Devine finished 8-3 overall with a 4-1 District 15-4A DII record. The Warhorses season ended November 12th with their 31-27 bi-district loss against Ingleside in San Antonio.
The Warhorses kicked off their 2021 campaign going 3-0 with wins against Highlands, Memorial, and YMLA. Devine’s first loss came against a talented Pleasanton team, who has since advanced to the third round of the state playoffs.
Devine beat Luling on Homecoming before beginning district play with a 33-26 loss against the eventual district champion Carrizo Springs Wildcats who completed their regular season 10-0 before bowing out in the first round.
That Wildcat loss seemed to refocus the Warhorses as they reeled off convincing victories over Hondo, Bandera, Pearsall, and Crystal City to close out district action.
Devine fell back on its history somewhat this season as they dedicated their offense to primarily running the ball, although late in the season proved that they were more than capable of utilizing their passing game as well.
The Horses rushed for 3,511 yards on 222 attempts for a whopping 7.39 yard per rush average. Their 319 yards per game was easily one of the best in the area for sub-6A programs. Devine also scored 51 rushing touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Brady Hackebeil manned his position to near perfection as his dual-threat capabilities were a boost to the team’s offensive production. Not only did Hackebeil rush for 633 yards and 7 touchdowns, he also passed for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Hackebeil’s finest passing performances came in the last two games of his high school career. He torched the Crystal City Javelinas for 301 yards and 5 touchdowns which garnered him San Antonio Express-News “Game Ball” recognition in Devine’s 55-12 victory.
Brady completed 7 of 8 pass attempts and hit 15 of 25 for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns in the season finale against Ingleside.
Samuel Guardiola witnessed first-hand Hackebeil’s leadership capabilities and will compete for that starting quarterback position next season. In a limited role offensively, Guardiola completed 4 of 7 pass attempts for 29 yards. He also rushed 11 times for 67 yards, and had one interception defensively.
The 3,511 and 51 touchdowns were scored primarily by a combination of ten backs, all of whom produced more than adequately when called upon. A stat not traced is how unselfishly all handled the sharing of workload responsibilities, and how hard each of them blocked for the other when one of their fellow teammates got the carry.
Leading the way was sophomore Ethan Santos who tallied 826 yards on 84 carries and 19 touchdowns. Santos also caught 10 passes for 249 yards and 4 touchdowns. He had one interception defensively as well.
Santos was awarded a “Game Ball” by San Antonio Express-News for his performance against Bandera after rushing 16 times for 160 yards and four touchdowns. He also added two two-point conversion runs in the Warhorses 44-22 victory.
One week later, Santos was named San Antonio Express-News Sub-6A Offensive Player of the Week after his 5-touchdown performance in the Warhorses 68-14 smashing of Pearsall. He rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries, caught two balls for 61 yards including one for a 47-yard touchdown–all happening after returning the opening kickoff for an 88-yard touchdown.
Senior Xavier Contreras rushed 62 times for 536 yards and 6 touchdowns, while catching six balls for 129 yards. Ninety-nine of those yards came on one of the most memorable touchdown runs in Devine’s history as Xavier tied a record that can never be broken. He took the handoff from one-yard line at the north end of Warhorse Stadium and took it all the way to the house against YMLA in the team’s third game of the season.
Gabriel Esquibel had 84 carries for 503 yards and 8 touchdowns, and contributed 9 receptions for 157 yards and 4 scores. He also had one interception for the Warhorse defense as well.
Esquibel had 5 multi-touchdown games, rushing for two scores in games against Memorial, YMLA, Luling, Crystal City, and Ingleside.
Senior Hayden DuBose notched 308 yards on 50 carries. He also scored 4 times. DuBose also caught 6 passes for 153 yards and 1 touchdown. His 26 yards per catch tied for second on the team.
Junior Marcus Rodriguez missed some time due to injury but still chipped in 247 yards on 31 carries. He scored two touchdowns.
Junior Aiden Zapata rushed 32 times for 220 yards and 1 touchdown. He was on the receiving end of 5 passes for 128 yards, good for 26 yards per catch and tied for second on the team.
Junior Nate Ramirez had 31 carries for 117 yards and 1 touchdown. He caught 5 balls for 115 yards as well, and picked off three passes for the Warhorse secondary.
Senior Gus Puente rushed 22 times for 83 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had 2 receptions for 39 yards.
Late-season call-up sophomores Jonathan Weinkam and Brandon Martinez combined for 13 carries and 52 yards in limited action. Weinkam carried 7 times for 25 yards and a touchdown while Martinez had 6 attempts for 17 yards.
Senior Mason Martinez led the team with his 31 yards per catch average. Martinez caught 5 passes for 157 yards including a 37-yard touchdown against Bandera. Those that attended the Warhorse homecoming game also witnessed Martinez’s acrobatic, one-handed snag that will easily go down as the best catch of the season.
Senior Peyton Carr caught 3 passes for 40 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown reception against San Antonio Highlands in the season-opener.
Junior placekicker Caden Hanson was almost automatic in performing extra point duties after Warhorse touchdowns. He sustained an injury early in the season, forcing Devine to attempt two-point conversions more than originally planned.
Quite a bevy of stats and accomplishments listed above by the Warhorse skill position players. However, a group of strong young men that typically receives little credit outside the coaches’ office are the Warhorse offensive linemen, who provide most of the run and pass blocking responsibilities.
Kannon Ramirez, Jared Fernandez, and Hadyn Brumage were the veterans in charge of learning new blocking techniques and schemes that vaulted the Horses to their 3,511 yards on the ground. Those three senior linemen were the unquestioned leaders of the “Phats”, as they are affectionately known amongst their teammates and coaches.
District Offensive Newcomer of the Year Carter Faubel is a force to be reckoned with now and for years to come. It is a rarity for an offensive lineman to earn that superlative from the other district coaches, but he did. And, he still has three years of eligibility remaining.
Those four linemen along with juniors Logan Camarillo and Zach Martinez and sophomores George Saenz, Kolt Hackebeil, and Corey Dirck put together a terrific season, but there is also another group worth mentioning when it comes to Devine’s running game accomplishments.
The tight ends play a huge role in Devine’s blocking schemes. While they may get a bone thrown their way every once in a while in the form of a thrown ball, their main job is to help the Phats block opposing defensive players to open running lanes.
Seniors Peyton Carr and Mason Martinez, junior Nick Ortiz, and sophomores Luke Friesenhahn, Aaron Bonilla, and Seth DeLeon held down those outside spots on the o-line to the best of their abilities and deserve a little piece of the Warhorse rushing stat-line pie.
Phats, and tight ends, here is your shout out for your dedication to doing the dirty work that put the Warhorse rushing attack back on the south Texas map.
By Jerel Beaty