EDINBURG — Edinburg Vela and Harlingen High entered The Monitor’s Game of the Week with an argument to be made as the top team in the Rio Grande Valley.

After 48 minutes of action, the No. 1 SaberCats (2-0, 0-0) put rest to the debate with a 30-3 win over the No. 3 Cardinals (1-1, 0-0) on Thursday evening at Richard R. Flores Stadium in Edinburg.

“We’re very pleased with the outcome. We made some adjustments at halftime and I thought we did well in that situation, but it’s back to work,” Edinburg Vela head coach John Campbell said. “It’s a non-district game and the purpose is to play a great quality program like Harlingen so we can be tested and go back and see what we did well and see what we need to fix.”

Senior quarterback Chase Campbell tossed four touchdown passes on the night, with do-it-all athlete P.J. Rivera hauling in a pair. Carlos Tamez and Justin Vega were on the receiving end of Campbell’s two other touchdown throws.

Rivera is up to six touchdowns through two games to lead the SaberCats’ offense.

“As a team, we just executed. We go hard every day. It’s time to celebrate with the team,” he said.

The Vela defense played lights out, surrendering just three points on the night on a Harlingen field goal just before the end of the first half. The SaberCats have now held both the McAllen Memorial Mustangs and Cardinals to under seven points to start the season.

“Very impressive with our kids and our defensive staff doing a good job. A lot of it too is our ability to run the ball, the special teams, field position, it kind of all goes together,” Coach Campbell said. “It’s truly a team effort, but the performance of our defense the past couple weeks has been impressive.”

Defensive back Justin Navarro came away with two interceptions on the night, while defensive end Jake Dufner jumped on a Cardinals’ fumble in the red zone as they threatened to score.

“Our gameplan, our coaches, they get us ready for everything and we follow what they say and do our jobs 1-11,” Navarro said.

The SaberCats move on to District 31-6A competition next week as they’ll face PSJA North (2-0, 0-0) at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 at PSJA Stadium in Pharr.

Harlingen will look to bounce back with another non-district bout against Laredo United (0-1, 0-0) at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10 in Harlingen.

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