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All felt the disappointment of failing to advance but none more than the Sharyland and Juarez-Lincoln boys. Both programs made fantastic runs in 2010, both dominated their districts in equally embarrassing fashion in 2011 and both went home early.
For the Rattlers the key game was supposed to be in sectionals, not the area round. Brownsville Lopez had been Sharyland's gatekeeper the last couple years, deciding whether Rev Hernandez's squad was worthy to move on. In 2009, the Lobos took Shary out in the third round but, in 2010, the Rattlers got the best of their Brownsville rivals before moving on to a solid run to the regional semi-finals.
In 2011, it looked like a showdown was looming again, but it was not to be. Despite starting the tournament off right by beating Del Rio, 4-2, the Rattlers got an unexpected dogfight with Brownsville Hanna. The Golden Eagles were able to do something no team in District 30-5A was able to do all season: keep Sharyland scoreless. In the end, Hanna gutted out a 1-0 victory, sending Shary home early.
While the disappointing finish is fresh in the mind, overlooking the solid 2011 season would be a mistake. Simply put, Sharyland dominated the Valley, was recognized as its top team and, for the most part, breezed through district, going 14-0. The Rattlers were led by Daniel Garcia and Alex de la Garza, who were the top two scorers in the district. Garcia ended as the scoring champ with 15 goals. De la Garza, on the other hand, was the team's top scorer with 13 goals until he came down with a leg injury late in the season. As a whole, the team outscored their district opponents 67-13.
In 4A, Juarez-Lincoln shared much of the same fate as the Rattlers. The Huskies came into the 2011 season fresh off last year's surprise run to the regional finals. Though Victor Ramos' squad would suffer heartbreak to begin the year when player Luis Hernandez tragically died in a car accident, the program would respond well by physically abusing a six-team District 61. Led by Luis Guerra's 12 goals, Miguel Angel Rodriguez's 10 goals and Delbert Rivera's 9 goals, the Huskies finished district with 58 scores while only giving up three.
J-L would begin the playoffs well with a 7-4 kicking of Hidalgo in the area round after getting a bye in bi-district. In sectionals, the match wouldn't be so easy as they faced last year's district rival Valley View. The Tigers were the champions from District 63 and had a lot to prove after a forgettable 2010 season that saw the squad win District 61, but then be ruled ineligible after it was determined they were playing with an ineligible player. Revenge was theirs last Friday when the Tigers took out the Huskies in a 3-2 win.
The boys of Sharyland and Juarez-Lincoln would not be alone in their frustrations as their female counterparts boarded the bus in disappointment as well. The Lady Rattlers endured a third straight ousting of the playoffs at the hands of Harlingen South, 3-2 and the Lady Huskies were on the brink of moving on before falling to Hidalgo 2-1 in a shootout. Both teams finished second in their respective districts.
Though the Mission and Veterans Memorial boys teams both lost their first playoff games, overall it was a solid season. The Eagles took second in 30-5A in their first year of action and were the only district team to give the Sharyland a tough game, losing 4-3 in the first game and only 1-0 in the second. The Eagles were led by Eduardo Davila, who led the team with nine goals. Cesar Ibanez contributed four goals. Mission fell to Laredo LBJ in bi-district, losing 2-1 in a shootout.
William Proctor's Patriots found themselves competing in the playoffs after taking a couple years off. Though they fell to Valley View 3-1, the season was no means a disappointment as they took third in district and were led by Sergio Ramirez's 11 goals. The Lady Patriots had a decent season as well, finishing third before losing to Valley View in a shootout.
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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.