By MARK MOLINA AND KEVIN NARRO, Staff Writers
Week 1 provided some insight as to just how good some teams will be this season. While it is still a long season, the Harlingen High Cardinals and Harlingen South Hawks picked up Week 1 wins and San Benito’s comeback bid fell just shy against Corpus Christi Calallen.
Harlingen High found itself in an old-fashioned shootout against Sharyland Pioneer, opening the regular season with a 42-41 win. Senior quarterback Jaime Galvan took over the game for the Cards and ran wild for 201 yards on 17 attempts, scoring four times on the ground.
Galvan threw for two scores and one interception, going 21-28 with 188 yards. Fellow senior Rayden Berry also had a hand in the offensive output with 155 yards on 27 carries. As an offense, Big Red racked up 544 yards.
Up next is its regular-season home opener at 7 Thursday against Laredo United South. The Cards will look to make it three in a row against the Panthers when they come knocking.
Harlingen South opened its season with a bang, too. All offseason, the talk around camp was just how much the defense improved, and their speed. All that added up to a 24-0 win against Edinburg High.
The defense found the end zone with a fumble recovery for a score by senior linebacker Ethan Gonzalez. The Hawks’ defense stymied the Bobcats by yielding just 161.
On offense, Orlando Muniz led the rushing attack with 97 yards on 18 carries and one score. Up next is a road test at PSJA North. Last year, the Hawks clipped the Raiders with a late field goal off the foot of Jose Lerma.
San Benito, meanwhile, looks to rebound against Victoria West this Friday. The Greyhounds’ defense stood out against Calallen in Week 1. Despite giving up 260 rushing yards to the Wildcats, San Benito managed to stay in the game.
The offense had some balance under the direction of senior QB Smiley Silva, who threw for 155 yards and ran for 140 yards and two scores on 22 attempts. Senior wideout Juan Constante hauled in four passes for 104 yards and one score.
CHIN UP, RAIDERS
The Rivera Raiders may have let a shot at snapping a 19-game losing streak slip through their fingers last Friday night in a 26-21 loss to Brownsville Veterans Memorial, but they showed that there was plenty to be positive about.
A lot of that was shown on defense.
Rivera not only allowed just one scoring play through the first three quarters but also forced two turnovers.
The first came when linebacker Kristian Guerrero intercepted BVM’s Liam Longoria during the first quarter. The second came when defensive back Estevan Cruz recovered a fumble after Chargers’ receiver EJ Masten put the ball on the turf after a big hit near the Rivera goal line late in the first half.
The Raiders did give up a 70-yard touchdown pass play that ultimately lost them the game, but first-year coach Beto Leal will live with the effort given by the players and defensive coordinator Hugo Ramirez.
“Our defense is lights out,” Leal said. “They gave up a big play at the end, but you know darn well with (Ramirez’s) defense, you live by the blitz and die by the blitz. There was miscommunication on the coverage, but we’ll fix it.”
The St. Joseph Academy Bloodhounds got their season started on the right foot in a 39-33 overtime win against Grulla in Week 1, and it was thanks in large part to junior running back Malik Kauachi.
Kauachi put up big all-around numbers against the Gators, rushing for 222 yards on 25 carries for two touchdowns, and he returned the game’s opening kickoff 85 yards for a score.
In all, the junior back racked up 348 all-purpose yards.
SJA will look to start its season 2-0 when it plays host to Progreso this Friday night at Canales Field.