MISSION — Mission High extended its win streak to three over rival Mission Veterans, 56-21, in this year’s “Battle of Conway” on Saturday at Tom Landry Stadium.
Despite having to quarantine for much of the past two weeks due to COVID-19 concerns, the Eagles showed no rust as they found their rhythm early and often against their rival.
“It was a big win and I’m really proud of our guys. It’s not easy coming off of a couple weeks of quarantine and not being able to practice,” Mission High head coach Koy Detmer said. “We had our meetings online and it’s a tribute to those guys that they were able to execute in that way. It’s an excellent job by our team being able to execute under those circumstances.”
The Mission High defense made a statement by forcing a three-and-out on the opening drive and giving the ball to the Eagles’ offense.
Led by junior quarterback Jeremy Duran, the Eagles offense took flight against the Patriots.
Touchdown runs from running backs Andrew Maldonado and Damian Cortez put the Eagles up 14-0 during the first quarter, which opened things up through the air. Duran went on to deliver four touchdown passes to Tajh Jones, Joey Ortiz and two to Jose Cortez.
“I was really excited about the way our guys came out and got after it right off the bat. Of course in these games, they’re ready to play, they’re excited about it, so it was great to see us get things going defensively and offensively, and that’s always important in games like this,” Detmer said.
Mission Veterans made things interesting during the first half with sensational touchdown throws from quarterback Ricky Reyna.
On the Patriots’ first score, Reyna dropped back, looked deep over the middle and found a wide open Jaythan Barrera streaking into the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown.
On the Patriots’ next drive Reyna threw one up for AJ Gonzaque and let the APSE All-State receiver go to work.
At the snap, Gonzaque stacked his man off the line of scrimmage, sprinted toward the end zone, jumped up with his left hand extended and brought it in for a highlight-reel Patriots touchdown.
Gonzaque finished with six catches for more than 100 yards receiving and one receiving touchdown.
But the Mission Veterans offense didn’t have enough firepower to keep up with Mission High. That was in large part a credit to the Eagles’ defense, which contained a fast-paced Patriots’ offense.
Through 12 quarters played this season, the Mission High defense has surrendered just four touchdowns, and has one shutout.
“Our coaches have done a great job throughout the offseason and the practices that we have had getting things in place. We have really good personnel, they’re smart kids that can run and they can move well, and they’ve done a great job playing to their strengths,” Detmer said.
Next up for Mission High (3-0, 2-0) is a bye week before taking on PSJA North in a District 31-6A contest Nov. 27.
Meanwhile, Mission Veterans (1-2, 1-0) is set for another big game as next week against Sharyland Pioneer (2-0, 1-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tom Landry Stadium in Mission.