about the opponent," Hyde said. "We worry about the La Vega Pirates. Our message is get better everyday, get better every time the ball snaps. That’s all we concentrate on. That’s all we focus on.”
Cadet lineman Cody Cauffman says they have focused on trying to shut down the Pirate run game.
"They run the ball a lot so our defense is really going to have to be ready to go, ready to stop them, because they’re offensive game is strong,” he said.
Connally made a massive jump in the state rankings this week by upsetting then- No. 7 Sunnyvale at home in Week One. The Cadets rose all the way up to the No. 7 spot.
In that game, Connally ran the ball extremely well, tallying nearly 600 yards on the ground. Sophomore Tre Wisner stole the show with 14 carries, 266 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Cadet Head Coach Shane Anderson said he believes his team's strength is in the trenches on the offensive line.
“You gotta give credit where credit is due, and that’s the offensive line up front" Anderson said. "Four of those five guys up front are seniors and three of those four seniors are three-year lettermen, so they have played a lot of football games, won a lot of football games. They know how to prepare.”
The backfield pairing of Wisner and senior Kavian Gaither are coupled with transfer quarterback Tyler Webb. Webb joins the Cadets from Midway High School. Earlier this season, he committed to play football at the University of Idaho.