LAREDO — United made it two district wins in a row to stay in the playoff picture with a dominating 40-14 home victory over the Del Rio Rams at the Student Athletic Complex. It was an impressive outing for the Longhorns as they look to make it into post-season play.
United’s head coach David Sanchez is an adroit leader with a reputation of being able to bring out the best in his players when the stakes are highest. After tonight’s conquest, Sanchez seemed pleased but noted that his team has much more to offer.
“We played well but I know that we could’ve played better on offense. We’ve got make sure that we’re not making mistakes and we’ll keep working hard every day to get better,” he said.
On the opening drive, the United Longhorns wasted no time delivering the first score of the night after junior receiver Jorge Murillo hit Jacob Morales – a senior wideout — on a flea flicker that went for 39 yards. The Longhorns settled for a 6-0 lead after a failed extra point attempt.
Del Rio’s initial drive had stalled but a defensive penalty gave them life. The Rams made the home team pay when senior running back Eddie Garcia powered into the end zone from one-yard out. Del Rio took a 7-6 lead.
United’s offense answered with a multi-play drive that included a 13-yard quarterback keeper by sophomore Wayo Huerta. Soon after, Huerta found Chris Fine – the senior receiver had 113 total yards on four catches — for a 41-yard touchdown toss. This time, the extra point was good giving the Longhorns a 13-7 lead.
After a three-and-out by Del Rio, the Rams’ punter shanked a 10-yarder giving United great field position. The first quarter ended with a pair of big runs by senior running back Isaac Velazquez to bring the Longhorns within striking distance.
The second quarter started with the Del Rio defense stemming the Longhorn offensive stampede leading to a 10-yard field goal boot by kicker Yahid Pena to put United up 16-7.
The Rams struck right back when senior defensive back Brian Beto took a kickoff return 85 yards to bring Del Rio within three points.
On the next series, Huerta led the Longhorns on a nine-play drive that included a 26-yard first down pass on a fourth and long to keep the chains moving. Huerta, who ended the night with 275 yards passing and two touchdown tosses, added another touchdown via a three-yard scurry. The Longhorns led 23-14 with 6:45 left in the second quarter.
For the rest of the half, both United and Del Rio struggled to move the ball and were unable to put up any more points.
The Longhorns opened the third quarter with another march toward the Rams’ territory which included a 61-yard completion from Huerta to Fine. After a huge penalty killed the offensive momentum, United attempted to pick up a first down on a fourth and long via a fake field goal. Del Rio held their ground and took over on downs. Unfortunately for the visitors, they were unable to muster any kind of offense for the remainder of the contest.
The Longhorns continued their offensive dominance for the remainder of the game adding another aerial score from Huerta to Jacob Morales and a 26-yard touchdown rush by running back Oscar Villarreal. Pena added the final three points of the match with 3:54 left in the game.
It was not all good news for United as running back Isaac Velasquez had to be helped off the field after suffering an unknown leg injury that ended his night early in the fourth quarter. At the time of the injury, he had rushed for 120 yards on 14 carries.
Should Velasquez be unable to play in the coming week, this would be a significant loss for the Longhorns’ offense as the senior ball carrier was averaging 117.1 yards and better than a touchdown per game.
When asked about this situation, Sanchez said, “There’s nothing really [to report] as I don’t think anyone has X-ray vision. We’re hoping for the best but if not, somebody else will step-up for us.”
The Longhorns are scheduled to meet the Alexander Bulldogs next week in what will be the final game of the regular season.
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