Navarro stands in Warhorses’ way in Bi-District matchup

The Warhorses finished 3rd in District 14-4A, and will face the Navarro Panthers in Bi-District, who took 2nd in District 13-4A and are 9-1 overall.

The 9 and 1 Navarro Panthers did not accomplish their initial preseason goal of winning District 13-4A Division 2 after losing to Wimberley 49-35 on October 27. That defeat to the Texans dropped the Panthers into second place. Their next goal on the list, however, was to win a Bi-District Championship in what would eventually lead them to the ultimate goal of a state championship appearance.
Standing in their way is your Devine Warhorses who are coming off a crushing loss at Crystal City last Friday night. After leading for the first 45 minutes and 3 seconds of the game, the Javelinas scored with 2:57 left on the clock to eek out the 20-14 win. That Warhorse loss not only cost them second place in District 14-4A, it made their own path to a bi-district championship that much harder by having to play Navarro, ranked #2 in sub-5A in the area, instead of Llano who finished their season nearly two weeks ago at 5-5.
Navarro is well known for their rushing game. Of the 4,158 total yards offense the Panthers have gained through 10 ballgames, 3,510 (84%) of that has come from a slew of fast, hard running halfbacks and slot backs who are tough to bring down.
Leading the Panthers in rushing and passing yardage is quarterback Will Eveld. Not only has he rushed 97 times for 843 yards and ten touchdowns from behind center, he has completed 42 of 76 pass attempts for 573 yards and seven touchdowns. He has thrown only one interception.
Chris Gomez has a majority of the carries with 135 for 762 yards and nine touchdowns but after that, the attempts and yards are comparable. Will Reyna (59 for 474, 7 touchdowns), Tyler Law (76 for 449, 7 touchdowns), Johnny Alegra (40 for 382, 5 touchdowns), and Euler Deleon (44 for 275, 2 touchdowns) have big-play capabilities and can take it to the house at any time.
Navarro relies so heavily on the run game that their leading receiver on the season, Alegra, has 105 yards on only 5 catches. Bryan Butler and Gomez each have 7 receptions to lead the team in that category but those 14 catches have accounted for merely 115 yards.
Devine’s chances of winning this bi-district match up will be determined by how well the Warhorses can contain the Panthers running game. Head Coach Paul Gomez on the Navarro outlook.
“Yes, Navarro is a great team. We scrimmage them every year and they like to run at teams offensively with their slot T to wear defenses down. We have to be disciplined enough to read our keys, but we will be up for the challenge. They played Wimberley to the wire and Wimberley is supposed to be the best team in Region 4.
We know it is going to be tough and we know we will be the underdogs but we are going to go as hard as we can and leave it all on the field. This is the playoffs and we are going for the win. That is our focus. We are going to do everything possible to give our kids the best opportunity to win.”
Thursday’s kickoff is set for 7:00 pm at Harlandale Memorial Stadium.
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer