Warhorses ground Ro-Hawks 34-20

Devine rattled off its second win in a row last Friday with a 34-20 victory over the visiting Randolph Ro-Hawks. The Warhorses raced out to a 20-7 halftime lead before the game got to within a one-score contest in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Brady Hackebeil led the charge rushing for 153 yards and two touchdowns while last week’s SA Express News ‘Game Ball’ recipient Buddy Santos tacked on three additional touchdowns.
“It was a good win for us,” Head Coach Paul Gomez began saying. “At times we were very sloppy. We committed too many penalties and turnovers.”
The Horses tagged with the dirty laundry 10 times for 85 yards also fumbled the ball to the Ro-Hawks twice. If the Horses want to rack up win number three in a row against this week’s opponent, the Pleasanton Eagles, they will need to limit the flags and hold on to the ball.
“We definitely need to clean it up but a ‘W” is a “W”!” Gomez continued. “I told the guys, yes we made some mistakes that we shouldn’t have made but we did enough to put one in the win column and they should be excited for the win. If you can’t enjoy the wins then what are you working for?”
The Horses defense stopped the Ro-Hawks cold on their initial possession of the game, forcing Randolph into a punting situation. After a runs by Buddy Santos, Brady Hackebeil, and Aiden Zapata and a nine-yard completion to wide out Mason Burford, Devine took an early 7-0 lead on Hackebeil’s 24-yard run straight up the middle midway through the first quarter.
After forcing another Randolph punt, Devine went on a 68 yard, 15-play drive that culminated on Buddy’s first score of the night on a 12-yard run just as the clock was warming up in the second quarter.
Randolph scored to cut the Warhorse lead to 14-7 but Devine answered back three minutes later on Buddy’s second touchdown, this one from three yards out and 0:49 left in the first half.
Hackebeil tallied his second touchdown of the game in the early stages of the fourth quarter on a two-yard run to bump Devine’s lead to what seemed like an unsurmountable 30-13 lead with eleven minutes left. Randolph struck quickly though on a 48-yard scoring strike to get back to within striking distance.
Have no fear, Warhorse fans. Buddy Santos scored his third touchdown of the game on a nine-yard run to push the Warhorse cushion back to a 14-point lead with 2:22 remaining in the game.
The Ro-Hawks were no longer a threat after that.
Offensive review
Devine keeps churning out impressive offensive stats. The backs are doing a great job of finding seams to run through, but those seems would not be there without the efforts of the big guys up front.
Gomez complimented his offensive players saying, “Our offensive line and tight ends did a good job blocking and so did our backs and receivers. We did get a ‘flag happy crew’ but you have to deal with it and adjust and that is what we did. Hack had a great game with 153 yards rushing. He threw a good ball to Mason Burford one time as Mason ran a great route but the corner that got beat tackled Mason to avoid a touchdown. Hack had another great pass that was not completed but those plays will come together the more we work on them. Buddy had another great night and the rest of the backs keep getting better every week. I am very proud of our running backs as a whole. We have seen great improvement with those guys.”
Although the game went from what felt like blowout status to nail-biter status over the course of the middle parts of the fourth quarter, the Warhorse defense held the talented, quick running back tandem Ro-Hawks from having the opportunity to turn on their afterburners for most of the game.
“Defensively I think we did a good job keeping their speed in check by getting to them before they got started,” Gomez stated. “We did miss some tackles that turned into big plays for them so we have to tackle better next week and as the season goes.”
Devine Defensive Coordinator George Villa’s squad bounced back from an up and down performance against Uvalde a week ago. Villa’s defense held the Ro-Hawks much talked about running game to 239 yards after Randolph torched Harper in their previous game for 339.
“I thought our defense did a better job this week,” Villa commented. “Obviously, we still have a lot to work on with our coverages. And we will get that covered. I thought our effort was great again and stepped up when we really needed to…especially late in the game. Our front four really came up with some big plays late in the game when it seemed like Randolph started to get some momentum. Our goal was to eliminate the big play, and force them to drive the ball. I thought our D-ends (Christian Gerlach and Jared Fernandez) had a great game as they led us in tackling and tackles for losses. Devin Ornelas had a big quarterback sack for us as well late in the game.”
Just as Villa’s defense stopped the Coyotes a week ago on its final drive to preserve that victory, the Horses defense came up strong once again against the Ro-Hawks just as it started to seem Devine’s lead was slowly fading away.
Give me an “E”
I can always count on Coach Evan Eads to give me his insight about the players he coaches whether it is after a Warhorse victory or defeat. However, I am sure that it is much more enjoyable for Eads to relay that information after a “W” than it is after an “L”.
“We need to clean up our angles and tackles, but I am really proud of our aggressiveness,” Eads commented on his defensive linebacker crew. “Devon Ornelas had a 1 .5 sacks and Robert Ramirez had a pressure that led to a sack. Colin Dishman had 1.5 tackles and covered well.”
As for his offensive slot receivers, he alluded to some of the same factors that Coach Gomez mentioned earlier.
“We have to stop making mental mistakes. When we do what we are supposed to, we get first downs or better. Aiden Zapata has more than 100 yards rushing for the year, and Nate Ramirez, Gabe Esquibel, and Ethan Santos are getting closer to that mark.”
Team stats
Total yards Dev 406, Ran 360 First downs Dev 19 Ran 8 Rushes-yards Dev 47-376 Ran 28-239, Passing-yards Dev 3-6-30 Ran 4-7-121 Fumbles-lost Dev 3-2 Ran 0-0 Penalties-yards Dev 10-85 Ran 8-50.
Individual stats
Passing Brady Hackebeil 3 of 6 for 30 yards Receiving Mason Burford 2 for 19, Buddy Santos 1 for 11 Rushing Hackebeil 17 for 153 (9.0), 2 TDs, B. Santos 17 for 84 (4.9), 3 TDs, Aiden Zapata 5 for 68 (13.6), Nate Ramirez 4 for 40 (10.0), Ethan Santos 3 for 21 (7.0), Gabriel Esquibel 1 for 10.
Scoring summary
DEV—Brady Hackebeil 24-yard run (Jacob Featherly PAT), 7:53, 1st, 7-0.
DEV—Buddy Santos 12-yard run (Featherly PAT), 11:25, 2nd, 14-0.
RAN—Colton Howard 68-yard run (Sam Gierat PAT), 3:50 2nd, 14-7.
DEV—B. Santos 3-yard run (PAT failed), 0:49, 2nd, 20-7.
RAN—Gierat 38-yard pass to Lezerrick Banks (PAT failed), 3:24, 3rd, 20-13.
DEV—Hackebeil 2-yard run (Featherly PAT), 11:08, 4th, 27-13.
RAN—Gierat 48-yard pass to Banks (Gierat PAT), 10:39, 4th, 27-20.
DEV—B. Santos 9-yard run (Featherly PAT), 2:22, 4th, 34-20.
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer