WESLACO — The Weslaco High Panthers pounced on the Brownsville Rivera Raiders 24-7 on Saturday afternoon at Bobby Lackey Stadium to improve to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in District 32-6A play.
“Our defense really played lights out today. I’m very impressed with our defense and the way they came out,” Weslaco High head coach Roy Stroman said. “We knew we were facing a really good Brownsville Rivera team. We’ve seen them on film, seen them live, and coach (Alberto) Leal and his staff have done a tremendous job. They gave us everything that they could, and that’s only going to make us better for next week.”
Friday night’s downpour in the mid-Valley forced a postponement of Weslaco’s homecoming game against Rivera (2-3, 0-2), but the Panthers were fired up to take the field Saturday.
“Yesterday we were pumped up for homecoming, and we came out today with a bit of hunger. Last night we couldn’t really sleep, so we came out here and we executed,” senior quarterback Justin Rodriguez said. “Without our coaches, we wouldn’t be anything. Without our fans, our supporters, we love them and this is why we play.”
Fellow quarterback Ethan Gallegos sparked the Panthers’ offense with a 78-yard bomb over the middle of the Rivera defense for a touchdown pass to wide receiver Mekhi Jones.
“He’s our fastest receiver so I have a lot of confidence in him with the deep ball. He was running a post, I saw the safety flat-footed so I knew I could get it over him,” Gallegos said. “It brought a lot of momentum to the team and we were able to put up 14 (points) in the first quarter.”
That set up Rodriguez to close the show as he finished 5 for 10 with 142 passing yards and added 10 carries for 50 yards and one rushing touchdown. Gallegos completed three of six passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers posted 321 total yards offensively.
Weslaco’s defense played solid against Rivera’s spread attack, limiting the Raiders to 243 total yards.
Defensive end Jeremiah Vega was a force up front as he forced a fumble that was scooped up by Cesar Gomez deep in Rivera territory.
“We knew what they were going to do, so we planned against it, had our personnel for it, and we shut them down,” Vega said. “… Today was a good day, but there’s still things to work on.”
Quarterback Ramsey Rocha led Brownsville Rivera, piling up solid yardage with his legs and throwing a touchdown pass to Mario Vega during the second quarter for the Raiders’ only points.
Rivera will look to rebound against Los Fresnos (1-2, 0-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at Leo Aguilar Memorial Stadium in Los Fresnos.
Meanwhile, Weslaco High moves on to face Harlingen High (3-2, 1-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at Boggus Stadium in Harlingen.
“We always have great games against Harlingen. If you’re a fan out there, if you’re anybody that loves football, you got to be in Harlingen next week because coach (Manny) Gomez does a tremendous job, and we have total respect for his program, so we’re going to be ready,” Stroman said.