East Valley Football Notes: Playoff picture takes shape

By Kevin Narro, Valley Morning Star

The final week of the regular season is here and will provide a clear-cut playoff picture.

Harlingen High remains the top team in District 32-6A. The Cardinals are 4-0 in district play and clinched a playoff berth and at least a share of the district title last Friday. A win this coming Friday against Rivera will give Harlingen High the district title outright for the first time since the 2016 season.

Cards running back Rayden Berry ran well against Harlingen South. Berry ran for 137 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. Berry’s 137 yards rushing was the fifth time he has ran for more than 100 yards in one game.

Through the air, Justin Galvan hauled in a season-high 10 catches and 180 yards, along with a 5-yard touchdown catch.

San Benito continued to roll with a convincing win against Brownsville Rivera last week. The Greyhounds clinched a playoff berth with the win and are still alive for a share of the district crown.

The ’Hounds will need a win against Los Fresnos and a Harlingen High loss to Rivera in order to get a share of the district title.

Smiley Silva led the rushing attack with his eighth 100-yard rushing performance. Silva ran for 128 yards and one touchdown on seven carries.

In the passing game Jermaine Corbin and Juan Constante gave the Raiders’ secondary fits. Corbin hauled in five catches for 100 yards and one touchdown. Constante led the receiving corps with six catches, 117 yards and two scores.

The case for Harlingen South is simple: win and get in. The Hawks lost Friday’s Bird Bowl for an 11th straight year.

However, there is still light at the end of the tunnel for Brian Ricci’s Hawks.

For a second straight year, Ricci has the Hawks in the playoff picture. The same can be said for Mark Guess and the Brownsville Hanna Eagles.

The winner will seal the fourth seed of the playoffs. With San Benito and Los Fresnos in the playoffs as Division I teams, Harlingen High and either South or Hanna will enter the playoffs as the two small schools.

The winner between South and Hanna will face either Edinburg Vela or Weslaco East. San Benito likely will face Edinburg North, and Los Fresnos will meet Weslaco High.

SUB-5A RANKS

After beating Hidalgo 28-12 in its final regular season game to capture its third straight District 16-4A Division I championship, La Feria will have a bye week while it awaits its bi-district opponent in the University Interscholastic League Class 4A Division I playoffs.

The top-seeded Lions (10-0, 4-0 16-4A DI) will face the fourth seed in District 15-4A Division I. The winner of the regular-season finale between Pleasanton (6-3, 0-3 15-4A DI) and La Vernia (4-5, 0-3 16-4A DI) at 7:30 p.m. Friday will earn an opportunity to play La Feria to open the postseason.

Rio Hondo defeated Port Isabel 27-15 last Friday to secure the second seed in District 16-4A Division II behind district champion Raymondville.

The Bobcats (5-4, 2-1 16-4A DII) likely will face Orange Grove, the third seed in District 15-4A Division II, in the bi-district round. Orange Grove is scheduled to travel to play at second-seeded Sinton at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and the Pirates and Bulldogs are both 3-1 in district play.

The third-seeded Tarpons (3-6, 1-2 16-4A DII) will play the winner of the Orange Grove-Sinton matchup.

The Bearkats (8-1, 3-0 16-4A DII) are slated to play the fourth-seed in 15-4A Division II, which also will come down to the regular season’s final week. Ingleside (2-7, 1-3 15-4A DII) will visit West Oso (3-6, 1-3 15-4A DII) to decide which program will face Raymondville in bi-district play.

Coming off of a 20-7 win over Santa Gertrudis, Lyford has won four of its recent District 16-3A Division I contests, including a 27-21 victory over San Diego.

The Bulldogs (4-5, 4-2 16-3A DI) hold the tiebreaker over San Diego for the third seed if each team wins its final regular-season game. Thus, Lyford’s most likely bi-district opponent will be second-seeded Marion of District 15-3A Division I, which has an overall record of 6-3.

A Lyford loss combined with a San Diego win would result in a playoff tilt with top-seeded Jourdanton, the only team to defeat Marion in district play this season.

Santa Rosa, meanwhile, saw its postseason hopes dashed after back-to-back losses to Taft and Corpus Christi London in its last regular season game. Three other District 16-3A Division II games remain on the 2019 calendar, but the Warriors (5-5, 2-4 16-3A DII) are locked into fifth place.

In District 16-2A Division I, Santa Maria will decide its playoff seeding when it travels to play Freer at 7:30 p.m. Friday. If the Cougars (6-2, 2-2 16-2A DI) win, they would earn the third seed and play Weimar, and if they lose, they would fall to fourth place and face off against District 15-2A Division I champion Shiner.

La Villa has won its past three District 16-2A Division II games, having most recently dispatched Woodsboro 43-0. The Cardinals (3-6, 3-1 16-2A DII) would retain the second seed in the district with a win, and cede their position to Bruni with the combination of a Bruni win and La Villa loss. The Cardinals would play the winner of the game between D’Hanis and Runge if they finish in second place. If La Villa finishes in third, it would take on La Pryor.

GOOD TEAM OUT

Brownsville Veterans Memorial coach David Cantu said last week that it was a shame that one very good team out of District 16-5A division I would have to miss the playoffs.

Unfortunately for Cantu, it will be his Chargers sitting at home when the playoffs begin after his team lost to Pace 26-21 and La Joya Palmview handed Mission Veterans Memorial a 37-35 loss in a late comeback Friday night.

Brownsville Veterans can finish 6-3 in the district (7-3 overall) with a win over Palmview this week.

The Chargers will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2014, when they played in District 32-6A.

The 6-2 Vikings, who are in the playoffs for a third straight season under coach Danny Pardo, will face 7-1 Rio Grande City to end the regular season, with hopes of earning a third seed.