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Patriots and Lady Patriots tip off new season

20131203 Basketball Girls VMHS vs Roma lg-22Winning may not be everything, but when it comes to basketball, Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) head coaches Rafael Cantu, Jr. and Romeo De La Garza, Jr. have certainly turned winning into a long-standing tradition. With both the Lady Patriots and the Patriots boys having made the playoffs nine out of the 11 years the school has been in existence, it has almost become a foregone conclusion that both VMHS teams will qualify for post-season play year-in and year-out.

The winning tradition at VMHS continued for both teams last year as Cantu’s Lady Patriots not only qualified for the playoffs but went undefeated in district play and won the outright district championship, while De La Garza’s boys compiled an 11-3 district record (26-9 overall) and finished second to Roma in District 32-4A.

While last year’s regular season success did not carry into the post season as the Lady Patriots, who fell to Laredo Cigarroa by three points, and the Patriots boys, who came up short against a Corpus Christi Miller team that made it as far as the state championship game the year before, were both eliminated in the bi-district round of the state playoffs. Even so, both teams did succeed in continuing the winning tradition that has become synonymous with VMHS basketball.

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Rattlers face Madison today in regional playoffs

20131123-Sharyland-v-Harlingen-Football dy-035The Sharyland Rattlers’ football season is looking remarkably similar to last year’s.

In both 2012 and 2013, Sharyland won the District 30-5A football championship by going undefeated and outscoring their opponents by more than four to one.

In 2012 and 2013, Sharyland opened the playoffs with a relatively easy bi-district win against Laredo United in Laredo.

In 2012, Sharyland played the Harlingen Cardinals in the area round of the playoffs during a rainstorm and won, 42-2. In 2013, the Rattlers defeated the Harlingen Cardinals in the area round, 23-20.

Now, Sharyland faces the same San Antonio Madison team at the same stadium – Corpus Christi’s Buccaneer Stadium – in the regional round of the state playoffs. But this time Sharyland head coach Ron Adame is hoping for a different outcome in today’s 2 p.m. matchup against the Madison Mavericks. Last year, the Mavericks handed Adame the only loss of his head coaching career and ended the Rattlers’ otherwise perfect season by a final score of 40-13.

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Landez proves key to Sharyland Win

20131123-Sharyland-v-Harlingen-Football dy-225He may be the Sharyland’s Renaissance Man - the player who can do everything. During the Rattler’s 23-20 second playoff round win over Harlingen last Saturday afternoon, Sean Landez proved he could do it all on both sides of the ball.

Though he achieved national attention a year ago with his 109.9 yard touchdown run, Landez’ game last Saturday against Harlingen proved to be the bigger of the two achievements. He scored twice – once on a 30 yard pass from Lance Madden in the first quarter, then again with the game winning 21 yard pass reception from Brandon Garza late in the fourth quarter.

When Harlingen was about to score in the fourth, the Cardinals fumbled, but when the stack was sorted out, it was Landez hoisting the ball high in the air. While playing at free safety, Landez administered some solid hits that shook the ball loose from Harlingen receivers and he saved a sure touchdown in the third quarter by getting a bit of finger on the ball to knock it away. Just to be sure, Landez added in long punt returns to set up the offense in good field position.

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Rattlers vs Cardinals - Clash of the titans

20131115-Sharyland-v-Laredo-United-South-Playoff-Football-071In what’s shaping up to be an epic battle between two of the Valley’s 5A powerhouses, the 11-0 Sharyland Rattlers and the 10-1 Harlingen Cardinals will be taking to the gridiron tonight at Boggus Stadium in Harlingen in the UIL Region IV area round playoff game. This clash of the South Texas titans will determine which team will earn the right to move on to the regional round of the state playoffs against either San Antonio Madison or O’Conner High School.

As this year’s district and bi-district champions Coach Ron Adame’s Rattlers and Coach Manny Gomez’s Cardinals are on a path very similar to last year when Sharyland defeated Harlingen 42-2 in the midst of a wind-driven downpour at Weslaco’s Bobby Lackey Stadium. Their ability to overcome some of the worst weather ever seen under the Friday night lights allowed the Rattlers to advance while the Cardinals were left wondering what could’ve been.

“The weather last year became an equalizer, but don’t get me wrong, they played hard and they played better than us on that day and they were able to pull off the win,” explained Gomez. “I’m not making any excuses. They’re a talented ball club and they played better in stormy conditions than we did and that’s the bottom line.”

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Rattlers Win Bi-District

20131115 Sharyland v Laredo United South Small dy 004With a swarming defense that kept Laredo United South bottled up, the Sharyland Rattlers met the Panthers on their home turf and came away with a convincing 42-13 win. The two scores United South posted on the board came late in the game when head coach Ron Adame sat out his regulars. “We keep playing defense the way we did tonight, we got a chance to win any football game we play in” said Adame, giving credit to both his athletes and Defensive Coordinator Craig Krell and his staff.

Such talk made it sound as if the offense wasn’t clicking, but quarterbacks Diego Chrysler and Lance Madden kept the football moving, taking a 21-0 lead into the locker room at the half. When Chrysler sprained his ankle late in the second quarter, Madden took over until the game was decided and the reserves were given some reps.

But it was the defense that made things happen. Justin Harris recovered a fumble, and then took it all the way in for a touchdown with six minutes remaining in the second quarter. Not to be outdone, Monte Clair intercepted a United South pass and returned it for long yardage, setting up a score by the offense.

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Gilpin, Patriots ready to achieve something special

20131101 Football RioGrande vs VMHS lg-20Coach David Gilpin is expecting something special this year. Something that has not only eluded him as a head coach but every Veterans Memorial High School football team that has ever taken to the gridiron – a second round playoff win.

Breaking into the third round of the state playoffs has been one of Gilpin’s goals long before his quarterback took his first snap from center this season ­– a goal that he is determined to see his Patriots achieve this year.

“Our first goal is always to win a district championship,” explained Gilpin. “However after our loss to Edcouch, we knew that wasn’t going to happen. So we set our sights on making the playoffs first, but our ultimate goal of getting past the second round has not changed.”

“We’re no longer going to be satisfied with playing a ranked team tough but still losing in the first or second round,” added Gilpin. “We’ve done that before but as I keep preaching to my players, the time has come for us to win those games and we’re not going to settle for anything less. For us to accomplish something special this year it will have to be something we’ve never done before and a second round win is what it’s going to take.”

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CoverageAreaThe Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.

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