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If Mission Head Coach Mario Peña has anything to say about this weekend, this is the attitude his beleaguered team will be taking on to the field as his Eagles (2-5, 0-4) face another seemingly insurmountable challenge when they take on a Sharyland team (6-1, 3-1) that will no doubt be looking to vent a little bit after getting their first taste of defeat at the hands of McAllen Memorial last week.
“Ultimately, our kids have shown a lot of class and a lot of team spirit because we’ve been banged up,” said Peña. “They’re playing hard and they’re playing hard until the very end.”
The Eagles did just that last week. After going down 10-0 to La Joya in the first quarter, the Eagles responded by outscoring the Coyotes in the next three quarters. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as La Joya did just enough in the fourth quarter to clip the Eagles 29-21.
However, Peña saw a few things that he believes are encouraging.
“It was a great effort on behalf of kids that have been banged up for the last three ball games and some of the kids have really stepped up to the plate,” said Peña. “Our running game has definitely gotten better.”
It was the running game last week that kept the Eagles in the game. Mission totaled 143 rushing yards on 26 attempts including a 69-yard touchdown run by Erick Flores in the second quarter to put the Eagles on the board for the first time in the game.
Sharyland also sputtered last week, losing their much-hyped clash of the undefeated against McAllen Memorial. The Rattlers came out noticeably flat as the Mustangs held them scoreless through the first half. It wasn’t until midway through the third quarter when Rattler quarterback Tres Barrera hit Cesar Valdez for a nine-yard touchdown pass that they got their first points. By then, the Rattlers were already down by 14 points.
Although Barrera was able to find the end zone again in the fourth quarter, this time with his feet, it was too little too late as the Mustangs’ quarterback Matthew Kaufmann tacked another score on with a 40-yard run to put the game out of reach.
The Rattler’s recent defensive lapses aside, it will be a tall order for Peña and his now patchwork team to find ways to move the ball. Currently, the Eagles have 10 starters sitting on the sidelines. But that doesn’t mean the Eagles are looking for a way out or for an excuse. Peña wouldn’t allow it.
“You can’t predict injuries and we’ve definitely had our share, but you can’t look at that,” said Peña. “That’s football.”
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.