BROWNSVILLE — Brownsville Veterans Memorial Chargers running back Gilbert Trillo, quarterback Storm Montoya and linebacker Jaime Martinez have delivered headline-grabbing performances on the way to a Class 5A DI state semifinal appearance.
Trillo and Montoya both have had multiple touchdown performances, and Martinez has made big plays defensively including a pivotal interception to lead the Chargers to a 17-7 win over Corpus Christi Veterans in the area round.
Other players on the Chargers have stepped up immensely on this run and could be important again when Brownsville Veterans meets Smithson Valley for a chance at the Class 5A DI state title.
Wide receiver Gerry Gomez entered this season with lofty expectations for himself. Gomez, along with tight end Nick Tovar came into this season with offers from UTRGV and Eastern New Mexico University.
The two have been huge for the Chargers by making plays that have led to the team’s success.
“Gerry is clutch,” Brownsville Veterans head coach JC Ramirez said.
Gomez had an important conversion on fourth-and-12 with the Chargers down 21-0 and desperately needing a score to cut into the Corpus Christi Miller lead, and to gain some confidence.
“I knew the comeback was going to be there,” Gomez said. “They were really huge catches.”
Ramirez said Gomez can be a headache sometimes in a joking way. Gomez will attempt to catch any ball in practice, distorting his body in weird ways and risking injuries.
“Versus Corpus Christi Miller, that Storm-to-Gerry connection was very much a reason why we had success in that fourth quarter,” Ramirez said. “I don’t think we are practicing today without that part of our game.”
Tovar also came up with a conversion, but on a third-and-7. The Chargers began picking up chunk plays on the strong side of the line, and an integral part of their success was because of Tovar’s blocking.
“They have been clutch all year,” Chargers offensive coordinator Mike Evans said. “I know we get a bad rap about not being a passing team, but we just don’t have to pass. When we do we are very effective at it, and those guys, they don’t drop balls, really.”
Evans praised their maturity in being able to handle the style of offense and do what is needed for the team.
Gomez and Tovar know a lot is at stake for them. Their season, win or lose, is winding down, and the possibility to grab more attention for themselves is likely as more eyes flock to the remaining 40 teams.
“I am just still trying to take everything in, it is my senior year,” Tovar said. “Who would expect a Brownsville team in the final four, and I am just willing to give it my all. Me and the seniors have been talking, and we know there is going to be scouts, but that is not the most important thing right now.”
Tovar said they plan to let their game do the talking.
Defensively, the Chargers have been led all season by Trillo and Martinez, but others have stepped up.
Martinez said it is great that the juniors are making plays, as well as the sophomore defensive tackles.
Junior linebacker Max Fernandez has continued to develop next to Martinez. Fernandez has 108 tackles, second on the team.
“I came into the season trying to prove people wrong and show people who I am,” Fernandez said. “I think I am doing a great job at that. I am proud of my coaches for teaching me and my other linebackers for helping me advance.”
Junior safety Eroz Pineda had an important interception against C.C. Miller when the Chargers needed a stop and is always around the ball. His safety partner, Mickey Rodriguez, came up with a strip to give the Chargers the ball back with the score 28-28.
Brownsville Veterans defensive end Miguel Selvera has been immense in providing a pass rush along with senior Matt Maldonado.
“It feels nice to help out the team,” Maldonado said. “It is all a team effort. We are all working hard and going through it. We are playing for each other. That is what matters the most.”