Who better to guide the best football players in the western RGV than the coach who led Mission Veterans to the fourth round? The memorable playoff push was the longest run for a Valley team since the 2011 Harlingen High Cardinals reached that same stage.
David Gilpin and his staff will lead the West all-stars into their final high school football game in the Rio Grande Valley Coaches Association All-Star Game at 7:30 Friday evening at Sams Memorial Stadium against the East all-stars.
Gilpin will have an arsenal of weapons at his side to try and pierce the armor of the East defense. He said he’s enjoyed coaching this assortment of players.
“The neat thing about it, that I’ve enjoyed, is that they’re not just good football players, and they are, but they’re good kids,” David Gilpin said. “They’re good people. Their attitude has been outstanding. Just the whole atmosphere around these guys has been something I’ve enjoyed.”
Landry Gilpin, named Mr. Texas Football by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine, and Trey Guajardo, who set the Valley’s Class 6A yardage record, lead the way at quarterback. Simon Fernandez of Valley View, Grulla’s Dillen Salinas and PSJA Memorial’s Orlando Muñoz, who were all integral parts of their respective offenses, will also share snaps.
Wide receivers from Gabriel Tamez (Sharyland High) to Daniel Enriquez (Edinburg Vela) to McAllen Rowe’s Ruben Saenz will be targets and options on the field for those quarterbacks.
The offensive line is no exception with muscle from La Joya High in Damian Tanguma, Alex Jimenez of Donna North, Jayden Borjas from Edinburg Vela, Daniel Domian of McAllen Memorial.
David Gilpin is in the midst of spring ball for his Patriots, which takes place in the morning. His days have been extending to 14 hours, but he says it’s a labor of love.
“I walked into my office around 6 a.m. today, getting ready for our spring practices and we’re getting out of here around 8 o’clock at night most days after all-star practice,” he said. “While it’s a long day, it doesn’t seem like a grind because we’re having so much fun.”
Linebackers Ryan Reyna (PSJA North) and Javo Lopez (Sharyland High) will be teammates, a scary proposition for the opposition.
“We want to try to showcase their abilities,” David Gilpin said. “We want them to be able to go out one more time as a high school football player, in front of their family, in front of their friends and showcase what they can do.”
Despite it being an exhibition, the Mission Veterans staff is taking the game serious for the West squad.
“You say ‘just an exhibition,’ you ‘say just for fun,’ but, hey, I don’t do anything … that I don’t want to win,” David Gilpin said with a chuckle. “We won back in 2011 when we coached it. We talked to the kids about that all week. We want to win the football game.”
West All-Stars for the Rio Grande Valley Coaches Association All-Star Game
Jose Armendariz, DE, Hidalgo; Ethan Bazan WR, McAllen Memorial; Arturo Beltran, WR, PSJA Memorial; Simon Fernandez, QB, Valley View; Gus Garza, DB, Mission Veterans; Gabriel Tamez, WR, Sharyland High; Jesus Lagunes, DE, Donna North; Orlando Munoz, QB, PSJA Memorial; Mario Rodriguez, LB, Edinburg High; Jalen Galvan, WR PSJA Southwest; Aaron Cajero, DB, Sharyland High; Ruben Saenz, WR, McAllen Rowe; Javier Lopez, ILB, Sharyland High; DillenSalinas, QB, Grulla; Leo Cantu, Mission Veterans; Sebastian Gonzalez, WR, Mission High; Roel De Leon, WR, Edinburg North; Landry Gilpin, QB, Mission Veterans; Trey Guajardo, QB, PSJA High; Irvin Zamora, DB, La Joya; Daniel Enriquez, WR, Edinburg Vela; Arturo Flores, DB, Mission Veterans; Marcos Pedraza, OLB, PSJA High; Tate Scott, K/P Edinburg Vela; Daniel Chiquito, DB, McAllen High; Manny Salinas, DB, Edinburg High; Jayp Sandoval, ILB, Donna High; Hearlin Benavides, RB, Edinburg High; Javier Lopez, DB, Valley View; Rolando Alvizo, DB, Edinburg Economedes; Joey Garcia, ILB, Mission Veterans; Mario Chapa, RB, La Joya Palmview; Joe Resendez, OLB, Mission High; Daniel Belmares, DE, Donna High; Armando Garza, DE, La Joya Palmview; Bryan Acosta, RB, PSJA Southwest; David Rios, OLB, Roma; Eulalio Bosquez, LB, McAllen Rowe; Jorge Barrera, DE, McAllen Rowe; David Rossow, LB, Sharyland Pioneer; Ian Ochoa, ILB Edinburg Vela; Kobe Gipson, DL, Edinburg Vela; Ryan Reyna, ILB, PSJA North; Brandon Mireles, DE, Sharyland; Miguel Salazar, DL, Grulla; Adrian Meza, OL, Mission Veterans; Joe Mendoza, DE, Mission Veterans; Damian Tanguma, OL, La Joya High; Erik Espinoza, Ol, Mission Veterans; Randall Ledbetter, OL, Mission Veterans; Francisco Garcia, OL, Mission High; Daniel Domain, OL, Mcallen Memorial; Alex Jimenez, OL, Donna North; Jayden Borjas, OL, Edinburg Vela; Oscar Garcia, OL, Sharyland; Joshua Williams, OL, Sharyland; Bryan Hinojosa, ILB, La Villa; Ricky Alaniz, WR, Edinburg High; Luis Rodriguez, WR, La Joya Juarez-Lincoln; Victor Rodriguez, DL, PSJA Southwest; Abel Silva, DL, Rio Grande City