Jerel Beaty-Staff Writer
Devine’s determined defense paved the way for the offense to get itself going in the second half as the Warhorses turned a slim 13-0 halftime lead into a 45-0 dismantling of Crystal City Friday night. The Javelinas had little success in moving the ball against a Warhorse defense that allowed only 27 yards rushing, picked off a pass, recovered a fumble, and gave up only three pass completions.
“It is always good to get a ‘W’ and I am proud of our guys,” stated Head Coach Paul Gomez after the lopsided victory.
Devine’s defense forced punts on each Crystal City possession in the first half, and scored after two of those. The first Javelina punt was booted off of their upbacks backside as Warhorse Edward Perez recovered the loose ball at the Devine 3-yard line. That’s where senior running back Gabe Esquibel took it in from one play later to give the Horses a 7-0 lead at the 7:56 mark of the opening quarter.
The Warhorses next possession was all Esquibel as well as he rushed for nine yards from the 46 to the 37 before taking the next snap the rest of the way to bump Devine’s lead to 13-0 with 6:12 to go in the first frame.
It was pretty much a defensive battle by both teams the rest of the half as neither team could get the ball past the goal line.
“Offensively, I thought we were a little slow in the first half. I do not believe our communication was good. I was just a little sloppy. I talked to our guys at halftime and just tried to make them realize that our body language and flow was causing this sloppiness. Overall, we were just not executing like we should.”
Devine had no problem finding the goal line in the second half, especially after Wero Torres electrified Warhorse Stadium with 54-yard punt return in which he ran by or around 10 of the 11 Javelina players on the field to put Devine up 19-0 only 2:12 into the third quarter.
“I think our guys came out determined after the halftime ‘pep talk’. We came out with a purpose.”
After yet another Javelina punt, Torres’ number was called once again as junior quarterback Jacob Sollock found the split out on an out and up along the Crystal City sideline for a 37-yard pass and catch for another Warhorse touchdown.
Devine led 25-0 with 4:57 to go in the third quarter.
Two minutes later, and, yes, after another Crystal City punt, Sam Guardiola took the jet-sweep handoff to sprint in from ten yards out. Guardiola also punched in the two-point run to increase his team’s lead to 32-0.
Esquibel, who finished with 119 yards on only 11 attempts, scored his third and final touchdown of the game on a 20-yard run with 8:49 to go. Esquibel burst through the middle of the Javelina defense before eluding a would-be ankle-biting attempt at a tackle at the five yard line to make the score 38-0.
Warhorse secondary player Ayden Leal’s first interception of the season provided the Crystal City punter an extended break as his pick came on a third and long situation for the Javelinas.
Junior running back Brayden Reyes picked up his first touchdown of the season as he broke loose for a 10-yard run with 3:46 to go, capping off the 45-0 whitewashing of the visiting Javelinas.
There is no doubt Devine’s defense played phenomenally throughout the 48-minute contest. Crystal City had 27 yards total offense and never produced any real threat to breaking through to the end zone.
Meanwhile, the offense generated 38 points and the special teams contributed an additional seven. Special teams also got a ton of reps kicking off and working on punt return.
Coach Gomez addressed all three phases of the game, leading off with that incredible defensive performance.
“Defensively we played a complete game. I thought in the Pleasanton game that we played a great first half but we got a little tired and undisciplined in the second half. Against Crystal City, we played four quarters of really good defense.
We had a lot of hats to the ball against the run and did a good job defending the pass. For a defense to be really good, communication is key. Linebackers and defensive lineman along with safeties and corners being on the same page on our zone schemes and knowing when we are man to man is a lot that has to go on before the ball is even snapped.
I’m pleased with what we are doing defensively. We just have to keep getting better and better. We had ten players with two or more tackles so that shows that we have guys hustling to the ball.
Offensively, we have to all be on the same page. Our communication needs to improve and everyone needs to work as one unit.
I’m going to keep on throwing different formations and packages and moving forward. Every defense has at least one weakness, and we try our best to find it. Getting in different formations eventually helps us find our best formations to score points.
We do all we can to put our best athletes in a situation where they can make big plays. The more that we rep those plays and the more we use our blocking schemes, the better our execution will be. We just have to keep getting better every day and being responsible for our effort and our attitude in practice.
It does not matter how hot and how tired we get at practice, we all have to give maximum effort in preparing to excel on Friday nights.
I like the fact that in the first game Sam Guardiola rushed for over 100 yards then Gabe Esquibel went for over 100 yards this past Friday. Once we get our fullbacks to take advantage of their opportunities running the ball and then get quarterback Jacob Sollock more comfortable in the passing game, this offense can and will do great things.
It takes game reps and we just want to get better every week. Trust the process and do the little things right.
Special teams had some good bright spots. Wero Torres had a great night returning punts including his big touchdown punt return in the second half.
Teotimo Stafford did a great job with our kickoffs and our guys did a good job staying in their lanes and converging to the ball. Our extra point execution needs to get better.
I am fine if we just do one kickoff return because that means our defense has not allowed them to score.”
More ‘D’ from Double-E
No one was more happy for the shutout and complete dominance of the defensive unit than Defensive Coordinator Evan Eads. The Warhorse defense shut down every little thing the Javelinas were trying offensively.
“The defense was on a mission Friday night!” Eads stated emphatically before saying tongue in cheek that “each position now understands that they have permission to get off blocks and make plays.
During the Pleasanton game, we seemed to be okay getting blocked. We spent a lot of practice time this week repping play recognition and block destruction.
It worked. Crystal City caught only three passes, rushed for only 27 yards, we caused a fumble, and Aiden Leal had an interception. The defensive ends put great pressure on their QB all night.
Tristan Lafond was unblockable in the second half. The front-four pressure caused three intentional grounding penalties and several throw-aways. The linebackers read well and were around every play but Crystal City spent a lot of time throwing the ball so they did not get into the action very often.
We are going to continue to work to get better every day. We will do our best to be great at every position.”
Eads also took time to comment on his tight ends, saying, “We took a step forward this week. We need to improve faster if we are to have a better start to games. Matthew Gomez had one drive block, and Tyler Hinnant had one pancake.”