Slabbed on the side of a building on campus, a mural celebrating the success of Brownsville Porter’s 2003-2004 bi-district win fades from the sun and time.
Since the Cowboys started playing football in 1975, the school only has four winning seasons, the last being the COVID-19-shortened season of 2020. Porter went 3-2 that season. The 2003 season was the only time the Cowboys won a playoff game.
“For these kids, any success is good,” Porter coach Carlos Uresti said. “I think these kids are excited to try and be 3-0 this week, that is our focus. As cliché as it sounds, we are 0-0 this week and we want to be 1-0 at the end of the week.”
In Donna, the Chiefs have had little success in the school’s short history. Donna North started playing football in 2014 and already matched the total of their winningest season with two wins.
“It is the first time in history at Donna North that they won, not only their first game, but their second game,” Chiefs head coach Juan Cuevas said. “Being 2-0 is something new to Donna North, the program has never experienced that. The morale of the team is great, and the players are buying in.”
On Friday, two teams that do not experience much success that have similar demographics, the Brownsville Porter Cowboys (2-0) and the Donna North Chiefs (2-0), battle to remain undefeated at 7:30 p.m. at Benny LaPrade Stadium in Donna for RGVSports.com Game of the Week.
“It is like looking in the mirror when we look at a school like Donna North and ourselves,” Uresti said.
“The majority of them work jobs, most of them work in the summer,” Cuevas said. “We had a few (Tuesday) that could not make it (that) afternoon because they had to go to their jobs. They do have to balance a lot, providing for their family, academics and playing sports.”
Donna North picked up wins against Edinburg Economedes, 26-6, and La Joya Juarez-Lincoln, 14-9. Offensively, senior Marco Aguilar has been key, and on the defensive side of the ball it’s junior linebacker Jesus Benavides.
“We are coming prepared,” Benavides said. “I think our defense is a really strong point of our team. It feels amazing getting respected, but we do not worry about that. We are putting it to the side and just playing ball.”
Benavides will have his hands full against Porter senior playmakers Gunnar Williams and Alejandro Stevens. Williams had 193 receiving yards and three touchdowns during a 34-19 Week 1 win over Grulla. Stevens rushed for 177 yards and four touchdowns in a Week 2 victory over PSJA Memorial, that one ended 34-13.
“Whatever way it takes to score, we will play that way,” Williams said. “If it is blocking all game, I will. If it is running routes, whatever it takes to win. I am excited. We are not the kind of school that gets this stuff.”
A key player on defense for the Cowboys will be defensive lineman Samuel Moreno. The three-year letterman will have his hands full stopping Aguilar and running back Marc Ibarra.
“We feel it is going great,” Aguilar said. “Everybody is working hard. We have practices early in the morning. Everyone is just putting in a lot of work.”
In the win against Economedes, Aguillar rushed for three touchdowns and Ibarra ran for 124 yards.
“They are doing good, scoring, getting yards,” Moreno said. “Our defense is doing good this year, though. We are 2-0 and hoping for 3-0.”