It was a rough opening week for the Big 7 football teams. It started last Thursday night with the Veterans Memorial Patriots, the Pioneer Diamondbacks and the La Joya Coyotes all losing on the road. That left four teams, the Sharyland Rattlers, the Pioneer Diamondbacks, the Palmview Lobos and the Juarez-Lincoln Huskies, opening their 2016/2017 seasons Friday night. Of those, the Huskies were the only team to emerge victorious. That left the Big 7 teams with a combined Week 1 record of 1-6.
Will the Big 7 teams fare better in Week 2? That will of course be decided on the gridiron tonight as all seven teams will be playing under the Friday night lights.
Veterans Memorial Patriots at Mission Eagles
In the 13th year of what has come to be known as the Battle of Conway, the Mission Eagles hold a 7-5 advantage in wins over the VMHS Patriots. While the Patriots have won the last two times the two not-so-friendly, cross-town rivals have gone head-to-head against each other, those were both with former Eagles’ head coach Mario Pena on the Mission sidelines. Now of course, former Mission and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Koy Detmer is the head honcho at Mission making this a new chapter in this long-standing and oftentimes intense rivalry.
With both teams coming off of Week 1 losses, neither team is going to want to be 0-2 making this grudge match as much of a must-win as a non-district game can get.
Brownsville Pace at Pioneer Diamondbacks
The Pioneer Diamondbacks opened their 2015 season with a six game win streak. Having lost their 2016 season opener to the McAllen Memorial Mustangs last Thursday, that will not be the case this year. However a win over Pace tonight will not only make it three wins in as many years for the Diamondbacks over the Vikings, but it will also go a long way towards erasing the memory of last week’s loss and setting the table for the Diamondbacks’ District 31-5A opener against Laredo Cigarroa next week.
Edinburg Economedes at Palmview Lobos
Coming off of back-to-back seasons in which they qualified for post-season play, the Palmview Lobos are out to make it three-for-three. While their Week 1, 41-7 loss to the Roma Gladiators, a 5-A team, was not exactly how Coach Mage Requenez envisioned kicking off what is his third full season as the Lobos’ head coach, he knows all-too-well that the outcomes of non-district games have absolutely no effect on a team’s playoff chances.
As for tonight’s opponent, the Economedes Jaguars, they’re not only coming off their third playoff appearance in four years, but they’re also coming off a convincing 42-10 Week 1 win over the Hanna Eagles. Therefore, if the Lobos are going to even up their record at 1-1, they’re going to have their work cut out for them.
La Joya Coyotes at Roma Gladiators
Having dropped their first game under first-year head coach Reuben Farias, a 12-7 loss to the Rio Grande City Rattlers, the La Joya Coyotes will be looking to bounce back tonight against the same Roma Gladiators team that handed Palmview a 42-10 loss last week.
Junior quarterback Irving Garcia completed 9 of 15 passes for 70 yards for the Coyotes against the Rattlers last week while junior running back Ray Alaniz carried the ball 12 times for 35 yards. Garcia scored La Joya’s only touchdown of the season so far on a quarterback keeper.
Sharyland Rattlers at Edinburg North
The Sharyland Rattlers, who opened their 2016 season with a 21-14 loss at the hands of the Weslaco East Wildcats last Friday night, did not exactly look like the well-oiled machine that Rattlers’ teams have the reputation of being. However, they did go up against a tough Wildcats team and it was the opening game of the season, so the fact that they struggled on both sides of the ball is understandable.
However having only two non-district games and a Week 3 bye on their schedule this season, means that tonight’s game at Edinburg North will be their last chance to tune-up and begin firing on all cylinders before their district opener two weeks from tonight against Valley View.
Juarez-Lincoln at Rio Hondo
As the only Big 7 team with an opening week win, the Juarez-Lincoln Huskies will be looking to go 2-0 tonight against the Rio Hondo Bobcats. However, that will be no easy task when you consider the fact that the Bobcats have made the playoffs 10 of the past 11 years. The Huskies, however, are coming off their best ever season that included their first playoff appearance in school history so a Huskies’ win tonight would not be out of the question.