BROWNSVILLE–The battle for the playoffs in 6-A District 32 was supposed to decide championships and playoffs in Week 10, but instead it has made the playoff picture more confusing after a stunning upset by Harlingen South.
The Hawks, who were seen as dead in the water and done for the year, defeated San Benito, 21-20, as the Greyhounds were in line to clinch a district championship with a win. San Benito must win next week to win the district championship outright when they play Rivera.
Harlingen South used their defense to hold the Greyhounds to 20 points and a scoreless second half. The Hawks put together a drive in the 4th quarter and walked with a victory., 21-20, after a touchdown pass.
In Los Fresnos, The Falcons rebounded from a disappointing loss against Rivera and beat Veterans Memorial with a strong second half, winning 21-0. That victory pretty much assures them a playoff spot, though nothing is for sure in this competitive district.
The first half was played to a 0-0 tie and the once potent Chargers offense seemed, like they couldn’t get anything going for the second week in a row. The Falcons made some adjustments and took over in the third quarter. Running backs Isaac Moreno and Pierce Ruiz ran for touchdowns.
After that, Los Fresnos turned it over to their defense and let them win the game. They benefited from turnovers and mistakes by Veterans Memorial. Coaches from the Chargers gave credit to Los Fresnos for playing a better game and wanting to win the game more.
Veterans Memorial must win their last game of the year vs. Lopez, if they want to make the playoffs. The winless Lobos will be hoping to play the role of spoiler, but the Chargers plan to play for a chance to get into the playoffs.
The Harlingen Cardinals are in the mix for a playoff spot. The team many counted out after losing to San Benito and Los Fresnos dominated again in beating Lopez, 35-16. The defense has become its staple and now they must beat Harlingen South in the Bird Bowl, if they want to make the playoffs.
The hottest team in 6A-District 32 is by far the Rivera Raiders. They once again are picking up steam at the end of the season and defeated cross-town rival, the Hanna Eagles, 36-0.
It’s hard to believe that a team that started 0-5 after playing the toughest non-conference schedule of any Valley team will now be playing for a district championship next week vs. San Benito. This after the stunning loss by the Greyhounds against Harlingen South.
Rivera has a tough defense and an offense getting better every week. They hope to get into the playoffs, like they did last year. They made it two rounds into the playoffs. The Raiders hope that experience will help them as they prepare for the game against San Benito.
The playoff picture in 5-A District 32 got a little bit clearer after Edcouch-Elsa beat Pace, 28-14 eliminating the Vikings from the playoffs. The Yellowjackets struggled with Pace, but five turnovers by the Vikings were their undoing.
Quarterback Marco Aguinaga ran for three touchdowns and passed for another in leading Edcouch-Elsa to the victory and they clinched a playoff spot. They still have a chance for a tie for the district championship, if they beat Donna next week and Mercedes loses.
Pace coaches were happy with the performance by the Vikings. They started slow and kept competing against EE. Turnovers and penalties seemed to keep them from getting close to the Yellowjackets and making this a game.
Donna beat Donna North easily and they are pretty much in the playoffs and will play Edcouch-Elsa for second place in the district next week. EE has clinched a spot in the playoffs. PSJA won Friday night over Porter. The loss by PSJA Southwest to Mercedes meant the Bears now hold the tie-breaker for the fourth spot. PSJA plays Donna North in the final game of the year.
The game was marred by an incident in the fourth quarter when a fight broke out between an Edcouch-Elsa player and Pace player on a punt return. It happened near the Yellowjackets sidelines and some players came on the field. Four players were ejected, including three from Edcouch-Elsa and one from Pace. A Pace parent jumped onto the field and was stopped on the sidelines by security and BISD Police. The parent was ejected and removed from the game for trespassing.
PORT ISABEL VS. ORANGE GROVE–If there wasn’t a rivalry between Port Isabel and Orange Grove, there is now as the Bulldogs dominated the Tarpons 33-7 and claimed the district championship at Bulldog Stadium.
Afterwards, PI coaches claimed Orange Grove Head Coach Jerry Bomar said to the Tarpon players to go home while shaking hands. It’s something Bomar denied, though he said we whipped Port Isabel.
Port Isabel beat Orange Grove last year in the playoffs 40-7 in a game the Seawall Defense took over from the start. Gone was Jacque Guillot, Estevan Montelongo and Isaiah Martinez and they missed those star players from a year ago.
New year. New team for the Tarpons. The defense had blown coverages, bad tackling, penalties and a kickoff return for a touchdown that helped Orange Grove build an early 20-0 early into the second quarter.
The only bright spot for the Tarpons was a long drive in the second quarter, capped off by a touchdown run by JJ “The Rocket” Gonzalez. It looked like the Tarpons had the momentum, but Orange Grove stopped them in the second half, holding them scoreless. The Bulldogs scored two more touchdowns, putting away Port Isabel.
Clearly, for Orange Grove and its players, they got revenge for last year’s beating behind QB Hondo Harris and their offense. They jumped around celebrating the victory and the district championship at the end of the game. Though Orange Grove played in a different district last year, they won district for a fourth straight year. An accomplishment the Bulldogs have never accomplished before.
The young Tarpons learned the agony of defeat. This was a team that started the season with only a handful of returning players from the past two years in which they had gone three and four rounds deep into the playoffs. While they have qualified for the playoffs, they will play Raymondville next week in a battle for third place. That’s not what Tarpons players had hoped for when the season started.
The PI coaches and players will be eagerly awaiting the next game with the Orange Grove to avenge this defeat. They also would like to remind Orange Grove about the celebration and the words of the Bulldogs Head Coach after this victory.
PSJA 42 PORTER 7
MERCEDES 48 PSJA SOUTHWEST 34
DONNA 56 DONNA NORTH 14
ZAPATA 31 LA FERIA 21
RIO HONDO 27 RAYMONDVILLE 13
WEST OSO 45 PROGRESO 6
SAN DIEGO 41 SANTA ROSA 14
ARANSAS PASS 52 LYFORD 14
THREE RIVERS 53 SANTA MARIA 12
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 email@example.com