HARLINGEN — Harlingen is red for another football season.
The Cardinals picked up game-changing plays from their quarterbacks and a late stop by the defense to deliver a 12-7 win over cross-town rivals Harlingen South in the “Bird Bowl” on Friday night at Boggus Stadium in Harlingen.
Harlingen High’s defense came up with a game-clinching stop after the offense fumbled with less than three minutes remaining in the game. The Hawks cut the lead to five in the final minutes after receiver Yariel Cabrera scored from close to set up the tense finish.
Harlingen High quarterback Drew Kornegay found Aiden Flores deep in the seam with no Hawks around him, extending the Cardinals lead to 12-0. Kornegay stepped up in the pocket to deliver the 47-yard strike.
“I work hard and the team works hard,” Kornegay said. “It would not have happened if the receiver did not catch and the line did not block.”
Kornegay, a senior, came in the game when fellow senior quarterback Randy Morales went down in the third quarter with cramps.
“I got some reps last year,” Kornegay said. “But, it was intense. It is Bird Bowl 31, it was a good game. We have a lot to work on because that was not us.”
The game was chippy at times as the players had to be seperated every so often. Both sides played a physical brand of football. The Hawks defensive line came up with turnovers as did the Cardinals defense.
The Cardinals found the breakthrough late in the first half. Morales found a hole up the middle on fourth down for a 44-yard touchdown run.
“It was incredible to help the team out in any way that I can,” Morales said. “It was just one step to getting the win.”
Morales was emotional after the hard-fought win.
“It was crazy,” Morales said. “I have never been to a game like this, or been part of a game like this. It was amazing and something only a football player can go through. It was just an amazing, crazy atmosphere and I loved it.”
Harlingen High returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Mercedes at Boggus Stadium in Harlingen.
Harlingen South will hope to bounce back against Weslaco High at 7 p.m. Thursday at Bobby Lackey Stadium in Weslaco.