By ARMANDO GARZA
Special to the NEWS
One thing that can’t be coached is heart.
Faced with a bruising McAllen Memorial running game, three weather-related delays and a 22-point halftime deficit, the San Benito Greyhounds could’ve packed it in and looked ahead to their open date next week.
Not this team.
For the second straight week, the ’Hounds showed plenty of fight after being down early and made a game out of it. But in the end, they came up short in a 42-28 loss to the Mustangs on Friday night at Bobby Morrow Stadium.
Memorial star running back Trevor Speights proved elusive as he racked up 226 yards and two touchdowns rushing to lead a Mustang attack which was hard to contain. It was the third 200-yard rushing performance for Speights in as many games this season. He was aided by quarterback Jonathan Sanchez (73 yards) while fullback Aaron Villarreal had 69 tough yards as well.
After two San Benito punts, the Mustangs got a 51-yard score from Speights and an eight-yard screen pass from Sanchez to Villarreal to go up 13-0 after a missed extra point with 2:17 left in the first quarter.
San Benito (1-2) mounted a solid drive and got a 42-yard field goal with plenty of distance from Alejandro Lugo to make it 13-3 with 11:22 remaining before halftime. At that point is when the rains began to arrive.
Memorial got a three-yard score from Villarreal and the ’Hounds’ Lugo answered with another 42-yarder as the score read 21-6 with 5:11 to go before half. The Mustangs added a 37-yard TD pass from Sanchez to D.J. Talamantez as the Stangs led 28-6 at half.
What began as a steady drizzle eventually became heavy rain and lightning, which forced a 30-minute delay during halftime festivities. A second delay was instituted before the third quarter finally got under way. But the reset was short-lived as a third break was called after just two plays. All of this came with Memorial up 22 points.
“We have more than just Trevor and our kids did a good job,” Memorial coach Bill Littleton said. “But you have to take your hat off to them (San Benito). They battled back that second half. They played hard and coach (Dan) Gomez has got ‘em playing real good.”
Eventually the game resumed and it was the Mustangs who came out sluggish while the ’Hounds responded and clawed back dramatically as Littleton alluded to.
A bad snap sailed over the Memorial punter’s head who alertly tried to boot the ball out of the end zone, but since the kick took place outside, the ’Hounds took the option of the ball at the 1-yard line and Julio Pecina crashed in for the score. Cristian Sierra’s two-point conversion run closed the gap to 28-14 with 10:13 to go in the third stanza.
Then a jarring hit by the Greyhound defense forced a Speights fumble and the ’Hounds took full advantage as Gabriel Vasquez continue his solid play with a 25-yard scoring sprint, making it 28-21 at the 4:05 mark of the third.
But San Benito got no closer as Speights cut back and scored on a nifty 47-yard run and then Sanchez dove in from a yard away as the Stangs went up 42-21 with six minutes left in the game.
The final score of the night came from San Benito as Vasquez’s 92-yard return for a touchdown electrified the Greyhound faithful who stayed until the end.
LOS FRESNOS 35, PSJA NORTH 34: At Pharr, Eli Cruz for mayor!
For the second straight week, Los Fresnos scored 35 points. And for the second straight week, the Falcons eked out a win. But this one was much more impressive.
Los Fresnos (2-1) fumbled six times in the first half on consecutive possessions and the Raiders cashed in to eventually break open a tie game and take a 34-14 lead at the half.
But after half it was all Falcons as they went on a 21-0 run and Cruz scored the winning touchdown from 20 yards away with 29 seconds left in the game. The all-important extra point gave the Falcons another dramatic win one week after a 35-31 victory at Edcouch-Elsa.
The Falcons are idle next week.
SINTON 35, RIO HONDO 7: At Sinton, the Bobcats gave it their all but came up empty against a good Sinton Pirate team.
Rio Hondo (2-1) trailed 14-0 early in the second quarter before a touchdown pass got them to within 14-7 against the defending Region-IV champions.
But the Pirates proved too much and scored 21 unanswered points to send the Bobcats home with their first loss of the season.
Rio Hondo faces Hidalgo on the road next week.