The Mission Veterans Memorial Patriots may be in a new district in 2018, but they’re up to their same old winning ways to start the season.
After falling in Week 1’s Battle of Conway against their rival Mission Eagles, the Patriots were thrust right into District 16-5A DI play to face their nine district opponents. Three weeks through district play, Mission Veterans is 3-0 and has put up 40-plus points in all three of their wins.
The Patriots bounced back from their season opening loss to begin district with a 41-10 beatdown of PSJA Memorial and carried the momentum into Week 3 when they faced off with the Brownsville Veterans Memorial Chargers, a team that went unbeaten in District 32-5A in 2017.
Four quarters later, the Patriots proved they’re the new bullies on the block as they walked away with a 45-24 win in a battle between two district champions of their respective districts last year.
Dual-threat quarterback Landry Gilpin threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns against the Chargers and added another 105 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while receivers AJ Gonzaque and Mikey Garcia each broke the 100-yard mark and hauled in one score on the night.
And just last week, a banged-up Patriots team walked into Rio Grande City and beat up on the Rattlers with a 48-7 win. The Patriot offense was without starting receivers Garcia and Leo Cantu, but still managed to put up 584 total yards as running back Danny Cantu led the way with 209 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. The defense was missing starters Jazz Vallejo, Elias Delgado and Jose Ortiz, but still managed to hold the Rattlers to just one touchdown.
As the Patriots hope to get healthy, their focus shifts to the Brownsville Porter Cowboys as Mission Veterans looks to extend its winning streak to four Friday night and keep an unblemished record in District 16-5A DI action.
While the Patriots have grown accustomed to winning and fighting deep into the postseason, the Brownsville Porter Cowboys are on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. The Cowboys went winless in 2016 and 2017, posting back-to-back 0-10 records.
Porter finally ended the two-year skid this season in Week 1 with a 14-3 win over Port Isabel, their first victory since October 31, 2015, snapping a 22-game losing streak.
Since district play began, however, the Cowboys are 0-3, suffering a 20-point loss to Browsnville Pace and one-score losses to Palmview (35-27) in Week 2 and Brownsville Lopez in Week 3 (21-14).
The Cowboys are upset-minded entering Week 4 and will need to play a near perfect game in order to beat Mission Veterans, the 2nd ranked team according to RGVSports.com’s Top 10. Porter brings a rushing attack led by their quarterback Kevin Garcia and running back Ulises Guzman.
The Patriot defense is up to the task as they boast three defenders averaging over nine tackles per game, including the team’s leading tackler in Joey Garcia (47 tackles, 9 TFL, 4 sacks).
Although the Patriots are riding hot, they aren’t taking the challenge the Cowboys present lightly. Coach David Gilpin knows they’re a tough team becoming more competitive by the week. And with the injury bug biting the Patriots recently combined with a Week 6 bye on the horizon, Mission Veterans can’t afford to look ahead and slip up for a week as they hope to keep up in the district race with Brownsville Pace (3-0) atop the 16-5A DI standings.
Kickoff between the Mission Veterans Memorial Patriots and Brownsville Porter Cowboys is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tom Landry Hall of Fame Stadium.