Navarro scrimmage was last test prior to opener; Warhorses ready for 2023

The Warhorse O-Line gets ready to make a play. Photo by Brigid Howard. Check out these photos and more on Devine News Smug Mug!

Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer
Devine took on their usual scrimmage-suspect Navarro last Thursday at Warhorse Stadium, and came away with a lot of valuable information that they plan on helping them to yet another District 14-4A DII Championship when the last days of October roll around.
“It was a very competitive night,” Head Coach Paul Gomez said to start his weekly review. “I love scrimmaging Navarro because it takes physicality and discipline to defend the nasty slot-T offense. Navarro runs that offense as well as anybody in the state. Coach Blount does a great job with his program and we have a lot of respect for that staff.”
The Warhorses lost several starters off of last year’s team to graduation, so many players were seeing this not-so-common-anymore offense at varsity speed for the first time ever.
“We had a lot of players on defense that have never gone against this offense on the varsity level. It is definitely faster and, with a team like Navarro that executes so well, it is so hard to duplicate the speed and the execution of that offense in practice. So they really hurt us early on when they were on offense. We were just a step slow in reacting and when we did react fast we simply did not have our eyes up and we just let people run by us.”
As valuable as scrimmages are, at the end of the day they are a glorified practice with no “win” or “loss” tied to it. Scrimmages against weaker teams can have a negative effect if it leads to a particular squad being over-confident going into a season.
For Devine, getting to go against a state-power will undoubtedly help them as they move forward to Pleasanton and beyond.
“Everything we did incorrectly is definitely correctable. For those that saw the live two quarters at the end, we got our nerves and some mistakes out of the way and looked pretty good the last part of the scrimmage. Navarro scored one touchdown late after we had stopped them two previous times. We also created a turnover on another of their offensive possessions.”
Devine improved immensely from not only the beginning to the end of the scrimmage, but will have improved even further by the time the lights come on at Wahorse Stadium this Friday.
“The purpose of two-a-days and scrimmages is to keep improving and adjusting. Our defense played great in the live quarters, and more importantly, stayed together through the early frustrations and continued to believe in one another. We have a better defense now after going against them.”
Just as was the case against San Antonio Brackenridge in Devine’s first scrimmage, the whole repertoire of offensive schemes and plays have yet to be made available for public consumption.
“Offensively, we were basic. Our goal is to get good at our bread and butter plays. For those wondering, yes, we will open up the playbook during the season but we have to have an identity as an offense, especially in a small school like Devine. Our belief is that we will be more physically and mentally tougher than our opponents. So, our ‘bread and butter’ plays signify what type of team we are in crunch situations. We did good things offensively. We executed well.”
For the Monday morning quarterbacks out there, Gomez readily admits there are still areas to improve upon.
“We made some mental mistakes but our players played hard. We did some good things in the run game, and we did some good things in the spread game. I am excited where our offense is heading and I think that we can be very successful. I like where we are right now as a team. Our kids are sticking together through good times and tough times. They are trusting the process and our seniors have been good leaders. Now we look forward to Pleasanton. These games count now so we will get to work and keep getting better everyday.”
EE’s TEs & other things
You’ll always be able to count on Warhorse Defensive Coordinator, tight ends coach, and linebacker coach Evan Eads to give an honest review of what he saw from his unit and position players after a Friday night battle, or, in this case, after a Thursday night towel scrimmage.
“Our defense did a lot of great things during the ‘plays section’. We had a lot of different combinations of players out there. There were several first-time varsity kids getting thrown into the mix. It was a great teaching tool. Our kids learned very fast what we were telling them all week. You have to be lined up early, lock in on your read, react with confidence and intensity, and finish the play.
Navarro scored some in the ‘plays selection’ and we coached our kids up. We were extremely proud of our Warhorses once we went to the ‘running clock half’. There was a different attitude and confidence level with our kids. We forced a punt on their first drive, forced a fumble that we recovered on the next, and got an interception on the next.
Our goal is to get stops and turnovers. I was so excited to see them. FOOTBALL SEASON IS HERE!”
All football coaches coach a position on each side of the ball. Eads has the tight ends offensively and the linebackers defensively.
“Matthew Gomez played like a veteran. He did not make mistakes and did a good job of getting movement on his man. Tyler Hinnant started off nervous which kept him from attacking like he is capable, but once we got to the running half, he moved his man every play. In fact, we were getting five yards a carry to his side.
My other tight end, Gavin Socarras injured his fingers while on defense, so we were not able to get a clear look at his abilities, but we are confident he will be an asset to his team.
Defensively, this was the first time these middle backers went against this style offense. I was very pleased with the effort and intensity they showed. I am not worried about our LBs this year.
Matthew Gomez did a great job reading, but will have to improve on finishing plays. Riley Gutierez was everywhere he was supposed to be. He just needs to improve on block destruction and finishing plays. Seth Deleon is new to the linebacker position. He has some work to do, but we want him to contribute on defense.”
For a good Coz
Coach Lon Cozby was happy with his quartet of safeties after reviewing film this weekend. Wero Torres, Anthony Saldivar, Gabe Esquibel, and Alfredo Ramirez got some quality reps and are raring to go Friday night.
“Wero and Tony had a great scrimmage defensively,” Cozby said. “Both guys trusted their reads and stayed disciplined against this crazy offense. Wero was able to get an interception by being in the right place with the right read. Gabe also does a great job listening and trusting his reads. We still are trying to spare him so he can get those carries on the O-side! Alfredo is coming along too. His footwork is coming along and he had a better game this week.”