Coaches give their thoughts on the Hammer Bowl

Emily Garza & Eva Montiel, Staff Writers

The annual game that the entire city waits for is scheduled for Friday night and there is no shortage of people excited to be in the stands and cheer on their teams. The much anticipated Martin vs. Nixon game will the 53rd time Laredo’s historic school come head to head to compete in the Hammer Bowl.

Nixon High School Coach Antonio Villalon gave his thoughts on this year’s Hammer Bowl game. Villalon talks about what he expects to see this Friday at the game.

“I expect this game to be as hard hitting and physical as all the other four that I was a part of.  I also expect a huge Friday night crowd to be rocking Shirley Field,” Villalon said.

All of the Nixon supporters hope for a victory at the end of the game and are confident that Nixon will win. 

“Almost every year, this game is decided by ten points or less, and in the four games that I was a part of, no lead felt safe for either team.  Like every year, I believe that the Nixon Mustangs will find a way to win,” Villalon said.

Villalon said that every game to him is taken seriously in order to win.

“Every game is a rivalry game to me because the coaches and players invest so much time and effort into our program.  For the fans, our community and alumni,it has to be one of the high points of the high school athletic year, but for me it is one of ten regular season games that I am working extremely hard to win,” Villalon said.

On the other side of town, Martin High School Coach David Charles expressed his feelings and his pride on Friday’s game.

“We’re very excited, it’s always awesome, as the football program, to be part of such a historic rivalry game,” Charles said. “Like we tell the kids, it’s something bigger than us. It’s two communities that play each other on the field, but it’s also two communities that are very close and tight, and there’s a lot of friendship involved in it also.”

He added, “We’re very excited to go out there and be part of it. Our kids are very excited as well, and I just think that is all what high school football is all about. These are neighborhood rivalries and we’ll have all those 6,000 people in the stands watching the game. It’s a real fun game to be part of.”

Charles stated how confident he is about the football players this season.

“We feel very confident! Our boys have worked extremely hard,” he said. “We’ve already lost a couple of years to these guys and we’ve made it a goal this season to start the game with 1-0. And if we want to start with 1-0, we must bring the hammer back home.”

The hammer symbolizes strength, power and victory to the school who wins it every year. 

“People stand up for the game, teachers and coaches stand for it as well. It’s a tradition that is very fun, and all the pomp that comes along with it, such as animo week. We’re very excited; we have a very good team this year and so does Nixon. It’s very entertaining, and all I can say is that we’re going out there and giving our very best,” Martin High School Coach Juan Garza said.

The game is rich in tradition and for many in the community, it is more than just a game, he said. 

“Our community members see this as an opportunity to showcase the excellence of Laredo’s flagship high school,” he stated.

The Nixon football team has prepared well not only for this week’s game but for the rest of the season, Villalon said.

“Our preparation began the Monday following the end of our 2018 season. Our boys worked extremely hard in the weight room. They all contributed to track, baseball or basketball, and they continued to work throughout the summer with running, weights and football,” Villalon said. “As for specific Martin preparation, we have been game planning for them for months. For the last week we have film of their team to study, and that allows us to fine tune our preparation. By kickoff, we are ready and minutes after kickoff we will have to be making adjustments to our game plan to counter what Martin is doing,” Villalon said.

Both schools have extreme pride in their teams. For the past four years, Nixon has taken the hammer home, but it is still to be decided who will take the hammer home this year.