If there is a marquee sporting event involving a V.I.S.D team it’s almost a certainty the district’s superintendent Robert Jaklich will be somewhere in attendance.
With Victoria West hosting Victoria East on the basketball court Tuesday night, there is a strong chance we’ll have a sighting. The last time the schools met, Jaklich and I spent the first quarter of the boys game taking hoops and strategy – on the latter he spoke and I listened.
In the fall Jaklich and I had a conversation about sports within the district. A half hour conversation was whittled down to five minutes for our website, but there were some nuggets that continue to stick with me.
One topic we broached was the rivalry between Victoria West and Victoria East.
From watching these exchanges in a variety of sports, I’m of the opinion that its an intense, but respectful rivalry. Bragging rights may be at stake, but the only haymakers will be of the verbal variety. Jaklich tended to agree with me, before adding it’s only a rivalry when both teams win.
It must have been the former basketball coach in him coming out.
The more I thought about it, the more the man who has a knack for saying the right things at the right time, at least when in my presence, had a point.
East has never lost to West in football. West has never been tested by East in volleyball.
When West beat East in a non-district soccer match Saturday night, players from both sides demonstratively showed how much it meant to them when the buzzer sounded. (The 50 fouls in 80 minutes of play were a concrete indicator of the intensity the game was played.)
The jubilant Warriors were quick to note that as sweet as Saturday’s win was, they surely want to beat East when District 59-4A play kicks off in a week.
One of the subplots to most of these East-West contests is the fact there is usually a district championship, or playoff berth on the line.
East kept West from winning a share of the softball title last year. East won three football games in the 2012 season, but since one of them was over the Warriors the Titans were in the playoffs instead of the 5-5 Warriors.
As for Tuesday’s games West’s girls (16-13, 1-7) need a minor miracle to qualify for the playoffs, while the Lady Titans (15-9, 7-1) are cruising through 30-4A play.
Both boys teams have improved since a Dec. 18 contest where the victor scored 34 points in 36 minutes of basketball. West needs a win to put pressure on district-leaders Calhoun and Calallen, while East needs a win to escape a tie with fifth-placed Beeville.
“We think this is a playoff game,” said West boys coach Pat Erskine. “We said we have to play it as a playoff game so that we can stay mentally tough and stay focused. We feel we can beat anyone in the district, but we also feel anybody in the district can beat us.”