The 2022 rendition of the Battle of the Arroyo sold out less than four hours after tickets were released, with football fans across the Valley trying to get a glimpse of a primetime matchup between’s No. 2 Harlingen High and No. 3 San Benito.

The game has drawn statewide attention, with members of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine and the Great American Rivalry Series both slated to make the trek to the RGV for the historic rivalry.

Both teams enter the game with 7-0 marks, including 2-0 records in district play, adding to the already heated classic.

“Going up against good competition always brings the best in yourself, your kids and your coaching staff,” San Benito head coach Dan Gomez said. “The opportunity we have to play such a traditioned program is always good for us. It gives you a gauge of how good you can be and what you do know. Anytime we face a team like those guys it is always a challenge, a very excitable challenge.”

The staff talked to coaches across the RGV and gauged how the two teams fare against one another. Here is how Harlingen High and San Benito stack up heading into the pivotal District 32-6A contest according to staff writers and RGV football coaches.


The Cardinals and Greyhounds are both led by junior quarterbacks, with Randy Morales piloting Harlingen High and Aaron Corona commanding San Benito.

Neither team has asked their signal caller to throw much this season, each attempting fewer than 100 passes.

Corona has tallied 506 yards and seven touchdowns, going 40-of-68 for a 58.8%. He’s done damage with his feet as well, rushing for 379 yards and three touchdowns on 42 attempts.

Morales ranks No. 2 in District 32-6A in passing, completing 65-of-89 passes for 969 yards and 10 touchdowns. His 73% completion rate ranks No. 1 in the Valley among players with at least 40 attempts. Factor in his 227 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 34 attempts and the Harlingen High’s gunslinger gains the edge over San Benito’s Corona.

Advantage: Cardinals

Harlingen High quarterback Randy Morales. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)


Expect both teams to try and establish the running game early, with two of the Valley’s top running backs in Harlingen’s Izaiah Bell and San Benito’s Fabian Garcia.

Bell, a senior, ranks No. 3 in District 32-6A in rushing despite averaging just 10.2 carries per game, racking up 764 yards and 15 touchdowns on 72 carries. He’s also demonstrated his ability out of the backfield, hauling in nine catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

Garcia, a junior, continues to build off his breakout sophomore campaign, ranking second in the Valley in rushing with 94 carries for 1,081 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Depth gives the Greyhounds the advantage. Junior Aaron Garza (51 carries, 394 yards, three touchdowns) and senior Israel Juarez (25 carries, 179 yards, three touchdowns) add to San Benito’s lethal rushing attack, which ranks No. 1 in District 32-6A with 2,313 yards.

Advantage: Greyhounds

San Benito running back Fabian Garcia (14). (Edward Severn/


The top two receivers in District 32-6A both wear red and black on Friday nights — Harlingen High’s Aiden Sandoval and Paul Price ranked first and second in receiving, respectively.

The Cardinals look to get the ball in Sandoval’s glue-like hands anyway possible, reeling in 32 catches for 371 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 11 carries for 120 yards and four scores.

Opposite of him is Price, a speedy wideout capable of blowing the top off defenses, evident by his 22.4 yards per catch. The senior has come on strong as of late, recording back-to-back 100-yard performances during district play, bringing his season total to 16 catches for 358 yards and four touchdowns.

The duo alone has combined for more yardage than San Benito’s entire receiving corp, outgaining them 728-545.

Advantage: Cardinals

Harlingen High wide receiver Aidan Sandoval. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)


Harlingen High’s combination of size and experience gives the Cardinals the advantage, with four of five starters classifying as seniors and weighing more than 275 pounds.

Senior Tackles Roy Reyna (6-foot-3, 290 pounds) and Andres Avila (6-foot-2, 285 pounds) highlight the Cardinals’ dominant O-line, joined by seniors Christian Gonzalez and Aaron Alejandro and junior Anthony Johnson.

Harlingen High’s hogs in the trenches serve as the backbone of the Cardinals’ high-octane offensive attack, averaging 392.6 yards and 45.4 points per game.

Advantage: Cardinals

Harlingen High offensive lineman Roy Reyna. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)


Success on offense has been hard to come by against San Benito’s stout defense. The Greyhounds field the Valley’s top-ranked defense, allowing just 140.7 yards and 3.7 points per contest.

San Benito’s success begins up front, with nine different players recording a sack or tackle for loss this year. The Greyhounds have lived in opponents backfields, tallying 81 tackles for loss and 32 sacks, nearly double of Harlingen High’s numbers in both categories (41 tackles for loss, 13 sacks).

Seniors Nova Bejaran (36 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks) and Robert Treviño (31 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks) have been game wreckers for the Greyhounds.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, have been affected by injures on their defensive line, with seniors Pedro Silguero and Remzi Memik limited to just five combined games this season.

Advantage: Greyhounds

Left to right, San Benito defensive linemen Nova Bejaran and Robert Trevino. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)


San Benito’s defensive success continues with its deep linebacking corp — four different players averaging at least five tackles per game.

Junior Danny Cavazos has lived around the football, recording 71 total tackles (50 solo, 21 assists) and four tackles for loss.

He’s joined by playmaking linebackers Mariano Garcia, a senior, and Devon Robinson, a sophomore. Garcia has racked up 14 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles to go with his 57 total tackles. Robinson leads the team in sacks with seven, adding nine tackles for loss and one interception.

Advantage: Greyhounds

San Benito linebacker Mariano Garcia. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)


One word can be used to describe Harlingen High and San Benito’s defensive backs – playmakers.

Harlingen High’s secondary has forced a combined 16 turnovers, racking up eight interceptions and eight forced fumbles. Senior safeties Albert Vasquez and Ray Castillo anchor the secondary, each recording a pair of interceptions and combining for three forced fumbles.

San Benito’s secondary has been just as opportunistic, forcing nine turnovers. Seniors DeAnthony Mireles and Homer Quiroz have been key for the Greyhounds, ranking fourth and fifth on the team in tackles, respectively.

Mireles has been a ballhawk for the Greyhounds as well, picking off three passes and recovering a fumble. Quiroz, a hard-hitting DB, has added an interception and three forced fumbles.

A senior-heavy bunch between the two, no team has a clear-cut advantage in the secondary.

Advantage: Tie

Left to right, Harlingen High defensive back Albert Vasquez and San Benito defensive back DeAnthony Mireles. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)


On paper, Harlingen High and San Benito are near equals, with both teams holding advantages at different positions.

With district title implications and the rivalry’s rich history factored in, with Friday marking the 110th meeting between the two teams, the stage is set for a battle between two Valley heavyweights.

While there will be just one winner on the field, the real winner may be the fans treated to what could be the game of the year in the RGV.

“Texas high school football at its best. That’s what Friday night is going to be,” Gomez said.

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