BY JOHN CANNON |
HARLINGEN – The turf at Boggus Stadium definitely got put to good use on Thursday night as both Harlingen South and PSJA High chewed up a ton of yards via the ground game as they combined for an eye-gouging 607 yards on the night.
At the end of the battle for rushing yards, South came out victorious as they had 362 of them and walked away with a hard-fought 35-27 win to send the rowdy Hawks fans home happy.
South head coach Brian Ricci said the plan was to keep the ball on the ground and he was pleased to see it work in his team’s favor.
“We felt like that that’s our game,” said Ricci. “We’re going to try to run and we’ve got a lot of kids that we try to get involved in the running game.
“Lucky for us, we have a lot of depth at that position and had a few kids run the ball tonight. Our run game was effective tonight and I was pleased with what I saw.”
The Hawks (2-0) had five running backs touch the ball on the night and were led by quarterback Brandon Villarreal, who had a game-high 155 yards on 14 carries and hit pay dirt three times.
Trailing 7-0, South tied the contest at 7-7 after Villarreal scored his first touchdown thanks to a 66-yard quarterback keeper at the 1:46 mark of the first quarter. Villarreal’s other scores were a 49-yard and a 1-yard run.
The Bears’ two touchdowns in the first half came by way of the ground game as Joachim Almaguer scored both of them for his team on a 5-yard and a 1-yard run that tied the game at 14 with 5:36 left in the second quarter.
After Villarreal’s third touchdown put the Hawks up 28-14, PSJA High (1-1) fought back to get back in the game as the Bears converted a touchdown pass from Trey Guajardo to Gus Calvillo and then Calvillo scored on an 89-yard run to trim the lead to 28-27 with 9:20 left in the contest.
South ended PSJA High’s momentum and put the game away at the 5:00 mark of the fourth quarter as Gilbert Montemayor’s 7-yard run pushed the Hawks’ lead to eight.