Well, that streak came to an end Friday night as the visiting Memorial Mustangs came in, built a quick and strong lead before withholding the Rattler comeback, winning 28-14 in front of a packed Rattler Stadium.
Of course Sharyland’s hearts and minds may have been elsewhere, considering the team was dealing with the death of offensive line coach Ricardo Iruegas this past week.
Perhaps that was the reason Memorial was able to come out so strong, quickly building a 21-0 lead heading to the locker room. Led by quarterback Matthew Kauffman, the Mustangs ran and then ran the ball so more, picking up about 5-7 yards a pop.
The Rattler defense was clearly upset at their inability to stop the deceptive offense of Memorial, not to mention Kauffman’s unique ability to deceive while running. Perhaps consequently, Sharyland’s offense struggled as quarterback to complete passes. Shary’s inability to move the ball combined with Memorial’s time-consuming run game, limited to four possessions and only four first downs.
However uncharacteristic the first half was for Sharyland, the second was a complete turnaround. The Rattlers received the opening kick and immediately became effective behind the superb play of Barrera and his running back Cesar Valdez. Ironically, both were most effective on the run. Barrera made use of his big body and long legs by employing quarterback draws as well as just pure making-something-out-of-nothing.
And then when there wasn’t anything, there was Valdez. In Shary’s two back-to-back scoring drives, Barrera and Valdez accounted for ninety percent of the yardage. The junior back gave the Rattlers their first score and then Barrera followed that up with a diving touchdown from the three-yard line. Suddenly, the Rattler crowd was finally provided a spark to answer the Memorial crowds’ taunting chant of “Why so quiet?”
Memorial got back to business however. Kauffman led his squad on another scoring drive, putting the ball in the end zone on a 40-yard touchdown run with 9:03 on the clock.
The Rattler offense immediately picked up where it left off as Valdez and his quarterback picked up the yardage once again. However, just as Barrera got his team into Memorial territory, the Mustang defense made a defense gamble that ended up with an interception, all but ending the Rattlers chance for a comeback.
The loss moved Memorial into sole possession of first place. Sharyland, meanwhile, is firm in second place after McHi upset Donna. The Mustangs will take on Rowe next week while the Rattlers have a rivalry game with the Mission Eagles.
La Joya 29 Mission 14: A much needed win for the Coyotes but a devastating loss for the Eagles. La Joya visits McHi next week while Mission hosts Sharyland.
McHi 38 Donna 10: A major upset for the Bulldogs who seem to enjoy the late season surges. McHi is in a four-way tie for third while the Redskins are also in the same mix. Bulldogs host Coyotes next week and Donna gets Palmview.
Nikki Rowe 24 Palmview 0: The Lobos offense was nowhere to be found Friday night as Rowe got a much-needed win. The Warriors have a challenge next week when they face the district’s new top team Memorial. The Lobos face a crucial game against Donna.
Mercedes 17 Juarez-Lincoln 8: This one was nearly a fight to stay out of the cellar. The Tigers may now have some life in them and maybe a playoff push. The Huskies? A long road before them. Mercedes has a bye while the Huskies take on Valley View.
Hidalgo 25 Valley View 20: A loss is a loss but this is the closes the Tigers have come to a district win this year. Meanwhile, the Pirates got a much needed win. Next week VV gets Mercedes while Hidalgo visits Rio.
Edcouch-Elsa 42 Roma 3: The Yellow Jackets are easily making a case for being the top team in the district. Only two weeks until the big game with Weslaco East but first E-E must get through Rio Grande City. The Gladiators are still in playoff contention while they will get Hidalgo next week.
Rio Grande City 42 Veterans Memorial 7: The Rattlers are really clicking while the Patriots continue to have a very long season. Rio has a huge game against Edcouch next week that will say a lot as to how good the Rattlers are. Veterans meanwhile has a uphill battle against Weslaco East.
DISTRICT 32-4A Overall District
Weslaco East 6-1 5-0
Edcouch-Elsa 7-0 5-0
Rio Grande City 4-3 4-1
Hidalgo 3-4 3-2
Roma 3-4 2-3
Mission Veterans 2-6 2-4
Mercedes 2-6 2-4
La Joya Juarez-Lincoln 1-6 1-4
Valley View 1-7 0-6
DISTICT 30-5A Overall District
McAllen Memorial 7-0 4-0
Sharyland 6-1 3-1
Donna 5-2 2-2
Nikki Rowe 3-4 2-2
McHi 4-3 2-2
Palmview 4-3 2-2
La Joya 2-5 1-3
Mission 2-5 0-4