Galveston County’s newest — but already very heated — rivalry is back tonight, as the Hitchcock Bulldogs (5-3 overall, 4-0 in district) host the La Marque Cougars (5-4, 3-1).
“It’s a fun game,” Hitchcock acting head coach Cody Carney said. “The high schools are 5 miles apart. The kids know each other. The papers may say that we should win the game, but when it’s against a rival, all the stats go out the window. We’ve had two great weeks of practice and if we can have another good week, we’ll win.”
Like in last year’s game (a 12-10 win for La Marque), high stakes will enhance a contest that already has a big-game feel.
“We seem to have a difficult time maintaining our level of intensity for certain opponents but, for Hitchcock, that’s not something I worry about,” La Marque head coach Mike Jackson said.
Last week, Hitchcock’s 44-24 win over East Chambers clinched at least a share of the 12-3A-I title, marking the first time in program history the Bulldogs claimed consecutive district crowns. A win tonight will guarantee Hitchcock its first outright district championship since 2007.
“I think, on paper, we’re the better team,” Carney said. “I’ve tried not to talk it up about it being against La Marque. It’s another game. I told the guys that they have a great chance at making history. Last week, we made history by being district champs for two years in a row. This week, we have a chance at beating La Marque.”
The Cougars, coming off a 25-24 win over Hempstead last week, spoiled the Bulldogs’ bid for an undefeated, outright district title in last year’s meeting, propelling themselves into a tri-district championship, and will again be looking to claim a shared district crown.
“It’s the same exact scenario as last year,” Jackson said. “I know they’re excited that they’ve won back-to-back district championships. We’re trying to win our sixth district championship in a row, and it’ll be fun. We know our kids will come to play Friday night.”
The two run-heavy teams will each be looking to establish dominance in the trenches, with Hitchcock’s O-line looking to create opportunities for the likes of Xavian Hampton and Tyler Turner to get chunks of yards, while La Marque’s front five will try to open up holes for the thunder and lighting combo of Norvan Saldana and Perry Preston. La Marque’s Marlon Ford and Hitchcock’s John Scott anchor their respective team’s defensive lines.
“La Marque has a lot of good athletes,” Carney said. “We’re going to have to play assignment football and keep them in check. They have the ability to make big plays. Everyone’s going to have to do their job and try not to be selfish and try and be the hero. As long as everyone does their job, we’ll be fine.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. today at Bulldog Stadium.