DONNA — High school football players across the state of Texas have spent the last two weeks squaring off against teammates in practice, preparing for the start of the regular season. On Friday night, Edcouch-Elsa, Donna High and Harlingen South finally had the opportunity to tee off against an opponent for the first time this year with a three-team scrimmage at Bennie La Prade Stadium.
Entering a season with all eyes on Edcouch-Elsa, “La Maquina Amarilla” finished the round-robin scrimmage by outscoring Donna 2-0 and tying Harlingen South 0-0. While the strong showing is a good start to the 2019 season, Yellow Jackets head coach Christian Navarro said his group isn’t satisfied.
“We still have a ways to go. We’re not going to be satisfied because we know that these kids can do so much better. We have the players that we think can take us to the next level, we just got to go ahead and execute,” Navarro said.
The first play from the Yellow Jackets offense was blown dead before it even started due to a false start, but they were about to get rolling.
Edcouch-Elsa unveiled its three-headed rushing attack led by seniors Jay Cardenas and Edward Cardoza and junior Shawn Alvarado. All three broke free on multiple occasions to keep the chains moving for the Yellow Jacket offense. Cardenas and Alvarado both found pay dirt for Edcouch-Elsa’s two touchdowns, which came against Donna’s defense.
Senior quarterback Michael Rodriguez saw his first action leading the Edcouch-Elsa offense. Navarro felt Rodriguez managed the game well and performed admirably as he went 2-for-2 passing for 35 yards against Donna but has room to improve.
The Yellow Jacket defense had the team’s strongest showing as they were able to keep Donna and Harlingen South out of the end zone. Linebacker Jack Perez came up with big stops from his middle linebacker position, while the secondary and defense line held their own.
“The defense is always going to be stout. They’re going to come out and punch you in the mouth. They’re not going to give to anybody’s will. You might get them, they might bend, but they won’t break,” he said.
Edcouch-Elsa will finish the preseason with a scrimmage on the road against Weslaco East on Aug. 23.
BOWEN GETS BUSY
Junior Avery Bowen debuted at quarterback for Donna High and flashed signs of good things to come for the offense. The dual-threat signal caller displayed his ability to escape the pocket and find receivers down field while keeping the defense honest with his ground game. Bowen twice had gains of 15-plus yards and completions of 45 yards against Harlingen South and 23 yards against Edcouch-Elsa.
Bowen was able to evade pressure on a consistent basis, but his receivers didn’t help his cause with five drops on the night.
Donna High is set to close out the preseason at 7 p.m. on Aug. 23 as it welcomes the Brownsville Rivera Raiders to Bennie La Prade Stadium.