Devine’s 16-play, 73-yard touchdown-scoring drive to open Friday night’s showdown against the visiting Hondo Owls set the tone for what kind of night the Warhorses were going to have as they mashed their way to a convincing 34-6 victory to run their record to 4-0 on the season with a matchup in the Honey Bowl versus Uvalde on tap this Friday night.
Not that any extra motivation was needed among Devine players, but the fact that more than a few Owl players tried to stick their Hondo “H” flag in the middle of Warhorse Stadium prior to kickoff more than likely added just a tad of adrenaline to the already ready-to-go Warhorses.
“Offensive Coordinator Shayne Gallegos had some really good play action passes in the scheme that we had success with, and could have had a little more honestly. “Our first two drives were really impressive as they were tough, grinding drives which was probably a little boring to our fans that like the spread passing game but it really set the tone for the whole game. We went right at them and imposed our will to win. Hondo threw everything at us, but we just kept on grinding.”
The Horses literally ran seven minutes off the clock on their opening drive that culminated with Gabe Esquibel’s two-yard touchdown run to the left side of his offensive line, giving Devine a 7-0 lead and a lead that was never seriously threatened.
“Our running backs ran very hard and our offensive line and tight ends blocked really well,” Gomez continued.
Devine’s defense was on fire from the get-go, limiting Hondo to a three-and-out on their first possession to force the first of five Hondo punts.
Warhorse backs Sam Guardiola, Ethan Santos, and Esquibel had big runs that each resulted in first downs on Devine’s second drive of the game. Luke Friesenhahn bullied the ball to the one-yard line before Esquibel scored his second touchdown of the game just inside the beginning of the second quarter, boosting the Warhorse lead to 14-0.
Devine appeared to have a touchdown in the books with about five minutes to go before halftime, but the line judge on the Warhorse sideline ruled Esquibel out at the one. Film shows a different story as Esquibel’s leap for the pylon with both feet in bounds should have resulted in his and the Warhorse’s third touchdown on the night.
A few plays later from the 11 yard line, facing a 4th and goal, Guardiola sprinted out to his right and connected with Santos in the back of the end zone to cap off the first half scoring.
Devine led 21-0 at the break.
Less than four minutes into the second half, Gurardiola passed for his second touchdown of the night. This time, his pass found tight end Aaron Bonilla who made the grab and evaded a tackle on his way to bumping the Devine lead to 28-0.
Bonilla’s third touchdown reception of the season came four plays after Warhorse defensive back Nata Ramirez stepped in front of an Owl pass attempt, intercepting the ball near midfield and returning to the Hondo 28 to put Devine’s offense back in business.
Hondo’s only touchdown also happened to follow an interception as an Owl defensive lineman was in the right place at the wrong time as he took the errant pass and returned it to the Warhorse 19 yard line.
Seven plays later, Hondo got their goose-egg off the scoreboard as running back Carson Winchester took it in from one-yard out to make it a 28-6 ball game.
Following a Hondo onside kick attempt that Esquibel recovered at the Horses 48, Santos took it to the house two plays later from 48-yards to cap the scoring for either team and provide the 34-6 final.
A part of the game often overlooked is special team play. Kickoffs, kickoff returns, punts, punt returns, and extra points can go a long way in determining which team comes out on top in many instances.
Warhorse special teams had another productive outcome against the Owls as kicker Caden Hanson went 4-of-5 on extra point attempts and also had a booming punt that pinned Hondo deep in Warhorse territory that essentially kept them from being too aggressive in their desire to score going into the halftime break.
“Coach Devine Rotramel has the boys playing hard on special teams and that is going to benefit us moving forward. Hanson has had good kickoffs, punts, and has been solid on extra points as well,” Gomez said. “Caden has really been the MVP for special teams because with his kicks and punts, he really changes the field for us. He is doing a great job. We are doing a great job covering punts and kicks and tackling well. We did a great job getting the ball when Hondo tried to onside kick.”
Gomez concluded his weekly briefing saying, “As a team right now, we have to be mature enough to handle success the right way. If we start thinking that we can just show up and play without putting in the hard work Monday-through-Thursday then that’s when we will falter. The hard work and experiences that we do in practice during the week is what brings our successes. I hope we continue to prepare the correct way. It was definitely a good feeling to dominate a good Hondo team that will have a chance to compete for a district championship in their district. We are very proud of our players for being 4-0 right now, but there is still a lot of work to do and we have to keep improving if we want to accomplish our goals this year.”
“We are a couple of coaches short so I am coaching the defensive ends so even though it’s been a little difficult to run the defensive segments, it’s definitely been a good experience working with these young men. Aaron Saenz, Aaron Bonilla, Kolt Hackebeil, Seth DeLeon, and Ethan Santos all did very well considering the last two games and some struggles with technique. We are a very athletic and talented group but our technique has been suspect, so I challenged the guys to improve on technique. I told them that if we played great technique that we could stop this potent Hondo offense but if we did what we have done for the last two games that it would not be a good outcome for us. Well these guys definitely stepped up and did a tremendous job on Friday. I was very proud of them.”–Paul Gomez
“I have to say that Nate Ramirez works hard during practice, and he carries that energy and enthusiasm into the game. One thing that I know is Nate has taken to heart his ability to go hard even when a play is not coming to him. When I watch film, I pay attention to Nate when he is having to block for his teammates. He gives a 100% effort every time. He runs his routes hard no matter the circumstance of whether the ball is coming his way or not. I appreciate working with Nate and look forwarded to him getting better every week.”–Bart Oropeza
“Our tight ends had to work hard during the game as the Hondo defensive ends were aggressive and strong. I am proud that our guys trusted the process. They won most of the battles and the score reflected their effort. Aaron Bonilla had another catch and touchdown set up by how aggressive we block. Matt Gomez and Edward Perez are also a great asset to our front.”
“On the flip side, our defensive middle backer group of Brandon Martinez, Nick Ortiz, and Edward Perez are all high-quality players for us. Brandon continues to have great games. He makes tackles and is near every play. Nick had some tackles and a sack. Add Edward to the mix and we are tough to keep from making plays.”–Evan Eads
SA News Top 10
Devine has four convincing victories on the season after running their record to 4-0 and outscoring opponents on average roughly 40-4.
San Antonio Express-News sports writer David Hinojosa was convinced enough by the Warhorses strong start to the season that Devine cracked the Top 10 poll for the first time.
New Braunfels Canyon leads the pack at number one followed by Smithson Valley, Boerne, Davenport, San Antonio Veterans Memorial, Somerset, Seguin, Alamos Heights, and Southside who sits at number nine just ahead of the number 10 Devine Warhorses.