Week 0 POW Javi Obregon
This week’s 956sports.com Player of the Week is Nikki Rowe’s Javi Obregon. Obregon threw for 316 yards against the Economedes Jaguars. The Warriors put up 62 points against Economedes’ 35.
Thought perhaps I should tell the readers of 956sports.com what I plan this blog is going to be about and why I decided to write it.
Jake Berry has approached me a couple of times to write for the site, but for various reasons I didn’t take up the offer. To be honest, the death of my father last year hit me harder than I thought it would. It also left me with a few more responsibilities than I’m used to dealing with. So as a result, I had really felt like writing.
Things are starting to get better and so when Jake offered this year, I was pleased he did.
I’m not from the Valley, but I lived there long enough to feel like I’m a part of it.
As I’ve said before, there’s something special about sports and high school football in the Valley.
Often times on a Friday night during the fall as I drove up 77 to cover a game I felt comforted by the lights from the football stadiums along the side of the highway. I like the fact that at Bobby Lackey Stadium I can look out of the press box and see Bennie La Prade Stadium in Donna.
And well, the food in the press box at Sams Stadium is legendary and may well be a blog post for another time if I get down there.
With this blog, I’m going to be looking to do something a little different than rehashing games and stats, after all there’s plenty of places to find that. I’m going to try and look for things a little different, the quirky and the offbeat. To be honest, my idea of what the blog will be evolves every time I sit down to think about it and write it.
And your input is always welcome.
I’ll always post my email address and I’m on Twitter and Facebook, so I don’t hide.
Paul Conatzer is a long-time sportswriter currently living in San Antonio. He likes tampiquinas in the morning after a hard night of covering high school football games. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @Toffeepaul.comShare this post:
Catfight 2011: Rio Hondo Takes On All Foes, Guns For Deep Playoff Run
BY GREG SELBER
One will not find the Chiapas Colts on the schedule this season, or the Little Sisters of the Not So Wealthy. But one will see Edcouch-Elsa and Sinton, and a few other luminaries of note. For Rio Hondo and Coach Rocky James, the opportunity to take on the best of the best is something to be relished, a challenge, and a chance to improve.
“People think I am crazy to be playing some of these really good teams from higher classifications,” admitted the fourth-year coach Monday, as his Bobcats began preparing in earnest for a collision with the vaunted Yellowjackets Friday at The Black Hole. “But I love it, I really do. I mean, the chance to play against them will do nothing but show us where we’re at, and I think it will make us better.”
After a 54-6 shellacking of Robstown in Zero Week, the Bobcats are set to blast off on the road Friday, and perhaps even with the difficult musters ahead, the program is going to be able to avoid the slow start that hamstrung the effort in 2010. Then, a late-season rush after a 1-4 beginning propelled Rio Hondo into the playoffs for the sixth year in a row. But it was touch and go for a while there.
“Well, you say tough schedule, and it was,” commented James, a Harlingen High grad who did the tour of Valley schools (five in all) before settling in as defensive coordinator at his current home; he took over as head cheese for Gus Cavazos in 2008. “But it’s even tougher when you lose your starting quarterback. When Juan Puga went down we struggled, and that made a tough schedule even tougher.”
The value of QB Puga to the Bobcat charge is apparent, as he threw for five touchdowns in the ’11 opener. Now a 185-pound junior, he’s one of the Valley’s most consistent winners, for a program that has taken 51 of 71 contests in the past six-plus seasons. Yes, junior…it just seems like Puga has been there for six years, because observers have been touting him as a star since his freshman year.
As the guys head toward Edcouch and then state power Sinton on the road Sept. 9, Puga and the much-improved RH defense will be at the fore of the effort.
“Last year we were right there with Sinton, down 14-7 in the first half, and we thought, ‘Hey, we’re doing this,’” recalled James, who speaks with steady fire and is one of the most competent and confident coaches in the Valley, unreservedly loved by the community and most importantly, the kids. “They came out and whipped up on us some in the second half, but overall, we felt like it was a good experience. I have never been the type who has to win every game, if we can get better and learn something every week, that’s what we’re after. Nobody likes to lose, but if we go 3-2, 4-1 before district, and we feel like we got better, I’m OK with that.”
Facing E-E, which wasted Rio Hondo’s league rival Port Isabel 48-0 in the season opener, is a steep hill for sure. But the James Gang thinks that with a few breaks, Friday night could be mighty interesting.
“I am ecstatic about the opportunity, and though they are bigger than we are, I think we can hold our own,” he enthused. “This year’s team has more experience and maturity, and I think we have the potential to be a three-deep playoff contender, I really do. And it’s games like this one, and Sinton, that will help us get to where we need to be.”
MEET THE BOBCATS
With a healthy Puga, a stable of solid backs, and some big-play veterans like Sean O’Brien, the Bobcats would appear well-placed to go up to the Mid-Valley and compete for 48 minutes. They will, however, be without perhaps the team’s most impressive all-around athlete. Though he scored twice against Robstown, senior star Jorge Bermudez will be on the sidelines Friday with a slight knee sprain.
That doesn’t faze James, who adds that the explosive two-way performer will be back at receiver and safety before too long.
The loss of Bermudez in the secondary is not as bad as it could have been, because the ‘Cats have a pair of newcomers who are starting to throw down. “Gilbert Mendoza and Estevan Frias have stepped in and done well so far,” James explained. “Gilbert has a ton of football sense, he can play anywhere in the secondary and Frias has been great…in scrimmages and the opener, he has made like one mistake the whole time.”
The development of these youngsters has allowed RH to use O’Brien, a devastating deep threat at WR, predominantly on the scoring side of the ball. This year, the 3A club has nearly 50 kids on the roster, spelling a depth advantage against teams from its class, and at least a push in that category with most 4As.
Working forward in assessing the defense after the DBs: the Rio Hondo front seven is a very talented group.
Junior linebacker Santos Carrizales holds sway in the middle and produced 14 tackles against the Cottonpickers, as the Bobcats forced a slew of turnovers, one for a TD and two more that gave Puga and the guys possession inside the Robstown 10. The other big name at LB is Max Castillo, who turned in 11 stops in the opener.
“We knew this guy was going to be a stud when he was a sophomore,” said his coach. “And this season he has shown a lot of growth, the maturity that was the only thing he was lacking in the past. He is a great football player, no doubt about it.”
As salty as the linebackers are, the front four might be better, although that assertion is good-natured argument grist. The ends, Freddy Gonzalez and E.J. Castaneda, are super seasoned with a nose for the ball. Gonzalez in particular has excellent wheels, as indicated by his participation on the track team as a sprinter in the 100. Castaneda, stocky and strong, can get up and go as well, meaning that the bookends on the Bobcat D will run and chase all night.
At tackle, Phillip Adames started as a sophomore last year, and James said he is even more effective in 2011 so far. He will have to be, as 2010 fellow regular John Luna has been lost to a torn ACL, ruining his junior season.
“Adames is 200 pounds and strong,” James said. “He’s got quickness too, our whole front seven has that, and it makes for a pretty good unit.”
Adames was the center on last year’s playoff squad, but the development of baseball vet Mando Sauceda there has enabled the former to concentrate on defense. James says the latter has a very professional attitude about playing the all-important position, and is emerging as the anchor of the unit.
“We’ve got two juniors starting, and that means we will have them back next year,” he said. “The left side right now is very tough, with Eric Flores at guard and Juan Sanchez at tackle.”
Flores is the biggest kid on the team at 285 but like most of the RH guys, he is not a slowpoke. James notes that after the Robstown win, during which the O-line went the whole way, none of the hosses was too terribly winded.
“And they were running sprints today, and looked like they are in good condition,” James reported. “Flores told me after the game Friday that he could still play, even after all that, and that’s a good sign.”
In all it’s shaping up like a banner year for the Bobcats, who went 10-2 in 2006, 11-1 a year later, and 10-3 in 2008, James’ rookie season in charge. They’ve made The Dance the past two years with decent showings, but are ready to get back into double figures in the win column in 2011. This crew has got the talent and experience to be a real factor both in District 31-5A and the region at large come postseason.
It all starts with the usual juggernaut of opponents, a far cry from the old days in the 1990s when Rio Hondo was known for starting fast out of the box with a string of no-name patsies on the schedule, only to wilt down the stretch.
The other factor that has the James Gang feeling giddy about things these days is a numbers game.
“We have a lot of kids in the program, and this is just a great place to be for football,” James said. “All the way down to junior high, interest is high, heck, we now have a sixth-grade pre-athletic deal, and we had 60 kids sign up. It’s a good problem to have, having so many kids that you have to worry about getting them all reps!”Share this post:
Somerset vs Mission Vets Highlights
#1 Harlingen Cardinals
#2 McAllen Memorial Mustangs
#3 Weslaco East Wildcats
The Huddle Episode 4
Tony and I will attempt to get Mel Rios (PSJA Bears), Coach Bush (PSJA North) and Manny Moreno (Donna) on the show today as well as other guest from across the valley. Second Half of the show is below.
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Port Isabel vs Edcouch Elsa Highlights
Bobcats Stomp Opening Foe
EHS 46, LA JOYA 0
The Edinburg Bobcats had little trouble with La Joya Friday night at Cats Stadium, dispatching the Coyotes 46-0 in the season opener for both clubs. Edinburg, which defeated La Joya 45-0 in 2010, bettered that with 20 seconds left in the third and basically slowed the pace considerably in the final period to avoid rubbing it in.
Fullback Arnie Alvarado rambled for three touchdowns to lead the way for EHS, which takes on a tougher assignment next week against McAllen, on the road. The first came after an early fumble by La Joya gave the ‘Cats great field position at the Coyotes 24.
With a 7-0 lead, EHS got sloppy a bit on D on the Coyotes, who would gain just 94 total yards with six first downs, reached the Edinburg 35. But a quarterback sack from senior tackle Johnny Espinosa saved the day and forced a La Joya punt.
From there, Edinburg added two TDs, one after a great punt return from Sal Martinez set up Alvarado’s second score, and the other when Ossie Silguero’s interception led to a 29-yard scamper by Victor Montemayor.
The lead was increased at 24-0 at the half when sophomore Kristov Martinez, who performed well all night, boomed a 46-yard field goal with 0:01 left on the clock.
Alex Cantu started at QB for the ‘Cats and withstood a slow start in execution to finish eight of nine through the air. He did lose a fumble in the first half. Ramon Enriquez played most of the second half after Cantu had led the team to a score on the opening drive of the third period. He was 2 of 4 with a short TD to Favian Quintanilla flaring out of the backfield.
EHS gained 266 total yards and took five turnovers while giving two. Martinez made one of the team’s three interceptions and also recovered a fumble, while DB pal Teddy Lara raced 18 yards with a pick for a TD in the third quarter.
Coach Joey Caceres said it was a good start to 2011, and that he was pleased with every facet of the game Friday, especially special teams. Enriquez launched a perfect 38-yard punt with super hang time and it was fair caught at the 7 in the second period, as the ‘Cats won field position again and again.
Adam Alonzo paced the defense with 10 tackles, as the starters checked it in after three quarters. Lara ended with eight stops as did junior linebacker Vincent de la Cruz.
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Weslaco vs. Mercedes Full Game
In a rivalry game, scores can never truly tell the story. Weslaco defeats Mercedes 16-3 on the road.Share this post:
McHi vs. PSJA Memorial Full Game
In a game where 7 turnovers took place, getting out with the victory was all that matters. McHi was able to hold on to a lead late to claim a 17-14 victory.Share this post:
A Fantastic Road Trip: Donna Pounds, Passes Way To Win At North
BY GREG SELBER
PHARR – After the strains of the famous “Redskin Corrido” had serenaded them, and after they’d mooned for one of the myriad video cameras vying for their attention, the Redskins finally settled down to listen to their patient coach.
Manny Moreno could afford to wait a bit, especially after his upstart bunch had put the wood to a perennial power, on the road no less, to start the 2011 Valley football season off with a bang, 34-21. This is a big year in town, from the 50th anniversary of the state title team of 1961 to the inevitable and grinding pressure on the program after last season’s uncharacteristic 4-6 showing. All eyes are on Moreno and his crew this fall, and with the eyes on Pharr North-Donna for the night’s only football game, the sight was a bit of a surprise. For sore eyes, say the Braves.
Dominating the Raiders up front, the Redskins grinded away with bull-rushing Eduardo Fraire, who picked up 119 yards. And after the rampaging 220-pound senior had softened up the defense into tenderloin, quarterback Dion Padilla was able to find the mark for four perfect touchdown passes. Meanwhile, the ‘Skin defense was in the process of basically stopping the vaunted Raider attack, holding it to 155 rushing yards, and just four first downs after the half.
The result was a 13-point win, as Donna led 13-7 at the break, went down early in the third 14-13, but then exploded for the next three six-pointers to take this one going away. For a squad that had come in as at least a touchdown underdog, this was one for the books.
Padilla, a tall and as it turns out accurate, junior passer, fired three scoring balls in the third quarter as the Redskins found gaping holes in the Raiders secondary; two of them came within 20 seconds of one another with a Pharr North fumbled kickoff sandwiched in between. Ball game.
“We have been throwing a lot in practice, so we were ready,” said Padilla, who completed eight of 14 for 153 yards. “They were biting a lot on the run, really coming up, and so we came with the pass. This win shows a lot, to the fans, the community, and the Valley. We always have great expectations in Donna and our job is to come out here and meet them.”
As for Fraire, who bided his time last season when he was used mainly on defense, the upset against North was extra sweet. Running through and at times around the smallish opponent, he was able to keep drives going all night; one of the coaches likened him to NFL Hall of Famer Earl Campbell, and Thursday, Fraire indeed unleashed some punishing blows upon would-be tacklers.
“The holes were there, I just had to hit them hard,” he commented, agreeing with Padilla and Moreno that the offensive line was able to establish the line of scrimmage mastery that usually leads to good things; strong O-line play has been a Donna staple for generations. “We beat a good team when maybe a lot of people didn’t think we could. But we shocked everyone and we are going to keep on shocking the Valley until we make it back to the playoffs!”
WHO’S ON FIRST?
This was somewhat testy to try and adjudicate, the opener of openers, the marquee game to begin 2011. These two have been playoff constants for the better part of recent history, Donna for way longer, though neither went to the postseason a year ago. North just missed out, and then waved goodbye to a ton of kids via graduation. But farmers have been able to set their watch by the progression of Coach Bruce Bush’s units. They are always in the hunt and why should 2011 be any different?
Donna meanwhile had limped to a 4-6 mark in 2010, and the hue and cry against that unhappy fact could be heard emanating from the halls of power in that football-mad town from the final game on into the winter of their discontent. Moreno weathered the storm like a stoic warrior, like someone who has been a mainstay in Donna football country much of his life, which he pretty much has. Still, it was vital for the Redskins to come out and give the Raiders a good ball game, and they did way more than that.
But first it looked like another solid ground round from the steady Raiders, as they marched 61 yards in eight plays on their first possession, scoring the first Valley TD of 2011 on a 7-yard romp by veteran Alex Gutierrez, who is of course no stranger to the end zone after having visited 20 times as a junior.
But Donna responded well, putting together its own nice cruise, 69 yards in 12 snaps, with Fraire hammering a first down out of a fourth-down chance. Overcoming a holding penalty (the refs were super busy Thursday) the ‘Skins evened the count at 7-7 when Padilla’s 22-yard scramble led to a 2-yard romp from Fraire at 0:59.
The first half was a swiftly moving deal, with the teams sticking to the run as is their traditional wont. North set sail after Donna’s TD, moving from its 8 (an illegal block on the kick return carved the hole) and converting four first downs to reach the Donna 9 in good shape. New quarterback Austin Navarro was running the show smoothly until a motion penalty at a key juncture. Later, a field goal try hit the crossbar and boinged back onto the field of play at 5:52, and the Black Attack had missed a gimme scoring opportunity.
Given a reprieve, Donna then resumed its charge, firing out up front behind center Joseph Guerrero and his mates, getting a pass completion for 10 yards from Padilla to Alex Montalvo, and then dodging a big bullet. Padilla’s ball to Jack Lopez (excellent performance on both sides of the ball) was fumbled, with Donna teammate Darien Hernandez alertly falling on it at the North 47. Seven plays later, Hernandez, a smooth junior wideout, hauled in a 25-yard floater from Padilla at 0:43, to send the underdog into the lockers on front by six. Padilla showed amazing courage on the play, completing the TD pass under a thunderous Raider rush, one of the few times the home side could manage some pressure.
Yardage was about even for the half, with North having blown the shot inside the Red Zone, and that was the difference there. The rain that surprised the Valley Thursday afternoon began to dissipate, as most rains do around here, and the second half was going to offer calm and halfway cool conditions. And a Maroon Storm.
North, which has gone to the postseason seven times in the past 11 years, including three-deep trips in 2003 and 2009, was determined to come back strong, and also dead set on making good work out of the kickoff reverse, something it had tried twice already.
As the third period opened, ha ha! some trickery, with senior Marcos Davila FAKING the reverse and finding a ready road, steaming 94 yards down to the Donna 5. This time, the Raiders did not botch the Red Zone occasion, as Navarro, a lanky lad who resembles former Edcouch-Elsa great Erick Nino more than a bit, scored from the 4. Navarro had broken off a 45-yard run in the first, and shows promise for the future with solid wheels. His run at 11:04 gave the Raiders a 14-13 advantage, and the home fans ceased their grumbling and started to enjoy the game, school night or no.
But Fraire immediately re-tooled his onslaught against the sagging Black D, to great benefit for his team. Though safety Chris Sustaita (13 tackles, he was the guy whose Pick Six last year turned the tide in North’s favor for the win at Donna) and linebacker Marco Garza (14 to lead all humans) were ready to take him on play after play, Fraire is, as his coach will attest, a horse.
“And we’re going to ride him!” quipped Moreno after the final gun. “We did what we needed to do on offense, whatever they gave us, we took. We’ve got great kids and they really paid the price in the offseason. I thought our line did a nice job up front, and when we had the openings, we passed it well too.”
And the pass was indeed the avenue through which Donna careened to 1-0 for the nascent year. After North took the lead, the ‘Skins used Fraire’s thrashing runs to set up Padilla with room to toss. He hit the shifty Montalvo for a 14-yard gain, Fraire bulled 12 yards to the 29, and two plays later it was Padilla to Montalvo, 22 yards and the TD at 6:04.
From there, lightning.
North went three and out with junior Marco Lopez (seven stops) halting two runs and junior DB Michael Cadena (10 tackles) continuing to come up with big hits. Jack Lopez, who had six tackles, ran for 38 yards, and blocked well, was consistently good. Though the Redskins jumped offside an amazing six times Thursday, Moreno noted that yes, that’s not OK, but added that he would rather have an aggressive defense than a passive one.
The former, he had against the Raiders. The three and out the Redskins forced looked even nicer when the Raider punt was terrible, traveling just 16 yards to the North 34. That bear, Fraire again, for 14 on third and three, and Padilla capped it with a 28-yarder down the middle to Lopez for a 27-13 lead at 1:44 of the third.
The striking thing about that backbreaking score is that a touchdown pass from Padilla (he really threw some sweet peas) to Montalvo on the backside had been nullified by a penalty. A 4-6 team would have collapsed after losing the six, but Donna showed that it might be way more of a force in the 30-5A race than folks have predicted, coming right back on the next snap to play it again, Sam.
At this stage, the usually imperturbable Raiders were showing definite signs of cracking. Their defense had not been able to put the halter on Fraire, and Padilla was beginning to find way too much open pastureland in the secondary. Defensively, Donna had done the job against the pesky Slot-T, getting penetration, keeping eyes open for the fakes, and generally knocking the Raiders around with bad intentions. Gutierrez, who was held to 51 yards, never got going much, and that is a testament to the gang-tackling Redskin effort. They outhit the Raiders, and that don’t happen much, kids.
The wheels came off for good now, as North fumbled a squib kickoff after the Donna TD, one of several times the home side had trouble with the tricky kicking of a program long known for producing first-class special teams units.
Taking over at the 24, Donna needed, oh…one play, and it was Padilla up top to Hernandez again for a 34-21 lead at 1:31, or 13 seconds after the last Brave bite.
With one last gasp of pride, North bowed up and made it 21 points in under a minute after Davila snared a bomb from Navarro and sprinted 70 yards to the end zone on the next play from scrimmage.
This dizzying segment ended the meaningful moments in the season opener. Penalties and a fumble for North, with its kids looking somewhat dismayed at the turn of events against a team that was supposed to be there for the taking.
For Donna, back to the running game with no real reason to risk putting it in the air, up 13. As the night ended, the Redskins had control of the ball and who knows, perhaps their destiny in 2011. They were an afterthought for the most part in the preseason prediction parties, while the Raiders by unofficial consensus were picked to return to the playoffs. The coming weeks will indicate whither each.
This is what makes all tingle with anticipation and impatience before the summer gets too long in the tooth. Because all know that despite the should and mights, the prognostications of sure things and bridesmaids, there are always going to be wrenches in the machine, surprises, disappointments, and the like once two-a-days are done and the evenings start to count. This is why they play the games, and why the kickoff classic to 2011 might just have ushered in a wild and wooly campaign during which all sorts of strange and marvelous somethings will present themselves for our unending entertainment.
Donna in an emphatic shocker to start the parade. What do you know about that?
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Donna vs PSJA Highlights
Donna used the run to open the passing game it what could be one of many opening week shockers.
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Donna vs. PSJA North Full Game
Joe Bowling leads our first broadcast of the year between the Donna Redskins and the PSJA North Raiders.
#4 Edcouch Elsa
Friday Night LIghts, Fights: Preview for Zero Week
BY GREG SELBER
For the kickoff week of a new football season, the schedule is a tad light upon first glance, but there are some compelling matchups to be had nonetheless.
Among them is the Hanna-Sharyland game, mainly to see the Rattlers start their defense of the district title with a revamped attack. Last year the Rattlers pounded the Eagles unmercifully, 46-0. Hanna has some weapons but will have to work overtime to stay with one of the Valley’s most consistent winners.
Also worth keeping an eye on is the Edinburg North-Pace match between a couple of teams that will probably be prominent in their league races in 2011. North is walking somewhat of a tightrope, with a talented group short on depth. The Coogs will score some points in 2011; the question is, Can they stop the other offenses? The Vikings have been one of the best buzz generators in the early going with a strong start. Pace is very balanced and explosive on offense, with defensive stars Ubaldo Encinia and Kyle Carter looking every bit as awesome as they did last year.
It’s one thing to perform well in scrimmages, another to transfer that to the regular season. But Pace looks to be the class of the Brownsvilles heading into 2011.
In past years the Edcouch-Elsa versus Port Isabel contest has been a barnburner, but this time around the Tarpons are going to have to hustle to keep up with the terribly tough Yellowjackets. PI will end up competing for a playoff spot in 32-3A, and starting off with a solid effort against a favored club on the road is a must. The young Tarps seek to avoid the crummy start that put them behind the eight ball a bit in 2010 before a superb finishing run salvaged the campaign.
The season actually gets going Thursday at P-SJ-A Stadium with the Raiders of North taking on Donna. This fall marks the 50th anniversary of the Redskin state title run, and Coach Manny Moreno and his club want desperately to make the grade, and frankly, a lot is riding on the season for Donna besides history. North has some question marks but one can always count on the program to be competitive. How competitive, it remains to be seen, making this kickoff game a definitely intriguing one.
Rio Hondo begins the slate with a fight against Robstown; last year the Bobcats lost a bunch early, including to the Cottonpickers, and much like PI turned it on late to gain a playoff berth. This time, the talent-rich club has been picked to win the league, and should be able to take care of a Robstown unit that suffered big-time graduation losses.
One of the most even-Steven matches pits Hidalgo and La Feria, two old buddies from the 32-3A days of old. The Pirates will try and establish the running game while the Lions under new coach Oscar Salinas have one of the most exciting receivers in the Valley, Gilbert Jimenez.
US AGAINST THE WORLD
The Valley sends a number of its contingents into battle against upstate outfits, including Mission Vets against Somerset, Los Fresnos against Del Valle, Lyford against Hebbronville, Harlingen South against Victoria East, and Mission against San Antonio Holy Cross.
Former Mission coach Sonny Detmer makes his return to the area guiding a Somerset team that went 10-3 last year but will take the field minus great QB Stevie Dorman, who moved on to college. The Bulldogs are picked second in 27-3A behind Devine and ahead of Hondo.
The Del Valle team that Los Fresnos takes on was 2-8 last year and is picked fifth in 15-5A. But last season the Cards blasted the Falcons to bits. In 2011, it is imperative for Los Fresnos to make a better showing, and by all accounts, they appear prepared to do so.
Hebbronville is selected fifth in 16-2A this season after a decent 6-4 season a year ago. Lyford, after a somewhat disappointing effort last year, wants to get back into the mix, and prove that that the program is still a threat. Says here that it is that, and will be better than people think.
In 2010, Harlingen South got simply pulverized by Victoria East, allowing 76 points. The Titans, 11-2 last year, are still tough but expect the improved Hawks to compete way better than they did last time. This is the season for South to show progress, for sure.
Mission has not had the greatest beginning in 2011, and faces a difficult task against perennial TAPPS power Holy Cross, which had seven wins last year and should gain more this fall. It’s always tricky to work against a private school; you beat them and folks say you should have. You lose and people say, How could that happen?Share this post:
956sports.com Android App
956sports.com is pleased to announce that it’s first Android Application is now active. 956sports.com with the help of Onseeker.com released the application in time for the high school football season. The new app features schedules with maps to each stadium in the Rio Grande Valley. News from website can be access via the app and you can also watch videos and highlights.
This year 956sports.com will be focusing on photographing and news articles. The app will feature photo galleries and also articles from Greg Selber and other writers.
The application will also feature a live audio streaming component to go along with our live broadcasts.
956sports.com will be announcing in the next couple weeks their Iphone App.
Please click here for the app.
#5 Sharyland Rattlers
Been There, Done That: Year Older And Wiser, Reyes’ Warriors Advance
One coach is going to be able to relate to what his counterpart on the visitors’ side is going through Friday night in McAllen. As Paul Reyes and the Rowe Warriors welcome a revamped Economedes program to town, they do not have to search too far back in the memory banks for a fit.
See, Reyes took over last year for long-time Rowe leader Gary Lauer, after a successful lifetime as a top assistant and offensive innovator. He came in to the mix and immediately produced a playoff trip, but he also knows that being new and helping a program start over, these are tough musters. As Gabe Pena officially takes the reins of the visiting Jags, Reyes is going to be shaking his head…yeah, I remember that.
“I definitely feel we understand where they’re at, we were in the same boat last year,” said Reyes, the West Texas native who as stated guided the Warriors into the postseason in 2010 after a long run with McHigh starting in 1992 under Alex Leal, plus a year in Mercedes (2009). “That is an interesting situation, you are beginning, you’re new so there is a lot to work on, the learning takes place all over, every day. It can be tough. But, you also get a team that will be really ready to play. I think Economedes is going to be excited Friday, the program has all kinds of expectations, of course…I tell you this, we need to be ready because they are going to give us a ball game.”
The magazines will tell you that Rowe graduated a ton of kids, and that is the truth, but as Reyes says, the program itself now understands what is expected, how things are done, etc., and the hope is to plug in a bunch of new faces with talent to spare, and not miss a beat.
“Right, last year we had to take step one, no one knew much when we started, but now we are so much farther ahead, we like our kids and the way we have worked to learn things, and so maybe we can go all the way to step three. That’s what happens from the first year to the next, if it all works out.”
If it all works out for the Warriors again this year, it will probably be because they outquicked and outthought the other teams. Rowe ain’t that big, except for a massive yet fast-footed O-line. But the crew can toss the ball, as evidenced by a very solid showing last week in scrimmage action on the road at Edinburg. Senior Javi Obregon and promising sophomore Justin Owens were able to throw against the Bobcats’ top-notch secondary quite well, and that is another indication of the first/second year dichotomy.
“We all, the coaches, have now gotten on the same page, with a year to work on it,” Reyes explained. “So instead of just going basic we were able to anticipate what Edinburg was going to do and give us, and gameplan with it. Which means we didn’t run that much, I think we’ll run more as the season wears on, but we found we could complete some passes. We took what was there, and it’s hard to gameplan in the scrimmages when you’re a new coach, heck you’re still getting to know the personnel.”
Obregon is a stocky little cat who seems to be accurate with his throws; against EHS he seemed at home hitting the intermediate routes or dropping it off short to speedy junior Josh Bimpong and others. The younger brother of former Warrior standout Jon Bimpong exhibited some unreal wheels in the scrimmage, and the coaches are counting on him to be a difference-maker.
“He’s shifty, got some great moves, so we are hoping he can give us some big plays,” Reyes said.
Huge tackle prospect Adonis Cruz leads the way up front, as the Warriors look to pass early and often, keeping the opposing D’s off balance and gasping for breath. Defensively it’s a different tale, one where Reyes and Co. are looking to be tougher than their foes.
“If you’re not big – and we are not – well then you’d better be aggressive,” the coach commented. “We have to get out there and get after the other teams. The key is to get off fast and mess up the other team’s execution, to counteract the fact that you might not be as powerful.”
That was the case against EHS, as the Rowe D shot the gaps, stunted around, and generally stopped the vaunted Bobcat ground game fairly consistently. Led by linebackers Jordan Neiger and Cesar Ybarra, the Warriors hit hard, got fired up, and stayed that way all night.
“We had a lot of guys yakking, let’s just say that,” Reyes laughed. “Ibarra, he is a vocal leader out there and you need that sort of excitement on a defense, it gets you going. Ibarra came over to us from McHigh, it was funny, we were saying that we needed another linebacker in the spring, and the very next day, he walks in to the office and says he wants to play.”
Neiger, who broke his leg last season, is a tough customer who can bring the wood from the middle, and veteran Bobby Alejandro is a seasoned hitter. With some fast D-line guys in Alex Garcia, Chris Aguilar, and Adrian Acosta, Rowe is trying to win with speed and hitting, even though it probably has one of the smallest defenses in the league. It has been done before, after all.
“Both sides of the ball, that’s the deal, we need to take advantage of our quickness,” Reyes noted. “The good part is, we feel we have turned the corner here at Rowe. Winning the city championship and making the playoffs our first year, that helped. People noticed that, the school and the kids got excited about it, and they want to do it again.
“I think folks take a look at our roster and they see we lost a lot, so they don’t think we can do it. But I feel like we are going to be a really good team, get some momentum in non-district, and then go into district play and try and do it again.”Share this post:
Greg Selber’s Picks
PRESEASON VALLEY TOP 10
2 MCALLEN MEMORIAL
3 WESLACO EAST
5 RIO HONDO
10 SANTA ROSA
7 LA JOYA
4 P-SJ-A NORTH
5 EDINBURG NORTH
6 HARLINGEN SOUTH
7 P-SJ-A MEMORIAL
2 LOS FRESNOS
3 BROWNSVILLE PACE
4 SAN BENITO
1 WESLACO EAST
4 MISSION VETS
7 RIO GRANDE CITY
9 VALLEY VIEW
1 RIO HONDO
2 PORT ISABEL
4 LA FERIA
1 CC MILLER
5 WEST OSO
6 ORANGE GROVE
1 SANTA ROSA
2 SAN DIEGO
1 BEN BOLT
2 LA VILLA
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#6 Edinburg Bobcats
Jake Berry’s Picks
PRESEASON VALLEY TOP 10
2 MCALLEN MEMORIAL
3 WESLACO EAST
5 RIO HONDO
10 SANTA ROSA
Jake’s Top Ten
2) Weslaco East
3) Edcouch Elsa
5) Rio Hondo
10) Santa Rosa
4) PSJA North
2) San Benito
3) Los Fresnos
1) Weslaco East
2) Edcouch Elsa
1) Rio Hondo
2) Port Isabel
3) La GrullaShare this post:
7# Weslaco Panthers
The Huddle Episode 3
Big day today! Coaches Paul Reyes – Nikki Rowe, Mike Uribe- Mercedes, Spencer Gantt- San Benito, Tom Campos- Hanna, and Robin Kirk- Hidalgo will join us on the show today. Pop-ins by Carlos Robledo and Clay Williams today as well. Check out The Huddle online or on your Iphone/Android phone using the Ustream App. You can also listen to us onFoxSports Radio 840am from 8-10 this morning.
#8 Mission Vets
#9 PSJA BEARS
10# McAllen Bulldogs
956sports.com Preseason All-Valley Team
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
QB Kevin Ledesma, Harlingen
RB Brian Blake, Harlingen
RB Ricky Cantu, La Villa
WR Gilbert Jimenez, La Feria
WR Randy Bermea, Harlingen
WR Aaron Ramirez, Santa Rosa
OL Carlos Cuellar, Weslaco East
OL Rudy Trevino, Edinburg North
OL Miguel Rodriguez, Weslaco
OL Tim Ruiz, McAllen Memorial
OL Gabe Lopez, EHS
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DT Ubaldo Encinia, Pace
DT Pablo Adame, McAllen Memorial
DE Jose Montiel, Weslaco
DE Freddy Gonzalez, Rio Hondo
LB Derek Villegas, Mission
LB Chris Belmares, Weslaco East
LB Nathan Prado, Harlingen
DB Sal Martinez, EHS
DB Jorge Bermudez, Rio Hondo
DB Daniel Ramirez, Harlingen
DB Jacob Rodriguez, Sharyland
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
QB Adrian Morales, Mission Vets
RB Alex Gutierrez, Pharr North
RB Deandre Henry, P-SJ-A
WR Alex Montalvo, Raymondville
WR Orly Oviedo, RGC
WR Shawn O’Brien, Rio Hondo
OL Humberto Alaniz, P-SJ-A
OL Christian Rodriguez, Los Fresnos
OL Hector Orozco, Rivera
OL Adonis Cruz, Rowe
OL Juan Rodriguez, EE
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
DT Amado Arechandieta, Hidalgo
DT Johnny Espinoza, EHS
DE Patrick Snelling, McAllen
DE Tyler Daul, Santa Rosa
LB Bryant Stites, McAllen Memorial
LB Jesse Vega, Mercedes
LB Jacques Guillot, PI
DB Noe Castillo, La Villa
DB Kyle Carter, Pace
DB Dwain Spears, P-SJ-A Memorial
DB Justin Gonzalez, P-SJ-A
The Huddle Episode 2
Tony Forina and The Huddle have Manny Gomez- Harlingen, Monty Stumbaugh – Port Isabel, Joe Solis- Edcouch Elsa, and Tony Harris of McHi will be on the show today. High school football talk from 8-10 am on Fox Sports Radio 840am and 956sports.comShare this post:
Mercedes Tigers 2011
Coach Uribe’s Tigers are playing in what could be the toughest district in the Rio Grande Valley this year. However, the Tigers have a great shot if they escape the first half of their district schedule the future looks bright for this Tigers team.
Randy Rodgers Recruiting
Randy Rodgers of Randy Rodgers Recruiting discusses plays from the area that impressed him, and the right ways to get to the next level.
La Villa Cardinals
La Villa and Coach Gene Garza are looking to make a mark this year. After a letting the season slip away last year, La Villa believes it is more seasoned and read to claim district.
McAllen Bulldogs 2011
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Gene Garza – The Huddle
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