Warhorse offense busts out in big way in 70-34 win over Lytle

Difficulties that have haunted your hometown team throughout the initial part of the season such as being able to move the first down chains, finish off drives, or being able to put points on the board in general were non-existent during the Devine Warhorses opening District 14-4A contest against the visiting Lytle Pirates last Friday night at Warhorse Stadium. The Warhorses over doubled their total scoring output for the season in dismantling the Pirates 70 to 34 to begin their quest for a fourth straight district championship. Devine is now 1-0 in district competition, looking to improve to 2-0 Friday night as they host the Carrizo Springs Wildcats.
Head Coach Paul Gomez was definitely pleased with starting district with a powerful, statement-type victory, “I am happy most of all for the players. We had the majority of our injured players back on the field and I am pleased that their hard work finally paid off. I have been telling the boys that every game is a playoff game. Regardless of our overall record, every team will play their best game against us so we have to be mentally ready. We cannot afford to regress.”
Devine reverted to year’s gone habits by predominately running the ball, rushing 42 times for 336 yards while mixing in an effective passing game completing 4 of 10 passes for 147 yards. Three of those four Connor Schmidt pass completions were for touchdowns as he found Noah Brogdon for two scores and Luke Torres for another.
The Warhorses struck early and often, scoring 21 first quarter points and building a 35-point lead before Lytle could muster their own scoring drive. Devine appeared determined to not let past problems inside the red zone be their Achilles heel on this particular night.
The two-week layoff between the Hondo contest and the Lytle game played a major role in regard to the 70 points tacked onto the scoreboard. “The off week really helped us get back to basics offensively and get a lot of individual reps,” continued Gomez. “We were sharp and executed well. Everybody did their part and that is why we were successful.”
Taking a 49 to 20 lead into the halftime break somewhere around 9 o’clock pm, the Warhorses did not relax offensively in the opening frame of the second half. Two more scores propelled Devine’s offensive explosion to 63 points through three-quarters of the game. To put that into perspective, the Warhorses had only 58 points total through five entire ballgames going into Friday night’s kickoff.
“We have the potential to be a very good offensive team,” conveyed Gomez about the unlimited possibilities of his offensive unit. “It is a matter of keeping this momentum and continuing on a roll as the season goes. Our running backs ran hard and our offensive line and tight ends had their best game so far. Establishing the run helped set up big plays in the passing game by our receivers so it was definitely good to see.”
A scoring average of just under 12 points a game jumped to 21 in a matter of one game. It is Gomez’s hope that the offense has found its rhythm and the defense maintains its takeaway margin to carry this team to its school record fourth straight district championship.
“Carrizo will be tough,” stated Gomez regarding Friday’s Homecoming matchup with the Wildcats. “They have several unbalanced formations on offense which are designed to catch teams off guard. Coach Villa will stress lining up correctly and recognizing the unbalanced side of their offense quickly, and then play aggressively and make tackles once they snap the ball.
Defensively, Carrizo will have eight guys in the box and play man-to-man on our receivers the majority of the time. Our offensive line is going to have to have another great game providing blocking for our running backs; we have to win the battle of the trenches. We will get their best effort. We just have to keep moving forward by getting better every day and continuing to practice with great intensity.”
The Warhorses racked up 483 total yards of offense, with 336 of those via the running game. Grant Collins rushed 22 times for 210 yards for an average of 9.5 yards per carry. He scored two touchdowns. Luke Torres did not get the same amount of carries as Collins but he definitely made those 12 rushing attempts count when he did touch the ball. Torres ran for only 69 yards but scored three huge touchdowns in the process.
Noah Brogdon had 4 carries for 43 yards for an average of 10.8 per carry while Connor Schmidt (2 for -2), Chase DuBose (1 for 13), and Justin Contreras (1 for 3) rounded out the rest of the rushing attack.
Connor Schmidt completed 4 of 10 passes for 147 yards and 3 touchdowns. He did not throw an interception. Schmidt connected with Brogdon on both the game’s first and last touchdown passes. Brogdon finished with 3 receptions for 121 yards for an average of 40.3 yards per catch. Torres caught one ball for 26 yards and 1 touchdown.
Devine amassed 18 first downs while only having to punt twice out of their 15 offensive possessions.
Sure, Lytle was able to put 34 points on the board but they had 13 possessions during the game. The Pirates were forced to punt four times and turned the ball over on four other occasions to the Warhorse defense.
Lytle managed 247 yards total offense and earned 12 first downs. The Pirates rushed 24 times for 52 yards for an average of 2.2 per carry. Devine’s defense limited Lytle to -4 yards rushing on 21 carries in the first half alone.
The hands or feet of Kannon Hunter provided most of the scoring by the Pirates. Hunter caught 3 touchdown passes and ran for another to account for 4 of Lytle’s 5 total touchdowns.
Devine’s defense and special teams came up with 6 turnovers and 1 onside kick recovery to thwart Lytle scoring opportunities. With those 6 turnovers, Devine now has 15 on the season through 6 ballgames. If that stat can continue, the Warhorses win-loss record throughout the last decade has been phenomenal when they have won the turnover battle by two or more in a single game.
Friday night, seven different players had their hand in those 6 turnovers. Bulldog Ramirez forced two fumbles while Hayden Burwell’s forced fumble was a welcomed sight as he made his return to the linebacker core after recovering from an injury that has kept him out most of the season.
Leonard Pompa had two fumble recoveries while Payton Anderson, R.J. Ortiz, and Jared Ferguson each had one. Chad Lawson picked off a Lytle pass in the second half for his first career Warhorse interception.
Flag happy
With respect to time-of-the-evening only, the game was a long one, no doubt. The opening kickoff happened at 7:30 pm sharp but the final horn did not sound until almost 11:00 pm. The fact that 25 penalty flags were thrown in addition to the teams’ fifteen combined touchdowns, 28 change of possessions, and 163 total plays, a semi-regular 2 ½ hour contest turned into a seemingly all-night marathon.
Aatu who?
I definitely titled this Aatu who? as a little joke. Last season, foreign exchange student Aatu Maeenpaeae from Finland became the kicker for the Warhorses once his eligibility was established. Aatu went on to kick 38 of 39 extra points on the 2016 season that put him at 95% success rate. He also connected a three-point field goal against Poteet at Homecoming as well.
This season, Alvaro Blasco, a foreign exchange student from Spain gained varsity eligibility prior to the Lytle contest. Similar to Aatu, Blasco also happens to be a talented kicker along with being a tremendous soccer player in his native country.
With the Warhorses breaking out of their offensive slump in a big, big way by scoring 10 touchdowns on the night, Blasco was able to start his American football career by going a perfect 10-for-10 in his extra point duties. I am no math genius, but I think that comes out to a 100% success rate. The Warhorses also recovered one of Blasco’s bounding/bouncing/twisting onside kicks.
“Well, Mr. Blasco had a great game,” stated a smiling Gomez. “I was very happy for him because that kid works very hard. He practices his craft all the time and puts a lot of pressure on himself to make great kicks. He can kick it anywhere on the field which is a great weapon for us to have.”
Alvaro elaborated on his first varsity game and outstanding debut, “I feel very happy with myself about going 10-for-10 on extra points. My teammates and coaches have helped me from the first moment. I agree that we are not only a team, but a family.”
If Blasco was uneasy regarding his first big moment in Devine football history, it did not show. He explains, “I was nervous but as soon as I saw the support of the people, I felt comfortable and relaxed which helped me a lot. I hope I can continue to help the team whenever I can and can prove to the other teams what Warhorse football is all about.”
Although “Aatu for ah-1” was a great saying last season and the Warhorse radio guys got a lot of play out of it, Jimbo and JB can definitely get used to tandemly saying “ALVARO with the BLASCO for UNO!’ this season.
What the players said
Luke Torres on his five-touchdown performance, including the 85-yard kickoff return—I wouldn’t have gotten those touchdowns without the offensive line itself, the fans, and the rest of my teammates that stood up tall throughout the whole game. The kickoff return was one of the most intense ones I have ever had the opportunity to run. The blocking was set up great and Noah Brogdon punched the final block to open the hole wide open.
Grant Collins on his 210 rushing yards—We have worked so hard together as a team and it was our first district game. I wanted to do everything I could to help the team win. I am just one guy; I could not have done anything without my line that were amazing Friday night. I am very proud of everyone’s effort.
Noah Brogdon on facing Lytle—This was the anniversary of me tearing my ACL against Lytle last season. I had promised Coach Sessions that I would have a big game when I got the opportunity to face them again. I was fortunate enough to have the plays called my way, and to have Connor throw the passes in the perfect spots. It just felt meant to be.
Connor Schmidt on the team’s victory and his three-touchdown passes—With this being our first district game, we wanted to come out with a bang and that’s what we did beginning with the first touchdown pass. Before the second scoring pass, we were in a tough spot and knew we needed something positive to happen. When Coach Wells initially called the play, I knew it would work but I needed to make a good pass. I had already been told I wasn’t going to go back into the game prior to the third touchdown pass, but when it was a long 4th down Coach Wells called Noah and I over on the sideline and asked us to get it done.
I knew the play was going to work. Earlier in the game, I had over thrown Noah on the same play. This time, when I looked at the defense to see who was guarding Noah, I realized there was not anyone on him so I snapped the ball as fast as I could. All I had to do was make a good throw, which I did, and the rest is history.
Chad Lawson on his 1st career interception—It was my first varsity district game and it was fun! In the fourth quarter, I had an exciting interception where I broke some tackles, and some opposing players’ ankles to go along with it. I really wanted to score but I still think it was a great return.
Hayden Burwell on his return to action—I was happy to be back and glad to help lead our team to its first district win. I hope that we have more.
George Villa (Defensive Coordinator)—I thought we really had a great first half versus Lytle’s run-game. Our kids really flew to the ball and were physical. We preached all week about eliminating missed tackles and how important it is to have multiple maroon hats around the ball on every play. I think our kids responded well and, because of that, we were able to make them turn the ball over multiple times. We will have to correct some technical flaws while defending the pass in our man coverage, but it is fixable.
Complete scoring summary:
Dev—Brogdon 58-yard pass from Schmidt (Blasco PAT), 9:35, 1st.
Dev—Collins 19-yard run (Blasco PAT), 7:09, 1st.
Dev—Brogdon 8-yard run (Blasco PAT), 4:29, 1st.
Dev—Collins 13-yard run (Blasco PAT), 11:45, 2nd.
Dev—Torres 2-yard run (Blasco PAT), 11:17, 2nd.
Lytle—Hunter 43-yard pass from Martinez (Garcia PAT), 10:12, 2nd.
Lytle—Perez 2-yard run (Garcia PAT), 5:03, 2nd.
Dev—Torres 18-yard run (Blasco PAT), 3:08, 2nd.
Lytle—Hunter 9-yard pass from Carrillo (blocked PAT), 0:21, 2nd.
Dev—Torres—85-yard kickoff return (Blasco PAT), 0:06, 2nd.
Lytle—Hunter 8-yard pass from Carrillo (blocked PAT), 8:05, 3rd.
Dev—Torres 26-yard pass from Schmidt (Blasco PAT), 5:09, 3rd.
Lytle—Hunter 39-yard run (Garcia PAT), 3:22, 3rd.
Dev—Torres 8-yard run (Blasco PAT), 0:17, 3rd.
Dev—Brogdon 21-yard pass from Schmidt (Blasco PAT), 9:38, 4th.
Next game
Devine hosts the Carrizo Springs Wildcats Friday night, October 20 at Warhorse Stadium. This game represents Homecoming for DevineISD. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.
Final thought
These articles are a whole lot funner for me to write after a Warhorse victory. Keep it rollin’, young fellas.
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer