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District 5-4A Div. I preview: La Vega

District 5-4A Div. I preview: La Vega

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Following two straight trips to the Class 4A Division I state championship game, La Vega would be the favorite of almost any district it played in.

But third-year Pirates head coach Don Hyde is taking nothing for granted. District 5-4A Division I is loaded.

“It’s a highly competitive district,” Hyde said. “Look at it from top to bottom, every team made the playoffs last year. We’re going into a situation where we’re going to have to play some really good football to be successful.”

The Pirates return 14 starters from last year’s team that reached the state finals after winning the 2018 state title. But Midlothian Heritage should also be a district title contender with 11 starters back from last year’s 9-5 regional finalist squad.

Stephenville is looking to build on a 6-5 season with six starters back on each side of the ball. Waxahachie Life returns 11 starters from a 7-4 team.

Brownwood needs some younger players to emerge since just seven starters are back from last year’s 11-2 squad. Alvarado has to rebuild offensively since only one starter on that side of the ball is back from last year’s 9-3 area finalist.

DISTRICT 5-4A DIV. I PREDICTIONS

Team (enrollment) 2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ‘15

1. La Vega (915) 14-2 (4-0) 14-2 14-1 13-1 16-0

2. Midlothian Heritage (1,039.5) 9-5 (4-1) 11-2 12-1 11-2 DNP

3. Stephenville (1061) 6-5 (2-2) 7-4 12-3 3-8 4-7

4. Brownwood (973) 11-2 (3-1) 4-6 6-5 6-4 11-3

5. Alvarado (1,110) 9-3 (6-0) 5-6 3-8 9-3 9-3

6. Waxahachie Life (944) 7-4 (3-2) 5-5 5-6 2-9 6-4

District Bests

QB: Ara Rauls, La Vega

RB: Jar’Quae Walton, La Vega

Receiver: Haydon Wiginton, Midlothian Heritage

Line: OG Robert Allen, La Vega

Defense: LB Jordan Rogers, La Vega

La Vega Pirates

2019: 14-2 (4-0), reached Class 4A Div. I championship game

Head coach: Don Hyde (third season, 28-4)

Returning starters (O/D): 6/8

All-time: 538-364-28 since 1932

Playoffs: 57-31 in 34 trips, last in 2019

State titles: 2 (2015, 2018)

LaVega Paris (copy)

La Vega’s Jar’Quae Walton

high school quarterbacks (copy)

La Vega's Ara Rauls

Outlook: The Pirates are seeking their third straight Class 4A Div. I state championship game appearance after winning in 2018 and losing to Carthage in last year’s final.

They’re loaded again with six offensive and eight defensive starters returning.

After leading the Pirates to the 2018 state title, Ara Rauls is back at quarterback after Landry Kinne played there last year. Rauls is also one of the best defensive backs in the state.

“Ara is doing a fabulous job,” said La Vega coach Don Hyde. “He’s been in the fire, he played 16 games at quarterback in 2018 and won the state championship. But it doesn’t matter where you play him, he’d be successful.”

Rauls will be joined in the offensive backfield by explosive Jar’Quae Walton and Jesse Majors-Sterling. La Vega will put another big, powerful offensive line on the field with first-team Super Centex choice Robert Allen, Andrew Brown and Damion Brown leading the way.

LaVega Carthage (copy)

La Vega’s Jordan Rogers

LaVega Argyle (copy)

La Vega’s Raeshawn Roberts

La Vega’s defense is led by linebacker Jordan Rogers, the Super Centex defensive player of the year who amassed 142 tackles as a junior last season.

Linebacker LaTravius Johnson, defensive end RaeShawn Roberts and defensive backs Marcus White, Anthony Burns and Javon Iglehart will also be defensive leaders.

Schedule

8/28 vs. Port Lavaca Calhoun 7:30 p.m. at Bastrop

9/4 Connally 7:30 p.m.

9/11 vs. CC Calallen 7 p.m. at San Marcos

9/18 at Argyle 7:30 p.m.

9/25 at W. Falls Rider 7:30 p.m.

10/9 at Stephenville* 7:30 p.m.

10/16 Brownwood* 7:30 p.m.

10/23 at Mid. Heritage* 7:30 p.m.

10/30 at Alvarado* 7:30 p.m.

11/6 Waxahachie Life* 7:30 p.m.

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