Van Horn’s defense steps up to take down state-ranked Seagraves

22, Alex Urias, 65 Corey Schuller, 60 Xavier Acosta, 50 Carlos Tarango and 70 Isaac Baeza

Photo by Rob Segura

By Eric Blum, Odessa American

Van Horn knew it had its hands full coming into its matchup on Friday against Seagraves.

Seagraves, a state semifinalist from last year, was undefeated and had just taken down Van Horn’s district rival Wink the week before. Van Horn also hadn’t won a game since Aug. 26.

When the final whistle blew, Van Horn had handed Seagraves its first loss of the season, winning 18-17.

“It was a refreshing site to see our defense play the way I know they’re capable of playing,” said Van Horn head coach Brian Gibson. “We knew going in that we had four games that were pretty tough. Our kids had played well; we just had a hard time finishing against Alpine and Kermit. Being able to go on the road and beat a quality team like Seagraves is big for us.”

Van Horn managed only 109 yards of total offense in the game, relying on its defense to keep Seagraves off the scoreboard.

Landon Drake, Rafael Rodriguez and Alex Urias caused a combined six turnovers for Van Horn’s defense, with Drake and Urias each scoring a defensive touchdown.

But the way Van Horn secured the win might be the most impressive.

After the Eagles’ two defensive scores, they found themselves down in the fourth quarter after allowing two scores.

After struggling to move the ball against Seagraves up to that point, Van Horn was able to put together a 90-yard drive to take the game’s deciding one-point lead.

Van Horn’s defense was then able to stop Seagraves’ offense twice in the game’s final minutes to secure its first win since Week One.

“We had our share of tough ones, but I was happy to be able to finish one like we did,” Gibson said. “These guys are going to visit with me years down the road and I’m sure this game will come up.

“It validated to the kids that where we are going is right — that yes we can compete with the elite teams in our area and region. Kids always have that ‘are we good enough’ mentality. It will help us down the road. Our kids have also realized its more about the journey than the one game. They learned to process that and move on.”

Van Horn closes its non-district schedule Friday at home against McCamey.