Horses stomp fledgling Eagles 30-7

The Horses are on a roll. Devine won its third consecutive game with its 30-7 victory over the visiting Pleasanton Eagles last Friday night at Warhorse Stadium. The victory bumped the Warhorses record to 3-1 on the season, with one non-district game left at Luling this Friday.
Devine’s offense busted the 500-yard mark, and its defense was top-notch holding Pleasanton to 180 yards total offense. The Warhorses used a balanced running and passing attack, netting 300 yards on the ground and another 209 through the air.
The Warhorse defense was outstanding all night as well. Devine’s ‘D’ held the Eagles to 9 total first downs and 180 total yards, with most of those coming late in the game against the home team’s second and third units.
Head Coach Paul Gomez quickly praised both sides of the ball when addressing the lopsided victory.
“It was a great win for us Friday night at Warhorse Stadium!” Gomez began. “Offensively we really made some great plays! Defensively this was our best game to date.”
Whether you were at the game in person or watching from the comfort of your game room, it would be hard to argue Gomez’s point that Devine played its most complete game on both sides of the ball this season.
“Quarterback Brady Hackebeil went 8 for 11 with 209 yards and added 56 yards rushing,” started Gomez with some individual recognition. “Hack also had a 38-yard kickoff return to add to his great night.”
With 209 yards passing, it must have meant that Wideout Mason Burford was in the mix yet again. Mason has had some breakout moments for the Horses the last three games. This game was no different as he finished with four receptions for 53 yards and another big touchdown.
“Mason had some clutch catches for us and got a touchdown catch taken away from him on a phantom holding call,” commented Gomez on his leading receiver. “Colin Dishman had some clutch receptions as well and, of course, that big one before the half that led to a touchdown. Buddy Santos had 123 yards rushing and 2 TD’s and also scored on a 52-yard screen pass.”
While Mason, Colin, and Buddy had much better than average offensive nights, the young guys continue to help take some of the burden off the shoulders of the big-time players.
“Last week Aiden Zapata had a great game running the ball for us and this time it was Gabriel Esquibel with 43 yards rushing. Gabe had his best game as a Warhorse. Nate Ramirez, Hayden DuBose, Ethan Santos, Marcus Rodriguez, and Jaiden Burford also ran the ball well for us,” Gomez finished saying about his skilled position players.
The big-guys up front had a lot to do with the success of the skilled players mentioned above. Kannon Ramirez, Logan Camarillo, Devin Ornelas, Jared Fernandez, Zach Martinez, Geoffrey Seal, Haydn Brumage, Aaron Rivera, and John Schnautz manhandled Pleasanton’s front five and blitzing backers most of the night.
On the two scoring screen pass completions, linemen can be seen on film busting their tail downfield continuing to block all the way into the end zone. That type of effort is contagious and worthy of recognition.
The offensive line had a really good game,” understated Gomez. “Pleasanton blitzed us a lot bringing two, sometimes three backers and for the most part our line picked them up. Those guys have to communicate really well during the course of a play for an offensive line to be successful. Those guys have done that all year. They are truly the unspoken heroes. They give our backs great holes to run through. Our tight ends, Christian Gerlach and Dishman, did a great job as well and that whole unit is starting to click. Coach PJ Wells called a great game and our offense is starting to come together.”
Gimme a ‘D’
Defensive Coordinator George Villa’s defensive game plan was executed to perfection. Pleasanton has been able to pass the ball at will over the last few seasons, but Friday night was not one of those pass-happy nights for the Eagles.
“I thought our defense played their first complete game,” Villa stated about his crew’s four-quarter dominating performance. “I know we gave up 7 points but there was a big penalty that wasn’t called that should have brought that play back. All in all, our front 7 were great again, but the most improved part was our secondary. They really improved from the previous 3 weeks. So we are definitely excited about that!!”
Gomez echoed several of Villa’s sentiments regarding the outstanding play of the Warhorse defense. Pleasanton was able to throw the ball at will in 2019; this is not 2019 however.
“We knew Pleasanton’s spread offense would test our coverages and our guys responded with a great week of practice and a great defensive game,” Gomez began with his defensive assessment. “Our defensive line put good pressure on the quarterback and did a great job taking their running game away. Gerlach and Fernandez did great at the defensive end positions and Big John Schnautz, Rivera, Brumage, and Seal held the middle in check at the defensive tackle positions. Our linebackers—Dishman, Robert Ramirez, Buddy Santos, and Devin Ornelas—did a great job tackling and taking good pursuit angles. Our secondary did a great job covering and when Pleasanton’s receivers did catch the ball, we were right there tackling them and keeping them from getting any YACS (yards after catch).”
Being a defensive coordinator prepping for a team that puts air under the ball often is no easy task. Many hours this past weekend were spent trying game planning to stop the high-flying Eagle passing attack. That fact did not escape Coach Gomez.
“Coach Villa had a good scheme for Pleasanton and our players responded with a great game. We need to take this momentum and keep getting better. We can improve so much as long as we stay humble and keep grinding,” Gomez concluded.
Game flow
Neither team was able to generate much offense their initial possessions of the game. However, the Warhorses put together a 9-play, 65-yard drive that opened the floodgates for them offensively from that point forward.
Mason Burford scored on a screen pass from Brady Hackebeil behind the 21-yard line of scrimmage. Mason turned on his afterburners, taking the ball right up the middle of the field behind key blocks from a couple` of his big offensive linemen.
Late in the second quarter, Hackebeil found Dishman who had snuck behind Eagle defenders for a big catch that got the ball to the one-yard line with only a few seconds left on the clock.
Buddy Santos scored his first touchdown of the night after a Warhorse timeout stopped the clock. Hackebeil ran in the two-point conversion to put Devine up 14-0 at intermission.
Buddy caught a screen pass at the Warhorse 48-yard line and sprinted up the left sideline and into the end zone boosting the lead to 21-0 after Jacob Featherly’s point after attempt.
Pleasanton’s sole score of the game came three plays after the ensuing kickoff, as Sean Ramos broke free for a 49-yard score.
Devine’s next drive stalled at the 10-yard line but Featherly connected on his first goal of the season for a made 27-yard field goal.
The first play for Devine in the fourth quarter had Buddy scoring his third rushing touchdown of the game from the six-yard line. That touchdown put the wraps on a 30-point outburst for Devine.
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer