COLLEGE STATION — Day three of the 2019 State 7on7 Championships in College Station featured Rio Grande Valley rivals Mission High and Mission Veterans in the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket on Saturday at Veterans Park & Athletic Complex, delivering a preview of their Week 1 “Battle of Conway” to come this fall.
Each team won its first two games on Saturday to set up the all-RGV matchup. Mission High needed overtime to get past Laredo United, eventually winning with a defensive stop on an extra point attempt for the 46-45 victory.
Mission Veterans rolled the dice against Clear Springs. The Patriots scored on the final play of the game to put themselves one-point down at 26-25. Instead of going for the extra point, the Patriots elected to go for two and AJ Gonzaque hauled in the game-winning pass to advance Mission Veterans into the quarterfinals, 27-26.
Once Mission High and Mission Veterans took the field, it was all Eagles. Sophomore quarterback Jeremy Duran led Mission High with six touchdown passes, three of which were brought in by receiver Stevie Villarreal en route to a 40-20 victory.
Mission High’s three-game win streak on Saturday came after the Eagles lost all three of their games in pool play on Friday against top teams Cy Falls, DeSoto and Round Rock.
“Yesterday, we lost a couple close games. We were there, but we just had key mistakes and key turnovers. Today, we’ve been turnover free, everybody is playing with energy, we’re all hyped out here. We just came here to play Mission football,” Duran said.
The Eagles discussed their game plan on the way to College Station and once more Friday night after suffering those three losses. Villarreal said the team refocused and balled out.
“The first two games today we had to fight til the end to get those wins, then in this one (against Mission Veterans), it was just rocking and rolling. We were hyped up because it’s team from the Valley going at it in the quarterfinals,” Villarreal said.
The Eagles advanced into the semifinals of the consolation bracket where their run came to an end at the hands of Mesquite Horn, 47-34. Mission High finished with a 3-4 record, with wins over Mansfield, Laredo United and Mission Veterans.
The Patriots went 1-2 in pool play, then turned around and knocked off San Antonio Brandeis 40-34 and Clear Springs 27-26 on Saturday. Mission Veterans finished 3-3 overall.
Mission High coach Koy Detmer was proud of the way his group bounced back and performed to reach the final four of the consolation bracket.
“We don’t have one kid with experience here at this event. We talked about it coming up here and we talked about it last night. They’ve been in situations, make the adjustment, and that’s what we wanted to see today. Make those adjustments and come out and compete and they’ve done a great job of that,” Detmer said. “It’s been a great trip for these guys, a great experience. It’s great to see them competing and playing football, and the team chemistry has been great with these guys. We’re excited about what they’re doing.”
That brings an end to summer 7-on-7 football, but there are just 37 days until football teams can start practicing to play under those Friday night lights this fall.