Play of the game
It is almost impossible to whittle down to one as to what could be considered the “Play of the Game” from Friday night’s 49-48 victory over the Coyotes in Uvalde.
Any of Buddy Santos’s scores could qualify, or the Brady Hackebeil to Mason Burford game-clinching touchdown pass reception, or Coach Gomez’s decision to go for it on 4th and goal instead of kicking what would have been considered a chip-shot field goal to regain the lead, or Xavier Contreras’s interception to end Uvalde’s last-gasp attempt to pull out a victory.
However, my choice for “Play of the Game” goes to Hayden DuBose’s 47-yard kickoff return that put the Horses in scoring position with 1:13 to go before halftime. If Hayden does not have a great return right there, chances are Devine is more careful in their play-calling and they go into halftime down by two scores at 35-21 instead of going in down only one score and getting the ball to start the second half.
Catching the ball while splitting the Horses goal line and back-peddling a step into the end zone, Hayden burst up the seam to take the ball all the way to the 46-yard line. Six plays later, Hackebeil hit Mason on a stop and go route at the front left pylon of the end zone to put the Horses back within seven points, and put the Horses in control of the game.
Devine gained a lot of needed momentum in their final drive of the first half, and that momentum carried through until the finial tick went off the Honey Bowl game clock.
Congrats Hayden for earning Friday night’s “Play of the Game.” P.S. There is no trophy.
What’s the rush
Devine’s rushing game was on fire Friday night. The Warhorses rushed 56 times for 494 yards and scored four touchdowns. A HUGE key for Devine that cannot be overlooked—ZERO fumbles lost.
Chasing primarily Buddy Santos and Brady Hackebeil around all night tired out a defensive unit that had only given up 192 yards rushing the previous week against Carrizo Springs.
Add in the running speed and toughness of Aiden Zapata, Nate Ramirez, Ethan Santos, and Gabriel Esquibel and one can easily see why the Coyotes defense wore down as the game proceeded, and pounding of the ball continued.
Gomez on his running back by committee. “Buddy and Hack were great but our other backs had some really good runs as well! Aiden had 71 yards rushing averaging over 10 yards a carry, Ethan averaged 7 yards a carry, Nate and Gabe both averaged 5 yards a carry so that being said, even with Justin Contreras out, teams can’t just lock in on Buddy or Hack. That’s why allowing these young kids to get some experience and grow is so important for this team. They are getting better every week. They want to learn and they are very unselfish.”
Where’s the beef
Uvalde’s defensive line was one of the bigger-sized lines the Horses will face this season. The tougher “beef” proved to be Devine’s offensive line however.
Devine kept the clock moving in their favor. The Warhorses ran 62 offensive plays to Uvalde’s 37. Granted the Coyotes scored quickly when they did have the ball. The quick scores had a somewhat negative effect as well as Uvalde’s defensive line had to spend a lot of time on the field which undoubtedly wore them down as the game progressed.
Kannon Ramirez, Logan Camarillo, Devin Ornelas, Jared Fernandez, Zach Martinez, Geoffrey Seal, Haydn Brumage, Aaron Rivera, and John Schnautz battled their tails off in the trenches all night long.
Whether they got one snap or every snap, a MASSIVE SHOUTOUT to the big guys manning the offensive front. This victory was not possible without their grit and their determination to be the best!
Going old school
For longtime Warhorse Nation fans, a bread-and-butter play called “Cutback Sweep” was developed under longtime head coach Dean Bates in the early 1990’s.
Chad Quisenberry kept Bates’s “Cutback” play alive and well over the course of his tenure, adding what seemed like a thousand different formations to run the exact same play and frustrating helpless defenses along the way. Former players under Quisenberry will recall the play more familiarly as “Maroon” or “Green” which were code words for “Cutback” depending if the play was ran to the right or left side.
Devine busted the dust off that old play in a big way Friday night. Of the 56 rushes for 494 yards that netted four touchdowns, 11 were a version of “Cutback” that tallied 78 yards and two of the four scores.
Buddy Santos and Brady Hackebeil racked up 494 all-purpose yards between them. Buddy’s 270 yards rushing and 29 yards receiving pushed his total to 270 while Brady’s 134 rushing and 90 passing gave him 224 all-purpose yards.
Power of positivity
It was great to hear from many who said that despite the low number of total people in attendance, positive energy generated by Devine fans that were in the stands was in abundance.
That’s the way to represent Warhorse Nation, Warhorse Nation!
Uvalde has a really good football team with several dynamic players. Look for them to make some noise going forward this season.
“I tell you #2 Donovan Davila is an outstanding quarterback!” Gomez began his post-game analysis of the Coyotes. “He does a great job scrambling and buying time and his passes are right on the money. He has a gun but is also very accurate and his scrambling abilities make him so very hard to stop. They have a great offensive line and really good receivers, not to mention a really good running back in Hunter Reimer. #11 Christian Rivera is a playmaker at WR and kick and punt returning as well.”
So far, neither of the two teams Devine has played or the one coming up against Randolph were on their original 2020 schedule. COVID caused major changes to a slate set in early February.
Just because playing Refugio, Uvalde, and Randolph kind of fell into Gomez’s lap of replacement opponents does not mean that they will not provide formidable challenges going into district competition.
“It will benefit us tremendously by playing these really good teams pre-district. Going against Refugio and Uvalde and now Randolph who has a lot of team speed will only make us better. Our young secondary will improve every day and our defense will be fine. There is no doubt in my mind about that. Against Uvalde, we wore them down and played harder and longer than they did. That says a lot about our boys because we had 24 players suited up and they had over 50,” commented Gomez.
Evan Eads—Linebacker and Slots
We improved a great deal at the linebacker position from a week ago. Buddy Santos and Devon Ornelas got us lined up better and that made a huge difference. Buddy had a sack, 2 tackles, and 3½ tackles while Devon had 2 tackles and 1½ tackles. They stayed confident and determined the entire game.
As for our slot receivers, Aiden Zapata and Nate Ramirez ran the ball hard when their number was called, but I am most proud with how much better we blocked this week.
By Jerel Beaty
Play of the game