McALLEN — They came into the scrimmage with a highly touted skill-position group plus some dominant linebackers, and the Edinburg Bobcats lived up to that promise in a 4 to 1 victory over McAllen Rowe here Friday night.
Rolando Palacios scored three times and rushed for over 100 yards, Steven Trevino tallied nearly as many yards through the air, and LBs Ciro Reyna and David Guevera combined for three sacks and 12 tackles as the Bobcats (4-6 a year ago) pounded Rowe methodically.
Shifty senior receiver Manny Menchaca contributed 49 rushing yards as the team collected 439 and 20 first downs, while the defense held Rowe to less than 100 total and one score. It was a super effort for EHS, and Coach Joey Caceres now knows that he has two options at the quarterback slot.
Last year’s starter Isaac Escobar began slowly, fumbling a snap and throwing four incompletes, but fellow senior Stevie Guerrero came on and was cool under pressure, leading the ‘Cat charge like a seasoned vet. Escobar got hot late in the scrimmage (though he fumbled another snap away at the start of the third period) with some sweet bombs and he finished 6 of 13 for 72 yards. Guerrero, who ripped off running gains of 20 and 40 yards, was 5 of 10 for 92 yards and an interception.
Coming off a decent effort last week against Brownsville Rivera, the Bobcats got a 20-yard reverse run from Menchaca on the opening roll of 15 plays. Then Palacios took a dump pass from Guerrero, smashed through one tackler, and rumbled 28 yards for a six-pointer.
Rowe took the ball and found a bit of room in the middle of the EHS D, minus a starter at tackle, but Guevara and Reyna each made a fine defensive contribution covering the pass to thwart the Warriors.
Guerrero made one of the plays of the day with the second group, rolling right, faking a throw, and taking off, spinning away from one tackle and cruising down the sidelines. Later, Jaime Sauceda slammed in for the team’s second score.
Rowe rallied behind backup QB Josh Gatling, who passed 4 for 5 and led his team to a scratch in the second period. EHS led 2 to 1 midway home.
The last two quarters were live action, and Edinburg was awesome, with Palacios smashing for another touch and Escobar coming back from his earlier woes to find Trevino with an arching toss for 31 yards on a 3rd-and-34 play. On fourth, Palacios hammered for the first down, as the offensive line, minus two injured starters, did well in spite of that.
At one point, Edinburg drove 93 yards for a touchdown during the second half, mixing the run and the pass well. The only real trouble it had was with a handful of penalties.
Besides Guevara and Reyna, end Joe Fuentes turned in back-to-back excellent plays, snatching a Rowe runner down from behind and then executing a great spin move to get in QB Danny Navarro’s face to force an incompletion. Aaron Sifuentes made an interception on the night and the defense allowed just 81 total yards and seven first downs.
EHS now looks to its final scrimmage, against Los Fresnos on Friday, and will begin the regular season Sept. 3 against McAllen High.
NOTES: The Bobcats got a terrific pancake block from backup tackle Fred Reyna late in the scrimmage, which elicited howls of approval from the kids on the side as the portly Reyna danced madly while his opponent rolled on the turf trying to regain his breath.
Escobar made a nice pair of second-half runs good for 30 yards, as he tries to fend off a significant challenge from the emerging Guerrero (also a Bobcat basketball player) who appears to be a natural leader with a huge upside.
Econ handled Pace over the weekend, 3 to 1 with Gary Rodriguez rushing for over 100 yards and two scores. The Jags begin their season Friday against Brownsville Porter while North, which routed Rivera Saturday, kicks off at home Friday against Rio Grande City.