By Luis Arreola
Special to the News
It takes heart to step on a football field in Texas. For 48 consecutive minutes, all is laid on the line. Blood. Sweat. Tears. Everything. In one of the most improbable finishes to a football game, San Benito’s Quarterback Erick Retta scrambled out of the pocket towards the right side of the field. As the Cardinal’s defensive unit began to close in on him, he throws the ball to his receiver. Nine times out of ten he makes that pass; however, that night, he simply didn’t see the defender. With Retta’s only interception of the night, the Mighty Greyhounds fell short to the Harlingen Cardinals in a heartbreaking 29-27 upset at Boggus Stadium.
That moment was surreal.
With Harlingen differing to the 2nd half, the Greyhounds received the ball first. Driving the ball 80-yards into Cardinal territory, Marcelino Morales pounded the ball over the goal line, to open up the scoring. Greyhounds were up 7-0 with 8 minutes left in the 1st. Harlingen answered back with a 40-yard field goal, making the score 7-3. Unable to gain any yardage, San Benito sent out their Special Teams unit to attempt at punt. A high snap caused the Greyhounds to give up a safety, making the score 7-5, Harlingen up. From that moment on, we were all in for a heck of a game.
Closing in on 3 minutes of the 1st quarter, San Benito recovered a fumble by Harlingen, placing the ball on their own 33-yard line. On the next drive, Tyler Solis managed to break away from the defender, scoring on a 17-yard TD pass from Retta. 1st quarter came to an end with the Hounds on top, 14-5.
In the 2nd quarter, both teams were able to find the end-zone, one on the ground and one in the air. Retta hooked up with Isaiah Trevino on a 12-yard TD pass, while Harlingen’s Leo Tienda broke the plane on a 5-yard Cardinal TD. The half came to a close with San Benito in the lead, 21-12.
With San Benito up by 9 points at the half, onlookers from the stands were sure to see some fireworks in the 2nd half. That’s exactly what they got. The Cardinal’s opened up the 3rd quarter, dominating both offensively and defensively, managing to score 14 unanswered points; One TD throughout the air, one TD on a punt return. With Harlingen taking advantage the Greyhound’s 3rd quarter performance, they managed to pull away with the lead at the end of the quarter, 26-21.
As the 4th began, San Benito was in dire need of a spark. For Tyrone Harper, that was no problem. Within the 1st minute of the quarter, he found the end-zone on a 11-yard TD run, bringing the score to 27-26. Gomez decided to go for the 2-point conversion, however the attempt was unsuccessful, leaving the score at 27-26. As time continued to expire, both teams were fighting, trying to gain yardage, both on the ground and in the air. The Cards were able to march down the field and attempt a 52- yard field goal. As the crowd held their breath, the kick was in the air. It’s good! Cardinals regained the lead, 29-27. With a minute left to go, San Benito knew it was crunch time. Retta and his offensive unit took the field in attempt at a comeback for the ages. Unfortunately, his pass was a little underthrown. With thousands of fans watching a live feed of the battle, Retta’s only interception of the game could be argued as “The Throw Seen Around the World.”
The undefeated Greyhounds fell short by two points, losing the game 29-27. Their overall record now stands at 9-1, with Harlingen giving San Benito its first loss of the season. With district play out of the way, the Greyhounds are now gearing up for a home tilt with Edinburg High. “We’re good to go. We’re ready to go,” said Dan Gomez. “It’s good to go against good teams and good football programs because that’s exactly what the playoffs are going to be like.”
At the end of the game, San Benito’s Head Coach Dan Gomez was seen congratulating his kids on a well fought battle. As he was walking to round up his players, he was stopped amid field. He exchanged some heartfelt words with Senior Captain Skyler Garcia. With so much passion for the game of football between the two, both extended arms wide open and embraced each other with a bearhug. For the seniors, this will be the last time they step on the field to face the Cardinals. Although San Benito has surpassed many teams in their district, this particular loss makes it that much more heartbreaking.