It was every bit the expected breeze, was Vela’s 53-0 victory at home Friday over P-SJ-A Southwest. So easy in fact, that by the end of the game, punter Tate Scott was in there on defense, knocking heads from the right cornerback slot.
Scott and kicker Austin Garza each made a tackle in the smashing triumph, and the defense was phenomenal, limiting the winless Javelinas to a measly 80 total yards and six first downs.
The main stoppers as the Sabes set a season best for yield were rugged tackle Sergio Carrizales and teammate Eddie Salinas (15 stops, led the pack). Daniel Enriquez was 100 percent after a recent concussion and returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown, while DB Bryly Medina helped himself to a safety in the second half of the rout.
And with the score out of hand, 38-0 at the half again – mirroring a similar count back in the North game – the club got a chance to give some minutes to the second group.
Defensively, the standout for the subs was OLB Reinol Reyna with eight tackles while on the other side of the scrimmage line, sophomore Kevin McKinney rumbled for 72 yards and quick-footed Frank Villeda ran for 36 yards on five trips.
And then there were the usual suspects for the Valley’s No. 2 team, as magnificent senior Nate Garcia was 14 of 16 for 213 yards and three scores; he tossed three TDs for the third game in a row and for the season has 13 TDs, just three picks, and a robust 65 percent completion mark.
Early in the third period, Garcia showed his excellence, a poise that goes beyond the stats, as good as they are. First he executed a perfect read in traffic, pulling the ball from the back’s belly and rising up in the same motion to fire a strike to Justin Cantu. Soon after that, on a snap where the Southwest d-line jumped offside, Garcia did not waste the free play, lofting a 45-yard TD bomb to the hustling Cantu, who had another tremendous night.
The sophomore has great hands and quick feet after the catch, especially for a 6-foot-2 end. He caught eight balls for 154 yards Friday and in six games has amassed 34 catches: sky is the limit for No. 2.
The Sabes targeted tight end Nico Rodriguez early, and he paid off with four receptions, the first good for a 12-yard score in the game’s first minute. Cantu hauled in a perfect spiral from Garcia for a 27-yard TD at 7:34, and Aaron Alvarez banged in from the six to complete a 21-0 first period. He now has 11 TDs on the year to lead the league.
This one was a mismatch from the word go as Vela celebrated its homecoming and sent the visiting Javelinas home with a sound whipping. Austin Garza nailed a 37-yard field goal and remained perfect on extra points for the season. Everywhere one looked Friday, there were SaberCats showing up and out, and as stated, when your special teams legs are entering the tackling charts, it’s a good night all around.
Next up for the Vela is a match on the road against P-SJ-A Memorial, a team that defeated Econ earlier in the season but dropped to 2-1 after losing to Edinburg High Friday. The Bobcats are 2-1 heading into a huge home showdown Thursday against unbeaten P-SJ-A. The next night at Richard R. Flores, Econ takes on North with the Jags at 0-3, the Coogs 1-2.