Patriots Take Much Needed Bye
MISSION – The Patriots are hitting pads this week, not opponents. Mission Veterans has a bye after five straight weeks of action.
The team is 4-1 overall and 4-0 in district play.
“We dropped the first game, but we really took it out on our next opponents,” said junior defensive back Aaron Arredondo. “We’ve been doing good so far.”
It’s a solid start for a team that’s been hampered by injuries.
Two weeks ago against Rio Grande City, the Patriots ended up having seven starters out.
“We had to replace some really, really good football players,” said head coach David Gilpin. “Mikey Garcia was the leader receiver of the district. He’s missed the last two games. You’ve seen him play. He’s an extremely talented kid. Elias Delgado has missed the last two games. He went down in the second half of the Brownsville Veterans game with a dislocated knee cap.”
But as starters have gone down, other players have stepped up.
That’s made Gilpin a proud coach.
“Extremely rewarding to see kids that have worked their tails off and don’t always get the amount of playing time that your starters do, get an opportunity to step into a starting role,” said Gilpin.
One example is wide receiver Ralph Ochoa. When Garcia was injured during the team’s pre-game warm ups, Ochoa answered the call.
“One of the things Coach Sanchez told me was don’t think of it as a ‘aha’ moment,” said Ochoa. “Think of it as a ‘let’s go’ moment. Like let’s go. I was like, ‘Alright coach, you got it.’ My job is to just step in and do the best I could and give my full effort on every play.”
Against Brownsville Porter last week, Mission Veterans had six starters out, and yet they won again.
The Patriots proving that with good depth and good preparation, a team can overcome.
“We’re still working at it,” said Arredondo. “We’re not going to take a break. We’re going to be out here grinding.”
“No matter what happens, next man up,” said Ochoa. “The next man has to be ready to go. We expect no drop off throughout the board from all our second to third string.”
“We’re going to do what we got to do out here on the football field, in the weight room, and in the film room this week, but we want to heal up and get rested because we think we have a lot of football left to play this year,” said Gilpin.
Mission Veterans returns to 31-5A action next week against Donna.