Horses roar past Lions 63-14; Devine tallies 610 yards offense, 9 TDs

Devine rushed for 570 yards in walloping visiting YMLA 63-14 Friday night to improve their record to 3-0 on the season. After a tight first quarter, the Warhorses exploded for 22-points in each of the second and third quarters putting the game well out of reach.
The Warhorses accumulated 610 yards of offense and scored nine touchdowns in taming the Lions. With only a 12-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter, Head Coach Paul Gomez challenged his players to increase their intensity and play to the level which he knows they are capable.
“I know that sounds like I’m being too demanding but it’s the truth and our players know that we were sluggish the first half,” Gomez said in referring to what he believes was an underachieving first half of play. “We have to play to our potential and not our opponent’s potential. If we would have played Pleasanton last week, we probably would have been down going into the half. I told the boys at halftime that they owed me two great quarters to make up for the first half. They gave me exactly that! We played a very good second half as we executed much better and just looked more clean out there. Our defense had some great hits and we tackled better. I was very proud of how we responded.”
Devine’s Ethan Santos scored the first of two Warhorse first quarter touchdowns on a two-yard run with 6:18 on the clock. Xavier Contreras had the first of his two touchdowns five minutes later on a 27-yard run putting Devine ahead 12-0 to begin the game.
YMLA quickly struck back on a 77-yard pass play as a Lion receiver got behind the Warhorse secondary to pull the Lions within five points at 12-7.
Santos burst up the right sideline from 80-yards out with 7:30 left followed by a Gabriel Esquibel 22-yard run with a little under six minutes to go until the half.
Devine looked like the blowout was about to begin with their 26-7 lead and halftime approaching.
YMLA struck quickly once again however on a 51-yard pass play, closing the gap to 26-14.
The Warhorses committed a turnover on their next possession setting up YMLA on the Devine 39-yard line. The Lions ran for 38 yards giving them a first and goal opportunity from one yard away.
Devine’s defense stepped up in a big way, shutting down YMLA’s offense on four straight snaps to regain possession, but with their backs against their own end zone’s wall.
The Warhorses were simply trying to get some breathing room with an Xavier Contreras left side power run. The “breathing room” they were looking for turned into a 99-yard touchdown run up the left sideline as the Warhorse Stadium stands and Devine coaches went berserk.
Contreras’s 99-yarder gave Gomez the boost he was looking for and it also appeared his run took what wind the Lions had completely out of their sail as Devine increased their lead to 34-14 and never looked back.
Gomez stated, “I am so happy for Xavier because last year he was mainly a blocking fullback with minimal carries. X has always said ‘Whatever is best for the team Coach, I’ll do.’ Now it’s his senior year and now that he is given an opportunity to have more rushes, he is really making the most of it. X is the prime example that if you are an unselfish team player then your opportunities will arise.”
Like the second quarter, Devine scored 22 more points in the third with the first coming on a Gabriel Esquibel 19-yard reception from Brady Hackebeil. Marcus Rodriguez exploded for a 50-yard touchdown soon thereafter and Aiden Zapata hit pay dirt from 18-yards away giving Devine a 56-14 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Senior Gus Puente added his name to the scoring column with a 5-yard touchdown with 5:12 left in the third quarter, giving Devine its 63rd and last points of the game.
“I know it wouldn’t look like it from the stands since we scored 34 points in the first half but we started off sluggish. We were not staying on blocks, we had too many fumbles, and we did not execute as well as we wanted offensively,” Gomez said about how the scoreboard can tend to cover up mistakes made on the field.
Two long touchdowns by the Lions kept the game within reach for a little while longer than what most had anticipated against a team in its first full year of competition. However, other than those two busted assignments, the Warhorse defense effectively shut down what YMLA was trying to accomplish offensively.
“We missed too many tackles and blew too many coverages which I believe is a product of not having a great week of practice going into the game. Our practices last week lacked intensity and discipline at times and we should have never given up 14 points. Coach George Villa had a very good defensive game plan going in and if we would have executed what we practiced, we would not have given up those 14 points.”
Two blown coverages and 14 points later, Devine’s defense pitched a second half shutout to keep the Lions at bay.
“As mentioned, our scheme going into the game was sound, and in the second half we really played very good defense. We allowed 253 yards total offense but nearly 150 of that came from two long touchdowns that we blew coverage and missed a couple of tackles. Take those two big plays and we really have a great defensive game.”
Linebacker coach Evan Eads’ group is coming together nicely as they and the rest of the Warhorse defense only surrendered 64 yards on 20 Lion rushing attempts.
“The backers are improving every game. We are finishing our tackles better. The coaches are very proud of the defense for stopping YMLA on a goal line stand. We have a huge test next week. We will have to have a great week of practice,” Eads said in reference to the game just played and looking ahead to this week’s matchup against Pleasanton.
Coach speak
“Our stable of backs had another good night. 8TDs, 2 100-yard rushers, but no one had more than 7 carries. Shout out to Xavier Contreras for breaking two tackles on his way for a 99.5 yard touchdown. We will have to fix the two fumbles. We will see the toughest defense so far this year against Pleasanton. I know we can improve on our blocking enough to give our team a chance to win.”–Evan Eads, running back coach
“It was a good win against YMLA on Friday night. Mason Martinez had a really good game at the TE position. I was also excited that Luke Friesenhahn got more snaps at the TE position. The kids are coming along pretty good and we will continue to work hard to improve. This week will be a good test for us as we face Pleasanton.”–Bart Oropeza, tight end coach
“It was a game where every back had an opportunity to score points. In Nate Ramirez’s case, he had a couple of his great plays get called back due to phantom penalties.”–Paul Gomez, head coach.
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer