By Luis Arreola
Special to the NEWS
The state of Texas is universally known for its hard-nose football teams, with San Benito quickly establishing themselves as a premier program in all of South Texas. Their record in the 32-6A division, otherwise known as “the Meatgrinder,” stands at an impressive 6-0, with their district record standing at 3-0. The Greyhounds offensive unit is one of the most potent in the Valley, putting together a grand total of 260 points and averaging over 400 yards of offense per game. While the offense has earned every bit of praise they will continue to receive this season, people tend forget about their defense.
The Greyhound defense has been nearly as impressive as the offense through the first half of the season, averaging a total of 80 tackles per game, 3.3 sacks per game, and allowing less than 18 points per game. Senior Outside Linebacker, Skyler Garcia, is just one of the Greyhound’s captains on the defensive side of the ball.
“We come out here every practice and just try to get our assignments nearly perfect for every game,” he stated. “We take care of what we need to do in practice, so that we are able to go out on Friday night and perform. We just have to go out there and make big plays.” Garcia is having an exceptional year on defense, averaging an impressive 10.0 tackles per game, with 4 tackles for loss and one interception.
Another Captain, linebacker Emilio Garza, is thrilled with the relationships he’s managed to developed between his teammates and coaches. “We all have a great bond with our coaches on and off the field, and not every team has that,” Garza said. The senior inside linebacker is accredited with 65 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 3 fumbles recovered. With all senior captains playing in their final year as a Greyhound, expectations have run high throughout the locker room.
Defensive lineman John Alvarez is one of the handfuls of players, which include both Garza and Garcia, who have been integral parts to this defense since their sophomore seasons. According to Alvarez, the success this team is having can be traced back to the foundation that has been three years in the making.
“We’ve been making a lot of progress over the years and there’s still a good amount of starters on this team that have been year since we were sophomores,” said Alvarez. “We’ve grown up together and we’ve all had the same preparation every week. We work on our fundamentals and I think now we’re just seeing the payoff from all the hard work we’ve put in.”
The ’Hounds are once again looking to break a team record that dates back over 55 years. In 1961, San Benito Greyhounds had a nearly perfect season, winning 12 straight games and advancing to the state semi-finals; however, the Hounds came up short losing to Nederland, 22-15.
After going three rounds deep into the playoffs last year, the Greyhounds are hungry to finally break through and reach a the fourth round of the State Playoffs for the first time in school history.
The Greyhounds defense is giving up 14.5 points per game over their last four matchups, and will be visiting a Harlingen South team that is having trouble getting into the endzone as their offense is averaging a mere 15 points per game over their last four (2-2) contests.
With two more wins, San Benito will secure their third straight playoff appearance under Head Coach Dan Gomez.