Unity: Comanches explosive ways come through selflessness
Updated: Nov 29, 2019
West Texas High quarterback Avian Cruz (3) walks in for a touchdown against Panhandle earlier this season. [Tucker Stroud/ Press Pass Sports]
West Texas High’s offense has been a thing of beauty throughout the season.
The Comanches are built on tempo, skill players that are lightning fast and a veteran offensive line plays with an edge.
Mix all that together, and it’s a recipe for a West Texas High team that’s 10-2 overall getting set to play in the regional semifinals of the UIL Class 2A Division I playoffs for a second straight year when they face unbeaten Post (12-0) at 4 p.m. Friday in Dimmitt.
“The biggest thing is the unity within this team,” said Steven Flowers, who is 40-28 in six years as the Comanches head coach. “Not one of these guys are selfish about getting the football. They all trust each other, and are happy when someone else makes a play.“
The offensive numbers are mind blowing.
West Texas High has scored 611 points with 74 offensive touchdowns through 12 games.
The Comanches 50.9 points a game ranks sixth in Class 2A Division I, and are tied 19th in all of UIL 11-man football.
Looking through the Comanches schedule, they certainly didn’t shy away from competition.
Playing the likes of four teams that are still standing in the postseason, only in losses to No. 1-ranked Canadian (12-0) and Wellington (11-1) did West Texas High not score 25 or more points.
The Comanches handed Stratford its only loss, 32-27, and scored 74 points on Gruver.
Three times this year has West Texas High scored 70 plus points. The first was against the Greyhounds, the second time came in a drubbing of District 1-2A Division I rival, Panhandle 77-52, where the Comanches put up a school record 891 yards. Recently, West Texas tallied a season-best 79 points during a rout of Olton in the bidistrict round, running only 25 offensive plays.
“This team has the ability to adjust to so many formations,” Flowers said. “Nothing is overwhelming to them. I’ve also been able to put a guy anywhere and they know how to play that position.”
Quarterback Avian Cruz, with wide outs Jonah Villarreal, Jaykob Hernandez and Jaren Adams are the flashy ones, that put up the stats. But it’s the workhorses up front like seniors Daniel Eckert, Caleb Markham, Jon Tucker, Rhett Burton and junior Rocky Reiswig that have shouldered the load.
“We love it when our playmakers are out there making things happen,” Markham said. “It makes us feel good about ourselves to know that they couldn’t do it without us.”
“We want to go out there and block well for those guys,” Eckert said. “We take it personal when we hear we’re not physical. We wouldn’t be here now if we weren’t. I love showing how physical we can be.”
Comanches receiver Jaykob Hernandez celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Seymour during an area round game last week. [Tucker Stroud/ Press Pass Sports]
As for the four sensational skill players, Cruz is the engine that makes the Comanches go. The shifty, explosive junior is having an MVP year, going 105 of 154 with 2,274 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. His feet are equally dangerous, rushing for 1,305 yards on 133 carries and 18 TDs.
However, Cruz, like his Flowers mentioned, can’t take full credit for his amazing success.
“We’re not where we are without the offensive line,” said Cruz, who has combined for 48 of West Texas High’s 74 offensive scores. “They are more important than anything. We can’t do it without them. We also spread the ball around. Our guys can do it all.”
Cruz’s arsenal is loaded when it comes to sharing the wealth.
Villanueva, who caught 16 passes for 348 yards against Panhandle, is the leading the way with 91 catches for 1,049 yards. The versatile Hernandez has ran for
643 yards, as well as making 28 catches for 530 yards, while Adams has pulled down 24 catches for 553 yards.
What’s the most telling stat among the trio, is they’ve each hauled in nine touchdown passes.
“It’s been fun,” Villanueva said. “We all just want what’s best for each other, and at the end of the day, all we want to do is win and keep going.“
Flowers echoed Villanueva’s comment.
“These guys listen,” Flowers said. “They trust what’s being coached. That’s why this year has been a lot of fun. They say your season goes as your seniors go, and these seniors have been solid.”
Next up:The West Texas High-Post winner faces the Sundown-Hawley winner in the state quarterfinals