The JV Warhorses found themselves down early, like really early, after Hondo returned the game’s opening kickoff 81 yards that staked the Owls to a 8-0 lead after their two-point conversion. However, Devine’s defense did the trick the rest of the way keeping Hondo out of the end zone, while the Horses offense hit pay dirt twice for the 14-8 comeback victory.
“Our defense kept us in the game all night long,” said Coach Heath Poppe. “We lost the turnover battle, and usually when that happens teams lose ball games. We were faced with a ton of adversity and I give our players credit for hanging in there and fighting for the win all game long.”
The Horses are now 4-0 on the season with a game at home against Uvalde on tap Thursday.
Devine’s defense forced Hondo into several three-and-outs and stopped the Owls cold on some vital fourth down opportunities, including a couple inside the Horses 30-yard line.
The Horses had offensive chances to score in the first half thanks to their running game and a big throw and catch from quarterback Jacob Rodriguez to Mason Beaver. In the third quarter, Devine ran a trick punt-play to perfection as Alfredo Ramirez faked the punt before completing the pass to Mario Vicente, but a holding penalty negated that play.
The score remained 8-0 in favor of the Owls through halftime and two plays into the fourth quarter, before the Horses finally got the goose-egg off of their side of the scoring column.
After Hondo pinned the Horses at their own 3-yard line, Warhorse running back Joe Guerrero broke loose for a 76-yard touchdown run to finally get Devine on the Brown Chevrolet scoreboard. The two-point conversion failed, and the Horses still found themselves in fighting-back mode at 8-6.
Poppe elected to onside the ensuing kickoff with trusted kicker Aiden Salazar, which worked to perfection as teammate Riley Gutierrez recovered the loose ball at the Owl 48.
Five plays later, the Horses found the end zone and took the lead 12-8. Ty Sadler, Christian San Miguel, and Ray’sean Beaver provided just a few of the great blocks on the play as Guerrero ran 38-yards for the go-ahead touchdown. The conversion attempt failed.
The Owls had one more offensive opportunity to take the lead back, but the Devine defense rose to the occasion once again in forcing the Owls into a punt. The Horses offense was able to run out the clock from that point on to hold on to the 12-8 victory.
The real story of the game, however, is how dominant the Warhorse defense was from the first time they stepped on the field.
I will say that after watching the film I was pleased with the way we held their offense out of the end zone and how many times we forced them to punt,” said JV Defensive Coordinator Bart Oropeza. “We preach every day of the week that we want to hold the opposing team’s offense to zero touchdowns. Well, we met our goal again last night!”
Oropeza mentioned a few of the players who had a big defensive game in saying, “Gavin Socarras, Anthony Saldivar, Aiden Salazar, Riley Gutierrez, Alfredo Ramirez, Ty Sadler, Ray’sean Beaver, Tyler Hinnant, and Robert Herandez stood out and I know that I am mentioning most of the team, but it was a total team effort.”
The Horses defense hopes to continue performing at a high level Thursday as well.
“We preach eleven helmets to the football, and I am looking forward to doing it all over again in preparation for Uvalde.”
Since a freshman game was not played prior to the JV tilt, a “5th quarter” allowed players who did not see much time to get game action as well.
Hondo took the lead in this quarter 6-0, but just like the JV game the Horses tried to fight back for the victory. This time, Devine fell short in the 14-6 defeat.
Warhorse running back Jeremy Steinbrenner busted loose on a 50-yard run to set up teammate Ryan Weinkam’s 4-yard touchdown run. Steinbrenner’s run was set up by a key block from Jonathon Morales.
Hondo scored once again and converted the two-point conversion to take the 14-6 lead.
Devine tried to pull off a miracle on the last play of the game as Jacob Rodriguez hit Weinkam on a wheel route as time expired. Weinkam was tackled at the one-yard line to end the quarter.