Los Fresnos News

Team ZAP holds their own at 7on7 Texas Showdown Championships

Sharyland Pioneer’s Tristan Castillo celebrates after a touchdown at the 7on7 Texas Showdown Championships, which were held this past weekend in Round Rock. Photo: Billy Watson / RSL


ROUND ROCK – Team ZAP entered this weekend’s 7on7 Texas Showdown Championships with hopes to be heading into the championship bracket undefeated. Things did not exactly go their way, unfortunately.

ZAP went 2-4 this past weekend at the Multipurpose Complex Saturday afternoon in Round Rock. ZAP won their play-in game against Sooner7 on Sunday morning, 19-18, before falling to Elite House in the first round of bracket play.

After posting a 1-3 record for pool play, the day proved to be tough for Team ZAP heading into Sunday’s championship bracket.

“Today was tough,” ZAP head coach Jorge Mata said on Saturday. “Like I’ve said, it always comes down to discipline and technique, and that’s what kills us. Little things matter for us because we are never going to have the size; we’re never going to have the speed. So, we have to be perfect in order to keep our games close. Unfortunately, today, we lost our heads at the end of the games.”

With the absence of high-grade players, a couple players had to step up and pick up the slack. Zap relied on their veterans in Brownsville Porter’s Kevin Garcia, San Benito’s Kyler Castilleja and Sharyland Pioneer’s Tristian Castillo.

“Those guys balled out,” Mata said. “Any opportunity we have to give (the football) to them we’ve got to take full advantage of it. Hats off to the quarterbacks for delivering the ball to where it needed it to be. They made plays. They’re going to continue making those plays.”

Garcia and Castilleja were essential in the offensive workload. Garcia talked about the effort his team put in, although they lost three tough games in the final minutes or final possession.

“Our effort was good, it wasn’t bad,” Garcia said. “The third or fourth game we came back to play. Our effort was good, as a team. It wasn’t what we expected, but, hey, we have to get it for tomorrow (Sunday).”

ZAP lost their opening pool game against King Football Academy 20-18 followed by a 25-9 loss to College Station PFOB. ZAP regained some momentum as they slipped by Bryan High 10-9 and wrapped up pool play with a 21-20 loss to Texas Smoke, who scored in the final minute to tie the game and converted on the extra point for the go-ahead score.

ZAP faced some tough competition, including an up-and-coming quarterback from College Station, a quarterback committed to the University of Texas, and another gunslinger headed to the University of Arkansas.

“That’s some great competition right there,” Brownsville Hanna’s Diego Escovar said. “Being able to go up against those guys, it’s amazing.”

Lots of things were learned over the weekend, but one thing was for certain, and that was the Valley can hang with the big boys.

“The Valley can compete,” Escovar said. “Going back to (Arkansas commit Lucas Coley), he told us, ‘you all earned my respect. You balled out.’ That’s coming from a D-1 commit and being Valley kids, we can compete.”

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