La Feria defeats Port Isabel to advance to 7-on-7 state tournament

LYFORD — It was a busy day in Corpus Christi for the La Feria Lions, but a worthwhile one.

The Lions went 4-0 at the Calallen state qualifying tournament and closed the day with a 36-13 victory over Port Isabel to earn a spot in the 2021 Texas 7-on-7 Division II state tournament scheduled for June 24-26 at Veterans Park in College Station.

“It feels great. The kids put in a lot of work, and today they put complete games together and it really showed. … I saw the potential last week (at a practice tournament in Mission), and we put it all together this week,” La Feria 7-on-7 coach Oren Trevino said.

La Feria went 3-0 in Pool B to reach the championship game. The Lions started the day with a 30-18 victory over Ingleside and then defeated Rockport-Fulton 35-14. They had to battle in a 15-13 win over Alice to get to the ticket-punching game.

“We had a difficult pool. I think we had a lot of heavy hitters on that side, so I felt confident that if we could win our pool, we’d have a chance,” Trevino said. “As each game went through the competition got tougher and tougher. Alice was our biggest challenge because they’re a good team. Our kids were able to come up with the plays when they needed to.”

Port Isabel played in Pool A and went 2-0. The Tarpons beat West Oso 30-12, then they needed overtime to scrape out a 20-19 victory over Comfort to set up a date with La Feria.

“Right before the championship game I spoke to the Port Isabel coach, and we were happy it was an all-Valley final and that the Valley would be represented,” Trevino said.

The Lions quickly opened up a big lead against the Tarpons and had a 22-0 advantage at halftime. Quarterback Aaron Trevino and his “really solid receiving corps” comprised of Joaquin Trevino, Brandon Villanueva, Julian Torres and Justin Rodriguez put La Feria in control. Former Lions QB1 Dario Sanchez Jr. is the assistant coach, and Oren Trevino said his help calling the offensive plays gives the Lions an edge.

La Feria’s defense is led by a pair of safeties in EJ Serna and Elijah Vela, whom Trevino credited with being the “quarterbacks of the defense” and teaching the young athletes the coverages. The Lions held off Port Isabel’s second half comeback to secure the qualifying win. They will continue fine-tuning as part of the Harlingen 7-on-7 league in preparation for the state tournament.

“I’m really proud of the boys,” Trevino said. “We have a young team, and even the young guys are contributing. All of our (five) seniors are really good. I think we’re pretty strong on both sides of the ball. … They’re improving every game, and I think we’re going to have a good showing at the state tournament.”