By ARMANDO GARZA
Special to the NEWS
CORPUS CHRISTI – After a week off to recharge and focus, the Rio Hondo Bobcats are ready to embark on their District 16-4A Division-II journey this week.
The Cats (4-1 overall) get a good test Friday as they travel to the Coastal Bend to take on West Oso in Corpus Christi.
In its last outing, Rio Hondo was terrific in a 40-0 romp over Grulla at home. The Bobcats flexed their defensive muscles in the shutout win, but the offense, which has taken off in recent weeks, was sensational and will look to keep the momentum going.
Running back Marco Garate (663 yards, 8 total TDs) has been the go-to guy for Rio Hondo on the ground thus far. Garate exploded for 247 yards against the Gators and has two straight games over the 200-yard mark.
Quarterback Eli Pitones (432 total yards) has been a versatile weapon as a passer, receiver and runner. When not under center, Joshua Gonzalez (216 yards passing, 204 rushing) takes over and the offense doesn’t skip a beat. Through the air, senior wideout Derrick Salazar (10 catches 133 yards, TD) is the leading pass catcher.
Defensively, linebacker Daniel Flores leads the unit with 46 total tackles while Joey Guzman has 42 of his own. Albert Magallanes is the top sack artist in the league with seven. Also, Michael Lozano and Isaiah Heredia each have four sacks on the season.
The Bobcats will eye a win to start district on the right foot and keep momentum heading into a colossal matchup at unbeaten Port Isabel next week.
On the other side, West Oso (1-4 overall) fell to Robstown 29-21 in its last game. The Bears have a new coach in Scott Kilgore and are usually known for their speed in the backfield. West Oso’s lone win came against 3A Bishop 21-13 earlier in the season.
LOS FRESNOS at HARLINGEN SOUTH
The Falcons will look to return to the win column when they travel to Boggus Stadium to take on the Hawks.
Los Fresnos (3-2 overall, 1-1 District 32-6A) fell in a hard-fought game at San Benito last week, 17-14. The Falcons had opportunities in the game, but costly penalties and errors proved to be a big difference.
For the Falcons, quarterback Pierce Ruiz had over 100 yards rushing and threw a touchdown to Miguel Garcia with no time remaining in the first half. Ruiz has 776 total yards on the season, including 426 passing.
Running back Eli Cruz (351 yards, 8 TDs) is the leading rusher by a yard over Ruiz’s 350 yards. That ground game was limited to 187 yards against San Benito though the offense did show flashes, but flags came at inopportune times to negate the progress.
South (2-3 overall, 1-1 district) won last week at Brownsville Lopez to even its district mark. The Hawks started league play with a home loss to Brownsville Veterans.