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Van Vleck, Tidehaven renew rivalry under playoff lights


Van Vleck Head Football Coach Robert Blackmon know what is at stake this Friday when the Leopards take on Tidehaven at Traylor Stadium in Rosenberg at 7:30 p.m. — its win or go home.

And the Van Vleck coach is not overly concerned that his Leopards will take Tidehaven for granted since Van Vleck also has recorded a 34-14 win over the Tigers earlier this season.

 “At this point of the season, it comes down to just execution,” Blackmon said. “We are not going to do anything to surprise them and they are not going to do anything to surprise us. It will come down to whoever executes the best and it we can keep our turnovers down, I think we will win the game.”

Blackmon said he is not worried about this players thinking this contest is 

“We just have to focus on the bigger picture all along,” Blackmon said. “We know Tidehaven is a very good opponent and we know we have to play a very good game in order to beat these guys. They have definitely improved since we played them last time. It is going to be a tough game.”

Blackmon knows the game will be tough and aggressive on both side of the ball as these two cross-country rivals clash for the second time this season.

“That is just Tidehaven’s way,” Blackmon said. “They have some guys on the defensive side of the ball that play very aggressive and they are sound. Offensively, they have improved and now they are starting to move the ball and getting the ball in some kids hands that can make some plays for them. It is going to be a challenge.”

Blackmon said he knew this matchup could really happen before the two teams posted wins last week in the area round of the playoffs. 

“I knew that we could win and I believed that Tidehaven would win as well,” Blackmon said. “I knew that they were going to get into the playoffs and they took care of business in the playoffs just like we did and here we are.”

Blackmon said the objective stays the same for the Leopards this week no matter who the opponent is in this Friday’s playoff — win and move on.

“That is our main focus,” Blackmon said. “We don’t care who the opponent is. We just want to keep on going and control what we can control and play our best on that given day.”

The Van Vleck coach said his team is concentrating on Tidehaven this week and not looking ahead to a possible showdown with East Bernard in the next round. The Brahmas handed Van Vleck its only loss on the season in the district opener this year.

“We haven’t talked about that at all,” Blackmon said. “We have to take care of business this week, if we don’t, then we won’t even see next week. We are just trying to keep the guys focused on the task at hand and that is what we have done all year long. It’s one game at a time.”

Van Vleck comes into this contest as the favorite but Blackmon said the pressure to win is on both squads and not just his Leopards. 

 “I don’t feel any more pressure than what a playoff game brings to each team,” Blackmon said. “Once you get past the second round, all the teams are good. It’s a must win for everybody when you are in the playoffs because if you lose, you go home.

“My main focus is to get our kids to execute on both sides of the ball and see what happens,” Blackmon said. “We won’t come into this game thinking we are these great overachievers and think we are going to run right through Tidehaven. We know they are a good team and that they play with feelings. We know we have to play our A game in order to beat them.”

When it comes down to a key to the game, Blackmon kept his answer simple. 

“Whichever team has the least amount of turnovers and can control the ball offensively,” Blackmon said. “Both offenses and defenses are playing well and it might just come down to who has the ball last.”

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