Special season: 5 moments/games that shaped Brownsville Vets season

If a ball had dropped one way or another, maybe the Chargers would not be in the Class 5A DI state semifinals. That can be said about a lot of football teams throughout time, but that is how the sport is.

These are five of the defining moments or games that shaped Brownsville Veterans’ run to a state semifinal.

Brownsville Veterans running back Gilbert Trillo (1) carries the ball against Corpus Christi Miller in a Region IV-5A DI championship game at Sam Stadium on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Brownsville. Photo courtesy of Sixtum Pictures

Chargers diced up by Jaime Lopez

The Chargers must have had great foresight to schedule this game against PSJA High during the last realignment, knowing they would face off against one of the best pocket-passing quarterbacks in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Chargers gave up 348 yards and two touchdowns to Lopez as he completed a staggering 73% of his passes to lead the Bears to a 31-21 victory, but in the long run they became a better team after tightening up their pass defense.

Head coach JC Ramirez credited the lessons learned from this loss for future successes.

Veterans Memorial Charger running back Gilbert Trillo (1) hustles with the ball Friday night against Weslaco East Wildcats in Brownsville. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

Montoya and Trillo win it late

The Chargers went up 19-3 on the Weslaco East Wildcats at the half only to see that lead disappear late in the fourth quarter.

Brownsville Veterans junior quarterback Storm Montoya completed four passes for 82 yards, including the game-winning touchdown to two-way standout Gilbert Trillo, who hurdled over a Wildcats defender at Brownsville Veterans High School.

Before that drive, Montoya only completed a single pass. Even though he flashed signs of being a good quarterback up to that Week 6 meeting, he needed a signature win. Trillo also emerged as one of the best all-around players in the Valley.

In 2022, the game was very similar, but instead the game ended on a Chargers interception and a Wildcats victory. The District 16-5A DI title was shared between Weslaco East, Brownsville Veterans and Harlingen South.

Brownsville Veterans Memorial’s Alvin Trevillion (22) carries the ball while getting a block from a teammate against Harlingen South in the RGVSports.com GOTW at Boggus Stadium in Harlingen. (Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

Trevillion gashes Harlingen South

A big question coming into the season was who was going to replace fullback Bryan Chavez.

Junior Alvin Trevillion stepped up and was having a great season coming into the District 16-5A DI title decider with Harlingen South, but was facing a tough defensive front.

Trevillion rushed for 53 yards on five carries the opening drive and, along with fellow fullback Cesar Belmontes and a stout offensive line, the Chargers went 83 yards to score the opening touchdown using just the fullback.

Trevillion finished with 139 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.

Brownsville Veterans’ dominant performance against Harlingen South showed it could dominate strong defenses.

Brownsville Veterans Memorial corner Josh Perez comes up with a tackle against Corpus Christi Veterans on Friday at Buccaneer Stadium in Corpus Christi for the Class 5A area title. (Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

Chargers shut down C.C. Veterans

After cruising against McHi, which was somewhat expected, the Chargers faced a familiar villain.

Brownsville Veterans had never beaten the Eagles in a playoff match. The Chargers went into C.C. Veterans’ back yard and shut down the defending Class 5A DI champion, holding it to seven points.

Senior linebacker Jaime Martinez had an interception, and the pressure was always on 6-foot-7 quarterback Billy White III.

Brownsville Veterans’ impressive defensive performance against a team with talented prospects helped give it confidence against PSJA North and C.C. Miller.

Brownsville Veterans Memorial senior Gilbert Trillo (1) carries the ball into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown against CC Miller for the Class 5A DI Region IV title Friday Dec. 1, 2023, at Sams Memorial Stadium in Brownsville. (Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

The fourth-quarter comeback at Sams

If the fourth quarter went differently, then the game against PSJA North would be on the list, but the Chargers are in the fifth round only because of the crazy comeback last Friday.

There were a lot of moments that shaped that comeback. Gerry Gomez’s conversion on fourth-and-12, Eroz Pineda’s pick, Montoya’s poise and Mickey Rodriguez’s strip were all important, but Trillo’s pass breakup to end the game was arguably the most important moment.

Trillo had broken up a similar pass earlier in the game on what should have been an easy touchdown catch, but the ball bounced cruelly into the hands of a different C.C. Miller receiver to give the Buccaneers a 28-7 lead.

Trillo, one of the most important players this season for the Chargers, delivered a similar hit as time expired. The crowds reacted like the Buccaneers’ receiver caught it at first but erupted once the officials gave the signal of an incomplete pass.

Who knows what would have happened in overtime if the Miller receiver had made the catch?