DONNA — Donna High’s two previous losses were decided by one possession, but on Thursday night, it turned the tables and found a way to overcome adversity.
The Redskins pulled off a 42-35 comeback victory over Brownsville Lopez at Bennie LaPrade Stadium to give Donna High its first win in district play.
“It’s just one of those types of deals where you ask your kids to keep on fighting. That’s why you play four quarters of football: you never know what the outcome is going to be,” Donna head coach Ramiro Leal said. “When your back is against the wall, you have to fight. Really proud of their effort tonight.”
Donna found itself down 21-7 after one quarter but soon thereafter things turned around. Running backs Marcus Ysaguirre, Adan Reyes and quarterback Avery Bowen each finished with more than 100 yards rushing to lead Donna. While those skill position players picked up the yardage and got into the end zone, the most dominant group was the Donna offensive line.
“I kept telling the team that we needed to keep pushing and pushing, and eventually we were able to start scoring points. The blocks were there, the effort was great, and we just kept pushing,” Bowen said after running for a team-high 176 yards and three touchdowns.
Ysaguirre had 122, highlighted by an 85-yard touchdown run up the middle of the Lopez defense, and Reyes added 139 yards and another touchdown.
When asked what he learned about his team after the comeback win, Reyes said it was all about effort.
“I learned that when we can play united, we can be dangerous. We just started clicking,” he said. “Our offensive line helped us out a lot tonight, they step it up every week and it was a good win.”
While it may appeared the defenses didn’t play much of a factor in the shootout between Donna and Lopez, the game-changing play was made by a defender.
Donna’s defense was challenged all night as Lopez quarterback Jose Cruz looked like the best player on the field. He finished with 215 passing yards, 210 rushing yards and five total touchdowns. But when the Lobos were down 42-35 and looking to pull off a late comeback of their own, Donna High defensive back Ivan Torres locked his man up, read the quarterback’s eyes and came away with an interception of Cruz in the end zone. That allowed Donna High to eventually run out the clock and finish the game in victory formation.
“I knew that I had to play man on man. I was playing very physical, and when I saw the receiver go in, I knew where he was going to go. I saw the quarterback looking in my eyes and I knew he was going to throw it and I just picked it,” Torres said.
Leal said he was proud of his team’s overall effort.
“The whole motto is, ‘Bend but don’t break’. At the end of the day, we’re a team. Whether one is struggling offensively or defensively, the other one has to do its best to have each others back,” Leal said.
The win sends Donna High to 2-3 overall and 1-3 in district play, while the loss keeps Brownsville Lopez winless on the year at 0-5 and 0-4 in 16-5A DI action.
Next on the schedule for Donna High is a bye week before going on the road to take on the district leading Mission Veterans Patriots on Oct. 11.