Warhorses lose District 15-4A DII opener 33-26 in Carrizo Springs

Devine dropped its District 15-4A DII opener in Carrizo Springs 33-26 last Friday night. The Wildcats scored two consecutive fourth-quarter touchdowns, including the game-winner with 0:39 left on the clock to erase what was a 26-20 Devine lead. The Horses are 0-1 in district play with their next game across the creek this Friday night.
“Our guys played hard against a very good senior laden team,” said Head Coach Paul Gomez as he began his post-game analysis. “We just had too many turnovers and mistakes. Like I told our guys, we played hard but not smart.”
It looked as though the vaunted Warhorse rushing game was going to once again dominate a district opener by putting together a nine-play, 59-yard drive to score on an Ethan Santos 3-yard run on their first possession of the game. Aside from Santos, Hayden DuBose and Gabriel Esquibel put together several hard runs to keep the chains moving in Devine’s favor on that initial scoring drive.
However, Devine only managed seven more first downs, and 139 yards rushing the remainder of the game.
“Offensively we executed and stayed on our blocks, and we had some good, positive plays,” Gomez said about getting positive yardage early on in the ballgame. “Then we would have plays where we did not stay on our blocks or we blocked the wrong guy and we only got 2 yards on a play that we could have gotten 8-or-more yards so that’s tough. There were also times where we missed blocks and had it all set up, but we got negative yards on a play where we had a chance to have a really big gain.”
Devine’s dominant opening drive was quickly countered by a Wildcat 38-yard touchdown pass on a middle screen from quarterback Evan Castellanos to Avery Ramirez. Carrizo Springs converted three passes on the drive for first downs and kicked the extra point to take a 7-6 lead with 3:55 left in the first quarter.
Warhorse kick returner Nate Ramirez gave Devine good field position to begin their next drive on the Wildcat 41 after his 26-yard return. Santos and Marcus Rodriguez had two nice blocks to set up Ramirez’s long return.
Facing a third and long from the Carrizo 37, Warhorse quarterback Brady Hackebeil connected with DuBose on a middle screen pass. DuBose, led by a triumvirate of Warhorse blockers, hauled in the reception and twisted and turned his way to a 33-yard gain putting the ball at the three.
Running back Xavier Contreras scored on the next snap, the first snap of the second quarter, on a cutback to the left side to put the Horses back in the lead at 12-7. Devine did not convert the two-point run, which kept the lead at five. After missing on their first point-after attempt on the Santos touchdown, the Horses were forced to start chasing points early in the contest.
Kicker Luke Friesenhahn pooch-kicked the ensuing kickoff to a Wildcat who could not handle the ball. DuBose came up with the recovery to put Devine back in business in Carrizo territory.
Five plates later, the Wildcat defense came up strong with a strip fumble of a Devine ball carrier. Carrizo recovered to thwart a terrific Warhorse scoring opportunity at the 19-yard line.
Two plays later, the Wildcats capitalized on a quick hitch to split out Avery Ramirez. Ramirez caught the Castellanos pass at the twenty-five, and went virtually untouched up his team’s sideline for an 81-yard touchdown that put Carrizo back in the lead at 14-12.
The two-point Wildcat advantage held up until late in the third quarter as both offenses stalled for the remainder of the second quarter and well into the third quarter.
After Devine narrowly missed converting a first down on a fake punt, pass attempt, Carrizo got possession in great shape inside the Devine 20-yard line. A couple of runs later, Wildcat running back David Castro plunged in from the one to expand their lead to 20-12.
That lead was short-lived as Ethan Santos fielded the ensuing kick at the 12-yard line. Catching the ball and initially sprinting up the middle of the hashes, Santos took the ball untouched 88-yards for a Warhorse touchdown. Contreras converted the two-point run to knot the score at 20 apiece, and swing momentum back in Devine’s favor.
Warhorse defensive back Nate Ramirez intercepted a deep pass to give Devine possession at their own 27-yard line.
Santos, Esquibel, and DuBose once again combined for nice gains via the running game to put the ball at the Wildcat three. Santos scored his third touchdown of the game with 7:06 to go, but the conversion attempt failed leaving the Devine lead at six points, 26-20.
Unfortunately for Devine, that was the last time they would get the ball into the end zone.
Carrizo went on to score on a 52-yard Austin Reyes run and closed out the scoring on Castellanos’s 2-yard run with only 0:39 left in the game.
“Defensively we played a really solid game except for a few snaps. Every big play that we gave up, our defense was not lined up correctly. On the long runs that they had throughout the game, we were not lined up right which let them outnumber us. When we recognized the formation, we got lined up and hit it right in the mouth. Then, with that same formation as the game went along, we get a little tired, stop thinking, not get lined up correctly and, with their speed, they would take it to the house. That’s the importance of being disciplined, and we simply were not disciplined at times.”
Tough calls
Several close calls did not go in the Warhorse’s favor. In live-speed it is somewhat understandable why certain calls went the way that they did, but rewatching in slow-motion had many, including Coach Gomez, lamenting about what could have been.
“Three close calls that didn’t go in our favor were tough to take, for sure. Carrizo fumbled but they didn’t give us because they said his knee was down which he wasn’t. There was a 4th and long pass that they called completed at the two-yard line that glaringly hit the ground, and the Carrizo player trapped the ball, and our fake punt that Ethan Santos caught a pass in bounds that they called as out of bounds. You know if we get one of those to go our way maybe things turn out differently. But, those are obviously things that we cannot control and our execution offensively and defensively are things that we can control and well we didn’t do that the way we practiced.”
Carrizo Springs executed their game plan, or so it seemed, and the Horses have no choice but to learn and move on to their next opponent.
“It’s a tough loss against a good Carrizo team and you can’t take anything away from them. They made the plays when it counted and we didn’t. That’s football. Now we will see what we are made of as we get ready to take on Hondo,” Gomez said in closing.
Turn over
As is the case with most ball games, whether it is football or any other sport that tracks turnovers, whichever team commits the fewest turnovers increases the likelihood of that team coming out on top at the end of the contest.
Devine ran the ball well early, but had three turnovers and failed to convert on a fourth down attempt which also technically goes down as a turnover.
“Obviously, the turnovers were big. We can’t turn the ball over that many times and win,” Gomez said about the overall big picture of giving Carrizo Springs free offensive possessions.
Running back coach Evan Eads said, “ I have to tip my hat to Carrizo Springs. They played hard all night and made plays when it mattered. Our two fumbles were major mistakes at the running back position and even though I felt like the running backs improved their blocking from previous weeks, we missed a couple of holes. We did run hard, though. We have to eliminate turnovers and get back to being explosive if we want to have a chance of beating Hondo.”
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer