SAN BENITO — For the past four seasons, San Benito and McAllen Memorial have squared off and split the series. This season’s game, which marks the fifth meeting between the two, should not disappoint as both squads sit at 2-0.
“We had a physical week of practice, just like all the other ones,” said San Benito coach Dan Gomez. “Week to week it’s all the same. We get ready to face the best team each Friday and it’s business as usual.”
Gomez has had the challenge of facing both star running back Trevor Speights and now Campbell Speights over the last few years.
“At this point it’s just a matter of size. The running abilities are similar. They’re difficult to prepare for and all we can do is prepare the best way we can, and have a physical practice and be ready Friday night,” said Gomez.
Battle of the Minds: Not only will this game feature some of the Valley’s sharpest athletes, but two of the most successful coaches in the Valley. Coach Bill Littleton has led the Mustangs for 14 seasons and recently won his 100th career game. His counterpart, Dan Gomez, also ranks among the best in the game. Gomez is in his fourth year at San Benito. It should be a chess match between the two brilliant minds tonight.
Feed Em’: Tyrone Harper is back for his senior year at the running back position for the Hounds and offensive coordinator Gilbert Leal will most likely give Harper a heavy dose of carries tonight. In the Hounds’ Week Two win over SA East Central, Harper rushed for 176 yards on 19 carries.
Harper’s counterpart, Campbell Speights, will look for some redemption. Last season the Hounds’ defense held him in check as he rushed for only 75 yards on 22 carries.
Air it out: San Benito quarterback Erick Retta has gotten off to a solid start this season. The senior has thrown for 331 yards and four touchdowns with just one interception. Last season in the Hounds win over Memorial, he threw for 182 yards on just 13 attempts with three scores.
Defensive keys: Strong safety Kelechi Nwachuku has been a force in the Mustangs’ secondary. The senior has 25 tackles, two forced fumbles and is averaging 12.5 tackles a game. Nwachuku will patrol the secondary against Hounds wide receivers Tyler Solis and Isaiah Trevino.
Another match up to watch is between Hounds cornerback Payne Guajardo and Memorial wide receiver Josh Sanchez, who provides the Mustangs with size and the ability to stretch the field.
San Benito defensive ends Ryan Reza and Avelino Garcia will look to bring the heat off the edge and put pressure on the ‘Stangs offense, which is led by junior quarterback Sean Skaugen, who threw for 187 yards and four TDs in a win over Weslaco East last Friday.