Missed opportunities costly in Warhorses’ 20-13 loss to Brackenridge

Down by one late in the 4th quarter, the Warhorses desperately needed to stop the Brackenridge Eagles 3rd down play if they were going to have any chance to squeak out a victory at SAISD Stadium last Thursday night. Instead, Eagles quarterback Vincent Gonzalez took the ball 65 yards for a touchdown with 2:56 left in the game to propel Brackenridge to the 20-13 upset of the Warhorses.
Two big plays by the Eagles offense turned the low-scoring game in their favor. The late touchdown as mentioned combined with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Gonzalez to wide out Juan Gonzales with 16 seconds left in the first half were the two biggest, and most damaging, plays of the ballgame.
“We missed several opportunities to score throughout the game, but the early misses cost us a chance to get out in front of Brackenridge to play with more confidence,” stated Head Coach Paul Gomez. “We didn’t execute the way we would have liked but those things will come with time. Our kids haven’t given up and they continue to believe in what we are trying to accomplish.”
The Warhorses took a 7-0 lead on a 19 yard touchdown reception by Luke Torres from Connor Schmidt with 7:58 left in the first half. Brackenridge answered quickly, however, scoring on a 5-yard run by Gonzalez with 4:03 remaining in the second quarter to tie the score at 7 apiece.
Shortly before halftime, Devine’s defense forced Brackenridge into a punting situation at their own 32. A roughing the punter penalty allowed the Eagle drive to continue near midfield with 1:22 left on the 2nd quarter play-clock. That is when the first big-strike of the game happened for the Eagles offense that enabled them to take a 14-7 lead into the break.
On that scoring drive, the Eagle quarterback made key back-to-back plays; one with his feet, the other with his arm. First, he scrambled 15 yards into Warhorse territory to get the ball to the 41 yard line. On the next play, with 25 seconds remaining in the half, he scrambled out of the pocket to his right to throw the ball deep down the right sideline near the goal line. The ball was slightly underthrown which allowed his receiver to come back to make the grab and get into the end zone without much threat from the Warhorse defender.
Devine closed the gap in the second half. Mid-way through the 3rd quarter, on a 3rd down and forever, Schmidt dropped back in the pocket and fired a bullet to receiver Tristan Kramer. Kramer made the grab in stride and sprinted 65 yards to pull the Warhorses within one at 14-13. The Horses two-point attempt out of the gate formation fell short at the 1-yard line.
Brackenridge’s final strike was the Gonzalez 65 yard run on a 3rd and 4 to go. Devine set up shop at their 29 needing only a touchdown and an extra point to send the game into overtime. On the first play, Schmidt hit Noah Brogdon across the middle at the 45. Brogdon outraced Eagle defenders all the way down to the 19 yard line. On four straight rushing attempts, the Horses could not manage another first down or a score to enable the game to carry into an extra session. Brackenridge was able to line up in the victory formation and run out the clock to end the game.
Devine was without the services of several players, including three-fifths of the starting offensive line group. Marques Burford-Zawahreh, Guido Zapata, Bulldog Ramirez, Reagan Brown, Gideon Ramirez, Lucas Byrd, and Randy Schott all sat out the game with various injuries. Dakota Wofford and Hayden Burwell were injured during the course of this game adding to the Warhorse injured reserve woes.
“The guys that are filling in are giving us their best effort, which is all that we can ask of them,” stated Gomez. “Burwell was doing a heck of a job at linebacker and we needed him to fill in at center this week. He accepted the challenge and performed well until he got hurt. I hope that he is able to return to the team sooner than later. We are the walking-wounded right now but we are not going to use that as an excuse. We will get better.”
Offensive stats
Devine tallied 11 first downs and 257 total yards offense with 181 coming through the air. Schmidt completed 9 of 18 passes with 2 touchdowns to go with it. Kramer (1 reception for 65 yards and 1 touchdown), Noah Brogdon (4 for 70), Chase DuBose (2 for 24), L. Torres (1 for 24 and 1 touchdown), and Matthew Ornelas (1 for 3) accounted for the receiving yardage.
The Warhorses rushed 36 times but managed only 76 yards for 2.1 yards per carry. Luke Torres led the ground game with 11 rushes for 48 yards. King Cantero (9 for 38), Brogdon (6 for 11), Grant Collins (3 for 9), Isaiah Oropeza (1 for 3), and Leonard Pompa (1 for 0) accounted for the remaining carries and yardage. Due to 4 quarterback sacks, Schmidt is stuck with a 4 for -36 stat line on the ground game.
The defense continues to be somewhat of a bright spot for the Warhorses even though Brackenridge racked up 348 yards of offense on the night. Of those 348 yards, the Eagles rushed 33 times for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns while completing 9 of 19 passes for 154 yards and 1 touchdown.
Two Warhorse interceptions, one by Phillip Ramos and one by Payton Anderson, bumped the team total to four on the season. Ramos made a diving grab on a left-handed, underarm toss by the right-handed Brackenridge quarterback who was being flushed out of the pocket by stunting linebacker Jose Fargason. The weakly flung ball hung in the air just long enough for the diving Ramos to stretch out both hands to make the catch as his body was practically horizontal with the ground at the Eagle 18 yard line. The Warhorses fumbled the ball back to the Eagles two plays later.
Anderson now has one interception in each of the first two games. His above-the-head-while-twisting-back-to-the-offense pick against Boerne was much different from the one in the 3rd quarter against Brackenridge.
On Thursday, Anderson initially read the play as a run but once realizing it was going to be a pass, sprinted back into his coverage area in time to meet the ball before it reached its intended receiver. While falling to the ground, the Eagle receiver and Anderson both had possession of the football. Anderson outfought the Brackenridge player to claim the interception and give the Warhorse offense the ball. Devine capitalized on this turnover with the Schmidt to Kramer score.
Matthew Ornelas jumped on an Eagle loose ball for a fumble recovery at the Brackenridge 49 halfway through the first quarter. Ornelas performed his outside linebacker job perfectly by making the ball carrier cut back inside near the line of scrimmage. Javi Torres, Fargason, and Anderson along with the rest of the Warhorse defenders were in pursuit of the runner as he ran up the right sideline. Upon contact with Torres and Fargason, the ball squirted free. Ornelas made up about 10 yards coming from behind the play to pounce on the football to give the Warhorses possession.
Ornelas’s determination to not give up on that play once the runner was past him and his ability to recover the fumble speaks volumes about his willingness to do whatever it takes to help his defensive unit. Devine’s ensuing drive fizzled out on a 4th down play at the 22 yard line.
Effort plays like the ones Ramos, Anderson, and Ornelas capitalized on will help the Warhorses get going in the right direction as the season progresses.
“We are looking forward for continued progress with our defense,” stated Defensive Coordinator George Villa. “We are doing a great job with takeaways. We need to do a better job of not giving up the big play. I was very pleased with our effort as a whole and how we are rallying to the football.”
He said it…
Senior Tristan Kramer on his 65-yard scoring catch—I felt great after scoring the touchdown. It was so exciting. I have never scored a touchdown in my life, so it felt great to get one.
Senior Payton Anderson on his second interception of the season—I got a run read on the play so I went up for a run. Once I saw it was a pass, I ran back to my zone and looked for a man. Once I saw the football, I tried to catch it and then take it away from the receiver.
Senior Luke Torres on his 19-yard touchdown reception—The first thing that went through my mind when Coach Wells called the play was that I have to catch the ball. I prayed in my head that I would catch it, and I did.
Senior spotlight
Two seniors shared their outlook on the season and mentioned the person that has had a positive impact on their playing career.
Kyler Brown—WR/DBI am approaching this year wanting to be the best that I can be for the team. I want this team to become a family and for us to make it to state. I would also like to make the all-state team as a receiver.
My mom (Suzana Collier) has always pushed me to play so that I can have fun and do what I love.
Steven ‘Bulldog” Ramirez—RB/OLBMy goal for the team is to win as many games as possible, and to make history. Individually, I want to be the district’s MVP and receive all-state honors.
My father (Santos Ramirez) started football with me, but the Devine coaching staff really has made the biggest impact on my career, and I thank each one of them for everything they have done for me. I will give my all for my team, and for this town. Number 42 on the field, but number 1 in your heart. I will fight until I cannot…then I will fight some more.
Up next
Devine hosts the Marion Bulldogs Friday night at Warhorse Stadium. Parent’s Night is scheduled before the 7:30pm kickoff.
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer