Chargers, Patriots meet in early season showdown - Brownsville Herald: H.S. Football

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Chargers, Patriots meet in early season showdown

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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 4:38 pm

There are many reasons why the Brownsville Veterans Memorial Chargers are on a mission of redemption this season, coming off of last year’s shaky finish and a bi-district playoff exit.

A big first step in trying to right the wrong of 2018 will be trying to knock off the Mission Veterans Memorial Patriots in The Brownsville Herald’s Game of the Week, set for 7 p.m. tonight at Sams Memorial Stadium.

Like last season, the Week 3 matchup is billed as a battle of District 16-5A Division I favorites, but the Chargers are hoping their fortunes are different this time around after watching a four-point halftime deficit turn into a 21-point loss last season.

“It is a big moment, it is a big game for us,” Chargers coach David Cantu said. “We have a bad taste in our mouths after our loss last year.

We played tremendously in the first half defensively against them. But offensively we had turnovers, we had mistakes and we really didn’t really get going until the second half. That still eats at me, personally, and the team. We didn’t put together four good quarters and I feel if we do, we give ourselves a better chance to win.”

Both teams come in riding huge district opening wins as the Chargers (2-0, 1-0) are fresh off a 49-6 thumping of the Lopez Lobos, and the Patriots (1-1, 1-0) dismissed PSJA Memorial 48-14.

The Brownsville Veterans offense has shown its big-play ability and came into the shortened practice week a confident bunch, and for good reason.

The Chargers are averaging 365 yards of offense per game and scored 75 points during the first two weeks, led by senior quarterback Liam Longoria.

Longoria has thrown for 461 yards, four touchdowns and one interception on 25 of 44 passing this season.

Armed with receivers Elijah Masten (9-166, two TDs), Mauricio Garza (5-137, two TDS) and the unit’s solid production on the ground, Longoria and company are ready to show what they can do this week and erase the memory of last year’s three-turnover outing against the Patriots.

“We’ve been pretty anxious, especially with the short week” Longoria said. “We’ve been focused in, and we’ve been really ready to just take it to (Mission Veterans). Every single series, we’ve gone out and have had gradual improvement. (Spreading the ball around) gives us more variety in our offense to be able to have this many playmakers and distribute the ball around. If we get double teams, we’ll have answers for it.”

The Patriots rebounded from a 37-0 shutout loss against Mission High with a 48-point night against PSJA Memorial, led by Ricky Reyna’s 178 yard, three-touchdown night and junior receiver AJ Gonzaque, who hauled in seven passes for 115 yards and two scores.

In all, the Patriots racked up 451 yards and still present a huge challenge to a Chargers defense that had given up more than 600 yards on the ground but just 91 through the air this season.

The key for the Chargers will be eliminating the errors that plagued them during the second half last year.

“Last season, our mistakes caught on to us,” senior middle linebacker Jason Ambriz said. “We have to fix those mistakes and contain the quarterback, because they like to spread it out and he likes to roll out a lot. We have to contain him, guard their receivers and just do our jobs.”

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