With a few questions left to answer, the Cougars welcomed the Rattlers to town Friday night, and a rousing effort sent Rio Grande City packing with some queries of its own.
Looking to rebound from an uneven though successful venture against Brownsville Hanna last week, North looked way better by all accounts, piling up almost 600 total yards on offense and allowing its opponent just 273, scoring five times and surrendering two TDs.
The key to the effort was senior QB Mike “Mini Tebow” Pacheco, who hit all the throws and also ran with power. He completed 13 of 21 balls behind a very smooth offensive line led by junior tackle Rudy Trevino, for 213 yards and three scores. Trevino walloped a Rattler to the ground on the scrimmage’s first snap, and that seemed to set the tone, as North drove for two six-pointers off the bat.
A 29-yard Pacheco strike to Michael Hinojosa helped the first drive, along with a 12-yard run from shifty Simon Reyes, leading to a 4-yard slant hookup from Pacheco to Joel Cuellar. Reyes led all ballcarriers with 124 yards, and with the loss of starter Roosevelt Munoz to a wrist injury, it was a great sign for the run game, which amassed 264 yards, Pacheco compiling 58.
On the next series, Espino Reyes was the standout, taking a short pass 60 yards downfield after making a super move at the line to avoid a tackler and take off. Pacheco motored 24 yards for the second TD. He played exceedingly well all around, hitting the deep balls as well as the dumps, and his progress was promising for the Coogs, who start the 2010 season Thursday night at home against Brownsville Pace.
Rio Grande City found the going touch against a North D led by senior LB Robert Rodriguez, who’d had a great day of work against Hanna. The Rattlers scored off a throwback pass in the early going but lost quarterback Angel Alaffa to a knee injury. End Cory Esparza played a fine game for North, who also benefitted from the return of 270-pound guard Chris Resendez, who has moved back to the Valley from Arkansas for his senior year.
Senior Ruben Cavazos was sharp for the second unit, completing nine of 13 passes with an interception as the Coogs dominated the backup rolls.
The Coogs found paydirt three times in the brief goal-line portion of the scrimmage, with Tevin Brown hauling in a pass for six and Roly Borrego and Pacheco rushing for scores; the defense held Rio out of the end zone in the portion with LB Alan Garza making a big stop.
From there, the Coogs rolled over the Rattlers with Pacheco finding the mark and Simon Reyes running with real passion, picking holes and exploiting them with a fast first step. Cornerback Jorge Zapata, following in the footsteps of older brother Sergio, a star on the team’s 2007 playoff unit, showed he can hit with the best of them, and will definitely be a leader of the secondary this year.
Espino Reyes, the soccer star, appears set to handle kicking and punting chores in 2010, along with action from the inside slot with the junior Brown.
With two scrimmage wins under their belts, the Coogs advanced to the season opener looking good to compete for a fourth straight playoff berth out of District 31-5A. they were clicking on all cylinders and the defense continued to be a bright spot.
NOTES: EHS handled McAllen Rowe easily Friday, scoring seven times with two coming on Steve Guerrero touchdown passes. The Bobcats go against La Joya Friday in the first match of 2010. In other scrimmage action Friday, Econ lost 2-1 down at Pace against the Vikings and will begin its regular season Friday at home versus Rowe.