La Joya High senior running back Eddie Villarreal faced some high expectations entering the season after an incredible, break-out junior year, where he finished second in 30-6A in total rushing yards.
After a bit of a slow start to the season and some lingering injuries, he’s started to surpass those expectations in recent weeks.
The senior back ran for a game-high 173 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries in a 14-7 win over McAllen High in Week 7. He personally accounted for more than half of La Joya’s total offense that night (324).
Villarreal has rushed for more than 500 yards through the first three weeks of district play, while averaging 5.7 yards per carry and finding the end zone five times during that stretch. He’s rushed for 100 yards or more in three consecutive district games and has averaged 167 rushing yards per game, which represents a 52% increase from his average during non-district competition.
Villarreal should be set for another big night on the ground when the Coyotes (3-3, 1-2) take on short-handed La Joya Juarez-Lincoln (1-5, 0-3) in a rivalry matchup at 7:30 p.m. Friday in La Joya.
INJURY BUG BITES AGAIN FOR WARRIORS
The McAllen Rowe Warriors have thrived this season thanks to their next-man-up mentality and versatility with several talented two-way players. The Warriors will need to keep that going after the injury bug bit again and hard, this time sidelining junior running back Lorenzo Lopez.
Lopez was forced to exit Friday’s contest against PSJA North due to an ankle injury and did not return. While the extent of the injury isn’t known at this stage, the junior has been ruled out of Thursday’s pivotal district clash.
Lopez has been one of four backs regularly utilized by the Rowe offense this season, having rushed for 259 yards and three scores on 47 carries. He led the team in carries and was second in rushing yards only to senior quarterback Jonas Ortiz (274).
Rowe also lost junior receiver David Savage to injury before the start of district play, leaving them without a couple of their top offensive options in the backfield and out wide. The Warriors (6-0, 3-0) are currently ranked No. 5 in the RGVSports.com Top 10 Poll and will face the PSJA High Bears (3-3, 2-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday in McAllen.
McHI’S CANADA EMERGING AS TOP DEEP THREAT
McAllen High wideout Quinllion Canada has quickly emerged as his team’s — and perhaps the district’s — top deep threat receiver.
Canada has broken out onto the scene with three straight games with 100 or more receiving yards to kick off district play. He and PSJA High senior receiver Miguel Flores are the only wideouts in the district with three or more 100 yard games through the air, and the two are tied for the longest active streak of doing so.
But Canada’s way of getting to that point is worth a closer look. The sophomore wide receiver didn’t tally a reception through the team’s first two games and ended the first month of the season with one catch for 10 yards.
But ever since the Bulldogs bye week, Canada has been on an absolute tear. He caught a season-high nine passes for a game-high 106 yards in a 14-7 loss to La Joya High. His performance against the Coyotes positions the sophomore as the fourth-leading receiver in the district with 351 yards and makes him the only underclassman receiver to rank within the top five.
Canada will need to have another game-breaking performance and keep his streak going when the Bulldogs (2-4, 0-3) look for an upset win over the top-ranked McAllen Memorial Mustangs (5-1, 2-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium.