SAN BENITO–The Rivera Raiders have won five games in a row and are a team that’s peaking at the end of the season. They lost their first five games against tough competition, including Sharyland, but now they are co-district champs after beating San Benito on the road Friday night,42-35.
Both teams played the game in rainy conditions that made the ball tough to handle. It was the number one ranked defense in District 32 that proved to be the difference. San Benito turned the ball over four times in the first quarter. The Raiders turned three of those turnovers into touchdowns and took a 21-7 lead.
The Greyhounds eventually caught the Raiders at 28-28 in the third quarter. Then, Rivera turned to their offense and the combination of Quarterback Danny Elizondo and WR Edward Rubio. They connected on their fourth touchdown pass and pushed Rivera ahead to a 35-28 lead. That was followed by a scamper by Elizondo into the end zone to put the Raiders up by 14 points early in the fourth quarter.
San Benito answered back and cut the lead to a touchdown, but that was all she wrote as Rivera won the game. With the victory, Rivera, San Benito, Los Fresnos and Harlingen will share the district championship.
It’s no surprise for this to happen in this competitive district. You could expect the unexpected in district play that produced some upsets throughout the season. The win by Rivera meant Veterans Memorial was bounced from the playoff picture.
Greyhounds Coach Dan Gomez told High School Sports Magazine the early turnovers were too much to overcome. They couldn’t battle back because they fell too far behind due to three fumbles and one interception.
Rivera Coach Tom Chavez was excited about the victory and shared his enthusiasm with his team after the game. Players even doused him with an bucket of ice. He said it was a total team effort on both sides of the ball, but he knows his defense was the difference and that’s why they can now call themselves co-district champs.
HARLINGEN 21 HARLINGEN SOUTH 3–Harlingen won the seventh straight Bird Bowl defeating Harlingen South 21-3. The Cards used a strong running attack and the defense held the Hawks to only a field goal in winning the rivalry game played in rainy conditions at Boggus Stadium.
BROWNSVILLE VETERANS MEMORIAL 57 LOPEZ 0–The Lopez Lobos never had a chance against Brownsville Veterans Memorial. The Chargers needed a win and poured it on early, jumping out to a big lead against Lopez. The Lobos didn’t even come close to scoring and remained winless on the season. Despite the huge victory, it wasn’t enough for the Chargers as Rivera beat San Benito to clinch the last spot in the playoffs for District 32.
LOS FRESNOS 49 HANNA 0 (Saturday)
MERCEDES 41 PORTER 19
PSJA SW 18 PACE 15
DONNA 34 EDCOUCH ELSA 7
ZAPATA 22 GRULLA 9
KINGSVILLE 48 HIDALGO 21
RAYMONDVILLE 6 PORT ISABEL 0
RIO HONDO 33 PROGRESO 13
LA VILLA 58 SANTA MARIA 0
LYFORD 34 BISHOP 14
ARANSAS PASS 52 SANTA ROSA 7
2. McAllen Memorial
3. Edinburg Vela
6. Los Fresnos
7. Rio Hondo
10. San Benito
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