SAN BENITO–The 85th edition of the Battle of the Arroyo turned out to be a classic game when San Benito erased an 18 point lead in the final 5 minutes of the game and won 25-21.
The victory put San Benito (4-2, 3-0) in first place in District 32 6A. They are tied with Brownsville Veterans Memorial who plays Saturday night vs. Hanna. Harlingen (3-3, 2-1) find themselves in an unusual position as they are in second place looking up at the leaders in this district.
The win was engineered by San Benito QB Cristian Sierra who ran a hurry up offense and helped set up the three scores in the last 5:07 of the fourth qurarter. At first, it looked like the Greyhounds were only scoring points to make the game look respectable, but then Harlingen failed to move the sticks and recover an onside kick.
Greyhounds Coach Dan Gomez said his team never gave up and they executed one play at a time in the fourth quarter. They knew they could come back and the players finally put it altogether.
San Benito looked strong early, but they couldn’t punch it in at the goal line when they fumbled in the 2nd quarter. They also fumbled on the opening kickoff and on a fake punt in the 3rd quarter that led to 14 points for Harlingen.
Harlingen Coach Manny Gomez looked stunned after the game, but he gave credit to the Hounds for the victory. He said San Benito made more plays and they lost some defensive backs. He added they competed and that’s what matters.
The Battle of the Arroyo has been dominated by Harlingen, including last year’s 54-0 win by the Cardinals. At the end of the game, tempers flared between both coaches and players.
Harlingen players and coaches didn’t appreciate the celebration by the Greyhounds. There was pushing and shoving and both sides had to be separated. Luckily, cool heads prevailed and both sides calmed down.
San Benito will play Brownsville Veterans Memorial next week in a game for first place, while Harlingen takes on Los Fresnos.
Los Fresnos 42 Harlingen South 23–Los Fresnos (4-2, 2-1) bounced back from a tough loss last week and won easily against Harlingen South (2-4, 1-2). Special teams play by the Falcons helped them to an early lead as they blocked a punt and returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Brownsville Veterans Memorial 51 Hanna 42–Veterans Memorial (5-1, 3-0) and Hanna (1-4, 0-3) put on an offensive show and the Chargers outlasted the Eagles, beating them 51-42.
Hanna went up 7-0 after a bad hike on a punt and they punched it in and an upset looked possible for the Eagles. Vets Memorial started running the ball and put up 24 straight points. They were led by Derrick Rodriguez, Carlos Garza and Marcus Castillo.
The Eagles bounced back behind QB Andy Lopez who led them on two drives to make the game competitive. Hanna refused to give up and kept matching Vets Memorial score for score. They trailed 31-29 and 38-36, but just couldn’t stop the explosive Chargers offense.
The win by the Veterans Memorial sets up a game vs. San Benito next Saturday that will be for first place in the District 32-6A. Hanna will play Lopez next Friday night. Both games are at Sams Stadium.
Rivera 24 Lopez 9–Rivera (1-5, 1-2) won its first game of the year after playing the toughest opening 5 games by any team in the RGV. They used a rushing attack to beat Lopez (0-6, 0-2), who remained winless on the year.
PSJA Southwest 21 Porter 14–Porter *2-4, 1-2) blew an opportunity to win its third game of the season over PSJA Southwest on Thursday night at Sams Stadium in a District 32-5A game.
After the Javelinas (4-2, 2-1) drove on its first drive to take an early lead, they went flat and coaches couldn’t explain why.
Porter kept up with PSJA Southwest when they scored on its first drive. They had a chance to go ahead at Half, but fumbled near the goal line. Those turnovers and mistakes ended up hurting Porter.
In the second half, both teams exchanged touchdowns and Porter was tied in the fourth quarter. PSJA Southwest then put together a long drive, followed by an 11 yard TD run by Hector Pecina with 1:22 left in the game. The Cowboys didn’t have enough time to answer and lost.
PSJA 42 Pace 14 (Thursday)
Port Isabel 61 Progeso 7
Orange Grove 41 Raymondville 23
Rio Hondo 19 West Oso 6
La Feria 36 Grulla 17
Zapata 37 Hidalgo 19
Lyford 21 Santa Rosa 6
SA Christian 42 St. Joseph’s Academy 22
London 49 Santa Maria 8
Three Rivers 38 La Villa 10
Brownsville Veterans Memorial vs. Hanna (Saturday)
Manuel De La Rosa works for High School Sports Magazine and covers football teams in Cameron and Willacy County. If you want to see his Twitter feed, go to mannydelarosa68 or Manuel De La Rosa on Facebook and Instagram. He also posts video and post game interviews on his You Tube Channel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org