WACO — Mart and La Vega have established themselves as high school football powers in the State of Texas, that have made a habit of ending their seasons in the State Championship at AT&T Stadium.
With that comes a price every other February when they have to search far and wide to find teams that are willing to take on the challenge they present.
“It’s the blessing and the curse of being successful,” La Vega Head Coach Don Hyde said. “We’re extremely blessed at La Vega High School that we’ve had an elongated run of success, and with that comes the — every two years of trying to find football games. I would definitely prefer to have it this way than the other way.”
Hyde’s good friend Kevin Hoffman at Mart is in the same boat when it comes to finding quality teams to schedule in the non-district.
“I called somebody and they had me on speakerphone,” Hoffman said recalling a scheduling story. “And I asked him if they want to play and he told all his coaches that were in the coach’s office — every one of them laughed at the same time, and then they hung the phone up on me.”
As tough as it is to schedule on a normal year it’s even tougher this year when some schools are starting at different times. Especially when these two teams spent much of last week thinking they were one of those teams starting late.
“I kept them up to date,” Hoffman said of his previously scheduled coaches. “Then a couple of them we’re like, ‘Coach I’m gonna go ahead and find another game’ and I’m like you got to do what you got to do for you don’t worry about me.”
The Pirates had planned to play Dumas, Austin LBJ and Wichita Falls Rider in their non-district but because of the restrictions vary by school district, all of a sudden coach Hyde was looking for three more games again. Luckily for him though one of his former players, Shane Anderson coaches a few miles a way at Waco Connally and they decided to go the unconventional route and play each other twice in the same non-district season.
“I coached Coach Anderson in high school at Connally when he played linebacker for me,” Hyde said. “You know he needed some games and I needed some games, I said Heck, let’s just play two weeks.”
Hoffman said he offered to play those teams in some form or fashion (Mart Varsity vs. La Vega JV) but the hardest part for these coaches is finding a game that is mutually beneficial for the programs.
“We’re willing to play any 2A school, and pretty much any 3A school,” Hoffman said. “If we had to go a 4A school that maybe wasn’t one of the top tier schools, we would do that. But it doesn’t do them any good.”
As of Thursday night Hoffmanand Mart were still looking for a week three game (9/11) and a Week five game (9/25). La Vega is still hunting a Week Three game (9/11).