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Huskies ready to break into playoffs

20130823 Football Juarez LincolnLast year was Tomas Garcia’s first year as Juarez-Lincoln High School’s (JLHS) head football coach. Garcia, who inherited a 2-8 Huskies’ team against 4A competition, not only faced the challenge of turning a losing program into a winner but as a result of the University Interscholastic League’s (UIL) most recent realignment, he would have to do so in his team’s first year in District 30-5A.

With a 5-5 record the Huskies certainly took a major step in the right direction under Garcia’s leadership. As much improvement as JLHS showed in just one year however, the Huskies were left on the outside looking in when it came to the state playoffs.

“We actually had two different ways that we could get into the playoffs last year,” explained Garcia. “We either had to beat Donna or Economedes had to beat Palmview for us to get in. While we were up at the half against Donna it just didn’t work out. Even so, the feeling we had at the end of that game is what’s motivating us to get into the playoffs this year.”


No more excuses for Palmview Lobos

20130823-Palmview-FootballIt’s been said that football is a game of inches. When it came to the La Joya Palmview High School (PHS) Lobos’ 2012 football season however it was more a matter of points; more specifically three points that kept them out of the playoffs. That’s because it was two extremely close losses that made all the difference in the world to Lobos’ head football coach Manuel Flores and his team.

“As I told the kids, we basically missed out on the playoffs because of two key games,” shared Flores. “Two games that we lost by a combined total of three points. Those were the Juarez-Lincoln game and the Edinburg North game which we lost by two and one points respectively.”

Had the Lobos won both those games they would’ve ended District 30-5A play with a 5-3 record (6-4 overall). Not only would that have earned the Lobos their first winning season in school history but it would’ve also all but assured the football program at PHS its first ever taste of post-season play.


Coyotes looking ahead to better days

20130813 Football LaJoya Coyotes Preview lg-1In George Espinoza’s inaugural season as head football coach at La Joya High School (LJHS) last year, the Coyotes managed only one district win against seven losses. That one win came in their district opener against an eventual winless Edinburg Vela team. The same Sabercats team will face the Coyotes in this year’s district 30-5A opener Thursday, Sept. 12.

If all goes as planned for Espinoza and his Coyotes, history will repeat itself against Vela but instead of finishing the season with a seven game slide there will be several wins en-route to the first playoff berth for LJHS since the three-way split in 2008.

To turn that plan into reality, the Coyotes will be relying heavily on four key players; junior quarterback Julio Garcia, senior receiver Omar Ozuna, senior outside linebacker Eric Rodriguez and senior strong safety Sergio Martinez.


Patriots ready to take success to next level

20130813 Football VMHS Patriots Preview lg-04Veterans Memorial High School head football coach David Gilpin is always ready, willing and able to talk about his Patriots football team. Ask him one question about his team and he’s off and running. That demonstrates his passion for his job, his school, his team and especially his players.

Having qualified for the playoffs last year was a huge improvement over the Patriots’ 2-8 record the year before, but just making the playoffs is not what Gilpin and his staff are out to accomplish.

“We’re really proud of the fact that we’ve made the playoffs three out of the last four years,” said Gilpin. “Just making the playoffs is not satisfactory, but compared to where the program was prior to that, with only one playoff appearance in seven years, I am very proud of our recent success.”


Patriots’ sophomore named All-State

201300809 VMHS-Edward-PenaOn the mound he had a perfect record. However, it was as a third baseman that Veterans Memorial High School’s (VMHS) Edward Peña received an honor that many covet but few receive. Peña has been named first team All-State by the Texas Sports Writers Association (TSWA).

Receiving this recognition his sophomore year makes his achievement all the more impressive. Only one other player did so this year in all of 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A baseball; that was first baseman Chris Andritsos from The Woodlands. Of the remaining honorees, 48 were seniors and 14 were juniors.

“Edward actually received three different All-State honors,” explained VMHS head baseball coach Casey Smith. “He received third team All-State honors as a pitcher from the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association. He received First Team All-State honors in 4A as a third baseman from the TSWA and he received honorable mention All-State honors as a pitcher also from the TSWA.”


Mission Eagles set to defend district title

20130806 Football Mission Eagles Preview lg-04The 2012 season was one of highs and lows for the Mission Eagles football team. The highs included winning their first nine games and clinching a share of the District 32-4A championship. The lows included falling one game short of a perfect 10-0 record and a heartbreaking 36-30 bi-district round loss to Corpus Christi Ray.

The Eagles’ success last year came as a result of a two-pronged attack that included the Valley’s top ranked defense and the district’s second ranked quarterback. If Mission is going to successfully defend their district title this year, they will have to do so with a revamped defense and with a new signal caller on offense.

“We would’ve had seven starters returning on offense and five on defense, but I’m moving one of our defensive ends to quarterback and one of our offensive starters decided not to return. Therefore, we will have four starters returning on defense and seven on offense,” explained Mission head football coach Mario Peña.


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