Mission Veterans, Laredo Nixon vie for District 31-5A supremacy in The Monitor’s Game of the Week

Mission Veterans’ last meeting with Laredo Nixon on a football field produced an outcome the Patriots would not soon forget.

Armed with a formidable rushing attack and entering last season’s Week 7 matchup 5-0 overall, Nixon ran the football down Veterans’ throat. The Mustangs’ 58 rush attempts bamboozled the Patriots defense for 465 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in a 71-45 drubbing in Laredo.

This time around, the roles are slightly switched. The Patriots (6-0) are the new ‘it’ team in District 31-5A, heading into this week’s game a perfect 4-0 in district and ranking higher than any other 5A team in the Valley in the latest RGVSports.com Top 10 Poll (No. 4).

A pass-happy offense is again a mainstay in the Mission Veterans game plan, but a clampdown defense has turned the Patriots into a sudoku puzzle opponents have yet to solve.

Nixon (4-1) changed coaches in the offseason, but not much else about the Mustangs is different in 2017. Tommy Ramirez resigned from his position as Nixon’s coach to become the new assistant athletic director for Laredo ISD in June, and taking over was one of Ramirez’s top assistants: Antonio Villalon.

Villalon has steadied the ship thus far. The Mustangs rushing game continues to be a hallmark, as evidenced by their last game before their bye week.

Nixon hosted Sharyland Pioneer on Sept. 29 and posted 321 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground in a 36-14 win. The Mustangs are 3-0 in 31-5A competition, with their lone loss of the season coming in the home opener against Edinburg Vela on Sept. 1.

Week 7 will kick-start an important three-game stretch during which district playoff seeding could ultimately be decided.

After the game on Friday night, Nixon will host Rio Grande City (4-0 in district) and travel to Sharyland High (3-0 in district) in back-to-back weeks.

Following a Week 8 bye, Mission Veterans will travel to Rio Grande City on Oct. 27 and play host to Sharyland High the week after.

Laredo Nixon at Mission Veterans is set to be played at Tiger Stadium in Mercedes. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Friday.