Commentary: Falcons should be bolstered by non-district schedule

Over the past couple of seasons, the Los Fresnos Falcons football team has done quite well.

In 2016 the team went 8-5 and just a year ago it finished 9-4. In both cases, however, the squad advanced to the third round of the playoffs only to be very rudely dismissed by Lake Travis.

It hasn’t even been close. In the two losses, the Falcons were outscored 96-14.

Nevertheless, one look at the Falcons’ 2018 non-district schedule and it seems that they are doing their best to try to close the gap.

They open up the season on Aug. 31 – that’s 59 days for those who might be wondering – with a home game against El Paso Montwood.

While Montwood is a relatively new school in El Paso, the Rams have become one of the better 6A football teams in the area. Last season they went 10-2 and were an area finalist. If they survive the 821-mile, 12-hour trip to the Valley, this should be a very interesting season opener.

Moving on, in Week 2 the Falcons stay home and host Austin LBJ on Sept. 7. Last season LBJ went 7-5 and was a Class 5A Division I bi-district finalist, losing to Dripping Springs 59-29.

The Falcons finally hit the road in Week 3 when they take on Edcouch-Elsa on Sept. 14. Last year Los Fresnos opened the season with a tight 24-21 win over the Jackets, who finished 5-5 and failed to make the playoffs. However, new head coach Bradley Chavez, who was a receivers coach at Texas A&M-Kingsville before taking over at Kingsville Academy, is expected to revive the program. Don’t discount this game.

In Week 4, the Falcons return to Leo Aguilar Memorial Stadium to host Edinburg Vela, which was a very solid team last season, going 12-1 before losing in the third round to Austin Westlake 70-14.

After Vela, the Falcons wrap up the non-district season in Week 5 by taking a 610-mile trek to Odessa where they’ll take on the famed Permian Panthers on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.

While this should be a good game, don’t get too excited. These are not the Boobie Miles, “Friday Night Lights” Panthers of yesteryear. It’s been 27 years since the program’s last state title and they haven’t really come close since that 1991 title.

Regardless, the 2017 team went 9-2 and were area-round finalists, losing to Arlington Martin 70-41.

I’m interested to see how many Falcons fans will make the journey to see this game in person. Knowing them, Ratliff Stadium will be a sea of maroon and gold that Friday night.

After a bye week, the Falcons return to action on Oct. 12 and begin the District 32-6A slate with a Week 7 game at Harlingen South. Last season, the Falcons beat up on the Hawks 35-7.

In Week 8, the Falcons host Brownsville Rivera then, in Week 9, head back to Boggus Stadium to take on the Harlingen Cardinals. In Los Fresnos last year, the Falcons beat the Cards 27-0.

The Falcons’ two finals games of the regular season are against teams that beat them last year.

In Week 10 on Nov. 2, they host Brownsville Hanna, which won last year’s contest 10-7. And in Week 11 on Nov. 9, they travel to San Benito to take on the defending league champs. The Greyhounds held off the Falcons in 2017 by a score of 43-33.

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine predicts that the Falcons will finish second in 32-6A this season behind San Benito. I’m not sure I agree. This could very well be the year the Falcons win their first outright district title since 2008 when they went 10-0. We’ll see.

2018 Falcons schedule

-Aug. 31: EP Montwood

-Sept. 7: Austin LBJ

-Sept. 14: at Edcouch-Elsa

-Sept. 21: Edinburg Vela

-Sept. 28: at Odessa Permian

-Oct. 5: OPEN

*Oct. 12: at Harlingen South

*Oct. 19: Bro. Rivera

*Oct. 26: at Harlingen

*Nov. 2: Bro. Hanna

*Nov. 9: at San Benito