PORT ISABEL–The battle for supremacy in 4A-Division II in District 16 will be settled Friday Night at Tarpon Stadium between Rio Hondo and Port Isabel.
These two teams have battled for years and this year is no different. These kids don’t need pep talks to get them prepared for this. It’s a rivarly, like no other, in the Rio Grande Valley. The players know they are representing their town, their family and their high school in this game.
Port Isabel comes in riding on a 17 game regular season winning streak. They haven’t lost in nearly three seasons. The Tarpons are led by a two-headed running back combination of JJ “The Rocket” Gonzalez and Alex de los Santos. The Seawall Defense has new cast members, but they are hard-hitting and are faster than last year.
Rio Hondo comes off a victory over Corpus Christi West Oso in what was a closer game than expected. The Bobcats have a tough defense and have only lost to Sinton. Rio Hondo coaches and players know what the Tarpons are going to do. They hope the defense will be ready to stop PI’s offense.
VETERANS MEMORIAL VS. SAN BENITO (Saturday)–Veterans Memorial and San Benito are playing for the top spot in 6A-District 32. Both teams are physical and have potent offensive weapons. The game will come down to defense and which team can stop the others offense.
San Benito won two close games over Los Fresnos and Harlingen, but they have yet to see an offense like the Chargers. The Greyhounds have a seasoned quarterback in Cristian Sierra. If they win, they will be in the driver’s seat to win the district.
Veterans Memorial has shined offensively, but their defense hasn’t been the same. Last week, they jumped out to a 24-7 lead over Hanna, then the Eagles came roaring back and the Chargers had to match them score for score before winning by 9 points. If they are going to win this game, the defense will need to step it up. This will be the first tough district game for Veterans Memorial as the Chargers still need to play Los Fresnos and Harlingen.
LOS FRESNOS vs. HARLINGEN-This was considered to be a game for first place in 6A-District 32 a couple of weeks ago before both teams lost heartbreakers to San Benito over the last two weeks. This game is now a battle for third place.
Los Fresnos has a tough defense and a good running attack. They are playing at home in what should be an emotional game. Harlingen is still facing injuries and the number one quarterback is playing, but he’s not 100 percent. The Cardinals aren’t used to getting beat and having a .500 record, but they need a win to get over that.
Other games involving the Lower Valley teams:
PACE vs. PORTER (Thursday)
HARLINGEN SOUTH vs. RIVERA
LOPEZ vs. HANNA
HIDALGO vs. LA FERIA
WEST OSO vs. RAYMONDVILLE
SAN DIEGO vs. LYFORD
1. Port Isabel
3. McAllen Memorial
5. Edinburg Vela
6. Weslaco East
7. Brownsville Vets Memorial
8. San Benito
9. PSJA North
10. Los Fresnos
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 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org