(0-1) Rowe Warriors vs. (0-1) La Joya Coyotes
Tonight we visited La Joya’s very own Coyotes as they faced up against the Warriors of Mcallen Nikki Rowe. Friday night lights never looked so good and the boys in red were out there doing the most for their home crowd. La Joya won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball as they hoped to start the game off on the right foot.
The Coyotes first play from scrimmage resulted in a forced fumble and that was recovered by the Warriors. The Warriors then turned the ball over on downs as Defensive Tackle Jeramiah Sandoval made his presence known on the field. “We tried our best to go after the quarterback or whoever had the ball… Sandoval continues to shine on the defensive side of the ball as he coasted his way through the offensive line of Rowe and made a couple of plays to end the drive of the Warriors early. The Coyotes were not reluctant to go for it on 4th down but both times they did, they didn’t convert. A couple of back and forth drives later, the Warriors are the first ones to strike with a touchdown with a minute left in the 1st Quarter. 0-7 Warriors.
The 2nd quarter was dominated by the Rowe Warriors as they had their way with the Coyotes offensively and defensively. The Warriors first drive in the 2nd quarter resulted in a touchdown that started to change the pace of the game. 0-14 Warriors.
The Coyotes slowly clawed their way back by getting some first downs and setting themselves up to score, but penalties drove them back and the punt unit was sent out to end their possession of the ball. Rowe struck again with another touchdown midway through the 2nd quarter. 0-21 Warriors. A couple of changed possessions later, we find ourselves with 20 seconds left on the clock and Rowe driving the ball down field. Sometimes the best offense is defense and the Coyotes are no strangers to that. With only a couple of seconds left on the clock before halftime, the Warriors chuck the ball up just for it to fall into the hands of a defensive back Ezekiel Hernandez. An amazing way to end the half.
The second half started off the way the first half ended with a 4th down conversion from the Warriors being denied by the Coyotes defense. This led to a couple of back and forth possessions from both teams until the Warriors came back knocking on the door of La Joya. The Warriors scored a touchdown, recovered a fumble, and scored another touchdown to close out a 3rd quarter that was starting to become something more for the Coyotes. 0-35 Warriors.
The 4th quarter started strong for La Joya as they were able to punch it in with running back Mauricio Mendoza with 11 minutes left. 7-35 Warriors.
Everything started to look up for the Coyotes as they forced a Warriors turnover and led their way down field. That was shot down by the defense of the Warriors. With about 7 minutes left in the quarter, Rowe was marching down and everyone in the stadium knew that they were going to try to score again. Little did they know, the Coyotes weren’t going to let it happen. One thing about this Coyotes team is that they play with heart and they play with the most emotion on the field. They were not going to allow the Warriors to score on them again. They made it hard for the Warriors to drive down field by making the right reads and wrapping up when they needed to. Rowe was close to scoring and when a fourth down came up late in the 4th quarter, the Warriors kicker set up for a field goal. That field goal was blocked by the Coyotes. The game ended minutes later.
This game proved the City of La Joya will always have the back of their boys no matter what situation they may be in and more than that, the players had their communities back. They could have completely folded, but they didn’t. They could have given up, but they didn’t. They could have let their opponents run up their score, but they didn’t. That’s what I call love. Love for the sport, love for the fans, love for the city. No doubt when they catch their first win, they are going to rejoice in it. We hope to see it soon here at Progress Times and The Big 7.
After the game concluded and as the lights of La Joya’s beautiful stadium began to shut down, I was able to talk to a couple of players about tonight’s game. Running back Mauricio Mendoza was playing with heart tonight and scoring the lone touchdown was something that meant a lot to him, “It makes me feel happy… I appreciate these guys, it’s a different mentality when we see our points go up in this game.” We caught Defensive stud Jeremiah Sandoval and he told me, “We tried our best to go after the quarterback and whoever had the ball…after coming back after the half, it made me feel amazing that I was able to go back out on that field and help out my team. During halftime, Jeremiah was dealing with a bad case of the cramps and didn’t see time in the last couple of minutes of the first half, but when he came back during the second half, momentum truly shifted. He went on to say, “Our fans are looking for more wins and good team effort and we always do our best for them.” This is seconded by Head Coach Reuben Farias, as after a tough loss told me more about the fans and culture that surrounds the Coyotes, “Parents that come get to see their kids play at a high level and we feed off that emotion, we’ve had a little bit of success and they’re excited to continue to see us work.” The people that surround this team are second to none and no matter the outcome, they will continue to do everything in their power to support their team and in return, their team will go out there and make them proud.