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Veterans Memorial Head Football Coach David Gilpin can’t say enough nice things about Sonny Detmer. Despite the fact his Patriots will be squaring off against the Texas legend tomorrow, Gilpin looks to Detmer as the greatest example of a good coach and a good man.
Of course, those from around here remember Detmer well. The longtime high school coach helped bring the passing game to Texas in a day when it wasn’t exactly the thing to do. While at Mission High School, Detmer mentored his son Koy and together they made a deep and memorable run in the Texas playoffs.
Gilpin was coaching in the Eagle’s program at the time and says he is in debt to Detmer as the coach helped the current Patriots coach rise from a junior high coach to the high school level.
However, tomorrow Gilpin is hoping to put all that behind him and have his team focused and ready to start the 2011 football season on the right note.
Much of that pressure will be behind the play of star returning quarterback Adrian Morales. No. 11 is easily one of the Rio Grande Valley’s top returning players as not only a good decision maker in his throws, but also because Morales possesses the ability to tuck the ball and run, often ending the play with a lowered shoulder. Though calm and laid back off the field, Morales plays with passion and often relies on his strong instincts to make plays, whether designed or not.
The Patriot coaches have been relying on Morales to fill the large leadership holes that were created with the departures of Jacob Garza, Raul Becerril, Kent Warren and Randy Lee Flores. All four players will be playing football on the collegiate level this fall, leaving Morales to pick up the slack.
“I am more of a laid back guy, but I am trying to be a leader [on the field],” says Morales.
The signal caller may have to pick up more than his fair share. The wide receivers corps – which includes a freshman – is completely new, and as a group have struggled in fall camp to be consistent.
“Receiver continues to be an area we have to improve on. Drops, route running, blocking, separation, everything. Our kids are going to have to correct the mistakes they are making at this point. We don’t have a lot of depth.”
Morales, however, feels his guys are up to the challenge, even if they are young.
“They are improving. I challenge them to catch everything.”
Somerset will enter tomorrow night’s game coming off a successful 2010 season that saw them go three rounds deep in the playoffs. Though a 3A squad, Gilpin knows a Sonny Detmer run team will have a hard-nosed defense and a strong, smart offense.
It is that offense that may be the biggest challenge for the Patriots. Somerset possesses a strong quarterback of its own and will face an unproven Patriot defense that is led by Frank Nevarres and has an improving defensive line.
Also helping the Patriots is their strong but young and developing program tradition. Gilpin has created a culture of success at Veterans and though legends such as Jacob Garza have departed, Morales feels the program can ride that momentum and build on it.
“We never had tradition but now that we are winning [there is] an atmosphere of [winning].”
For Gilpin, winning is exactly what he is preparing for, come tomorrow against his former mentor.
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The 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.