BROWNSVILLE — The Edinburg Vela SaberCats are enjoying their view from the top.
“It was a good old-fashioned football game between two good teams,” head coach John Campbell said after the game. “We are just fortunate to have come out with the win.”
Positioned at No. 1 in the the latest RGVSports.com top 10 rankings, the SaberCats protected their positioning for the second straight week by defeating the Brownsville Hanna Golden Eagles 28-27 on Thursday night at Sams Memorial Stadium.
Vela won the non-district collision when Hanna missed a 30-yard field goal with 8 seconds left that sailed wide left.
“They did a good job getting the ball there,” Campbell said. “We just got pressure on kicker.”
The defending District 31-6A champion SaberCats were coming off last week’s 51-46 season-opening road victory against Laredo United, so they’re now 2-0 with a matchup at home against McAllen Memorial next week.
Hanna, coming off a season-opening 42-40 loss at McAllen Memorial, fell to 0-2. The defending District 32-6A champion Eagles next play a non-district game at Sams on Sept. 14 against Weslaco East.
Vela built a 14-0 first-quarter lead and was ahead 28-14 at halftime.
During the first quarter, Vela’s Kevin McKinney scored on a 1-yard run at the 5:29 mark of the period to make it 7-0. Teammate Matthew Luna returned a Hanna fumble 63 yards to increase the lead to 14-0.
Hanna pulled to within 14-7 on a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Victor Campos to Ernesto Mendoza with 11:01 showing in the second quarter.
Vela again went up by two TDs when Vela defender Joshua Garcia returned a Campos interception 46 yards down the sideline to make it 21-7 with 8:25 to go before halftime.
It became 28-7 when Vela’s Kevin Rojas caught a 15-yard scoring pass from Vela QB Anthony Sotelo with 5:44 remaining in the half.
“A.J. (Sotelo) made some big plays in the first half,” Campbell said. “And we just slowed down in the second.”
Campos broke loose for a 33-yard scoring run down the left sideline to make it 28-14 with 2:35 left before the break.
Campos added a 1-yard TD plunge on a QB keeper with 8:51 left to give the Eagles hope for a comeback win, but it wasn’t meant to be.
“ He’s a heck of a player,” Campbell said about Campos’ play-making ability.