PHOTO / CHARLES CARLSON

Charging onto the field for the final time, the 2020 Hondo Owls – in spite of all the challenges brought about by the craziest year in recent history – ushered in a new coaching era with a district championship season and a 10-2 record. 

PHOTO / CHARLES CARLSON

Aaron Ledesma focuses in on a 50-yard fourth quarter touchdown reception. The Owls’ season ended Friday with a 10-2 mark.

PHOTO / CHARLES CARLSON

Trey Dickens heads to the house for the 49th and final time in his Hondo High School football career with a third-quarter TD catch off the arm of quarterback and classmate Brandon J. Garcia.

PHOTO / CHARLES CARLSON

Tyler DeLeon (42) and Greg Guerra team up to bring down Wimberley power back Moses Wray.

Wimberley ends Owls’ season in area round

 

By Jeff Berger

Anvil Herald Publisher

 

     San Antonio -- Bottom line: Wimberley is still Wimberley.

     There was no repeat of 2006. In actuality, it was more a repeat of District 13-4A-II in the period of 2014-17. 

    The Texans – state runners-up a year ago – scored early, and scored frequently on the way to a 54-14 area playoff domination of the Hondo Owls.

     The loss in no way, however, diminishes Hondo’s season. The Owls went 10-2, earned an outright District 15-4A-II championship, and scored more points than in all but four seasons in the school’s 109-year football history. (The four years with more points were fairly notable – 1956, 1999, 2000 and 2006.)

     After the Friday, Nov. 20, win at Southwest Legacy Stadium, the Texans will advance to the regional playoffs this week against Sinton.  They’ll play a Saturday, 2 p.m., contest at the Judson ISD’s D.W. Rutledge Stadium.

     “Wimberley was certainly good on Friday night,” said Hondo coach Joe Dale Cary. “Hats off to them. They’ve got a lot of talent all over the field, and they look like they’re hitting another gear right now.

     “We’ve been good at converting third downs all year, and we weren’t on Friday.”

     The Texans totaled 534 yards of offense, with a good balance between rushing and passing.

     Wimberley needed just five plays to reach the endzone for the first time. Three passes from Matthew Tippie, who completed his first 11 throws, and a pair of runs from junior battering ram Moses Wray, including the 16-yarder for the touchdown, led to a quick 7-0 lead.

The Texans’ second possession ended with a shanked four-yard punt, but even starting at midfield, the Owls were unable to move anywhere. Brandon J. Garcia’s punt from shotgun formation was downed at the 4-yard line.

     But even that didn’t deter Wimberley. It just took them 10 plays to score this time. After two Wray runs got the Texans off the goalline, a 1st-and-20 screen pass to Wray went for 21 yards. Then facing a 3rd-and-15, Tippie passed to Ty Pruett for a 36-yard TD strike with 28 seconds left in the opening period. Jack Bruner connected for the PAT and a 14-0 lead.

     After being pinned deep on the kickoff, Hondo got its initial first down of the night on a 26-yard sweep by Trey Dickens. But a second down sack of Garcia led to another punt.

     From midfield, on third down, Wray cut left on a handoff and broke loose for a 49-yard scoring run. A high snap on the extra point left the score at 20-0, two minutes into the second quarter.

     The Texan defense got into the act with an interception on the next play from scrimmage. That led to a seven-play drive, capped by Bruner’s 29-yard field goal and a 23-0 lead.

     Wimberley had one more score in the first half. After converting a 3rd-and-6 with a six-yard sideline pass, the Texans faced a 3rd-and-19. But this time, Tippie connected with Jaxon Watts for a 44-yard post route for a TD and a 30-0 lead.

     Hondo received the second half kickoff, and immediately struck paydirt. After a nine-yard completion to Shelton Luedke and a short keeper for a first down, Garcia passed deep over the middle to Dickens for a 64-yard touchdown, with just 67 seconds gone in the half. Brandon R. Garcia added the extra point and the Owls were on the board.

     A coverage sack by Tyler DeLeon, who forced Tippie out of bounds on a third down attempt led to a punt. 

    But the Texans got another interception, this time bringing it back to the Hondo 19. A tackle in the backfield by Journey Rodriguez, followed by an incompletion, led to a second field goal attempt. This time, Bruner was good from 27 yards, and the Texans led, 33-7.

A Hondo punt, plus an 18-yard Wimberley return, plus a late hit out of bounds gave the Texans a first down at the Hondo 34. On the next play, the Owls appeared to have Tippie trapped for a loss, but he scrambled out of the jam and found Wray alone for what ended up as a 34-yard catch-and-run. The PAT made it 40-7 with 2:43 left in the third.

     The teams traded punts before the Owls lost the ball on downs at their own 39. The Texans were flagged for a chop block, backing them up to a 1st-and-25, but on the next play, officials failed to notice an illegal block in the back which sprung Chris Schatte into the clear on a 54-yard TD pass.

     The Owls again went for it on a 4th-and-1, and again were stopped, this time on the Hondo 25. Three plays later, Tippie tossed his fifth touchdown of the game, on a pass to Pruett.

     Hondo responded with its final scoring drive of the season. Garcia passed to Daylon Fohn on a short gain, then carries by Dickens and Garcia netted two first downs. From the 50, Garcia went deep for Aaron Ledesma, who hauled in his first reception of the season for a score with 2:20 left to play.

     The off-season will be a busy one for the Owls. 

     “After we get back from Thanksgiving,” said Coach Cary, “we’ll take a couple of days to take inventory, and set our expectations. But we want to get right to work. We did well this year, but it’s evident from Friday, that we have a long way to go. This will be the first off-season for our staff – we didn’t get really started here until June 8, in the midst of all kinds of restrictions. 

     “We’re going to need for some kids to step up this coming year. This has been a fun group of seniors. To go through a coaching change, and to embrace me and the staff the way they have, to buy into what we were doing... It all made for a very successful season.

“I’m proud of this team.”

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