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It’s been a rough year for the Palmview Lobos football team. Not only are they winless through Week 7 of the Valley high school football season and in last place in District 30-5A, but with the undefeated Sharyland Rattlers on their schedule tonight chances are that things aren’t going to be getting better anytime soon. Even so, there is one man who is determined to turn things around for the Lobos football program and his name is Margarito “Mage” Requenez.
As the Lobos’ defensive backs coach since Palmview High School opened its doors in 2008 and as the special teams coordinator for the past three seasons, Requenez is all too familiar with the struggles and tribulations that recently led to the reassignment of his former head coach Manuel Flores. Even so, that mid-season move, and his subsequent promotion to the position of interim head football coach and athletic coordinator at Palmview High, came as a surprise to the La Joya native.
“I have no idea how I was chosen as Coach Flores’ replacement,” shared Requenez. “I’ve been trying to figure that out myself. I don’t know if Coach Flores chose me or what happened since I wasn’t there behind closed doors. All I know is that I got a phone call and I was told that I was being given the opportunity to prove what I could do by leading the team until the end of the season.”
Requenez described how he, the coaching staff and the players took the news about Flores’ reassignment four games into the season as, “a shock that took two days for everybody to get back on track from.” Even so he is thankful for the opportunity he has been given as interim head coach even if he would have preferred it to have come about differently.
“While I do have mixed feelings about the way I was promoted, the thing to remember is that we’re here for the kids,” added Requenez. “It wasn’t their fault that things happened the way they did so while I could’ve turned down the job, I wasn’t about to do that to the kids. I love them and respect them too much to just leave them hanging like that.”
Requenez, who played football at La Joya High School under current Mission Eagles head football coach Mario Pena, was a member of the Coyotes varsity squad for three years.
“I graduated from La Joya High in 1995,” explained Requenez. “My junior year I was part of the team that made the playoffs for the first time ever. I played every position except for lineman and linebacker. Where I played depended on who we were playing.”
After earning a civil engineering degree at Texas A & M University at Kingsville in order to fulfill his parents’ desire for him to get an education, Requenez decided to follow his own dream of becoming a football coach.
“When I got married was when I decided to do what I needed to do to become a coach,” said Requenez. “I went back to school at Pan American University and I got my certification in business administration so I could minor in physical education. That’s how I was able to get my first coaching position at Zavala Middle School. I was there five years before Palmview High School opened up and I took Coach Flores up on his offer to become a member of his staff.”
Under Requenez, Palmview is 0-3 with losses to Donna, Edinburg North and Edinburg Vela. While his Lobos did hold a 17-0 lead over the Vela Sabercats at halftime last week, they were outscored 44-7 in the second half to keep the Lobos winless and to keep Requenez from earning the first win of his head coaching career.
With the Valley’s top team, the Sharyland Rattlers, on their schedule tonight Requenez knows that breaking into the winning column this week is going to be a monumental task. Even so, he is determined to get the Lobos on the winning side of a final score before it’s time to put the footballs, uniforms, pads and helmets away for another year.
“Our main goal right now is to get a win under our belts,” said Requenez. “It’s going to be tough to do against a powerhouse like Sharyland, but after that game we have two games (La Joya High and Edinburg Economedes) that are winnable for us.”
While Requenez is hoping to have the word “interim” removed from his job title at the conclusion of the season, that remains to be seen. Either way, the future looks bright for a program that is currently struggling to win even a single game.
“Our junior varsity team has lost only one district game this season so we have some talent coming up,” explained Requenez. “Also you have to keep in mind that even though we may look like a senior ball club this year, we have 22 juniors and 17 sophomores on our varsity roster so they will be coming back next year. Hopefully I’ll be given a chance to interview for the head coaching position once it’s been opened up to the public and I’ll be here to coach them all again.”
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.