Navarro scrimmages have done Warhorse football good over the last several years of giving Devine a sense of where they are going into their season-opening game of the year. The Panthers provide a well-disciplined offense that Devine’s defense has to be lined up correctly and make reads in order to make plays.
Head Coach Paul Gomez knew the challenge of Navarro is exactly what his team needed going into a 10-game schedule that does not provide an open week until November 4, the last week of the season.
“It is always good to go against Navarro right before our first game since I knew it would be tough defensively against them since we couldn’t practice Monday with the rain out,” Gomez began his post-scrimmage analysis. “Teams cannot prepare for that offense in two days; teams need four good days to prepare for the nasty slot T. Especially because they run it so well. It requires you to be 100% disciplined and locked in even when you are tired.”
Even with the shortened work-week, Devine looked tough at times going against the perennial playoff bound Panthers.
“Although we gave up a couple of long plays on the quick trap where our defensive tackles didn’t squeeze the hole and our middle linebacker didn’t fill and we also gave up a big pass play where our secondary didn’t read the tight end and they got us with an easy touchdown, we still played hard and smart for big stretches of the scrimmage,” Gomez continued. “Like I said, if we get four good days to prepare, I think we do better but as far as our defense giving great effort, well that was noticeable. Our boys played hard. We made some very good plays stopping them at the line of scrimmage.”
“Defensive Coordinator Evan Eads did a great job getting our defense going and preparing as best we could within the short time. Our secondary needs to tackle better, which they will with more practice reps. We watch these NFL and college players just shoulder bump these guys and our boys think that they can do that but we have to wrap up and tackle. Our tackling drills will get us to where we want to be,” Gomez said in closing about his defensive group.
Quarterback Sam Guardiola, Gabe Esquibel, and Ethan Santos had productive runs offensively for the Horses. Nate Ramirez hauled in a touchdown towards the end of the live scrimmage as well.
“We wanted to get in our spread game more and see what we can handle and how we can get our athletes in space. We showed some signs of having big play capability in the spread package
Being able to be given multiple looks on offense and still have success is a really good thing as long as we gradually add on and not put too much on so that’s our job right now. We want to keep our physicality on offense but still be able to be multiple and we do that by running the same plays and play action from those plays regardless if we are spread or tight. We as coaches think we can make that happen so we will keep improving. Scrimmages are about improving and getting better as a team and I think we have accomplished that. Obviously if these were games then we would have definitely done different things but we did what we had to do to make progress as a team overall. I kept reminding myself to stay on the script and work on what we needed to work on,” was Gomez’s offensive analysis.
Coach Evan Eads got his first taste of the difficulties of shutting down the potent Panther offense as Devine’s Defensive Coordinator. Eads has coached linebackers for several years, but this was his first shot as the coordinator in putting packages together to put his unit in position to shut down Navarro.
“Navarro presents a tough dilemma for a defense. You can play a soft and maybe bend a little, but don’t break defense and allow them to march down the field hoping they will make a mistake. Or, you can give all the players reads and play as aggressive as possible with those reads. We choose the more difficult and aggressive style. We know it gives us the best opportunity to stop them, and we did several times. Twice we had the running back almost down at the line of scrimmage, but we missed and that is when they had long touchdown runs. We played a team-style defense with players having specific roles depending on their reads. I am proud that our safeties came up to the line of scrimmage and got in the mix. All night they took on blocks and spilled the running backs to the backers. Gabe Esquibel and Nate Ramirez never turned it down. The defensive ends and tackles were responsible for all inside plays and disrupting blocking schemes. As they continue to improve, we will be able to be more and more aggressive. Due to those positions taking care of their assignments the linebackers were able to clean up outside runs. The corners and safeties were responsible for run and pass and did it very close to the line of scrimmages. They are some very athletic players. Now the season starts. We will continue to improve every day.”
“The varsity tight ends were disappointed with their showing against Pleasanton and worked hard this week to improve. We took several steps forward against Navarro. Aaron Bonilla and Matthew Gomez got most of the first reps at TE. They are both big bodies that can be very effective at blocking any position on defense. We were very pleased with their effort. Aaron Saenz, Nick Ortiz, and Seth Deleon got reps with the second bunch. Any of the three can improve enough to get reps this year. They just need to keep improving.”–Evan Eads, tight end coach
“As far as my varsity receivers, Nate Ramirez has four receptions with two touchdowns. I am confident that he will continue to work hard to improve on all aspects of the game of football.” Bart Oropeza, receiver coach
“After a great summer and a good scrimmage against Pleasanton, Brandon Martinez got all the reps at middle backer with the first group. He did a great job with his reads. He made some hard-hitting tackles. He needs to continue to improve on block defeating. I am excited about the year he is about to have. Nick Ortiz got all the reps with the second group and some in the running quarters. He improved from the Pleasanton scrimmage. He is a student of the game and asks great questions. He will continue to improve every week.”–Evan Eads, linebacker coach