One of the hardest tasks in coaching is to keep moving after a tough loss. After all the hours of work put in leading to a game, the staff has to take the result and keep rolling, adding and subtracting, fine-tuning, and most of all, guiding the kids on a forward path without hesitation. It is toughest to do following a close decision.
Edinburg’s Joey Caceres and staff have endured the tortures of such a situation after last week’s defeat at home against Harlingen.
The Bobcats matched the No. 1 Cards step for step, only to fall short due to turnovers and a few other mistakes. The 26-14 loss was the first in four outings for EHS, which had come into the showdown ranked third in the Valley.
“I still haven’t gotten over it, and I need to,” admitted Caceres Sunday afternoon, as he and his bunch ramped up preparation for another key outing, Friday at Pharr North. “It’s hard to take, because I feel like we outplayed them.”
And truly, the Bobcats gained more yards and held the vaunted Card rushing attack to 82 yards all night. Two first-half fumbles stunted promising drives and a dropped pass in the end zone at the end of the second quarter also hurt.
“Against a really good team like Harlingen, you have to play mistake-free football,” said the coach. “If we had scored a time or two when we had the chance, I think Harlingen might have panicked a little. But they made the plays when they needed them, and we came up on the short end of the stick. Hindsight is always best and we can say this and that…bottom line, I am proud of the kids because they kept their composure, and I think we showed we can play with, and beat, any team in the Valley.”
Edinburg had trouble accounting for the Card defense’s speed rush from the outside, which hurried quarterback Stevie Guerrero into a 13-for-31 night, though the senior passer did amass 189 yards with a touchdown.
Guerrero, more or less recovered from a turf toe injury, did not scramble much against the Cards, but both he Caceres noted that this was due more to the Harlingen D than to lingering pain from the injury.
“They had a good scheme, and it kept me from getting outside, the rush was always coming,” said Guerrero, who was sacked four times and gained just 10 yards running. “I had more trouble with cramps that night than I did with the turf toe thing.”
Caceres averred that overall, his offensive line did a good job Friday.
“They never did stop our running game, to tell the truth,” he said. “And even though they did get some pass rush, I was happy with our protection. We still had our opportunities.”
On the defensive side, the unit was the first to hold Harlingen under 300 yards in 2010, and Caceres agreed that the play of his front four was key to that. Two of them combined for 19 tackles Friday, while awesome senior LB Ciro Reyna tallied 15 to lead the way.
“Michael Padilla had a great game for us, and the other tackle, Johnny Espinosa, man, he is a quiet guy, you can’t get him to say two words,” Caceres commented. “But once the ball is snapped, he sure makes his presence felt.”
Despite the near miss of a chance to send shockwaves around the Valley, the Bobcats cannot dwell on what might have been. Instead, they now run up against a Raider team that is in the same boat, having lost its District 31-5A opener, by a TD to suddenly rising P-SJ-A Memorial last week.
“I told the kids that I don’t care who beat who last week, the Raiders are going to be coming after us, just like we are coming after them,” Caceres stressed. “No one wants to be 0-2 in league play, so it’s a big game and we need to get ready.”
He added that after having given Harlingen everything it wanted, the ‘Cats are confident that they have what it takes to rebound and eventually contend for the loop title. Guerrero agrees.
“I think it does do us good, though we lost,” said Guerrero, who by the way reported no soreness in the toe over the weekend. “It shows that we can go out there and compete with anybody we play.”
NOTES: Check out the Review website for bonus pictures from the EHS tussle with the Cards.
HARLINGEN AT EHS
HARL (1-0, 4-0) 0-14-7-5 — 26
EHS (0-1, 3-1) 0-6-0-8 — 14
H: Chris Villarreal 21 pass from Kevin Ledesma (Talek Oxford kick) 6:44
E: Aaron Garza 2 run (PAT failed) 4:42
H: Brian Blake 9 run (Oxford kick) 1:42
H: Patrick Ortega 75 pass from Ledesma (Oxford kick) 11:27
H: Oxford 26 FG 7:26
H: Safety, Stevie Guerrero tackled in end zone
E: Cord Arriola 39 pass from Guerrero (Jon Gonzalez pass from Guerrero) 0:23
HARLINGEN: FD 10; RUSH 82; PASS 185; TOTAL 267; TO 1
EHS: FD 18; RUSH 147; PASS 189; TOTAL 336; TO 3
RUSHING: Aaron Gonzalez 15-100; Garza 8-37; Guerrero 10-10
PASSING: Guerrero 13-31-0 189
RECEIVING: Arriola 5-101; J. Gonz 2-34; Justin Hernandez 2-22; A Garza 1-8; A Gonz 1-6; Arnulfo Alvarado 1-(-2)
TACKLES: Ciro Reyna 15; Adam Alonzo 13; Johnny Espinoza 9; Michael Padilla 8; Marcos Castillo 7; Jazz Trevino 7; Sal Martinez 6/FUM: Teddy Lara/SACK: Sal Ortiz