SONORA, TX-- For the first time in almost three years, the Sonora Broncos and Wall Hawks will face each other on the gridiron.
The two teams have met 30 times in the past, with Sonora leading the all-time series 16-14. Wall has won the last eight meetings, including a 48-20 win in their last clash in 2015.
Despite the infrequency of meeting on the football field, these two school know each other well. Outside of football, where Wall is aligned in Class 3A Division I and Sonora Class 3A Division II, the teams are district foes in baseball, basketball, softball, track and field and volleyball.
“I think each program looks forward to this game with great anticipation,” said Wall head coach Houston Guy. “Both of us have a tradition-rich program. Both of us have been extremely successful in our classifications...The rivalry is there; we’ve seen it in the past in football. Bringing it back this year is one of those things where I think it’s going to be great for the communities.”
Both senior classes, aside from any late move-ins, have played against each other since sixth grade when they were playing pee-wee football. According to Sonora’s senior multi-sport standout Wesley Dutton, the Broncos beat Wall in the area Super Bowl that year.
“It’s great for both communities,” said Sonora head coach Jeff Cordell. “I said that when realignment came out.”
Cordell was sitting across from Wall athletic director Jeremy Williams and coach Guy in February at the University Interscholastic League’s realignment. According to Cordell, the trio didn’t want to play each other.
“But we knew, in the long run, it was going to be beneficial for both programs,” Cordell added.
It’s beneficial for both tradition-rich programs because it gets them ready for district and playoffs, things that are always expected of each program.
“What we want to do, and same thing with Houston Guy if you were to ask him, is to play playoff caliber teams in nondistrict to prepare us for that district race...and ultimately that gold ball at the end of the year,” Cordell said.
Both teams are coming off tough losses. Sonora lost 27-0 against Mason in a monsoon at the Puncherdome and Wall nearly erased a 21-point deficit in a 35-34 loss at Midland Christian.
“I thought they fought the second half,” Guy said. “I thought they battled and came back. We had a chance to pull ahead with the lead there when we went for two. I like the way they battled in the second half.”
Despite battling back, coach Guy knows the Hawks can’t fall behind like that going forward, especially against Sonora’s high-powered offense.
“We just can’t fall behind by 21 points in the first half and expect to come back against good teams,” Guy added.
According to coach Guy, the Hawks are in need of senior leadership on the field. If they were to get that leadership in this game, Guy feels the Hawks can “turn this around,” referencing their 0-2 start to the season.
Leading the Hawk’s resurgence against Midland Christian was Sutton Braden with 218 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Wall. For coach Guy, getting the main part of their offense, the quarterback-fullback exchange, going is a good sign. However, there is still work to do for the Hawks.
“We’ve gotta get a little more crisp at running our option game,” Guy said. “We’re still not near where we need to be. I think there’s lots of things we can do to get better. Offensive line-wise, perimeter blocking-wise, we’ve got lots of stuff to clean up before we’re a good football team.”
Sonora expected a tough schedule in weeks 3, 4 and 5. However, the Broncos came out wiser after their loss at Mason.
“Our kids knew, this community knew week 3, 4 and 5 was going to be a gauntlet for the Sonora Broncos,” Cordell said. “Two out of the three in weeks 3, 4 and 5 are state-ranked in the state of Texas. Mason proved what I told the kids and this community, that it is going to be a gauntlet.”
Now the task for Sonora is to make the corrections and put the past behind them with another tough week.
“Success that anyone has is based on failure and we failed Friday night,” Cordell added. “We don’t like that, but the way teams respond to that loss is what ultimately defines them, not only as individuals but as a football team. Our kids have put that game behind us.”
Cordell also added that his coaching staff learned to expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to Texas weather.
“We weren’t prepared for torrential downpours,” Cordell said. “We’ve gotta get ready for that. You never know in the state of Texas what’s going to happen. We’re not blaming the loss on that, but we also learned a lesson.”
Back to the non-football competition. Football and track have a correlation, especially in Texas high schools. Typically, a football player competes in track in the spring. These two programs are usually competing for the top two spots in their district track meets and consistently send a lot of athletes to the state meet in Austin.
It should come as no surprise that Friday is expected to be just that, a track meet.
“It’s real exciting,” Cordell said of the speedy matchup. “We compete against them in baseball, basketball and on the oval in track. Normally it’s Wall and Sonora in track. When you get these two guys on the gridiron, which has been three years since we’ve done that, it makes for an exciting night for the fans. It makes it an exciting night for both ball clubs and both coaching staffs.”
Wall and Sonora kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Bronco Stadium. Prior to the football game, both school’s volleyball teams will square off in district play at 4:00 p.m. the same day.