AUSTIN – Waco La Vega punched its ticket to the regional finals for the third straight year with a 33-14 victory against Canyon Lake in the Class 4A Div. I regional semifinals.
“We’re excited about it,” said La Vega coach Willie Williams. “It’ll give us another shot at it. We went this far last year and got eliminated. Now, we have another opportunity to reach that goal.”
The Pirates got it done with their run game. The three-headed monster was as efficient as ever. Kemoche Hobbs (six carries, 86 yards, two touchdowns), Cameron Henry (11 carries/57/touchdown) and quarterback Jamal Williams (eight/94/touchdown) powered La Vega to 293 yards rushing.
“Whenever you get to this point, we try to be who we are,” Williams said. “When you’re playing against an offense like (Canyon Lake’s) you can’t take chances because its about possessions so we weren’t as wide-open as we normally are. But we just had to put it in the hands of our offensive line and running backs. That’s the decision we made, and again, we were who we were.”
Williams added 88 yards through the air on 4-of-6 passing with one touchdown and one interception. Junior Taequan Tyler caught three of those passes for 61 yards and a score.
Canyon Lake led 7-6 in the second quarter before La Vega scored 21 unanswered to take control of the game. Henry and Hobbs each had six-yard touchdown runs to give the Pirates a 20-7 lead entering the break. Then, Williams broke a 70-yard scoring run 29 seconds into the third quarter.
“It was big,” Williams said. “We were trying to limit their possessions and you if can get them behind on the scoreboard, you got a good chance on winning the ball game. So once we put points on the board and had them to playing catch-up. That forced them to sometimes have to pass the ball when they’re not a passing team, so that was really huge for us.”
The Hawks cut the deficit to 13 on a six-yard touchdown run from senior Tanner Faris. Any hopes of a comeback were dashed when they tried a hook-and-lateral in the red zone late in the third quarter. The risky play proved why it is so risky, senior Chris Judie intercepted the lateral.
The Pirates play Liberty Hill next Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Leo Buckley Stadium in Killeen.
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