As the rains let up and a double rainbow appeared in the eastern sky the Veterans Memorial Patriots and the Mission Eagles took to the newly turfed field at Tom Landry Stadium for the most recent chapter in their long-running cross-town rivalry. With the Eagles having won the last three matchups between the two sister schools it was the Patriots turn to emerge as the victors as Coach David Gilpin’s team pulled off a 14-7 come-from-behind victory much to the pleasure of the boisterous Patriots’ fans that filled the visitors’ side bleachers.
It was the Eagles who drew first blood when MHS starting quarterback Jesus Cuellar completed a 38 yard touchdown pass to David Flores with 6:40 left in the first quarter. Cuellar, who connected on his first eight passes on the night, completed nine of 12 passes for 104 yards and one touchdown in the first half. Flores caught four passes for 64 yards and rushed 10 times for 27 yards on the night.
The Patriots scored their first points of the 2014 season when senior quarterback Santos Villarreal connected with John Garcia for a 10 yard touchdown pass with 1:31 remaining on the clock in the first half. The point-after-attempt failed which gave the Eagles a 7-6 lead at the intermission.
After a scoreless third quarter Villarreal called his own number on the first play of the fourth quarter and powered his way into the end zone from only one yard out to give the Patriots a 12-7 lead. Villarreal then connected with Bobby Tovar in the end zone for a successful two-point conversion to extend VMHS’ lead to 14-7. The Patriots started their only scoring drive of the second half on their own 14-yard line and ran almost seven minutes off the clock.
William Arias and David Flores were the Eagles’ signal callers in the third and fourth quarters respectively but while they each managed to make some plays they simply could not put a scoring drive together. Arias completed three of six passes for 24 yards in the third quarter while Flores went 0-3 passing in the fourth quarter but did have four receptions for 64 yards as a receiver in the first half.
After the game Gilpin shared what the victory meant to him and his team.
“This was a rivalry game and rivalry games are never easy,” said Gilpin. “It’s never going to be an easy game against Mission and it’s never going to be easy for them. We’ve seen them on film and they’re better than I thought they were going to be this year so I was a little worried coming in to this game. As the game went on I felt that we had control of it but we had another touchdown called back and we had to endure some adversity. At the end of the day though we’re 1-0 and we got the monkey off our backs by beating Mission and now we’re going to move on with the rest of our season.”