McALLEN — A season opener may come with a hiccup here or some rust there, but McAllen Memorial’s offense had no problem creating big plays in a 28-20 victory over Brownsville Hanna on Thursday night at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Mustangs scored touchdowns from distances of 54, 47, 68 and 67 yards to run past the Eagles and start the 2023 season in the win column.

“Anytime you can come out with a win, it’s always a great thing. Coach (Mark) Guess over there does a great job with those kids at Hanna High School, that’s why we want to play them every year,” Memorial head coach Moses Patterson said. “Excited about what we saw today. There’s obviously some things we want to work on, some basic stuff, but at the end of the day, it’s a win and we’ll take it.”

The Mustangs wasted no time going to work as running back Sebastian Aleman broke off a 54-yard touchdown run on the second snap of the game. Receiver Dylan Goodson hauled in a 47-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kane Coy and then scored on a 68-yard touchdown run to give Memorial a 21-14 halftime lead.

Each time the Mustangs hit pay dirt, however, the Eagles found a way to answer.

Joseph Ruiz broke two tackles and housed a wide receiver screen for 33 yards and running back Christian Espinosa scored on a two-yard plunge in the first half.

Hanna started the third quarter with a 75-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Ramiro Ruiz, but the extra point was blocked. 

On the ensuing possession, Memorial’s JP Garza busted loose for a 67-yard touchdown to make it a 28-20 game.

Hanna had a chance to score and potentially tie late with the ball at Memorial’s 6-yard line, but Dalton Keller forced a fumble on a run and Chris Luna recovered to seal the game for the Mustangs.

Brownsville Hanna’s Christian Espinosa (2) is stopped by Mcallen Memorial defenders Nico Lara (42) and Daniel Cardenas (2) in a non-district game at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Both Aleman and Garza had 100-yard rushing games for the Mustangs, while Goodson caught two passes for 56 yards, had two carries for 91 yards and scored twice. The sophomore QB Coy completed all three of his passes for 61 yards.

“We started off really fast, but I think our tempo slowed down a little bit in the second half. I think we could have hustled more and done a lot more things right, but it’s always good to come out with a win,” Goodson said.

The Mustangs (1-0) move on to face Mission Veterans at 7:30 p.m. next Friday at Tom Landry Stadium in Mission.

“We just have to put more effort in next week and come out striking against Mission Vets,” Aleman said.

Mario Garcia led Hanna with 87 rushing yards and Espinosa added 62 on the ground. Ramiro Ruiz threw for 178 yards and a touchdown to Joseph Ruiz, who had three catches for 86 yards and a score.

The Eagles (0-1) will look to bounce back next week against Sharyland High at 7 p.m. Friday at Sams Memorial Stadium in Brownsville.

[email protected]