HARLINGEN — It took only seven seconds for the Weslaco High Panthers to get on the board Friday night at Boggus Stadium in Harlingen.
A fumble in the end zone and a two-point conversion put the Panthers up 8-0. Harlingen South erased an 18-point deficit to make it close, but Weslaco High prevailed 24-20.
“We knew that Harlingen South was going to give everything they had and they did tonight,” Panthers head coach Roy Stroman said. “We took our foot off the gas, we just did not finish faster. That has always been our mindset, finish faster. We left a lot of points on the field, but I am happy with the win on the road. We have not won here since 2019,”
The Panthers will always take an ugly win over a pretty loss, Stroman said.
Harlingen South had problems early in the first half. Poor decisions to return kickoffs and penalties plagued the Hawks during the first quarter. The Panthers built a comfortable lead because of it.
The Hawks never gave up, setting up a wild fourth quarter that had multiple turnovers and a couple of late attempts by Harlingen South to steal the game.
“It is a young football team that made a whole lot of mistakes,” Harlingen South coach Israel Gonzalez III said. “Ultimately, you cannot beat yourself and we committed four turnovers in the second half. The thing about a young team and their character is that they never gave up, they had a chance, but it did not go our way.”
Two safeties and a touchdown run by David Sanchez gave the Hawks hope. Harlingen South had two opportunities during the last six minutes of the fourth quarter to take the lead, but fumbles on both drives ended their comeback dreams.
The Hawks, a District 32-5A team, scheduled Class 6A competition in non-district to prepare for district Gonzalez said.
“Besides the mishaps, we were able to compete,” Gonzalez said. “We had an opportunity to win the game in the fourth quarter, so there is progress. At the end of the day, the goal is to compete for a district championship and those games have not started yet. I think our kids are learning, making adjustments and think we will get better week to week.”
A field goal by Panthers kicker Angel Lopez and a 7-yard touchdown run by quarterback Andres Sepulveda put the Panthers up 18-0 in the first quarter.
A field goal and a 63-yard touchdown run by Carlos Moss-Boss cut the lead to 18-9.
Lopez missed a 39-yard field goal earlier in the game, but was money from 44 yards to put the Panthers up 21-9 at halftime. Lopez went 3-for-4 in field goal attempts, tacking on a 34-yarder in the Panthers’ first possession of the second half.
The Panthers (2-0) will take on Edinburg High at 7 p.m. Friday at Richard R. Flores Stadium in Edinburg. The Hawks (0-2) will travel to Brownsville to face the Hanna Golden Eagles, also at 7 p.m. Friday at Sams Memorial Stadium.