Hawks staying upbeat heading into final two weeks

HARLINGEN — Just two games remain for the Harlingen South Hawks.

This season has certainly been a rough one, but each week the Hawks show progression from their young quarterback play and secondary.

This week, the Hawks will square off against Weslaco East, which are currently in the District 32-6A playoff race. Friday night’s game will be South’s final road game of the season when they travel to Bobby Lackey Stadium.

“We have had some good practices this week and the kids are upbeat,” said Hawks coach Brian Ricci. “We haven’t had some things go our way in these close games, but I tell the kids to keep working hard. We’re excited to play Weslaco East this Friday night, but it’s going to be a challenge.”

Weslaco East has turned its season around and has won two in a row with victories over Harlingen High and Brownsville Rivera. The Wildcats are currently tied with Harlingen and Los Fresnos at 3-2 in league play. Week 10 will be very telling on which teams will set themselves up for a playoff spot.

The Hawks, meanwhile, have seen sophomore tight end Brady Bennett emerge as a top target for quarterback David Torres. Bennett made his varsity debut against Harlingen in the district opener and got his first start against Hanna a few weeks ago.

Bennett provides size and a security blanket for Torres. He is paired with junior wide receiver Derrick Delgado. Against Weslaco High last week, Bennett caught two passes for 27 yards and one touchdown.

“Both Derrick and Brady give us size at the receiver position and as a defense you have to honor them because they can win one-on-one matchups and that opens up things for us offensively,” Ricci said.

Harlingen South will need to rely on its two wideout targets as running backs Jorge Alicea and Emilio Quiroz were ruled out of Friday’s game due to injuries. The Hawks will take a running-back-by-committee approach and look to get Jaime Belmontes into the mix.

“I talked to coach Mike Burget (at East) and they are going through the same thing we are with injures,” said Ricci. “This time a year a lot of programs are and they’re dealing with it, and they just keep working hard and that’s what we have been doing.”