ROMA — Laredo United running back Santiago Salce punched in the go-ahead score from 1 yard with less than a minute to go, and the Longhorns defeated the Harlingen High Cardinals 36-35 during a non-district contest Friday at Gladiator Arena in Roma.
The loss snaps a 16-game regular season winning streak by the Cardinals, dropping them to 4-1 on the year.
The teams traded blows during the second half, each taking the lead at least twice during the final two periods.
A 13-yard rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Noah Huerta gave the Cardinals a 35-30 lead with 3:40 remaining. Huerta finished the game with 20 carries for 101 yards and three touchdowns.
The Longhorns wasted little time answering, marching 79 yards down the field behind the cool and collected play of senior quarterback Atzel Chavez.
The UTRGV commit completed 5-of-7 passes for 54 yards on the final drive, adding a carry for 12 yards to set up the go-ahead score by Salce. He finished the contest 22-of-47 for 217 yards and one touchdown, adding seven carries for 59 yards and two scores.
Salce chipped in 107 yards and the game-winning score on 20 carries.
Harlingen High attempted to answer on the ensuing drive, but the possession ultimately ended in a turnover on downs.
Harlingen High’s offense finished with 403 total yards, including 288 on the ground. Senior quarterback Randy Morales got it done through the air and on the ground for the Cardinals, throwing for 56 yards and a score, adding 176 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Harlingen High heads into a bye next week before kicking off District 32-6A play Oct. 6. The Cardinals open league play against Weslaco High (5-0) at 7 p.m. at Bobby Lackey Stadium in Weslaco.