Hanna erases early deflect to soar past South 21-17

HARLINGEN — Brownsville Hanna erased a 14-0 hole in the first half and leaned on running back Cesar Mancias en route to a 21-17 win Friday night, spoiling the homecoming festivities for Harlingen South in the Valley Morning Star’s Game of the Week.

“We played well and the kids played their hearts out,” said Hawks coach Brian Ricci. “We came up a little short tonight. I thought we played well enough to win, but we just came up short. We started protecting the ball and had less self-inflicted wounds but, for the most part, we have been playing cleaner football.”

The Eagles, meanwhile, continued to turn heads in District 32-6A as Friday’s win put them at 5-1 overall and 3-0 in league play, which has them tied with San Benito and Harlingen atop the standings. Hanna will now shift its focus to a red-hot Los Fresnos team, which is currently 2-1 in district play. South is at San Benito next week.

Trailing 14-0 midway through the second quarter, Hanna leaned on its rushing attack led by Mancias. Hanna capped of its drive with a 25-yard touchdown run from Mancias with 3:54 left in the first quarter.

South’s issue in the past has been turnovers, but on Friday the Hawks only turned it over once on a David Torres fumble, which the Eagles took advantage of to tie the game at 14 with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Victor Campos to Rolando Ramirez right before the half.

Entering Friday’s contest, Hanna’s offense was averaging 33 points per game. Their 21-point mark on Friday marked their second lowest output since Week One. In the second half it took just two plays for Hanna to take its first lead of the night. Mancias broke a 51-yard touchdown run to make it 21-14 early in the third quarter.

“They (Hanna) have a great running back in Mancias and they broke it open with a couple of big runs on us. Other than that, our defense played a great game and gave us a chance to win.” Ricci said.

Hanna’s defense buckled down and held the Hawks to just three second-half points.

On South’s final drive of the night, which began at midfield, a false start and a sack put the Hawks in a hole. Hanna’s defense came up with a stop on fourth-and-11 when quarterback Torres hit wideout Derrick Delgado for 10 yards with 2:33 left. Hanna then converted on a third-and-8 with a 9-yard run from Mancias to seal the win.