By ARMANDO GARZA
Special to the NEWS
PHARR — This one hurts.
Six critical turnovers left the San Benito Greyhounds stuck in neutral for most of the night as they dropped a disappointing 14-13 decision to PSJA Memorial on Friday night at PSJA Stadium.
Despite a sluggish performance after a fast start, the boys still had chances in the game, but couldn’t pull it out in the end. San Benito falls to 1-3 on the season, including 1-1 in District 31-5A while PSJA Memorial picked up its first win to up its mark to 1-3, 1-1.
“I don’t know what to say. You can’t turn the football over six times against any team and expect to win,” Greyhounds head coach Spencer Gantt said. “We shot ourselves in the foot and it goes back to execution. We took a step back tonight after a big win last week and it boils down to lack of execution.”
PSJA Memorial head coach Gus Cavazos, familiar to many in the area for his success at Rio Hondo, was pleased to see his squad rewarded after a 0-3 start.
“This is a big win for the kids. To beat a team like San Benito with their tradition speaks well for our whole team,” said Cavazos of his Wolverines. “Whenever you get a victory like this it just gives you that much more confidence. Our defense has been getting better and better and improving exponentially. We’re improving a little at a time.”
The Greyhounds started lightning fast at the onset when senior quarterback Dylan Castillo found Armando Medrano in stride on a pretty 54-yard scoring pass. Alejandro Lugo’s point after put the ’Hounds up 7-0 at the 9:43 mark of the first as the momentum from last week’s win over McAllen Memorial appeared to have carried over.
San Benito also came out tough on defense as Memorial struggled at the start. However, helped by the ’Hounds’ miscues on offense, the young Wolverines found their footing.
Early in the second quarter, a Memorial punt boxed the ’Hounds in at their 2-yard line. After a lengthy delay due to an injured player, San Benito committed its third turnover as Mario Silva recovered a fumble in the end zone for the Wolverines’ first score. The point after by Jose Gasser knotted the score at seven with 6:58 left before half.
Later, Kevin Spears picked off Castillo to give it back to Memorial. A 40-yard score by Jesse Bustamante was negated by penalty, but the Wolverines cashed it in later when linebacker George Trevino came in and bulled in for a six-yard TD and 14-7 advantage with 4:23 left before intermission.
San Benito stumbled despite outgaining Memorial 144-66 in the first half. However, they still had their chances after the break.
After holding Memorial and getting good field position near midfield, the Greyhounds got a 33-yard line drive field goal from Lugo to cut the deficit to 14-10 at the 5:44 mark in the third.
Then the close game got more interesting in the fourth when San Benito’s Frank Rivas snared an interception off a tipped ball at the Greyhounds’ 32. A steady dose of effective runs from Manny Sanchez (11 carries, 89 yards) got them down as far as the Memorial 13, however they had to settle for a 37-yard field goal from Lugo to make it 14-13 with 5:23 left in the game. San Benito forced a punt and took over at their 47 with 3:32 to go, but a fumbled snap ended the chance.
Memorial punted it back to San Benito and the ’Hounds took over at their 43 with 1:10 to go with a chance to win. But the Wolverines’ Smiley Cazares, victimized earlier on the long TD, iced the game with a pick, San Benito’s sixth giveaway.
San Benito returns home next week when it hosts McAllen Rowe (2-2, 1-1).