They weren’t supposed to win – not when they had to go up against a running attack as prolific as Palmview’s. La Joya had to change things around due to injuries, but after last week’s win over McHi, the Coyotes decided they needed this game against their cross-town rivals.
“We had some injuries against McAllen Memorial, but some of those starters came back,” head coach George Espinoza said. “We made a few changes to our defense because Palmview has such a big offensive line, but the changes worked out.”
The first quarter seemed like neither team wanted the win. The Coyotes backed up on their first series, having to punt on a fourth-down-and-44 situation from their own seven yard line. A bad punt gave the ball to the Lobos on the La Joya 22, but they had a seeming touchdown called back for holding, then failed to make a field goal. Both teams seemed to gather their wits in the second stanza. Though the Coyotes’ defense stiffened, Palmview was able to score on a 7-yard run by quarterback Andrew Puente. Later, Puente connected with Carlos Silva for a 20-yard score. With only 8 seconds left on the first half clock, the Coyotes finally put some points on the board with a 20-yard pass to Victor De Joyos.
La Joya’s game strategy was to make the short pass.
“That’s something we hadn’t been able to do because of injuries, but we’ve been working on that for the past couple of weeks,” Espinoza said.
Those short passes set up a Coyote touchdown run by De Joyos. The PAT was missed, but with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter, Frank Garcia scampered in on a 7-yard run, and a two-point conversion was successful with a pass to Silva.
Tough times came to the Lobos when starting quarterback Andrew Puente went down. On his first snap under center, replacement Jonathon Zieske fumbled and the ball was scooped up by La Joya’s Jose Samaniego. Zieske redeemed himself by engineering a nice drive that resulted in a TD by Misal Guerra, making the score 21-20 with 6:54 remaining. Two minutes later, Coyote quarterback Garcia lobbed a pass to J. C. Maldonado, who broke a tackle and turned the play into a 48-yard score. That put the game away for the Coyotes.
The win by La Joya puts them up 2-1 in district play, while the Lobos are 1-1. The Coyote’s remaining schedule makes a playoff win a good possibility, whereas Palmview has four more games, one of those against McAllen Memorial.
Looks like the dogfight between the Coyotes and the Lobos continues.