Midway through the district schedule, we have learned San Benito is the team to beat. They have won close games against Los Fresnos and Harlingen and beat Veterans Memorial in a shootout over the weekend. They are faced the meat of their schedule and the top teams. They play Lopez, Harlingen South and Rivera to finish out the season.
Harlingen been battling injuries that have cost them some close games in district. Coach Manny Gomez said it was a three part season. The first part was the pre-district schedule that included losses to McAllen and Reagan out of San Antonio. The second part has included close loss to San Benito and they were beaten in the fourth quarter against Los Fresnos. They come home this week against Veterans Memorial, facing the possibility of a three game losing streak. They are in 4th place, but do hold the tie breaker over Rivera. The question is can they rebound to get ready for the third part of the season and a playoff run. Last year, Rivera made a run as the fourth seed. They need to overcome the injuries and continue to mature as a team.
Veterans Memorial is facing it’s toughest part of the schedule. They lost a tough game vs San Benito. At some point, you knew the defense would be liability, but many thought they would outscore San Benito. Next up is Harlingen. The Cardinals are hungry for a win. We will see how Veterans Memorial responds. The Chargers are good on offense and can play with the best of the teams in the Rio Grande Valley. The defense will have to step it up, if they want to make a playoff run.
Los Fresnos is the wildcard in this whole situation. They lost a tough game against San Benito and beat Harlingen. They still need to play Vets Memorial. They are a good team that plays good football. They are battling to get a higher seed in the playoffs. The Falcons have the potential to make a run in the playoffs.
Rivera, Hanna, Lopez and Harlingen South round out this district. Rivera has played a tough schedule with a young team. They are getting better, but the loss against Harlingen hurt their playoff chances. Hanna can score points and they are a good team. They too have lost some key games in district that will make it tough to make the playoffs. Lopez and Harlingen South have a big uphill battle to make that fourth spot for the playoffs.
The battle for the playoffs is coming down to five teams in this district from the Mid-Valley. Mercedes is undefeated in district, riding a six game winning streak. They won a big game over Edcouch-Elsa last Friday. They are the team to beat in this district.
Edcouch-Elsa and PSJA Southwest are in second place at 3-1. The Yellow Jackets started out slow with a young team, but have rebounded in district to dominate until the loss to Mercedes. PSJA Southwest is the surprise team here. They are playing EE this week and Mercedes next week. That will determine if they make the playoffs.
PSJA and Donna are 2-2 and battling for the playoffs. Donna holds the tie breaker by virtue of their victory over PSJA last week. The Redskins play Porter and Donna North the next two weeks before finishing the season against Edcouch Elsa. PSJA plays Mercedes this week, then games against Porter and Donna North.
Pace, Porter and Donna North are the teams who have big roads to make the playoffs. They can play the role of spoiler. Pace has played a tough schedule and gotten better as the season continues. Porter has won a few games this year, but it seems they are always beating themselves with turnovers and slow starts. Donna North is battling to win games, but just coming up short.
(Wednesday, we will look at the 4A District from the Lower Valley.)
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. You can subscribe to his You Tube Channel at Manuel De La Rosa. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org