2020 Mission CISD
Both the Eagles and Patriots closed out 2019 with a share of the district title in their respective districts, but each bowed out with a first round playoff loss.
Mission Eagles (District 31-6A) Head Coach: Koy Detmer (5th year)
In light of the reduced time all football teams in the area have had to contend with this year having back experienced players is bound to help. Put the Eagles on the list with other teams having the luxury of a solid core coming back for 2020.
Most of those returning for the Eagles are on the defensive side of the ball. Nine starters are back, five who were recognized with All-district awards for their play last year. Linebacker Luis Balderas (Junior) was the District 30-6A Defensive Newcomer of the Year and three others were named to the First Team. They were safety Ivan Chavez (Senior), lineman Dante Lopez (Senior) and corner Julio Reyes (Senior). In addition, linebacker Justin Soto (Senior) was named to the Second Team.
On offense, quarterback Jeremy Duran (Junior) and running back Andrew Maldonado (Senior) are two of four starters back. Each earned All-District Second Team honors in 2019. The offense, and Duran, have also benefitted from the emergence of receivers Gilberto Bernal, Jose Cortez, Jose Ortiz and Tajh Jones.
“I feel we have a good nucleus of guys returning,” said Coach Koy Detmer, “which is good. It’s a good group; good leadership. We expect the kids to come together well and hopefully we can have a successful season.”
The Eagles currently have a 3 – 0 record and are 1 – 0 in the District 31-6A West zone.
Mission Veterans Patriots (District 16-5A Div. II) Head Coach: David Gilpin (12th year)
There will be a lot of new faces when the Patriots take the field this year but everyone that does knows about winning. The team’s senior group has seen the program capture outright or share the varsity district title for three straight years and the junior class of players won their own title as 9th graders as well as titles last year on either the varsity or junior varsity level.
On paper the Patriots return only two players who earned noteworthy district honors for their play last year. Safety Michael Pena (Senior) was the District Defensive Newcomer of the Year and receiver A.J. Gonzaque (Senior) made the First Team. Quarterback Ricky Reyna (Junior) returns after an injury in the sixth game of the year in 2019. His record as a starter at the time was 4-1.
Besides Gonzaque, the Patriots offense has seen two other senior receivers (Jaythan Barrera, Justin Rodriguez) emerge as scoring threats.
The presence of so many new players isn’t putting a damper on Coach Gilpin’s outlook however. “It may take us a couple of games to get a feel for the game speed and for everything on the varsity level, I expect by mid to late season to really be a good football team.”
The Patriots have started the season 1 – 2 with a 1 – 0 record in the District 16-5A Div. II West zone.
Both the Rattlers and the Diamondbacks look to continue their recent levels of success on the gridiron in 2020. The Rattlers exited the playoffs in the first round last year, while the Diamondbacks made it to the third round.
Sharyland High Rattlers (District 16-5A Div. II) Head Coach: Ron Adame (9th year)
The Rattlers kept their long running playoff streak alive in 2019 but extending it is just one of the expectations that Coach Ron Adame has for his 2020 squad.
“Our kids are hungry to continue our streak of playoff appearances,” said Adame. “They know the expectations of the program in general and we talk about bettering the previous season; that means not just making it into the playoffs but finishing higher than last year’s finish.”
The Rattlers finished 5-5 in the regular season last year and finished fourth in the district. They were eliminated from the state playoffs in the first round.
Six starters are back to help the cause, three on both offense and defense. Three of them garnered district awards for their efforts in 2019. Linebacker Javier Trevino (Junior) was the District Defensive Newcomer of the Year and quarterback Benji Valdivia (Senior) was named to the First Team. Receiver Robert Mancha (Senior) made the Second Team. Rolle Saenz’s big game on the ground (213 yards on 15 carries to go along with three touchdowns) helped the team to a 34 – 24 season opening victory over McAllen Rowe.
The Rattlers are 2 – 0 on the season and stand 1 – 0 in District 16-5A Div. II play.
Sharyland Pioneer Diamondbacks (District 16-5A Div. II) Head Coach: Tom Lee (3rd year)
The Diamondbacks achieved a number of firsts in their magical 2019 season but will have to replace a number of prominent players on both sides of the ball from the team that advanced to the third round of the playoffs last year.
The team does have District MVP Eddie Lee Marburger (Senior) back at quarterback as well as two other District first teamers from last year’s high powered offense in running back Tristan Castillo (Senior) and receiver Gavin De La Garza (Senior). Lauro Roman (Senior) earned second team honors as part of the offensive line. Senior corner Marco Oviedo was a first team All-District selection on defense along with two other classmates, defensive lineman Matthew Solis and defensive back Ryan Bulthuis.
Marburger, Castillo and De La Garza have put up some big numbers to start the season, allowing the Diamondbacks to average over 50 points in their first two games of 2020.
“We expect a good season this year,” said Coach Tom Lee. “We got some good returners coming back. Obviously we’ve got to replace some guys that were very big for us last year. We’ve got some experience really across the board at most of our positions. It’s just going to be a matter of getting the guys ready in a short period of time.”
The Diamondbacks currently have a 2 – 0 record and are 1 – 0 in the District 16-5A Div. II West zone.
2020 La Joya ISD Football
As the only La Joya school competing on the gridiron this season, Palmview looks to repeat (at the least) their big 2019 season which saw the Lobos make the postseason. They were eliminated in the first round.
La Joya Palmview Lobos (District 16-5A Div. I) Head Coach: Margarito Requenez ( 7th Year)
After the La Joya ISD decision to suspend fall athletic events in August it didn’t seem likely that the Lobos would get the chance to build on the success of last year. The reversal of that decision on October 5 means one of the most potent running games in the state is back to give fits to opposing defenses and hopefully propel the Lobos deep into the playoffs.
Senior Carlos Pena continues to be the engine running the offense. The 2019 District 16-5A Div. I Most Valuable Player has rushed for over 500 yards in the three games the Lobos games have played so far this season and found the end zone six times. Classmate Alberto Vargas, a 2019 All-District First Team selection, is back as part of the offensive line opening holes for Pena.
On defense, the Lobos bring back All-District First Team defensive end Miguel Alaniz (senior) along with classmates Pablo Guerrero and Jorge Ortiz. Both Guerrero and Ortiz were All-District Second Team selections in 2019 at linebacker. Junior defensive back Alek Cantu was another second team selection.
The Lobos are currently 0 – 3 for the year with all three games coming in district West zone games, including a one point loss to Donna and an overtime loss to McAllen Memorial.
*All records reflect games played through Thursday November 19.