Good news for Warhorse Nation: The sun continues to come up as scheduled every morning even though Devine uncharacteristically lost a game to the Hondo Owls.
Devine had a tough time getting things going offensively and had a harder time getting stops defensively as the Owls flew off with a 44-6 victory Friday night at Barry Field. The vaunted Warhorse rushing attack never materialized as Hondo held Devine to 124 yards on the ground.
“It was definitely a tough loss for us, and not the outcome we wanted or anticipated,” said Devine Head Coach Paul Gomez. “We looked sluggish all night in spite of preaching all week to our boys about showing up every Friday with a ton of excitement.”
Devine did look “sluggish” which is a surprise because the Warhorses always look like the most excited bunch of players to take the field regardless of the opponent. Sometimes the preparation in practice Monday through Thursday simply does not translate into what is demonstrated on the field in front of a packed house that Friday.
That seemed to be the case last week.
“To be successful week in and week out, we first have to have a great week of practice, then we have to be the most excited and disciplined team Friday night to win. It takes both of those factors to win.”
As is the case with many athletic programs, heck, even school systems in general, there has been an uptick in illnesses the last few weeks and some of those illnesses hit the Warhorse locker room.
“Yes, we have had sickness within our team and yes kids may not have felt their best, but life is about overcoming adversity. I warned our team about complacency and just because we have beaten Hondo for the last few years, doesn’t mean that they get the ‘W’ just by showing up. We were definitely not the most focused and excited to play on Friday. For whatever reason, it’s not an excuse. I take full responsibility for it.”
Hondo scored the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter on a 24-yard pass play then turned around and scorched the Warhorse defensive secondary for an 82-yard completion for another touchdown at the start of the second quarter.
Devine quarterback Jacob Sollock connected with receiver Sam Guardiola on a 59-yard pass play of their own to draw within 14-6, but the Warhorses got no closer as the Owls scored the last 30 points of the game.
“I thought we had a great week of practice and I felt we were ready to go. We are definitely not giving up or quitting on each other. We are still a family. We have been knocked down and we have to get up, dust ourselves off and get back to work.”
Don’t hit the panic button just yet Warhorse Nation. Devine has nonconference games left against Uvalde this Friday in Devine and the following Friday at Davenport which is more than enough time to right the ship.
“This is all predistrict and yes we would like to win all of our games, but our goal is to try to win a district championship first. That’s always been our goal and will always continue to be our number one goal.”
Sometimes, a team can learn more from a loss than they can learn from an easy victory. Gomez and his staff will take the lumps and lessons learned from a loss and build positives that will help boost his squad to championship contention.
“I know that we learned we have to work harder, that we have to be about the team and not about individual recognition or individual goals. I tell the boys all the time that what’s most important is the group of men in that locker room. We have to stick together through the tough times. Nobody said this thing would be easy. But if we stick together, we can right this ship and be successful when it matters the most.”
The sting of losing to their rival will fade with time. It has too. There is no room for a “Hondo-hangover” to affect what the Warhorses do against Uvalde or any other team remaining on their schedule.
“We are all upset and we are all disappointed at the product that we put out last time we took the field. We got back to work Monday in order to get better. The only other option is that we can give up and quit. I know these young men and I know this staff and we are going to get to work and get better as a team. This bunch is very close and I expect their best week to date.”
Kickoff against the Uvalde Coyotes at Warhorse Stadium is scheduled for 7:30pm.
Warhorse #64 Tate Wisenbaker in action. Photos by Brigid Howard.