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It wasn't pretty. At all. In fact, both teams have a ways to go before they begin competing at a high level. However, in the end of the Tom Landry Classic, the Mission Eagles pounded out a 20-0 win over the Veterans Memorial Patriots.
The key play of the game—or perhaps the beginning of the end for Veterans—came just three plays in when Patriot quarterback Adrian Morales suffered a knee injury after being tackled while scrambling. Morales—who will undergo a MRI in the next couple days—was replaced by Mauro Perez.
Overall, neither team could really generate much offensively. Perez and his center struggled to be on the same page, resulting in countless miscues of not connecting on the snap.
Mission, for their part, was not much more successful but made key plays and put the ball in the end zone when needed. The first touchdown came in the first quarter with just one second on the clock. Running back George Martinez punched it in, punctuating a decent drive by the Eagles that overcame a called back touchdown on a reverse by Cesar Iranez.
Veterans couldn't get much going all night, despite the fact the defense played well, led by linebacker Marco Moreno.
Eventually, however, the offensive woes caught up with the Patriot defense as they constantly found themselves taking on an Eagle offense that frequently started their series on a short field. Midway through the second quarter, Mission found its second score when Rios hit Jonathan Ramirez on a corner route that the senior had to go up and make a beautiful grab over a Patriot defender.
Offensively overall for Mission Mario Pena's squad used a variety of misdirection plays to confuse the Patriots. Screens, draws and reverses were constantly employed.
The play used that clinched the win for the Eagles came on a roll out by Rios. The junior rolled left from the twelve yard line and then fired a strike to Sergio Guerrero who caught the rope easily after running a ten yard out.
Overall, to be sure, neither team played exceptionally well. Veterans Memorial had no offense without Morales. Defensively, the Eagles seemed to be breathing fire as they played classic Mario Pena swarming defense.
Losing Morales may be devastating for the Patriots. Trainers suspect Morales' knee may be torn, which will likely keep the senior quarterback on the sidelines for perhaps the rest of the season. With young receivers and a young offensive line, no. 11 was the one chess piece keeping everything together. With 32-4A play beginning in one week, the Patriots have a lot to work on in the next week.
For Mission, there is much to work on as well. Pena's post game speech to his team was not in a congratulatory tone but one of disappointment. The offense struggled to click and move the ball. In addition, the young men were bogged down by numerous penalties.
Veterans will welcome Hidalgo to Tom Landry next Friday while Mission hosts Brownsville Pace next Saturday.
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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.