The rising play of quarterback Daniel Smith and the West Texas Warbirds defense stood out in a 72-27 victory over the San Antonio Valor on Saturday at the Ector County Coliseum.
The win kept the Warbirds undefeated, pushing their record to 4-0 and clinching home-field advantage throughout the postseason, which begins July 17.
Smith would close out the contest completing 10 of his 17 pass attempts for 125 yards and seven touchdowns, while the defense stepped up to hold its opponent to six second half points.
“Daniel is calm, cool and collected. That’s why he’s the starting quarterback,” Warbirds offensive coordinator Dean Garza said. “He’s getting more and more excited and coming out of his shell.
“We expect great things from him because that’s what he’s shown every week.”
West Texas got off to a quick start when receiver Carlos Thompson, Jr. returned a missed field goal for a touchdown to give his team a 7-0 lead.
Despite starting off the contest with three consecutive incompletions, Smith found his rhythm and connected with receiver Jordan Gandy for touchdowns on three separate occasions in the first half.
The Warbirds went into the halftime break with a 44-21 lead, giving the Valor opportunities to find the end zone after defensive penalties were called against the home team at various points in the second quarter.
Defensive back Malik Brown believed the game would have been more lopsided if the Warbirds had avoided committing penalties.
“As a team, I think we came out and fought. We just got to get better throughout the week and minimize the penalties,” Brown said.
Brown recorded three interceptions on the night, including taking his final pick 32 yards back to the end zone to the seal the win for West Texas.
After the game, Smith said he felt he was becoming more comfortable with his team’s playbook with each passing week.
“You kind of get in the brain of the offensive coordinator and you start to become one and kind of know what he’s feeling on certain plays,” Smith said. “When I’m playing within the system, great things happen and that’s a testament to our coaches, for sure.”
Guillermo Serrano and Frank Cocio split quarterback duties for San Antonio, with Serrano completing eight of 16 pass attempts for 82 yards with two scores and two interceptions.
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