La Vega head coach Don Hyde has the Pirates in the state final in his first season, but don't try to focus on that.
"This is never going to be about me. This is always going to be about the La Vega Pirates and our coaching staff and our kids. So, I don't even factor into the equation in that regard. I don't think about it like that."
Hyde's Pirates have a date with Liberty Hill -- an old district foe -- in AT&T Stadium Friday. The Panthers Slot T is deadly, but the worst thing for that offense is familiarity and senior lineman Jaelyn Maladdie says La Vega feels right at home on the big stage.
"We've been here before. We know what to expect. Everyone is excited by the big screen. We've seen the big screen and it's not exciting anymore. We know we can handle business."
That business mentality has defined La Vega all season and senior linebacker/running back John Richards might sum it up best, "We always expect to win. We don't expect just to get there. We expect to win and anything short of that is a downfall of a season for us."
Still, these Panthers aren't the same ones that lost to La Vega in the quarterfinals last year. They're more physical, faster, and ready to upset anyone in their path. That's why Hyde says he won't be underprepared.
"We're not going to leave any stone unturned. I believe you have to work as hard as your kids work and our kids work extremely hard. If that means I have to go all week without any sleep to make sure I do my part for our kids, I'd be glad to do it."
La Vega is scheduled to play Liberty Hill Dec 21 at 3 p.m. in AT&T Stadium.
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