Mission Veterans dispatches Brownsville Veterans in meeting of 16-5A DI favorites

MISSION — The threat of heavy downpours pushed the game between Brownsville Veterans and Mission Veterans from Friday to Saturday night, but the threat never materialized.

Dark, menacing clouds loomed over Tom Landry Stadium on Saturday, but not a drop fell from the sky. The Patriots offense, however, reigned over the Chargers to the tune of 561 yards.

Quarterback Landry Gilpin threw for 349 of those yards and accounted for five touchdowns and two interceptions as Mission Veterans came away with a 45-24 victory in The Monitor’s Game of the Week.

“I think he had a great game against Mission (High in a Week 1 loss), but he had three turnovers, and that stunned everybody,” Mission Veterans coach David Gilpin said. “He had turnovers again tonight, and that’s something we’re going to work on, but it was never a matter of Landry not competing and doing the things that he usually does. Tonight, he had five touchdowns. The kid is a talented kid, and he’s held to a different standard. He understands it, and I understand it.”

The Patriots (2-1, 2-0) were held scoreless during the first quarter in part due to Brownsville Veterans’ early success at the line of scrimmage. Mission Veterans was called for three false starts and a holding, and Landry Gilpin was sacked twice.

Gilpin wasn’t sharp, either, forcing a pass into double coverage that was intercepted by the Chargers’ Aldo Benavides in the end zone. He also contributed to two turnovers on downs in the quarter.

“They (Brownsville Veterans) have a stem where they call something out, and that caused us to jump. We struggled with that,” David Gilpin said.  “We knew that coming in. It was on film. Coaches and players assured me that we had it under control, but you know, we didn’t in the first quarter.”

“They called out a look that we hadn’t worked on too much before the first few drives,” Landry Gilpin said. “They’d go, ‘Move!’ really quick, and it set our guys off a little bit. In the second quarter, we picked up on it. It was easier to deal with it during the rest of the game.”

Landry Gilpin found junior Mikey Garcia for an 82-yard touchdown and then sophomore A.J. Gonzaque for a 72-yard score in the second quarter, with many of those yards coming after the catch.

The Patriots left the halftime locker room leading the Chargers by four and playing defense to begin the third quarter. On the first play from scrimmage, Mission Veterans safety Elias Delgado forced Brownsville Veterans running back Mauricio Garza to fumble, and the Patriots recovered.

Delgado remained on the turf for several minutes, unable to rise to his feet. Mission Veterans learned his injury was serious enough for paramedics to bring a stretcher.

“His left kneecap was dislocated,” David Gilpin said. “It looked bad. It was scary to look at. Our trainer was trying to pop it back in, but he couldn’t pop it back in. They took him to the hospital, and they have already communicated with us that his kneecap is back in place. He was in a tremendous amount of pain. Thank goodness he’s OK.”

“We had to stay focused. We couldn’t get knocked off our game,” Mission Veterans linebacker Joey Garcia said. “He’s our brother, and we love him so much. It hit me hard. We had to play the rest of the game for Elias.”

Two plays later, Landry Gilpin ran for his first of two rushing touchdowns on the night.

The Mission Veterans defense was stout, as well, with Joey Garcia in the middle of it all. The Chargers scored two of their three touchdowns on trick plays, but they only managed 250 yards of total offense.

“Coach Gilpin told us that we needed to play our best game tonight,” Joey Garcia said. “I could have been better.”

“I think he played the best game of his life,” David Gilpin said of Joey Garcia. “He may have played a game as good as that, but he never played better than he played tonight. He was special.”

The Patriots now have the upper hand on the Chargers (2-1, 1-1), who suffered their first district loss since Sept. 29, 2016.

“We have a leg up, but it’s still early in the season,” David Gilpin said. “We’re going to get everybody’s ‘A’ game every Friday night. This is what we’re learning to do.”