The Grulla Gators and Hidalgo Pirates will officially welcome high school football back to Hidalgo County at 7:30 p.m. Friday as the two Class 4A foes kickoff the 2020 season in The Monitor’s Game of the Week.

Due to COVID-19 delaying the start of the season for each team, the Gators and Pirates are jumping right into the fire with a District 16-4A DI clash between two playoff teams from a season ago.

This game also offers an early glimpse at two of the Rio Grande Valley’s top playmakers at the Class 4A level in Grulla quarterback J.T. Trujio and Hidalgo running back Zach Carrera.

Grulla finished last season 4-7 as Trujio (1,813 passing yards, 24 touchdowns) and teammate running back Vidal Lopez (623 rushing yards, six touchdowns) return to lead a Grulla squad with high hopes entering 2020.

Meanwhile, Hidalgo’s workhorse back, Carrera, was one of the state’s Class 4A in 2019. He rushed for 2,164 yards and 21 touchdowns. He was a large part of the reason Hidalgo and head coach Monty Stumbaugh turned things around last year as Hidalgo improved from a 2-8 record in 2018 to an 8-3 overall mark last season.

Last season, Hidalgo bested Grulla 35-13 led by Carrera’s 290 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on 37 carries. With Carrera back in the fold, expect a large dose of the Pirates’ playmaking running back, while Trujio leads Grulla’s aerial attack.

Kickoff between Grulla and Hidalgo is slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hidalgo High School.

bramos@themonitor.com