The first one out of the gate was very solid, although the Bobcats know that the going will get tougher this week against perennially competitive McAllen.
But they did get to savor a few moments of the 46-0 stomping of La Joya before beginning preparation for the Bulldogs, 17-14 victors over P-SJ-A Memorial in Zero Week. Coach Joey Caceres was pleased with his ball club, though it started a bit slowly with two first-half turnovers, and he considers the opener to be a nice table-setter for what lies ahead.
"It's a good start for us, we hurt ourselves a little bit at the beginning with inexperience, but we settled in nicely," said Caceres, whose team built a 24-0 halftime lead and tossed three scores on the board in the third to put it away before a big Parents Night crowd at Cats Stadium. "The good thing about tonight is for Parents Night we were able to get a lot of kids in there."
The defense was the story against La Joya as the Bobcats (10-3 last year) shut out the Coyotes for the second year in a row, following 2010's 45-0 rout on the road. Allowing just 94 total yards and taking five turnovers, the D showed that it wants to try and equal the exploits of last year's crew, one of the best in the Valley.
Linebacker Adam Alonzo made 10 tackles to lead the way, while fellow seniors Teddy Lara (eight) and Sal Martinez (seven) were game-breakers, with Lara returning an interception 18 yards for a score in the third period and Martinez grabbing a pick and a fumble, and setting up a second-period score with a punt return that carried to the La Joya 15. New starter Vincent de la Cruz made a nice debut at LB with eight tackles including a sack.
Offensively, EHS gained 266 yards, with those two turnovers, with 194 on the ground. Fullback Arnie Alvarado raced for three TDs and showed a nice burst to the outside in doing so. The quarterbacks were accurate with their passes, as Alex Cantu and Ramon Enriquez completed 10 of 13 balls on the night.
Alvarado, who scored from 17, 15, and 9 yards out, rushed for 50 yards total with Victor Montemayor adding 53. JV find Jose Gonzalez burst upon the scene in the second half with 81 yards on 10 carries, showing a bruising style and some quick feet.
"I thought our offensive line did a good job tonight, and Arnie, well he worked hard in the summer and you can tell, he's way stronger," Caceres said.
After an early La Joya fumble led to a 17-yard Alvarado scamper, the Bobcats held La Joya at the EHS 35 thanks to a key sack from tackle Johnny Espinosa, who suffered a slight shoulder injury but is expected to be ready for McHigh. Edinburg got the ball three times in the half inside the La Joya 30 to start, and converted each time.
Sophomore kicker Kristian Martinez boomed kickoffs deep all night and added a 46-yard field goal with 0:01 to go in the second period, and combined with a great punt from Enriquez and the return by Martinez, special teams is shaping up as a team strength in 2011.
"We have set the goal of improving that area, because it is so important in the field-position battle," noted Caceres. "Having good returns and coverage helped us a lot last year down the stretch and we want to enjoy that sort of play this year, too."
Enriquez sailed a towering 38-yard punt to the Coyote 7 in the second period, and that set up Martinez' punt return, which in turn begat a 15-yard six from Alvarado to make it 14-0 at the 4:53 mark.
Soon after, Ossie Silguero's interception set the Bobcats up for their third TD of the half, a 29-yard run from Montemayor. It was about game over from there, especially after EHS cruised to a 22-point third period.
LA JOYA AT EHS
JOYA (0-1) 0 0 0 0 - 0
EHS (1-0) 7 17 22 0 - 46
E: Arnie Alvarado 17 run (Kristian Martinez kick) 9:21
E: Alvarado 15 run (Martinez kick) 4:53
E: Victor Montemayor 29 run (Martinez kick) 3:43
E: Martinez 46 FG 0:01
E: Alvarado 9 run (kick failed) 6:34
E: Teddy Lara 18 interception return (Martinez kick) 5:43
E: Safety, LJ punt snap out of end zone 3:12
E: Favian Quintanilla 10 pass from Ramon Enriquez (Martinez kick) 0:20
LA JOYA: FD 6; RUSH 65; PASS 29; TOTAL 94; TO 5
EHS: FD 15; RUSH 194; PASS 72; TOTAL 266; TO 2
RUSHING: Jose Gonzalez 10-81; Montemayor 9-53; Alvarado 6-50; Quintanilla 5-27; Alex Cantu 3-(-11); Enriquez 2-(-16)
PASSING: Cantu 8-9-0 53; Enriquez 2-4-0 19
RECEIVING: Justin Hernandez 3-20; Quintanilla 2-19; Anthony Acosta 2-12; Jesus Garcia 1-9; Dimas Camacho 1-9; Zach Faires 1-3
TACKLES: Adam Alonzo 10; Vincent de la Cruz 8; Lara 8; Sal Martinez 7; Jacob Benavidez 6; Luis Ramos 5; FUM: Martinez, Benavidez; INT: Martinez, Lara, Ossie Silguero; SACKS: Johnny Espinosa, de la Cruz