VELA OUT OF SOFTBALL RUNNING
As has become the standard, the city had its share of representation at the annual football All-Star Game in Weslaco Saturday, placing 11 members on the 57-man West roster. A couple of kids chose not to participate, including North tackle Rick Cerda, who has latched on with Incarnate Word football moving forward.
Another terrific local lineman, Julio Cuello of Vela, was in uniform for the game, and soon enough will head to Beaumont to join the team at Lamar University. A classic late bloomer who got into football behind schedule and worked his tail off to get better, Cuello has improved with every season and now, at 6-4, 270 and with excellent footwork and quickness, will take his shot at the next level.
Another new Cardinal-to-be is EHS receiver Kandon Dortch, whose eye-catching performance in offseason camps gained the attention of the Lamar coaches. Despite a somewhat limited role for the run-first Bobcats last year, the lanky Dortch hauled in 15 TD passes for New Braunfels High as a junior, and showed the speed and hands to earn a try with Lamar.
The outgoing Cuello was one of a number of SaberCats honored with All-Star status: others included QB Nate Garcia, WR Brandon Guzman, DL Ian Sarmiento, and DE Tim Ellington. One Vela stalwart who was not on the roster, strongman Sam Valenzuela, will be going to McPherson in Kansas next year, having proven himself as a hard-nosed runner and a guy with a defensive pedigree to boot.
EHS sent a couple of notables to Weslaco, lineman Oscar Juarez and DB Rollie Martinez, while Econ’s pair of DL Ernie Tijerina and WR Pete Segura also made the grade. North LB Jojo Munoz, one of the steadiest forces for the Coogs over the past few seasons, joined Cerda on the roster, while their teammate Ethan Vela is going to get a look from Incarnate Word.
Garcia of Vela went out in style with a pair of TD passes to Guzman, despite a West loss.
VELA SOFTBALL MEETS END
Within shouting distance of the state final 4, the Lady Sabes were bested last weekend, beaten by SA Warren in two straight up in Kingsville.
The games were highly competitive, 4-1 and 4-3, solidifying Jon Maples’ unit as one of the best in city history. It scored 32 victories to tie 2015 North for the most ever, and its overall performance at the Sweet 16 was among the strongest of teams that have made it that far.
And the good news for Vela is that the majority of the kids off this year’s group will be back for more in 2019. That includes Amber Guerra, who starred with some huge hits at Kingsville, including a home run.
The main hole in the fence heading forward is on the mound, where the fabulous “Monie” Reyes has hurled her last HS inning. Look for holdovers Felisha Guzman and Deandra Longoria, aspiring arms, to take their shot on the mound in the near future.