LA VILLA — The La Villa Cardinals, winners of six straight games, have been lighting up scoreboards across South Texas all season.
The Cardinals (9-2, 4-0) brought home their first district championship in eight years with an undefeated run through district play and secured a bi-district playoff victory last week over Freer.
“This season has been one to remember, for the town and for us. It’s amazing what we’ve done and what we can accomplish,” senior linebacker Jayden Silguero said.
Their road to the District 16-2A DI title and bi-district victory took the Cardinals on a revenge tour.
La Villa had to take down defending district champion Premont in order to wear the 16-2A DI crown after losing last year’s meeting 41-0. This season, the Cardinals ran away with a 42-14 win over the Cowboys.
Then, La Villa had to go through the first round of the playoffs by defeating the Freer Buckaroos, who defeated the Cardinals 54-12 in the bi-district round in 2020. La Villa topped the Buckaroos 34-7 to punch their ticket to the area round last week.
“Last year, we didn’t really get to show what talent this team had. This year, we’re able to show talent on every side of the ball,” said Silguero, who was recently selected to play in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl.
The Cardinals showcased their three-headed monster backfield against Freer as senior running backs AJ Contreras ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Christian Ortiz rushed for 76 yards and a pair of scores, and sophomore quarterback Brandon Felix gained 80 yards and one touchdown on the ground.
“It all starts with the O-line. The offensive line puts in work all day. We go all out in practice and that’s how we do what we do,” Felix said.
Now, the Cardinals are set to face Ganado (6-5, 3-1) in the Region IV-2A DI area round at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Cabaniss Athletic Complex in Corpus Christi.
La Villa will attempt to get to a place the program has only been once before, during the 2006-07 season — Round 3 of the playoffs.
“These kids have stuck around, been through the offseason, gone through strength and conditioning and we do have a lot of seniors,” La Villa head coach Danny Perez said. “We have 17 seniors right now. We usually have four or five every year, but they all decided to come out and we have senior leadership now, so I think that has a lot to do with the success.”
Perez said a key to the game will be getting their running game going, while attempting to slow Ganado junior dual-threat quarterback Kyle Bures-Guerrero.
“They have a pretty good team over there and some big boys,” Perez said. “Their quarterback is their main guy, so we have to stop their quarterback. If we can play the defense we’ve been playing, reading the blocks and counter, I think we’ll be OK.”