Warhorses jolt Mavericks 21-6

Click here for more photos of the Warhorses’ win over Pearsall!

The Devine Warhorses picked up their second district win of the season at Mack Laxson Field in Pearsall last Friday night with a 21-6 victory against the Mavericks. Quarterback Chad Lawson’s three rushing touchdowns and his two-point conversion provided the Warhorses with 20 of their 21 points. Sergio Martinez added an extra point to round out the scoring.
Devine is now 4-4 overall and 2-1 in District 14-4A with an all-important game against Poteet this Friday. A victory versus the Aggies would pretty much assure the Warhorses at least second place in the district going into their season finale at home against a winless Carrizo Springs team.
“It was a big win for us against Pearsall on Friday,” Head Coach Paul Gomez stated. “We knew we were going to get their best effort. Offensively it took us a while to get going but we made the plays when we had to and played a better second half. We executed better to our potential and our players made plays.”
The Warhorse and Maverick offenses had a tough go of it early on. Most snaps of the first quarter was on the north end of the stadium with neither team able to pose a threat. Pearsall got on the board first with what wound up being its only score of the game on a Meme Cuevas 5-yard run with only 13 seconds remaining in the opening frame.
Pearsall’s 10-play, 60-yard drive was their only substantial output of the entire game. It ended with a missed extra point. The Mavericks held on to that lead until 5:33 left in the first half.
That 10-play drive by the Mavericks failed in comparison to what the Warhorses ensuing drive was about to accomplish. Steady blocking by offensive linemen Tristan Ortiz, John Schnautz, Tristin Kennard, Lupe Rodriguez, and Mason Perez combined with good blocking from tight ends Jayce Hackebeil and Christian Gerlach led to a 14-play, 53-yard, 6 minute 50 second scoring drive by Devine.
The Warhorses patiently moved the ball and the chains, mostly on rushing attempts. Offensive Coordinator PJ Wells mixed in a couple of receptions by Donavon Camacho and Isaiah Oropeza to set up quarterback Chad Lawson’s first of three touchdowns on a 4-yard run. Sergio Martinez converted the extra point to put Devine up 7-6. That one-point lead held up thanks to an outstanding performance by the Warhorse ‘D’.
Pearsall’s offense stalled, and stalled often. Only one of the four Maverick ball carriers finished with positive yards. Cuevas had 107 yards but it took him 32 carries to get that total. On 12 carries, the other three backs combined to lose 42 yards on the ground.
“I can’t say enough about our defensive’s aggressiveness toward the Maverick running game,” Gomez said about Pearsall’s 66 net-yards rushing for the ballgame. “Cuevas is a talented back but we held him to a little over three yards per carry while shutting everyone else down in the process.”
Devine’s Tristan Ortiz blocked a potential lead-changing field goal attempt on Pearsall’s opening second half drive. However, the next Warhorse drive fizzled out at their own 40-yard line and were forced to punt. Lawson put his foot into a 46-yard punt and, along with a Pearsall penalty during the run back, had the Mavericks inside their own 15-yard line to start their next drive.
On a third and long, Pearsall’s quarterback mishandled a pass attempt that fell into the arms of linebacker Brady Cardenas. Brady caught the errant pass at the three and fell forward to the one to give the Horses another great scoring opportunity.
The next play after Cardenas’s interception, Lawson’s second touchdown of the game came from the 1-yard run with 1:06 left in the third quarter. He added the 2-point conversion to bump the Warhorse lead to a two-score game at 15-6.
The Horses final score also came shortly after Oropeza’s 37-yard run off a pitch from Lawson. Lawson, and Devine’s, final touchdown of the game came with 8:51 left in the contest, this time from 8 yards out. Unable to convert the conversion, Devine’s lead remained at two scores.
That 15-point advantage was enough to carry the Warhorses to victory and into a pivotal game against Poteet this Friday.
“We definitely had to gut this one out,” Gomez continued. “Our players fought through adversity and kept believing. The one thing that can be said about these young men is that they never give up. They have fought until the end of each game all year. We may not always execute as we should but these guys fight until the end.”
Keys to victory
Devine has had difficulty hanging on to the ball this season and committing penalties at the most inopportune time. Coming into game #8 on the season, the Warhorses had fumbled the ball 26 times while losing 10 of those. No fumbles against Pearsall was Key #1 to its victory Friday night.
Key #2 was Devine’s four penalties for only 42 yards. Going into the Pearsall game, the Warhorses had committed 56 penalties for an average of 8 per game. Not getting behind down-and-distance was vital in two of the three Warhorse scoring drives.
Blocked punt
Devine had a chance to score one more touchdown on the final play of the first half. Pearsall was forced to punt at their own 25-yard line. Right end Jayce Hackebeil stormed through the attempted Maverick protection to get his outstretched hands on the football to block the punt. Demi Monreal caught the ball at the 11 and returned it to the Maverick 6-yard line.
With four seconds on the clock, the Horses had one play to try to score. However, the ball slipped through the hands of the outside receiver as the clock hit zero.
Rushing: Guido Zapata 8 for 42, Isaiah Oropeza 1 for 37, Donavon Camacho 9 for 37, Chad Lawson 14 for 12 and 3 TDs, Sergio Martinez 1 for 3; Team 33 for 131 for 3.97 per carry.
Passing: Chad Lawson 7 of 18 for 59 yards, no interceptions.
Receiving: Donavon Camacho 3 for 27, Guido Zapata 2 for 18, Isaiah Oropeza 2 for 16.
First downs: Devine 9, Pearsall 8.
Scoring summary:
PEA—Meme Cuevas 5-yard run (PAT failed), 0:13, 1st.
DEV—Chad Lawson 4-yard run (Sergio Martinez PAT), 5:23, 2nd.
DEV—Lawson 1-yard run (Lawson 2-pt run), 1:06, 3rd.
DEV—Lawson 8-yard run (run failed), 8:51, 4th.
Up next
Devine travels to Poteet to take on the Aggies. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm.
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer