Horses hammer Highlands 55-31

The thought that “it will take a little time for the offense to gel due to instituting a new scheme” was thrown out the window by the time Devine got to their halftime locker room Friday night. The Warhorses scored five times in the opening half taking a 35-13 lead midway through before going on to secure their season-opening 55-31 victory over San Antonio Highlands at SAISD Stadium in San Antonio.
“It was a big win for us on Friday against a very good Highlands team,” Gomez said about opening the 2021 season with a ‘W’. “They are super talented on offense and have size on defense. I was very proud of our team and how they fought through the adversity of dealing with the heat and humidity.”
Devine won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball, which played right into Gomez’s hands as far as the tempo he wanted his team to set at the beginning of the game.
Less than three minutes into the game, Devine put together a drive that culminated with a Gabriel Esquibel 6-yard run. The speed at which the Horses got the offense in and out of the huddle kept the Owls on their heels, as Devine’s front seven mashed Highlands for the first two and a half minutes of the game.
Little did Highlands know at the time, but that tempo continued at its high-octane pace through the rest of the ballgame and eventually made the Owls give up what fight they may have had left in them.
“We wanted to make a statement and take the fight right to Highlands. We needed that as a team, and that is exactly what we accomplished. We came out and just pounded them with our ‘heavy’ offensive package that tired them out early and wore them down. I wanted to try to stay as balanced as I could by giving all of our backs an opportunity to contribute to our success. Spreading the wealth among our runners also helped keep them fresh and hungry to run the ball again.”
Devine continued their offensive dominance putting up 35 points in the opening half and scoring three more touchdowns after the break.
Xavier Contreras put Devine up 13-0 with a 2-yard run toward the end of the first quarter. Hackebeil hit Peyton Carr with a 25-yard pass up near the left pylon to put the Horses up 21-7 barely in the second quarter.
Ethan Santos and Hackebeil each rushed for another touchdown in the second quarter, giving Devine a 35-13 halftime lead.
Devine and Highlands traded touchdowns in the third and final quarter, but the Owls never were truly a threat to take this victory away from the Horses.
Hackebeil sprinted up the right sideline for a 50-yard score and Hayden DuBose pounded in a 1-yard run to give Devine a 49-31 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Hackebeil scored his third and the game’s final touchdown with 8:33 left on the clock giving Devine a hard fought 55-31 win.
Cool hands, Luke
Gomez was not hesitant about singling out who he believed made a significant contribution to the Warhorse kickoff special teams.
“Our player of the week for special teams is definitely Luke Friesenhahn!” Gomez said emphatically. “Man, he made some great plays getting on the ball on onside kicks and definitely kept the momentum on our side.”
During two-a-days and scrimmages, special teams repetitions are never at game speed due to an increased likelihood of injury for one’s own team. However, the Horses had several bright spots in their season opener.
“In addition to the play of Friesenhahn and for being the first week of full-speed special teams, I believe we did a really good job overall in our alignments and executions,” Gomez said. “Special Teams Coordinator Scott Taylor did a great job preparing our players for what Highlands would bring to the table on special teams. It was a great team effort!”
7 come 11
When talking about blocking up front, the term “front five” typically describes the five down linemen including the center, two guards, and two tackles. However, in Devine’s revised offensive scheme, the tight ends are major contributors to the success of a team’s offense.
“Our offensive line and our tight ends did a great job blocking for us. They showed such a big improvement from last week, which is one of the main reasons we had over 500 yards for the ballgame.”
Not “If” but “When” the Horses continue rolling ridiculous rushing numbers this season, the front seven will deserve a big pat on the back for their impact on those gaudy stat lines.
Eight was enough
Opening the season with eight touchdowns, almost guarantees a victory in itself. Including extra points and two-point conversions along with the eight aforementioned touchdowns, seven different Warhorses chipped in points Friday night.
Gabriel Esquibel, Xavier Contreras, Brady Hackebeil, and Hayden DuBose each scored a single touchdown apiece while Peyton Carr was on the receiving end of a Hackebeil scoring toss. Caden Hanson converted three extra-point kicks, while Ethan Santos, Esquibel, and Contreras each contributed two-point runs.
Getting defensive
Highlands was tough to stop with the amount of talented players they had, but our boys did enough to secure the win. Mistakes made are correctable and none were so-called ‘effort problems’. We rotated players on both sides of the ball, but especially did so on defense. Every one of our players got their opportunity to compete defensively. We had a good scheme, but we did not make crucial pre-snap calls that would have changed our coverage on a few plays. Mental mistakes were made, but are definitely fixable.
Three amigos
Gomez singled out standout defensive players as Jared Hernandez, Aaron Bonilla, and Carter Faubel.
“Jared had a great game all-around defensively. He was in on what seemed like every play, while Aaron and Carter made some good tackles for loss.”
Coach speak
The tight end position is as vital as any other in the mashing of defensive opponents in Devine’s new run-oriented offense. While a Warhorse tight end may be thrown a bone with an occasional pass, their primary duty is blocking, which is the same as the designated offensive linemen.
“I feel good about the progress that my tight ends made and how they executed overall this past Friday against Highlands. The boys are definitely putting in the work needed to improve on a daily basis. I strongly believe that we are headed in the right direction. I constantly remind Mason Martinez, Luke Friesenhahn, Nick Ortiz, Aaron Bonilla, and Aaron Saenz that determination and belief in one’s self can guide a player to reaching their full God-given potential. I truly enjoy working with these young men.”—Bart Oropeza, tight end coach
Devine’s long been known for its running game, although it has not been the primary focus of their offensive attack the last several seasons. However, things look to be moving in the direction of a run-first, second, and third type option.
“I am super proud of how the running backs responded this week. We went from having zero scores against Navarro to having four touchdowns and three two-point conversions as a group. Multiple scores by multiple backs means the defense cannot key on just one running back. We will have to improve on our blocking this week in practice as Memorial has a faster and more aggressive defense than Highlands. The guys understand the importance of ball security, as we did not commit a turnover, which is just as important as speed and strength for a running back. Adding the two quarterbacks to the mix of running options means the defense has to worry about four backs on any play running the ball and five players out in pass routes. We want to be a balanced offense and we were successful last Friday.”—Evan Eads, running back coach
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer