After falling behind 6-0, the JV Horses came back to defeat the Hondo Owls 20-14 last Thursday in Devine. Coach Lon Cozby loves the way his team is putting it together as the season rolls along.
“As a team we are starting to put everything together. We are getting into a groove, and that’s scary.but in a good way!”
For the second consecutive week, Devine kicker Alejandro Ramirez executed a perfectly kicked ball for the Horses Rowdy Esparza to jump on to give them the ball to open the game. Although Devine did not capitalize on the well-manicured play, it was a great start to what wound up being a very convincing victory.
After turning it over on downs, Hondo ate up the rest of the first quarter clock and scored two minutes into the second quarter on a 15-yard quarterback scramble. The Warhorse defense rose to the occasion and thanks to a quarterback pressure by Devine defender Adam Guerrero, the two-point conversion pass fell incomplete making it only 6-0 in favor of the Owls.
Devine’s offense put together a lengthy drive of their own as they went 11 play, seven-minute drive that culminated in Mario Vicente busting loose from 29-yards out to get the goose egg off the Warhorses side of the scoreboard. Vicente’s burst was aided by a terrific block from Nate Martinez.
Vicente played a huge role in the two-point conversion as well as he and Steven Montes provided key blocks in springing Ramirez for the two-point try.
Devine led 8-0.
Things got a little cray-cray in the last minute of the first half as Devine and Hondo each had ample opportunities to score in a short amount of time.
“Alejandro had another great kick and this time Mario came up with the onside kick,” Cozby said with some excitement in his voice. “However, we somehow messed up that possession which led to a punt that Hondo was able to block! Thankfully, our defense held strong and Carlos Talamantes knocked down a pass that saved a touchdown going into halftime.”
After a little motivational halftime speech, the Horses came out on fire and were ready to gallop by the Owls in the second half.
“Rowdy had a good kickoff return to get us on the right track for the last 20 minutes of the game. Christian San Miguel had a crushing, 15-yard pancake block a couple of plays later that Rowdy was able to take to the house!” Cozby wanted to make sure everyone knew the 15 yard block San Miguel put on his opponent was “no lie!”
Esparza’s 75-yard explosion gave the Horses a 14-6 advantage.
As exciting as Esparza’s long run was, Devine had one more explosive play up their sleeve. Hondo took their next drive to the Warhorse five yard line and were threatening to tie the game.
However, Talamantes and Montes laid the wood to a Hondo back to force a fumble. Johnny-on-spot Vicente was there to scoop up the loose ball then outrun everyone else 94-yards to totally flip the drive to Devine’s favor and give them a commanding 20-6 lead.
Cozby was excited for Vicente as Vicente has been a human highlight reel the last three weeks.
“This was Mario’s third straight game with a TD over 90 yards!” Cozby said in reference to Vicente having consecutive 96-yard scoring receptions in the previous two games prior to the Hondo contest.
It appeared the Horses would get another scoring drive going as Ramirez onsided the kickoff once again. This time, Jonathan Moralez jumped on the loose ball. Devine later turned it over on downs, however.
Hondo tried to make it a game as they scored on a two-yard run with 9:34 to go in the game to pull within 20-14
“We methodically marched it down the field, running smash mouth football while eating time off the clock to close out the win. We just decided to slow it down and go old school. Our line took over the game. Hondo used up all their timeouts and we were able to get into ‘victory formation’ and run the clock out at the end.”
In addition to good runs by Esparza, Ramirez, and Vicente, Cozy stated, “Hayden Martin can also add his name to that list.
Most fans see the run, but do not understand or see how the play completely developed. Great blocking by the front-five and lead blocks by other backs usually precede long, exciting runs.
“Andres Padilla, Nate Martinez, Christian, Adam Guerrero, TJ Buvinghausen, Andres Hernandez, and Ethan Rodriguez all had a great night blocking. Those guys were fantastic!”
The JV spends much of their practice time dedicated to the varsity squad, same as every other 4A team in Texas and below. Devine’s JVs are usually tougher, and better conditioned than players from other schools can line up against them.
Once a Warhorse JV team gets on a roll, however, they are usually hard to stop.
To reiterate what Cozby said leading off, this team is getting better quickly and getting “scary good” in a really good way.
The JV hosts Uvalde Thursday at Warhorse Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6pm.