A week after posting a dominating performance against Mexia, the first half for La Vega wasn’t nearly as crisp against Connally on Friday night.

But the Pirates exploded after halftime, scoring 14 points before Connally ever had the ball, and cruised to a 42-2 victory at Mac Peoples Stadium.

La Vega (5-0) received 80 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns from John Richards, while Cameron Henry also scored twice on the ground, both in the first half.

The Pirates surrendered only 19 yards of total offense and two first downs, one of which came by penalty, before halftime. La Vega had its own offensive issues in the first half, failing to take advantage of prime field position and missing some open receivers on passes, despite the lead.

“They played us with an eight-man front,” La Vega coach Willie Williams said. “We expected a 4-3, and they came out in a split. We had some complications trying to make adjustments, but we still put enough points on the board.”

The key sequence for the Pirates came at the onset of the third quarter, when they took the ball out of the locker room and drove 56 yards in five plays – all on the ground – with Hobbs plowing in from 3 yards out.

There was confusion on the ensuing kickoff, with two players looking at each other and trying to decide who was going to field it. Eventually, Javion Dawkins tried to make a diving catch, but had it squirt away and Malachi Wright fell on it for La Vega at the Connally 33.

La Vega took to the ground again on six straight plays and unwrapped the Connally gift with Richards scoring his first TD of the night from a yard out. That pushed the Pirate lead out to 28-0, and had the Cadets (1-4) in desperation mode.

“That was huge,” Williams said. “Once we honed in on and figured out what they were doing, that allowed us to get a hat on a hat. Once we did that, we have some kids that can do some things with the ball. Our offensive line did a great job with it.”

It was Richards again doing the honors on the next march, this time with an explosive 64-yard scamper to paydirt.

Connally finally got moving offensively for the first time late in the third quarter, piercing the La Vega red zone. But on the next play, Korie Black had the ball stripped away from him and right to the feet of Donta Stuart, who picked it up and raced 74 yards the other way for a La Vega score 14 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Connally held onto the ball for nearly all the fourth quarter on a 16-play drive, but it fell short on a fourth-and-2 from the La Vega 5. However, on the next play, Richards couldn’t escape his own end zone and was dropped for a safety and the Cadets’ only two points.

Javion Sunday was the Cadets’ top offensive threats with 81 yards on 25 carries. Connally finished with 169 yards of total offense.

“The defense played lights out,” Williams said. “I told Coach (Don) Hyde and the defense we apologize to them because they played hard to get a shutout, and we end up giving it up. It was just a miscue by one of our running backs, but (the defense has) been playing well all year long.”

La Vega started four of its six drives in Connally territory in the first half and never had worse field position than its own 42. But it only found the end zone twice, with Henry’s bursts coming from 15 and 5 yards.

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