La Joya Palmview and Donna High are worlds apart from the programs they were 10 years ago.
La Joya ISD split La Joya High into three high schools in 2008, forming the original Coyotes, the La Joya Juarez-Lincoln Huskies and the La Joya Palmview Lobos. The 2008 season was La Joya Palmview’s first as its own entity. It ended in an 0-10 campaign in the ultracompetitive District 30-5A.
During that season, District 30-5A was made up of district champion McAllen Memorial and perennial playoff teams like McAllen High and Sharyland High. Donna High, which would not be subject to a school split of its own until 2014, went 6-5 as 30-5A’s fourth playoff team.
La Joya Palmview and Donna spent six years together in 30-5A, with Donna dominating all six meetings by an average of 26.5 points per game.
La Joya Palmview’s transition to Class 6A in 2014 and Donna continuing in 5A had different effects on each team. La Joya ISD hired coach Margarito Requenez to guide the Lobos into District 30-6A, and he led the team to three consecutive playoff appearances. Donna made the playoffs in 2014 and went a perfect 7-0 in District 32-5A the next season but has not qualified for the postseason since.
This year’s UIL realignment put these two teams in the same district for the first time in five years.
Donna High breezed through its first two games of the season, beating Donna North in Week 1 and PSJA Southwest in the team’s Week 2 district opener. Donna held a 9-3 halftime lead last week but couldn’t close the deal in its first road test of the season at Brownsville Pace.
Senior running back Robert Guerra, who entered Week 3 as Donna High’s top rusher and receiver, had only 16 rushing yards last Thursday night. The Vikings defense also held Guerra without a catch in their 17-9 victory. Donna High (2-1, 1-1) ran for 475 yards through the first two weeks of the season.
Three weeks into the 2018 season, the Lobos (2-1, 2-0) stand as the team that gave the 3-0 La Joya High Coyotes their biggest test. La Joya Palmview scored 19 points against the Coyotes in the season opener for both teams. Since Week 1, the Coyotes have allowed a combined seven points in games versus Roma and District 16-5A DII favorite Sharyland High.
La Joya Palmview’s running game drives its offense. Led by senior Mario Chapa, the Lobos had four rushers with 100 yards or more entering their Week 3 game against Brownsville Porter. After running for three touchdowns at Rio Grande City in Week 2, Chapa ran for 208 yards and three more touchdowns in his team’s 35-27 win over the Cowboys last Saturday.
The Lobos are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2014 after failing to win a district matchup last season. La Joya Palmview began the 2014 district season 4-0. Donna High didn’t capture its first district win of the 2017 season until a 52-14 blowout of Brownsville Porter last Oct. 19.