Rodriguez Jr., Garcia help the East All-Stars rally over the West in physical RGVCA All-Star game

PHARR – Two of the Rio Grande Valley’s best running backs, Weslaco High’s Eli Rodriguez Jr. and San Benito’s Fabian Garcia, helped the East All-Stars rally over the West All-Stars in the annual RGVCA All-Star game Saturday night at PSJA Stadium.

The East won 27-26 after being down 26-14 in an exciting and physical all-star game.

East’s La Villa’s Brandon Felix is tackled by West McHi’s Jaxson Quintanilla (68) and Edinburg Vela ’s Alexander Sotelo (94) during the RGVCA All Star football game at PSJA Stadium Saturday, Jan. 13 2024 in Pharr. (Delcia Lopez| [email protected])

Garcia scored the go-ahead touchdown from two yards on the first play of the fourth quarter after the East started with the ball inside the West’s five-yard line following a fumble recovery.

“We needed it big time because we were down and we needed to come up,” Garcia said.

It was a hard-fought touchdown on fourth down. Garcia said playing at San Benito, and the physicality expected from his program helped him Saturday night.

“Greyhound football prepares you for all of this,” Garcia said. “When I decide where I want to go for the next level it is going to be easy. I want to thank my Lord and savior, as well as my mom, dad, brother and everyone that has supported me today and have been supporting me.”

Rodriguez Jr. scored a signature long touchdown run on East’s previous drive. The Weslaco High running back went 70 yards down the sideline to cut the West lead to 26-21.

“I saw the opening, my offensive line did an amazing job on the pull, it was an amazing blocking scheme,” Rodriguez said. “One-on-one with safety, you know us running backs are a little bit stronger than them, so I ran through, ran fast and ran hard. All glory to God, I scored.”

It was a physical game and filled with exciting plays from both teams. The West went up thanks to a 50-yard touchdown run by PSJA North’s Ale Aparicio. The former Raiders quarterback second touchdown on the night.

The West went up 20-16 before the half when Sharyland High quarterback Bo Krell found McHi’s Max Alvarez for a 63-yard score. Alvarez caught another touchdown early in the game, a 30-yarder from Aparicio to open the scoring.

West’s McAllen High’s Obed Max Alvarez dives for the pile on for a score after a catch and run during the RGVCA All Star football game at PSJA Stadium Saturday, Jan. 13 2024 in Pharr. (Delcia Lopez| [email protected])

It was a Battle of the Arroyo connection on Garcia’s first touchdown. Garcia was found by Harlingen High quarterback Randy Morales in the flats for a six-yard score.

Edinburg Vela standout running back Jamal Polley scored from six yards, and La Villa quarterback Brandon Felix found Edcouch-Elsa’s Jayreed Amaya from 4 yards in the back-and-forth opening half.

“These guys really wanted to win, bragging rights,” East All-Star head coach and La Villa head coach Daniel Perez said. “They [West] had a lot of good players, so these guys really wanted to win. We got the best players in the Valley here, you aren’t going to do too much coaching they are going to go all out every time.”

East La Villa’s Brandon Felix is brought down by West PSJA North Danny Garcia (99) during the RGVCA All Star football game at PSJA Stadium Saturday, Jan. 13 2024 in Pharr. (Delcia Lopez| [email protected])