What a rush
How do I not start out by mentioning the 570 rushing yards recorded by Devine in their 63-14 spanking of YMLA last Friday night at Warhorse Stadium. The Warhorses averaged a first down every time they ran the ball with their 11.18 yards-per-carry.
Ten different ball carriers (Xavier Contreras, Ethan Santos, Marcus Rodriguez, Brady Hackebeil, Gabriel Esquibel, Samuel Guardiola, Aiden Zapata, Gus Puente, Hayden DuBose, Nate Ramirez) nearly cracked the 600-yard barrier on only 51 recorded attempts.
I say ‘recorded’ because a half-dozen or more rushing attempts that negated well over 100 additional yards were called back due to offensive penalties. Without those penalties, legit or not, Devine would have surely shattered the 700-yard mark.
4th and 99
With nearly two minutes left in the first half, Devine’s defense stuffed YMLA on four straight goal-to-go opportunities from the one-yard line setting up a 99-yard touchdown by Xavier Contreras on the Warhorses first snap after their 4th down stop with roughly two minutes left before halftime.
The exciting turn of events would not have been possible without the defensive pursuit of Contreras, Ethan Santos, and Aaron Saenz who were the three Warhorse defenders that tackled a Lion running back at the one-yard line who had broken free for what looked like was going to be an easy 39-yard touchdown run.
Little did we know then that the quick turn of events would provide Warhorse Nation with a memorable goal line stand and a 99-yard Tony Dorsett type touchdown run.
As you’ll learn in the next tidbit, Contreras now shares a record with former Warhorse Greg Groogan. Contreras will hold that record from last Friday until the end of time, unless the length of the playing field is expanded sometime down the road.
It isn’t often a 99-yard touchdown is scored on any level of football competition. In fact, according to local all-Devine High School sports fan Butch Cook, a 99-yard Warhorse run has not happened since back in the late 70’s.
“I distinctly remember Greg Groogan running untouched south to north for a 99-yard touchdown,” Cook texted me Tuesday morning. “He was a freshman when I was a senior and he wasn’t here when he was a senior so it had to be either 1977 or 1978. His father Bill was one of the coaches and also high school principal at the time.”
Through more digging by Mr. Cook, his conversations with Scott Howard and Wayde Anderson confirmed Groogan’s feat was accomplished while he was a sophomore in the fall of 1978 against Crystal City.
Since leaving the halls of DHS, Mr. Groogan has become a highly decorated, award-winning TV journalist in Houston. He has his own show on FOX 26 and has earned an Emmy.
Mr. Googan is currently covering the storms in the Houston area, and according to Mr. Cook, posts his 99-yard run on his Facebook page every year.
Old school (to some)
This season’s set of Warhorse players and fans may think this new-fangled offense is the best thing since sliced bread if they are just now joining the Warhorse Nation fold.
However, the offense utilized in the here-and-now was an offense Devine began developing in 1994 when then Head Coach Dean Bates and assistant coaches Chad Quisenberry and Steve Anderson started tinkering with Bates’s old wishbone formations and tendencies in order to cut down on turnovers created by running an option-type offense.
Over time, Quisenberry was promoted to Offensive Coordinator and the evolution of what you all see today began taking course. Under Quisenberry’s tutelage, Warhorse offenses became extremely effective due to the ability to run very few plays out of an unlimited amount of formations. Devine became known around the region as “Running Back U.” due to the ridiculous numbers put together by several Warhorse running backs over the years.
It is nice to see that old-style Warhorse offense back on the field as it continues to prove its effectiveness as Devine almost burst through the 600-yard barrier last Friday night and touched end zone grass for 8 rushing touchdowns.
Through three games, the Warhorses have rushed 154 times for 1,310 yards and 21 touchdowns.
The noticeable difference is a sole back was responsible for carrying most of the workload in the Bates-Quisenberry era while this season Devine is utilizing a variety of backs as ten different runners have toted the ball for the Warhorses. Eight of those ten backs have at least one touchdown as well.
Load up the ‘D’
Defensive Coordinator George Villa is incorporating several different players into defensive rotations in similar fashion as the offensive backfield. Keeping defensive players fresh and hungry to get on the field is a contributing factor to the increase in assists on tackles.
“We are pursuing the ball and gang-tackling, which is helping us limit the amount of extra yards per carry backs can get while they may be trying to break a solo tackle,” Villa stated. “Playing a lot of players could be key for us as the season progresses as injuries can happen at any point, and having someone who has had valuable reps step in will help keep our defense sharp.”
Like anyone else in normal life, players can have off nights too where things just seem to go not according to plan. Rotating players in and out has a subliminal effect on other mental aspects of the game too.
“Our starters know that they have someone waiting in the wings to get on the field that is just as capable of making plays as they are. I think that helps with our overall mental focus and attention to detail.”
Alright, WN, you have turned out strong and vocal the last two ball games at Warhorse Stadium. It is now time to take your show on the road as Devine hits the trail to Pleasanton for a road game against the Eagles.
Let’s ‘Maroon-Out’ the visitor’s side stands and keep the overwhelming positive support going for the 3-0 Warhorses.
There is no doubt that Warhorse players feed off the boisterous vibes coming from their faithful followers, and according to some local experts this could be the game that separates the Warhorses from a 10-0 season or a 9-1 campaign.
First downs Dev 24, YM 7 Total yards Dev 610, YM 253 Rushing Dev 51-570-11.18, YM 20-64-3.2 Passing Dev 3-3-40-1TD-0INT, 18-24-2TD-2INT Punting Dev 1-38 YM 4-88 Fumbles-lost Dev 3-2 YM 2-2 Penalties Dev 12-105 YM 10-75.
Passing Brady Hackebeil 2 for 2 for 37 yards, 1TD, 0INT, Samuel Guardiola 1 for 1 for 3 yards Receiving Gabriel Esquibel 1-19-1TD, Xavier Contreras 1-18, Hayden DuBose 1-3 Rushing Xavier Contreras 4-151-37.8-2TD, Ethan Santos 5-105-21.0, 2TD, Marcus Rodriguez 6-81-13.5-1TD, Brady Hackebeil 6-60-10.0, Gabriel Esquibel 7-53-7.6-1TD, Samuel Guardiola 5-32-6.4, Aiden Zapata 2-38-19.0-1TD, Gus Puente 5-22-4.4-1TD, Hayden DuBose 7-15-2.1-1TD, Nate Ramirez 4-13-3.3.
Score by quarter
DEV–Ethan Santos 2-yard run (PAT failed), 6-0, 6:18, 1st.
DEV–Xavier Contreras 27-yard run (conversion pass failed), 12-0, 1:17, 1st.
YM–Jammerick Brown 77-yard pass from Aiden Delgado (Eduardo Gonzalez PAT), 12-7, :40, 1st.
DEV–Santos 80-yard run (conversion run failed), 18-7, 7:30, 2nd.
DEV–Gabriel Esquibel 22-yard run (Hayden DuBose 2pt pass from Samuel Guardiola), 26-7, 5:49, 2nd.
YM–Brown 51-yard pass from Delgado (Gonzalez PAT), 26-14, 5:31, 2nd.
DEV–Contreras 99-yard run (Santos 2pt run), 34-14, 1:54, 2nd.
DEV–Esquibel 19-yard pass (Esquibel 2pt run), 42-14, 9:36, 3rd.
DEV–Marcus Rodriguez 50-yard run (Caden Hanson PAT), 49-14, 6:40, 3rd.
DEV–Aiden Zapata 18-yard run (Hanson PAT), 56-14, 0:27, 3rd.
DEV–Gus Puente 5-yard run (Hanson PAT), 63-14, 5:12, 4th.
By Jerel Beaty
What a rush