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Mission Vets Sees Season End In Regional Final

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(CBS 4 Sports) - The goal for the Mission Veterans Memorial Patriots since their area round loss to Corpus Christi Flour Bluff in 2017 was to be exactly where they were on Saturday morning. A game inside the Alamodome, in the fourth round of the playoffs after winning a district title and a playoff game with a chance to become among the few teams in Rio Grande Valley history to make it to the state final four.

The dreams of joining their intra-district rival Mission High of 1990 as a state semi-finalist ended under the lights of the dome with a 54-21 defeat to the Thunderbirds of San Antonio Wagner. The T-Birds like the Patriots are on their own historic run advancing further than any previous club in school history.

The Patriots, led by all-everything quarterback Landry Gilpin couldn't find the offensive rhythm in the first half. The likely All-Valley MVP, accounted for over 700 yards of total offense the previous week in a win over Corpus Christi Veterans. The Patriots found themselves scoreless after the first 12 minutes, something that only happened once all season. Wagner's triple-option offense powered by running backs LJ Butler and Karlton Black and led by QB Tobias Weaver put up 14 first quarter points to put Veterans in a hole.

Unlike other Valley teams who get down early this deep into the playoffs, the Patriots offense would respond. Gilpin found top wideout AJ Gonzaque in the second quarter to cut the deficit in half.

The Patriots caused a turnover on the next Wagner possession with an interception by Jessie Gonzalez, but Gilpin would have his own pass picked off on the ensuing possession which led to a 53 yard touchdown by Black giving the T-Birds a 21-7 lead, and one they would take into the half.

Junior wide-out Mikey Garcia added a pair of touchdown grabs and he finished with 116 yards on four total receptions. Both Garcia TD's pulled the game to within two scores, but the Patriots defense could not come up with a second half stop.

Black finished with 142 yards rushing and three scores to lead the T-Birds. Butler scored twice with 151 yards on the ground.

The Patriots are just the third Valley big school since Mission in 1990 to reach the fourth round of the playoffs joining the Edinburg Bobcats of 1999 and the Harlingen Cardinals of 2011.

Gilpin's incredible prep career put him on the top of many of the RGV's UIL passing records including career passing TDs (87), passing yards (9370) and completions (583). He finished his senior season tying the RGV record in touchdown passes with 50, and with 4,545 yards passing, another RGV record.


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