Vento, Prado ready to help Harlingen in opening round of playoffs

It’s playoff time for the Harlingen Honeys and that means it’s win or go home. And home is 300 miles south after the Honeys were paired against the Texas Lady Jaguars.

With a record of 7-1, Houston is the No. 2 seed in the IWFA Division I. Nevertheless, the Honeys are excided and ready to turn some heads.

“The team is giving everything its got,” said Honeys head coach Adam Garcia. “We beat the Jaguars when it counted last year in the Super Bowl. Our girls know it can be done and I think they believe enough in each other to pull out the win.

“We have a plan of action, but the game is a game of adjustments and we are ready to go to war.”

However, the Lady Jags are one tough team. After starting the season off with a 51-62 loss to the defending champion San Antonio Texas Legacy, the Jaguars have gone on a seven-game winning streak defeating the Storm 77-18, the Honeys 44-0, the CC Divas 41-6, the Phantasy 50-0, the Clovers 71-0, the Austin Assassins 45-12 and the Generals 32-6.

In the loss earlier in the season to the Jaguars, the Honeys were missing key players and hope this time around will be different.

The Valley Morning Star had a chance to the Honeys’ Victoria Vento and Crystal Prado.

Q: What has been the toughest part of the season for you?

Vicky: The toughest part of the season for me has been sacrificing time away from my family and friends to focus on football. Not only is football physically demanding, but it is also mentally draining in the sense that you experience a wide range of emotions like anxiety and pressure, followed by the happiness you feel after a win or the sadness you feel after a loss.

Crystal: The toughest part was overcoming my injury. I tore my ligament and dislocated my shoulder, but I couldn’t stay away from football. People asked me if it was worth it? We don’t get paid for playing and some of us don’t have insurance, but in my option the bond we have as a team feels like a rush. The feeling of tackle, touchdown, block and, most importantly, a win after a game makes football worth it. I’m only going to live once. I can have a bone popping out and it still wouldn’t stop me from playing.

Q: What made you want to get into such a physical sport like football?

Vicky: I’ve always enjoyed the sport with my family and I watch every Cowboys game together with them. I’ve always been very athletic and jumped at the opportunity to play the sport that I love. I enjoy being a part of the team and working together to reach a goal. Our team is comprised of a wide variety of personalities, but we all have one goal in mind and that is to win and win as a team.

Crystal: Growing up with my brother Jorge and my father wouldn’t allow me to play football with the boys, even though football has always been one of my favorite sports. Growing up I used to play flag football with my family and friends, but never with pads on. Due to my being hard of hearing, I never thought I could play football, but, of course, Vicky was not taking no for an answer and convinced me to do so. With her and my teammates pushing and encouraging me, that gave me hope and helped me overcome playing without my hearing aids.

Q: Where do you see women’s football going in the next five years?

Vicky: I think women’s football is going to catch on. I believe more and more women are going to want to play, and more and more people are going to want to watch women play football. The Valley has a lot of talent and I think women’s football is going to be more popular in the years to come.

Crystal: I believe the Rio GrandeValley women’s football is only going to get bigger. We are good role models because we are hard-working, independent and play our hearts out for the love of the game.

Q: If you had a time machine would you go to the past or to the future?

Vicky: This might sound cliché, but I wouldn’t go anywhere. I feel like I’m right where I should be and right here where I need to be. At the point I am in time as we speak, I can be an advocate for the future of the women’s football.

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Crystal: I would love to have dinner with the bravest little boy I know, Anthony Smith “Blue Ear.” As a child being bullied, I hated to wear my hearing aids. He made it happen and helped others wear hearing aids.