By: Kevin Narro
With the season getting underway this Thursday, here are my top 15 teams in the RGV.
15.) Edinburg North-In his third year at the helm, Rene Saenz has the most experienced bunch EN has seen since their 2012/2013 playoff team. Little brother Adrian Ortiz, of former EN great Vince Ortiz, will lead the secondary. Senior QB Cristian Espizona is also back under center, as the Coogs are looking for their first district title since 1992.
14.) Sharyland Pioneer-Much like Mercedes, we saw this young program grown up. Jason Wheeler has these kids believing. A few position changes for some key guys should prove dividends. Jacob Rosales takes over under center with multiple weapons including Senior WR Alec Garcia. Pioneer gets a crack at McAllen Memorial Week 1.
13.) Edinburg Econnomedes-The Jags are very much a dark horse to win District 31-6A, they have the formula (solid defense, running game) in place to make some noise. The D-Line is expected to be their strong suit, with Fabian Castillo and Boxer Gomez on the D-Line.
12.) PSJA North-Much like their opponent Economedes, the Raiders are going back to their old style of football,running the ball. Marcus Kauffman is in his first year, as head coach meanwhile Senior RB Bo Adams will be a busy man this fall.
11.) San Benito-The Greyhounds have enough fire power to compete in what has been pegged “The Meat Grinder” district. The Hounds went 3-deep last season. San Benny has gotten a share of the 32-6A District title the last two seasons, and have beaten Harlingen in as many years. Dan Gomez and Co. are looking for the hat trick.
10.) Brownsville St. Joe-Yes the Bloodhounds are in my top 10. With the addition of Gunner Henderson and Ricky Minor the Hounds are poised for a breakout year. Tino Villarreal’s massive O-line should create lanes for Junior QB Kai Money.
9.) Weslaco East-East opened up in 2002, and has made the playoffs for nine straight years. JC Vargas looks to fill the gap with Ciro Rojas loss to graduation. Richard La Fevre is also back at QB, with the Wildcats stepping foot in the new 32-6A.
8.) Roma-So long as the Gladiators avoid the injury bug, this could be their year in a new 31-5A. Ramon Espinoza is looking for an encore as a senior.
7.) Weslaco-The Panthers have seven members of their defense back, keep an eye out for Jordan Nichols,Justice Free and Brandon Mendez. The Panthers have plenty of fire power on the ground to keep defenses honest. Purple Reign well get a true test Week 1 vs reigning State Champ George Ranch.
6.) Edinburg Vela-The SaberCats had a historic run in 2015. There is no doubt Michael Salinas has hidden gems within his program. Robert Guerra is back, along with new QB Nate Garcia. Keep an eye out for Christian Flores at the RB position.
5.) McAllen Memorial-Yes, we all know who the Mustangs lost to graduation. However, JoJo Williams is back at RB, and the defense returns multiple starters including Tres Domian and Joey Delgado. Oh yes, and remember Trevor has a younger brother, Campbell is an incoming freshmen this school year.
4.) Mission Veterans-Question marks on defense? Yes, keep an eye on Jacob Garcia and Abraham Martinez to anchor the defense. Offensively Diego Hernandez will have Landry Gilpin as a number one target. Keep tabs on Senior WR Jacob Guerrero, as he will be Robin to Batman (Gilpin).
3.) Edcouch-Elsa- A healthy Marco Aguinaga will lift an already tradition rich program. Last season Andrew Segura led “La Maquina” into the third round. All-Starter, Seith Garcia is back on D for the Jackets, and Marco will have AJ Rodriguez as his top target.
2.) Mercedes-The Tigers grew up before our eyes in 2015. Zac Gomez can sling the rock and make plays from both inside and outside the pocket. The offense is loaded with weapons along with Roger Adame III and Ivan Vela on the defensive side of the ball. The Core of this team are all Juniors, yeah, scary huh? The Tigers will be battle tested right out of the gate as State Ranked Calallen comes knocking Week 1.
1.) Harlingen-Ah yes, another year of RGV high school football, and Manny Gomez and the Red Birds are a top the list. Leo Tienda and Jesse Castro are back, can this 2016 team eclipse the 2011 team? Time will tell.
Teams to keep an eye on: Sharyland, Valley View, Los Fresnos, Brownsville Veterans Memorial,Donna North,Mission,Palmview,McAllen Rowe