By ARMANDO GARZA
Special to the NEWS
PHARR – It may have been only a dress rehearsal for the Greyhounds, but after Friday morning, you can’t blame anyone for wanting to see the rest of the show.
San Benito got going early and never looked back as the ’Hounds defeated PSJA North 30-7 in their team scrimmage at PSJA Stadium.
The teams elected to play a “live” format scrimmage, meaning four, 12-minute quarters. Special teams were dead and coaches were in game mode on the sidelines. A good San Benito crowd liked what it saw and with good reason. However, the boys aren’t resting on any laurels whatsoever.
“It’s a scrimmage and we’ve got a lot of work to do to be where we want to be,” San Benito head coach Dan Gomez said. “We’ve gotta do our homework, keep our nose down to the ground and moving forward. But the boys worked together well. We have some mistakes we’ve got to correct, so we’re gonna go get back to work.”
After two fruitless possessions early on, the ’Hounds got going in a big way.
Thanks to a fumble recovery by the defense, San Benito got it back and that’s when quarterback Cristian Sierra connected with Victor Gaitan on a 22-yard hookup down to the Raider 26-yard line. On the very next snap, Gabriel Vasquez capped the drive on a nice touchdown run to put the boys up 7-0 during the first period.
Later in the second, Sierra connected with Gaitan again, this time on a 13-yard strike as the lead pushed to 14-0. An interception by Juan “Missile” Gonzalez gave the ’Hounds the ball back, and they responded with a nice drive keyed by two big plays by Omar Garcia (26-yard run) and Armando Medrano (25-yard run). The drive was a showcase for the offensive line, which was solid throughout the morning. Alejandro Lugo later added a 27-yard field goal to push the lead to 17, and it stayed that way going into a brief intermission.
It was more of the same after that.
With Julio Pecina under center, the ’Hounds got another long touchdown on a terrific jaunt by Edward Martinez, who started up the middle and cut to the left side of the field and outran the Raiders to the end zone. The scoreboard read 24-0 at that point in the third as coordinator Gilbert Leal’s offense was clicking.
The San Benito defense, led by coordinator Haskell Buff, was aggressive and kept the Raiders in check for the majority. Juan Salas recorded an interception as they continued to stymie the home team.
North, now coached by veteran coach and former San Benito offensive coordinator Jorge Peña, got on the board when QB George Olivarez, who ran well in the second half, scored on a 31-yard scamper to erase the goose egg.
However, the ’Hounds got the last word in as J.R. Gaitan got his turn and ran it in from 34 yards away to slam the door shut on the Raiders and the scrimmage.
Over at North High School, the Veterans Memorial Academy Greyhounds also looked super in their tuneup. The Freshmen purple squad blew past the Raiders, scoring five touchdowns and allowing just one. The Gold team was also successful, claiming a 1-0 victory.
The varsity ’Hounds are now in regular season mode and will continue to work next week toward the opener, on Friday, Aug. 29 against Edinburg High at Bobby Morrow Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.