Vargas does a little bit of everything for the Yoemen

“He can block, tackle, score the touchdown, snap the ball, and kick the extra point. Hell, the boy will fill up the Gatorade cooler, walk the dog, and paint your back porch.” - The words from the character of L.V. Miles in Friday Night Lights when describing his nephew Boobie Miles.


Much like Odessa Permian, the Cameron Yoemen, with their rich tradition, have had some players like Miles come through the system. None may be as versatile as Nico Vargas. Vargas may or may have not have painted porches or walked any dogs, but this sophomore has shown his ability to play football, and play it at a high level.


In just his second year of varsity football, Vargas leads the Yoe defense with 138 tackles and 9 tackles for loss. Even with the big-time defensive numbers, #25 still finds some time to get a series or two in on offense, totaling 177 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 33 carriers at running-back.


“I try to make a play every down,” said Vargas. “I give it all that I have and if I get there, I get there, and if I don’t, I don’t. I pat my teammates on the back if they make it.”


Vargas intends to make sure he and his teammates make plenty more plays this Thursday night in Robinson against the Teague Lions in the bi-district round of the 3A division one playoffs.  


Cameron had a rough stretch in opening weeks of district, losing three of their first four ball games to McGregor, Franklin and Rockdale. Since then, the Yoemen, and the defense in particular, have been playing some of their best football of the year, posting back-to-back shutouts over Academy and Troy to round out 10-3A play.


“Coach Balch has been tough on us since the losses, and he talked to us about it,” said Vargas. “We had to come together as a whole and we stepped up and now have back-to-back shutouts. We are going to try and keep it going.”


Vargas had what was his most memorable play of the year in the win over Academy when he caught a fumble in mid air and returned it for a 29-yard touchdown, starting what is currently a 76-0 scoring streak.


Any playing time for a sophomore in the playoffs would be a pretty big deal, but Vargas already seems to be a gritty veteran after the experience gained from last season’s postseason run to the state quarterfinals.


“Last year, he was physically ready as a freshman,” said Yoe head coach Tommy Brashear. “Sometimes you have freshman that are physically ready but not mentally ready. To be honest, he was probably not mentally ready when we first brought him up, but we had some injuries and he filled those needs. He gained experience and got better and better at running back and inside  

linebacker. That has just carried over to this year.”


Yoe fans can tell Vargas feels right at home at the position when he looks to the sideline and shows emotions after big stops. It’s a scene that is pleasantly becoming more and more common.


“When I make a big play, I like hearing the crowd,” said Vargas. “I try to get them live as if they were me.”


“He is still young and the sky's the limit for him,” added Brashear on what Vargas can accomplish as he continues to grow in the program. “His understanding has come so far from last year to now and he is a lot smarter and has a lot better understanding of the defense and of our scheme.”


The passion that Vargas shows out on the gridiron is all part of his love for the game and his town. Like most players, he grew up watching Yoemen before him wear the same jersey, including siblings Devin Hemphill and Jalen White.


“I love having that Cameron Yoe on my chest,” quickly noted Vargas when asked what it meant to play for the community. “I would not trade it for anything. It’s a blessing being in this situation and playing for Cameron.”


When discussing the opening round matchup with Teague, Vargas knew that is was not going to be an easy task to take down the 19-3A champs, but at the same time felt confident that his team could accomplish anything if they set their mind to it.


“Practice hard, study our film on what they’re doing and give all that we have in practice,” said Vargas on the keys to victory. “We have to come together as a team. We have to give everything that we have from the first play to the last.”