Sunday afternoon and Manny Menchaca was on his way to work, at Wings and Rings in McAllen. He said he’d hopefully get off in time to watch the Super Bowl, and again hopefully be able to check out a win by the New Orleans Saints.
Either way, the Edinburg High speedster is going to be doing more than watching come fall, as he heads north to play football for the Javelinas of Texas A&M-Kingsville. Menchaca signed with the Javs last week and will join the program after a senior year in which he caught 23 passes and helped the Bobcats into the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
“Kingsville has always been in the back of my mind,” said the 4.5 sprinter whose father, Joe Menchaca, was a star quarterback at McAllen High and then played for the Javelinas in the early 1990s. “My dream has always been to play college football.”
Born in Corpus Christi, the rangy flyer lived mainly in College Station before moving to the Valley in seventh grade. He transferred to EHS from Edcouch-Elsa midway through his sophomore after his father took a coaching gig with the ‘Cats. In his time with the team, Menchaca started as a running QB but established himself as a dangerous receiver who ran back kicks and occasionally doubled as a defensive back. Now 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, he may not have had eye-popping stats in high school, but considerable natural ability was enough to convince the Javs to add him to the roster.
“Right now I am planning on playing receiver, they have their starters back, and one is an All-American,” he said. “I might end up redshirting as a freshman so I can lift, concentrate on school and continue to develop. But I’ll play wherever, you know? Doesn’t matter.”
At the Bobcat football banquet in late 2009, Menchaca and his father embraced during the awards ceremony and the coach gave an impassioned speech about how much his son has meant to him through the years. And Manny returned the favor Sunday.
“He’s always been there for me, guiding me along the way,” he noted. “I mean, he also always been in my ear, getting after me, but it’s all for the best. I am excited to be playing at the school my dad was successful for.”
In other football news, the Edinburg Landsharks are preparing for a benefit game Feb. 20 to raise money for Dee Dee Reyes-Trevino, a local cancer patient. The game will be played at Cats Stadium starting at 4 p.m., with tickets set for the price of a $5 donation. For more info, call Boonie Trevino at 578-9757.
GAME OF THE YEAR HAS EHS-NORTH GIRLS TUESDAY
It was going to be one of the biggest nights in years for city girls’ basketball as North prepared to take on EHS Tuesday. The Lady Coogs were sky high after a monumental road upset against Harlingen South Tuesday, a 60-56 overtime shocker that handed the Lady Hawks their first district loss since 2006. They then won their sixth in a row Friday with an easy 75-29 obliteration of P-SJ-A Memorial and have averaged nearly 70 points per game the last three outings.
Coach Jenny Gaytan’s girls (11-2) came into Tuesday tied for second place with EHS, which got the short end of the stick against a peeved South Friday. Finishing second and not third will be a definite boon for whichever city group that does it, because it changes the caliber of playoff opponent in bi-district. A second-place nod will net a match against either middling Lopez or average San Benito out of 32-5A, while dropping to third will mean a tougher opener versus Weslaco, which was 11-2 headed into the last game of the regular season Tuesday.
Last time North met EHS, the Lady Bobcats scored a 6-point OT win, but that was with rugged senior Anaka Garcia, now out for the year with a broken foot. Vianey Salinas has been on a roll for the Lady Coogs, with 27 points, 11 blocked shots and 14 rebounds in two games heading into Friday’s action. The junior post had 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting as the team knocked off South, with teammate Brandy Garcia contributing 11 blocks inside against the Lady Hawks, plus six assists.
On the boys’ side, EHS (11-0) inched closer to a fifth straight league title as Aaron Olvera tossed in 29 against Econ and 22 versus P-SJ-A before getting 16 in Friday’s win over Harlingen South. Marquis Holiday has been active down low for the Bobcats, who shot 54 percent from the floor in a 97-59 blowout of P-SJ-A Tuesday. Fellow junior Stevie Guerrero led the way Friday with 20 points.
It looks like this could be the year for the Jags, as Lalo Rios’ club got a buzzer-beating three from J.J. Velasquez Friday to beat P-SJ-A, 60-58. Econ is now 5-6 in league play and the schedule is favorable, with two sub-.500 teams on tap next before the finale versus South. The Jags, holding down fourth place after North was dispatched by P-SJ-A Memorial, last made the playoffs six years ago.