The La Joya Palmview Lobos lost their district opener to the McAllen Nikki Rowe Warriors by a score of 35-3 Thursday night at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium. With this loss, the Lobos dropped to 2-2. This loss and looming Thursday night games against the McAllen Memorial Mustangs and PSJA North Raiders in consecutive weeks have made urgency and focus high priorities within the Lobos program. Because with only six district games remaining, there’s no time to waste dwelling on past mistakes. The Lobos are pushing forward with clarity on the mission ahead and a single mind focus centered on the most important goal in Texas High School Football: Make the Playoffs.
The Lobos played a solid first half of football marred by misalignments, miscues, and disappointing penalties. Although their play wasn’t clean, their athleticism, collective field awareness, effort, and sheer force of will kept the halftime score at 21-0. “We’re bred to be freight trains”, said Lobos top ball carrier Jose Guerra.
In the first quarter, the Lobos defense surrendered one score on a long, methodical Warrior drive. With 5 minutes left in the first half, the Lobos offense chugged their way into the red zone after a Warrior punt gave them a favorable field position. With 33 seconds left and the ball on their own 25, Lobos quarterback Mateo Garcia rolled left after his drop and fumbled the football when a Rowe defender sacked him behind the line of scrimmage. The ball bounced up into the hands of Rowe Linebacker Nicholas Hartman who returned the fumble for a 75-yard touchdown.
Mistakes prevented the Lobos from capitalizing on several potential scoring opportunities in the second half. Missed assignments made offensive drives quick and defensive snaps plentiful. “They’re a good team, honestly. But we could’ve shown them way better if we didn’t make so many mistakes on the field. We just need to focus and the team needs to work together,” said sophomore linebacker Leonidas Chapa.
Senior running backs Jose Guerra and Angel Gallegos carried the Lobos offense against a stingy Warriors defense. A 26-yard Sebastian Rios field goal in the final minute of the 3rd quarter broke the shutout.
The Lobos held the Warriors scoreless in the fourth quarter, but the damage from the first three proved to be indomitable.
“We didn’t play to our potential. I think we’re a lot better than what we showed tonight, but we came out flat and we never recovered from that,” said Head Coach Margarito “Mage” Requenez. Yet, in those final twelve minutes, the Lobos showed grit indicative of a team hell-bent on rectifying their mistakes and forging a better future.
The Lobos have a proud tradition of success so they know every game is an opportunity. This wasn’t the start to district play the Lobos had hoped for, but they know there’s still time to gel before playoffs. “I just ask God for us to use this as a learning experience. We just need to plug our talent together. Once we bring it together and play Lobo football, Lobo nation is going to come out victorious,” said linebacker senior Ezequiel De Hoyos.
The Lobos will face The McAllen Memorial Mustangs next Thursday at La Joya ISD Football Stadium.