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Patriots and Eagles to debut revamped Tom Landry Stadium

20140821 Tom Landry Stadium Statues lg-11Tom Landry Stadium will be rocking tonight as the Veterans Memorial Patriots and the Mission Eagles face off on the gridiron for their annual head-to-head, east side versus west side matchup. While the Eagles and the Patriots have met on the football field many times before, tonight’s contest will be unlike any other Eagles-Patriots game. Not necessarily as a result of the play on the field but definitely due to the look and feel of the game due to its surroundings.

As fans of both teams will certainly notice as soon as they’ve made their way up one of the ramps and emerged from under the bleachers, the natural grass is gone and brand new artificial turf has been installed. In addition, a new state-of-the-art track encircles the field, a new fieldhouse has been erected on the west end of the field, a new Eagle sculpture and Patriot sculpture have been erected at Tom Landry Stadium.

With all the improvements the stadium has undergone, the Patriots now having a sculpture they can call their own and with tonight’s contest being a non-district game for the first time in three years, this matchup has all the makings of being a celebration of the community of Mission coming together.

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Coyotes ready to howl

20140816 LJHS Football Key Players bl-01At first glance, the La Joya Coyotes had an extremely disappointing 2013 season. With their only win being a non-district 64-0 thrashing of Brownsville Porter, the Coyotes went on to lose eight straight games en route to a 1-9 season.

While it has been said that numbers never lie, they can be deceptive. And according to La Joya head football coach George Espinoza that is the case when it comes to the team’s 2013 record.

“Last year we knew going into the season that we were very young,” explained Espinoza. “Therefore as a staff we decided that what we needed to do was to give our young players some experience. We had a lot of sophomores that got thrown into the mix right away and they had to grow up.”

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Huskies activating ‘beast mode’

20140816 LJJL Football Key Players lg-02 COLORLa Joya Juarez-Lincoln head football coach Tomas Garcia is ready to release the beast on his team’s District 30-6A opponents. After taking over a 2-8 Huskies’ team against 4A competition and turning it into a 5-5 5A team two years ago, Garcia saw his Huskies take a step backwards last year as they ended the season with only four wins against six losses.

So what will it take for the Huskies to take a step forward this year? How can the team have a winning season and secure a spot in the playoffs for the first time in school history? Garcia believes that having his team activate “Beast Mode” is the answer.

“Beast mode is something that my defensive coordinator came up with,” explained Garcia. “It’s the same thing that the Seattle Seahawks used and we liked what it meant as far as going all-out from the very beginning of the game. We want to play fast and finish strong, but at the same time we want to start off strong and that’s what being in beast mode is all about.”

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Requenez returns to lead Lobos

20140805 PHS Football Key Players lg-01Just two games into last year’s Palmview Lobos’ football district schedule the La Joya Independent School District’s (LJISD’s) Athletic Office announced the reassignment of head coach Manuel Flores and named Margarito “Mage” Requenez as the team’s interim head football coach. Upon the completion of the season Requenez had “interim” removed from his title and he became only the second head football coach in Palmview High School (PHS) history.

Determined to make the most of his first head coaching opportunity, Requenez has been working hard to bring the PHS football program up to the standard he and the Lobos’ fans can take pride in. Coming off a 1-9 season, Requenez knew he’d have his work cut out for him but he saw the first step in this process as getting more students to come out for the football team. That’s because as a general rule, the more players on a team the better the pool of talent the coach has to choose from.

“We have had the luxury of having more kids out here than we’ve had before,” explained Requenez. “As a result we haven’t had to split the kids when it’s time for them to go to either the offense or the defense. That has maximized the time allotted on both sides of the ball and that’s a very big plus. We had an average of 60-plus players in the weight room each day during the summer and we can tell that it’s paying off already.”

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Patriots prepare for new season, new district and new rivals

20140731 VMHS Football Key Players lg-01For the past two seasons, the Mission High School (MHS) Eagles and the Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) Patriots football teams have been district rivals. However, after the University Interscholastic League’s (UIL’s) most recent re-alignment, that is no longer the case. MHS up to District 30-6A and VMHS to District 31-5A. Despite this being a non-district game, the inter-city rivalry between the Eagles and Patriots will fuel the two teams’ intensity and desire to win.

While the Eagles do hold an advantage over the Patriots in their overall series record, for the past four seasons the series is split 2-2. With MHS taking the most recent match-up by a score of 44-16, the Patriots will be out for revenge when they take to the field against the Eagles in both teams’ non-district openers Aug. 29.

Adding to the significance of this inter-city face-off, this will be the first athletic event of any kind to be played on Tom Landry Stadium’s new artificial turf. And that new turf features the National Football League Hall of Fame logo on it in honor of Mission native and former Dallas Cowboys head football coach Tom Landry.

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Valley native Mikey López debuts for Sporting KC in first regular-season MLS game

20140801 Mikey-Lopez-1 Courtesy-of-Gary-RohmanKANSAS CITY – Almost a year ago Mission native Mikey López stood at a podium before a national audience when he was selected in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. On July 16, the Valley midfielder made his professional debut for Sporting Kansas City in a regular-season MLS match against Columbus at Crew Stadium.

López started and played 64 minutes in Sporting KC’s 2-1 victory over the Crew. He had two shots in the match.

“It felt amazing, it honestly took a load off my shoulders because I had put so much pressure on myself to make my debut and to perform well,” López said. “It was truly an amazing feeling to get my debut and to perform the way I did. I just have to keep getting better every single day in training and keep getting better in every game that I am a part of.”

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