Warhorse defense freezes Aggie offense in 13-6 win

The weather was not the only frigid thing Friday night in Poteet. As the temperature steadily dropped throughout the evening, so did the Poteet Aggies offensive production. After netting six points on 57 yards total offense in the first half, Devine’s defense effectively shut down all potential Poteet scoring drives by limiting the Aggies to only 47 yards during the last twenty-four minutes of play.
Head Coach Paul Gomez on the victory, “We played hard but not smart at times. We had four long runs called back due to unnecessary penalties and we dropped four passes that would have been long gains or touchdowns. Poteet is a very talented team that played their best game against us, but we cannot afford to give away opportunities like we did and expect to be successful.”
As the wind picked up throughout Aggie Stadium, luckily so did Devine’s offense. The Warhorses, blanked on the scoreboard in a first half, scored one time in each of the 3rd and 4th quarters to pull out a hard-fought 13-6 victory. The win pushed Devine’s district record to 3-0 and sets up a huge first-place battle at home against Pearsall this Friday night who is also 3-0.
With no points of their own placed on the board in the first quarter, Poteet turned a defensive interception into their sole scoring drive late in the second quarter. The Aggies scored on a Joseph Garcia 2-yard run with 1:02 left to take a 6-0 halftime lead.
“At halftime, I challenged our boys to compete harder, to execute better, and to take control of the game,” said Gomez about some mid-game encouragement. “We accomplished that for the most part. Our running backs ran harder, our lineman blocked longer, and we executed offensively. We have to be able to overcome our mistakes in these types of games and do whatever it takes to get the ‘W’.”
Devine’s first scoring drive began after a Poteet punt placed the ball at the Aggie 46 yard line. A twenty-yard completion from Lawson to Justin Contreras put the ball on the 26. Five rushes by Grant Collins and a nifty run up the middle by Lawson set up Noah Brogdon’s touchdown run on a jet sweep to the right side of the formation. The extra point was no good; the score remained tied at 6 points apiece with 3:10 left in the 3rd quarter.
After forcing the Aggies to punt from their own 20, Devine’s offense went to work one last time. Collins rushed twice to move the ball from the Warhorse 44 yard line to the 33. He broke loose for a 33-yard scoring run but a late penalty on the play nullified the touchdown.
However, three plays later with the ball on the four, Collins took the pitch from Lawson and, without a drop of hesitation, cut behind well-executed blocks by fullback Matthew Ornelas and lineman Tristan Ortiz for what turned out to be the game’s winning score.
According to Gomez, “Grant was a little hesitant and indecisive in the first half. I told him at halftime to do what he does best which is to trust his vision then use his power. He ran much better in the second half and had more yards after contact.”
Devine’s defense remained dominant, shutting down Poteet’s stone-cold offense the rest of the ballgame. “I am very proud of our defense,” stated Gomez. “We were aggressive throughout, we did a great job tackling at the point of contact, and we did not allow them get extra yards after contact. The kids trusted the scheme, then went out and played hard. Coach Villa and the defensive coaches did a great job preparing our boys and making adjustments.
It definitely was not our best game as we were sloppy to start but the important thing is to get the win. Poteet is a very talented team that played their best game against us. I told the boys that this was to be expected, every team in the district will play their best game against us.”
Devine tallied 273 total yards offense with 242 delivered on 50 rushing attempts. The 4.8 yards per carry were hard to come by most of the evening due to the size and athleticism of Poteet’s defensive line.
Grant Collins led the charge with 31 carries for 133 yards and 1 touchdown. Luke Torres gained 48 yards on 5 carries, all in the fourth quarter. Noah Brogdon (9 for 40, 1 touchdown), Chad Lawson (3 for 12), and Matthew Ornelas (2 for 7) provided the rest of the rushing yards.
Lawson’s passing stat of 2 for 10 passing for 30 yards and two interceptions is misleading. At least three, maybe four, incomplete passes were right on the money but the intended Warhorse receiver could not reel it in for the completion. Justin Contreras (1 for 20) and Brogdon (1 for 10) accounted for the two successful completions.
One-hundred four yards is all the Aggies could muster against Devine’s dominant defense. Poteet gained almost 1/3 of their total offense on a single 30-yard pass completion late in the first half that set up their only score. The Aggies began their only scoring drive on the Devine 42, manufacturing 58 yards of their 104 total yards on one possession.
The Aggies earned 10 first downs but had only 37 yards rushing on 30 attempts to average 1.23 yards per carry. That is a heck of an accomplishment by the Devine defense. Poteet had 67 yards passing on 4 of 11 attempts.
The Warhorses forced one fumble and recovered two on the night. Payton Anderson’s jarring hit on Aggie running back Anthony Ambriz caused the first turnover of the game. Anderson quickly read the run play, stuck his hat on the ball to pop it free, and Matt Ornelas came up with the loose ball to shut down a possible Poteet scoring opportunity.
On the Aggies second play after halftime, Poteet’s center shotgun-snapped the ball low to the Aggie quarterback who could not gain possession of the ball. As outside linebacker Anderson reacted to his run read, he saw the inadvertently kicked loose ball on the ground. He quickly dove on top of it. Anderson’s recovery was the Warhorse defense’s 18th turnover recorded so far this season.
What the Horses said
Chad Lawson on his first game at the helm of the Warhorse offense—My approach to the game was to just go out there and play the way I know I can. On the first play I could have thrown it or handed it off, so when I threw it I was thinking ‘just get the ball to him’. It was an ugly win but that is always better than a loss. It felt great to finish my first game with a win.
Grant Collins on his game-winning touchdown—I knew we had to score if we wanted to win the game. After Hayden Burwell was injured, I told him “this next one is for you.” So I made up my mind that nobody was going to bring me down.
Matthew Ornelas on his fumble recovery early in the game, then on his touchdown-producing block on Collins’s run—Flying to the football put me in the right place at the right time on the recovery. Grant read the block just right; that allowed him to be free.
Payton Anderson on the defense’s role in the victory—We had a good game plan, we were physical, and we did our job. We were in the right spots to make plays; that is how we got the fumbles.
Defensive Coordinator George Villa on his unit’s overall performance—I was very pleased with the way our defense played. We gave up one score on a scheme that we had not seen on Poteet’s previous films. We made our adjustment to that scheme and held them the second half. I challenged the defense during halftime for a scoreless second half and they came through. I could not be prouder of our effort.
Offensive Coordinator PJ Wells on Chad Lawson who made his first start at quarterback—Chad did a great job of running the offense and keeping his composure. He competed very well and made some plays when we needed him.
Injury list expands
The injury-bug hit the Warhorses once again. Senior starting linebacker/backup center Hayden Burwell injured his knee late in the third quarter and will be lost for the season. Hayden was playing exceptionally well after recently returning to action from an injury he sustained to his other knee against San Antonio Brackenridge.
Gomez on Burwell’s injury, “We are hit with adversity yet again. Losing Hayden is going to be tough. He was having a great year after coming back from his earlier injury better than ever. I just feel for him. He is a great kid and this team means so much to him. I have so much respect for Hayden and how hard he worked to get better every day. This team is going to play their hearts out for him.”
Fellow linebacker Bulldog Ramirez split his finger wide open while catching it in a Poteet player’s facemask. “Bulldog played the whole game even though his middle finger exploded making a tackle. Amazingly, he did not miss a play. Trainer Doc Alston patched it up for him to continue playing, but after the game, he required five stitches. He is as tough as they come,” stated linebacker coach Evan Eads.
Eads also coaches the offensive tight ends and had to do a little shuffling as well saying, “Jayce Hackebeil played well despite getting every snap on defense then having to play the whole game on defense due to an injury to Jared Ferguson. We hate losing people to injury, but the younger kids have been stepping up and filling roles desperately needed.”
Complete scoring summary
Pot—Joseph Garcia 2-yard run (PAT failed), 1:07, 2nd.
Dev—Noah Brogdon 5-yard run (PAT failed), 3:10, 3rd.
Dev—Grant Collins 4-yard run (Alvaro Blasco PAT), 5:07, 4th.
Senior spotlight
Chase DuBose—After four years with these guys, the season coming to an end doesn’t seem real. They have become my brothers on the field. Though some players have not been able to play due to injuries or other reasons, they will always be my brothers. This team means the world to me and it always will.
To finish out the season, I wish to receive first team all-district cornerback. For my team, I wish to see the season turn around and make the most of the opportunities we have been given and everything that we have worked towards. I also want to see us grow closer as friends and brothers.
I give a special thank you to our coaches who have continued to support us and who always see what we are capable of accomplishing. They have pushed us to be the best we could be on the field.
Next up
A first place district showdown against the Pearsall Mavericks is on tap Friday night at Warhorse Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm.
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer