Warhorses wrap up tough pre-district schedule against Central Catholic

The second half of Friday night’s football game between the Warhorses and Central Catholic Buttons should give Devine confidence heading into District 29-4A competition on October 11 against Hondo. The Warhorses scored 22 points after the halftime break against the Buttons, stringing together several good drives in the process. Although the Horses lost the ballgame 34-47, they feel good about what they accomplished in their pre-district finale.
The best thing moving forward is Devine will only play schools that have about the same enrollment; no more 5A-6A type numbers from their opponent. It all begins with Hondo on Friday, October 11. That game is at Warhorse Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm.
Our kids
Private schools have the potential to recruit players to their school to fill needs at whatever the position may be. In Devine, the kids taking the field every Thursday or Friday night are Devine born and bred for the most part. That is a fact that Coach Gomez addressed after the ballgame.
“Although Central Catholic returned the majority of their offensive guys back from last year, they added some really great transfers. One thing that is different in private schools is they can get people from all over.
I prefer working with the kids that have been in this program as Colts and grinding together for all these years to getting kids from all over the area that pay for schooling or get financial aid to attend that school. From a young age, our players play and fight for this community that they have been a part of their whole lives.
We are definitely blessed with a group of boys that care about each other. I know it has been a tough pre-district for us and it has not been what we wanted but we have played very good teams that have made us better, tougher, and closer. So we have to make the best of that situation moving forward into district.”
What a rush
Fifty-eight rushing attempts for 333 yards sounds a little like the old Warhorse rushing stats from a few years back. Utilizing multiple players to run the ball keeps the defense in check as far as their reads on who is doing what.
“Leonard Pompa made some great plays running the ball and getting yards after contact,” Gomez stated about the senior halfback. “It was his best game this season on the offensive side. Justin Contreras, Brady Hackebeil, Isaiah Oropeza, and Buddy Santos all ran the ball hard for us as well. A lot of credit goes to our offensive line. Making the call to move Jayce Hackebeil to the line and getting Aaron Rivera back really helped that group out; it definitely made us faster and quicker on both sides of the ball.”
Two for one
The Warhorses used both quarterbacks effectively Friday night. Isaiah Oropeza and Brady Hackebeil each contribute in different ways that are for the good for the team.
“Mixing Isaiah and Brady up in series also helped us out tremendously,” stated Gomez. “I am very proud of Isaiah’s attitude as well. Being a senior and starting quarterback and understanding it was to help the team, he was 100% supportive of Brady in practice and in the game as well. This combination makes us better offensively.
We have the best of both worlds being able to utilize both of them. Teams are having to prepare for both and cannot just focus on one. Both players just want to help the team be successful. Both are very unselfish.”
Isaiah and Brady rooting for each other and willing to share the quarterback role prove those two are it for one, which is the Warhorse team.
Defensive review
Coach Gomez provided an in-depth look at the defensive side of the ball as well. The Horses gave up 34 first-half points but only allowed 12 after the break. Some players are learning on the run.
Gomez said, “We made some changes last week moving Buddy Santos and Jared Fernandez to defensive tackles trying to make us quicker and more aggressive. This was not a one game experiment; this is something we want to do for the long haul. Those boys hung in against Central Catholic’s huge offensive line and we will get better with every practice and game played.
Peyton Carr and Justin switched to rovers because they are two aggressive kids that tackle well. It will cater to their strengths. They too will get better with every rep. Brady Hackebeil did some good things for the other night at safety.
Xsavior Martinez and Xavier Contreras, our two corners, were definitely tested the last couple of games. They really only made a couple of mistakes but at that position, those players are out there on an island sometimes and those types of plays can turn into big gains. Those two will be ready when district begins.
Saying all that, I think we have to give credit to the opponent as well. Central Catholic had some good receivers. As I told our team after the game, the coaches have all the confidence in the world in our abilities.
We will be better because of these types of games.”
Easy now
It would be easy to look at the Horses 1-4 record and think that maybe this just is not their year. Devine has played an extremely tough pre-district schedule in order to prepare for the most important time of the season which is district.
There have been times in the past that Devine has entered district-play with a 1-4 or 2-3 record only to come out smelling like a rose at the end of the 10th game of the season.
Warhorse Nation, it is time to start packing the stands again to support the Warhorses as they march toward a 29-4A district championship.
Time to heal
With the week off before district play, teams usually take time to heal bumps and bruises that accumulate from the beginning of two-a-days through the first half of the game schedule. The Horses are no different.
“We are definitely going to take this off week to heal a little and really get back to the basics. We are going to have a lot of individual drills to help our technique position by position and have a little team time at the end of each practice,” Gomez said.
Devine outgained Central Catholic in nearly every statistical category. Total yards (404-382), first downs (20-15), and rushing yardage (333-170) all went the Warhorses way. Devine also committed zero turnovers after turning it over eight total times against Pleasanton a week earlier.
Those four statistical categories are must-win categories for the Warhorses if they hope to contend for a District 29-4A championship.
Small look ahead
The Hondo Outlook will not appear until next week’s edition. However, Coach Gomez shared his initial insight into the 29-4A opener.
“It’s a new season and everybody is 0-0 in district. We have Hondo next week and you have two schools there that have mutual respect for one another because of the great battles that we have had in the past. Like us, Hondo had a very tough pre-distict schedule so playing talented teams will definitely make you better. Regardless of the record, you will see the best of Devine and Hondo next Friday. Both teams will play great and the team with the fewest mistakes and of course, fewest turnovers will win.
Coach Ratliff and his staff will have the Owls ready. The only thing we can control is us. Therefore, we are going to work on being the best unit that we can be. Our kids want it; it showed last week as they fought all night. We just have to raise our level of focus, discipline and intensity each day that we are on that field. How we respond now moving forward will determine what we will accomplish in the future. We believe in these boys and they believe in us and that will get us through the toughest of situations.”
Scoring recap
CCB—Gibby Garza 24-yard run (Alejandro Chavarria PAT), 10:55, 1st
DEV— Oropeza 69-yard run (PAT failed), 9:30, 1st
CCB—Chris Easterday 69-yard kickoff return (Chavarria PAT), 9:17, 1st
CCB—Garza 6-yard run (Chavarria PAT), 4:10, 1st
CCB—Garza 14-yard run (Chavarria PAT), 10:50, 2nd
DEV—Oropeza 20-yard pass to Mason Burford (2pt conv run failed), 4:45, 2nd
CCB—Christian Allen 8-yard run (PAT failed), 2:50, 2nd
DEV—Leonard Pompa 2-yard run (2pt conv run failed), 6:30, 3rd
CCB—Allen 3-yard run (Chavarria PAT), 3:20, 3rd
DEV—Oropeza 16-yard pass to Justin Contreras (Jacob Featherly 2pt pass to Christian Gerlach), 9:10, 4th
CCB—Allen 44-yard pass to Zach Yount (PAT failed), 4:40, 4th
DEV—Buddy Santos 2-yard run (Santos 2pt conv run), 0:27, 4th
By Jerel Beaty
Staff Writer