By Adrian F. Trevino | Special to RGVSports.com
MISSION — Everything about this game reeked of a Primetime Matchup. Both McAllen Memorial and Mission Veterans Memorial were undefeated. Everything lined up for a most magical night. McAllen Memorial was the one with the ace up its sleeve and stole the matchup 38-35 on a Jonathan Sanchez 39-yard field goal.
Memorial head coach Moses Patterson understood the moment as he soaked in the victory. “They’re (Vets) a great team and at no point did we think that this would be easy… but we talk about pride and determination and finishing things,” he said.
The Mustangs’ offense struck first when JP Garza rambled for a 4-yard touchdown. Garza’s touchdown was set up by Sebastian Aleman’s 32-yard run on a third and inches. Aleman continued to make big plays throughout the first half capitalizing twice off Patriot errors. First, he blazed off the left side for a 41-yard touchdown after a Patriot fumble. Then, after a pass interference in the end zone, Aleman rambled in from 3-yards out.
Although they struggled early in the first half, the Patriots were not to be outdone. Quarterback Braden Luedeker kept the Patriots in the game with pinpoint passing and scrambling. Luedeker connected with Abel Lucio three different times in their fourth possession of the half to start their scoring. Two plays later, he turned an 8-yard catch into a highlight reel with an amazing move. He scored a 5-yard touchdown on the next play.
The Patriots thrived off that momentum and recovered an onside kick on the subsequent kickoff. Luedeker found Lucio for another big third down conversion. aJust as Luedeker was darting through the Mustang secondary, a Mustang defender separated Luedeker from the football short of the endzone.
The Mustangs wasted no time in the second half. JP Garza exploded past the line of scrimmage for a 1-play, 70-yard touchdown putting the Mustangs up 28-14.
“It’s what we needed and my line set it up perfectly, I give all my credit to the big boys up front,” praised Garza.
The Patriots never relented. The Patriots defense held the Mustangs to a three and out and scored. The Patriots turned their defensive stand into a seven play drive into 3-yard touchdown. Again, Luedeker was magical.
If Luedeker was magic, JP Garza was lightning. Garza returned the kickoff 55-yard and put the Mustang offense in prime real estate. It would only take Dylan Goodson one play to scamper in from 25 yards. It would be the second time the Mustangs would only need one play to strike.
The slugfest continued. Even when the Mustang’s potency seemed to be too much, the Patriots answered. Luedeker continued his playmaking sorcery and connected with Jordan Rodriguez twice including a fourth and inches. He capped the drive with 1-yard rushing touchdown. The game was tied 35-35.
The Patriot defense held, but so did the Mustangs. The Mustangs found a way, found their own magic. JP Garza’s 47-yard run set up Jonathan Sanchez winning kick.