While other football teams across the Rio Grande Valley are closing out non-district play or on byes in Week 4, the 10 teams take make up 16-5A DI will be busy chasing the district crown and battling for playoff positioning.
After two weeks of district play, Mission Veterans (2-1, 2-0) and Rio Grande City (3-0, 2-0) have established themselves as two of the teams to beat in 16-5A DI.
That’s why Friday night’s clash between the Patriots and Rattlers is The Monitor’s Game of the Week.
Mission Veterans comes in as the two-time defending district champions. The Patriots rolled through 16-5A DI last year at 9-0, outscoring opponents 438-217.
During the same time, Rio Grande City finished in 8th place with a 3-6 district record.
But there is new leadership in Starr County as first-year head coach Leo Mireles has the Rattlers at 3-0, the program’s first such start since 2016.
RGC opened the year with a 45-14 win over Roma in “The Starr County Super Bowl,” and followed that up with district wins over La Joya Palmview (43-36) and Brownsville Lopez (69-14).
Meanwhile, Mission Veterans has bounced back in a big way since its Week 1 rivalry loss to Mission High. The Patriots responded with a 48-14 win against PSJA Memorial to open district play. They then proceeded to knock off Brownsville Veterans — a team expected to challenge the Patriots for their title — with a 42-21 road victory in Week 3.
Both offenses have been lighting up the scoreboards in district, and fans could be in for more of the same Friday night.
Rio Grande City quarterback Mario Garza has thrown for 744 yards and 10 touchdowns on 69 of 90 throwing in three games this season. Seven of his scores have been brought in by receiver Aaron Marroquin, who is up to 22 catches for 171 and seven receiving touchdowns.
On the other end, sophomore quarterback Ricky Reyna and the Patriots’ offense has found a rhythm. Reyna has thrown for 561 yards and seven touchdowns, while running for another 215 and one score. After being held to one catch for 11 yards in Week 1, all-state receiver AJ Gonzaque has exploded for 268 yards and five touchdowns on 14 catches in his last two outings.
Each offense runs a fast-paced spread attack, but the outcome could come down to whichever team’s defense or special teams unit can make a game-changing play.
Mission Veterans and Rio Grande City will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tom Landry Stadium in Mission with live gamecast coverage on RGVSports.com.