Warhorses use dual attack to run past Natalia Football

Eric Smith
Staff Writer
The Devine Warhorses proved last Friday night at Mustang Stadium they were not a one dimensional team this season. The Warhorses used a healthy mix of “pitch back runs” and a number of nice passing routes to run past the Natalia Mustangs 49-14. Don’t let the score be a complete misguide for one, as the Natalia Mustangs did have some moments in the first, including being down 21-8 late in the first half before giving up two detrimental touchdowns in the final 3-minutes of the half which proved to be the dagger.
“Coach Gomez and his staff do a great job of always having big physical football teams and this year was no different,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “We aren’t here for moral victories, as we didn’t play well enough to win.”
Devine won the toss and opted to receive to begin the game. Natalia got a heavy dose of their rushing attack early, as Gabe Esquibel flexed his speed and vision of the field and scored on a 32 yard run with 9:06 to go in the 1st to put the Horses on the board. This allowed for an early 7-0 lead.
Natalia got the ball and put together an impressive drive of their own, which trotted down before stalling out at the Warhorse 25 yard line.
Devine turned their second drive into more success on the ground and through the air, as Esquibel capped off a 75 yard drive on a 24 yard touchdown run with 1:50 to go in the 1st quarter. This allowed for a 14-0 lead.
Natalia’s second drive once again was unable to go anywhere, as Devine got the ball back and took advantage midway through the 2nd quarter. This time it was Sam Guardiola showing off his vision and speed, as he raced in 27 yards for Devine’s third touchdown allowing a 21-0 lead.
Natalia Freshman QB Leo Buentello was able to settle in on his 3rd drive, as he found Rene Velasquez on a 20 yard cross pattern strike with 2:54 to go in the 1st half. Natalia went for two and they were successful bringing the score to 21-8.
Devine got the ball back as QB Jacob Sollock found Matthew Gomez on a little bit of a trickery passing pattern which proved deadly for the Stangs. A wide open Gomez out-raced two defenders 50 yards allowing for the lead to extend to 28-8.
Devine forced Natalia to turn the ball back over on downs right before the half and they made them pay. Sollock flexed his talent once again with his arm, this time finding Ayden Leal on a 32 yard strike resulting in a 35-8 lead at the half for the Warhorses.
“For the most part, we did a good job of re-establishing the line of scrimmage offensively,” Devine Coach Paul Gomez said. “Our plan offensively is built on discipline and physicality and I think that was a positive.”
A positive it was for the Horses as they were in complete control at the half.
Natalia scored the only touchdown of the 3rd quarter on a 5 yard run by senior back Luis Buentello. This brought the score to 35-14.
Devine finished the game strong in the 4th quarter, as they scored a 9 yard rushing touchdown courtesy of Esquibel and a 6 yard touchdown by Wero Torres as Teotimo Stafford put both PATs through the uprights, finishing the game perfect for the night. This allowed for the 49-14 victory in the 2nd ever meeting between the two towns.
Coach Ilyan Martinez thoughts on the loss
“I am proud of the growth we saw since week one,” Martinez said. “We were able to sustain some drives, but penalties and miscues proved to be drive killers for us. I think we are starting to find some continuity and I feel confident we will continue to grow.”
Natalia’s offense finished with 16 first downs on the night. Natalia was 36-66 yards rushing and had 14 receptions for 180 passing yards on the night. Natalia was just 6-18 on 3rd down and 2-10 on 4th down which both proved costly.
“I thought we did a great job on the initial downs, putting Devine in 3rd and long or even 4th and long and short,” Martinez said. “The flip side was, we gave up way too many big plays and didn’t get the stops we needed in those situations.”
Devine finished the game 5-8 on 3rd down and 1-2 on 4th down.
“Devine is always a great measuring stick for us and it really gives us perspective on the areas we need to improve on,” Martinez said. “We look forward to playing them year in and year out, because we know they make us better.”
Coach Paul Gomez on the win
“Our two half-backs went for over 100 yards each which was great,” Gomez said. “Gabe had 141 yards rushing and Sam had 121, so they did a great job of running hard and getting yards after contact. 
Devine finished with 23 1st downs offensively. They went 38-311 yards rushing and 10-202 reception yards.
“Defensively, we did some good things and tackled well,” Gomez said. “We did allow a few long drives by Natalia. Our guys, especially the DE’s did not play with good technique tonight and we have to fix that. It was a step in the right direction, as we always talk about climbing the letter each and every week. We know Coach Martinez and his staff will always have their squad ready to play hard and they did just that.”
Final Thoughts
Devine was the better program last Friday night on offense and defense. Their famous “Pitch back rushing attack” may not look flashy, but boy does it always prove tough to stop. Credit Devine, for doing what Devine does well. Add some wrinkles with a talented Sollock QB and some good passing schemes, and you might find you a very salty squad come late season. Don’t forget, their true success on both sides of the ball normally start with the big boys on the line and this year was no different.
For Natalia, their defense missed a lot of open field tackles, but improved as time went. Natalia’s offense led by their freshman QB grew from the start to finish and gained confidence. They simply didn’t have enough consistency to have a shot to defeat this Devine squad. Natalia’s front line also showed a lot of positives at times, giving their QB and