SAN BENITO — There will be no shortage of star power Friday night when the San Benito Greyhounds host the McAllen Memorial Mustangs tonight.
Both San Benito and Memorial boast some of the best athletes in the Valley and both squads had strong seasons that led them to tonight’s Class 6A Division I area-round game.
The two Valley powers will lock horns at 7:30 today from Bobby Morrow Stadium with a trip to the regional round on the line.
THE REMATCH: Tonight’s game is a rematch from earlier this season when the Hounds rolled to a 31-7 win on Sept. 15 at McAllen.
After Memorial fell to San Benito, the Mustangs dropped their next game against Los Fresnos, but went on to win seven in a row along with a district and bi-district title. Memorial enters tonight’s game riding high after a 44-6 beat down of Laredo United South.
San Benito, meanwhile, rolled on to a perfect 10-0 season after its win over Memorial and come into today’s contest red hot after a 50-7 win against Edinburg North.
“Anytime you play a district championship team, it’s always difficult,” said San Benito coach Dan Gomez. “No matter if you have played them once or twice, this is the challenge that’s been put in front of us and we’re going to go out there, and get to work and play as hard as we can.”
BAGSTAD, GOMEZ HIGHLIGHT DEFENSIVE PLAYMAKERS: Fans of old-school, hard-hitting linebackers should enjoy to-day’s game since it will feature two of the top linebackers in the Valley in Memorial senior Jacob Bagstad and San Benito sen-ior Pedro Gomez.
Bagstad has 107 total tackles and 11 tackles for loss while Gomez has amassed 94 total tackles and has eight tackles for loss. Fellow linebacker Ryan Castillo also has a nose for the ball with 13 tackles for loss.
Ryan “The Hammer” Reza has also provided the heat off the edge for the Hounds with a team-high 19 sacks.
Meanwhile, Memorial safety Kelechi Kwachuku has provided a spark for the ‘Stangs with 145 total tackles on the season.
“They (Memorial) have a tremendous deal of talent and for us this is the only game on the schedule,” Gomez said. “We’re not promised another game and in order to have the next one we have to win the first one. It’s going to be a battle against a very good team. Coach (Bill) Littleton has over 20 years of coaching experience success, playoff wins and has an established program.”
SPEIGHTS, HARPER PRIMED TO SHINE: The star power continues on the offensive side and features two of the Valley’s best running backs. One is at the end of his high school career while the other is just beginning to write his own legacy.
McAllen Memorial’s Campbell Speights and San Benito’s Tyrone Harper will face off one final time.
Campbell, who is a sophomore, has run for 1,506 yards on 201 carries and has found the end zone 20 times this season. Meanwhile, Harper has rushed for 1,397 yards on 172 carries and has scored 20 touchdowns on the ground.