For the second time this season, the Harlingen Honeys and the RGV Vixens will hit the football field today looking for one simple, but sometimes elusive, outcome: A win.
With the current IWFA playoff structure awarding home field advantage to the top four teams in the league, a victory today holds a very contrasting picture for each.
While both teams have already secured trips to the postseason, a win for the Honeys wouldn’t go very far in terms of seeding. However, in terms of momentum, a positive result would ensure the team an intrinsic motivator heading into the playoffs.
For the Vixens (4-3), meanwhile, a victory could assure the team a top four finish and home field advantage heading into the first round of the playoffs. A loss, however, combined with the results from other league games, could leave the Vixens just outside the top four. Not a good scenario for the reigning Division II champions.
Today’s game also carries a sense of rivalry. One of which isn’t fueled by animosity or disdain, but by the competitive spirit that is shared by all on both teams.
“I feel like there has always been a sense of rivalry between us and the Honeys,” said Vixens linebacker Sophie Carrizales. “For me, it’s kind of like the Battle of the Arroyo where Harlingen plays San Benito. You can have the worst records, but as long as you have that game on the schedule, it’s just a pride game.
“We’ve played once already and beat them, but this is our chance to do it again, even if, for some reason, we didn’t make the playoffs, we want to be able to say ‘we beat you last year, we beat you this year and we want to beat you again.’ It’s just a pride game.”
Last season, the Honeys spoiled the Vixens’ otherwise perfect season (11-1) on their way to the IFWA Division II title.
Honey’s cornerback Melissa Rios agrees that the game between the two brings out the best in both teams.
“I believe we (Honeys) are about women empowering women,” said Rios. “We’re not a team that is going to trash talk anybody because our skills are going to show on the field. Don’t get me wrong, we’re going to give it everything we have, but we all still have to go to work on Monday. But it’s always a good game since both teams are from Harlingen.”
The Honeys haven’t had the best of seasons this year. The lack of returning players combined with a lack of scrimmage games meant the team came into the season with almost no practice.
“We started off the season late,” said Rios. “While everybody in the league had two preseason games, we didn’t even have one. The one that we did schedule was canceled due to weather, so our first actually game was a regular-season game and a lot of our girls had never played before.
“It been an adjustment for us trying to play together and see who fits where, and try to use everybody to the best of their abilities.”
Kickoff for the Honeys and Vixens is scheduled for 7:30 tonight at Stookey Field in San Benito.
To add to the Vixens’ already hectic schedule, last week’s rained out game against the Laredo Phantasy will be played after the Honeys game at 10 p.m