Navarro quarterback Will Eveld has rushed for a team-high 467 yards through the first five games of the 2017 season. Photo by Andie Rangel.
(Geronimo) – Something has to give at Erwin-Lee Field tonight when a pair of undefeated football foes, the Navarro Panthers and the San Antonio-Central Catholic Buttons, square off in Navarro’s annual homecoming game.
Navarro (5-0), ranked as high as seventh in the various 4A Division II state polls in Les Goad’s 11th season as head coach, kept its record unblemished by fighting off defending 2A Division I state champion Refugio 21-17 in last Friday’s home opener after notching four straight road wins to start the season.
Mike Santiago’s Central Catholic squad, ranked 12th among the state’s TAPPS Division I teams by Maxpreps, moved to 5-0 last Friday with a 22-6 home win over Eagle Pass-Winn.
The Buttons have been dominant defensively in the first half of the regular season, allowing just 38 total points in five games, no more than 14 in any one game, and six or less in each of the past three games. Central Catholic has limited opponents to 210.6 total yards per game (118.6 rushing, 92 passing), and features an All-District returnee in each position group with nose-guard Seth McCrum, linebacker John Montelongo, and safeties Ty Williamson and Joshua Madrid.
Goad says Central Catholic’s 3-4 alignment is similar to that of Refugio’s, but with a few added wrinkles.
"The difference between them and the way Refugio runs it is they're going to stunt almost every down," Goad said. "They're moving with their front, they're bringing linebackers, they're bringing people off the edges, slanting and twisting up front, they're trying to get you out of position, and put a lot of pressure. They're a quick, physical defense, got some size on the front, good linebackers, and I know we're going to have our hands full."
Navarro looks to attack the Buttons with a powerful, Slot-T based running game that produced 373.6 rushing yards per game and 6.8 per carry in the first half of the season. The workload and productivity has been shared among several key skill players. Senior quarterback and Brown University commit Will Eveld leads the team with 467 rushing yards, junior running-back Chris Gomez has churned 407 yards on the ground, and senior Will Reyna has scored a team-high six touchdowns to go with 301 rushing yards. Seven Panthers have totaled at least 100 yards, and eight individuals have scored offensive touchdowns.
The Central Catholic offense has produced averages of 36.2 points and 313.6 total yards (204.6 passing) per outing, with its spread scheme built to feature the skills of quarterbacks Nick Chavez and Jay Yount. Chavez (638 passing yds., 9 TD, 0 INT) is the more prolific passer of the two, while Yount (133 rushing yds., 2 TD, 5.5 per carry) is the better runner. All-District returnee Jack Perkins (15 rec., 339 yds., 4 TD) is the Buttons’ top receiver.
"They execute real well in what they do," Goad said of the Buttons’ offense. “They're a zone-read type team. They're going to run the zone, and they're going to read it with the quarterback, and he will pull it and keep it quite often, and then they do have a very effective passing game with that spread offense."
Navarro has maintained its prideful tradition of stingy defense in 2017, holding its first five opponents to an average of 19.4 points per game. The Panthers have corralled seven interceptions so far, with Eveld and Stone Sahd nabbing two apiece.
Tonight’s kickoff at Erwin-Lee Field is set for 7:30 p.m. The game will air live on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com, with pre-game coverage slated for 6:30.