The Monitor’s Game of the Week will stay in McAllen for the first time this season for a titanic tilt between a pair of crosstown rivals with championship implications.

The McAllen Memorial Mustangs and McAllen Rowe Warriors will square off in one of the Rio Grande Valley’s fiercest football rivalries with city bragging rights and a spot in the District 16-5A DI championship game on the line for both teams.

The Mustangs (3-1, 2-0) have played a makeshift schedule through the first month of the season.

Memorial moved to 2-0 in divisional play in District 16-5A DI’s west zone after coming up with huge defensive stands in the waning seconds to top the McHi Bulldogs and the La Joya Palmview Lobos in overtime Saturday. The Mustangs also split a pair of hard-fought, non-district contests against the Harlingen High Cardinals and PSJA North Raiders, two of the Valley’s toughest Class 6A defenses.

Rowe (3-2, 3-0), meanwhile, stumbled out of the gate this season with a pair of back-to-back shootout losses on the road against the Sharyland Pioneer Diamondbacks and Sharyland High Rattlers. But the resilient Warriors have flipped the script since, preparing for and winning three consecutive district games during a 15-day span with wins over McHi, the Brownsville Veterans Chargers and a dominant shutout over Donna High on Saturday.

This matchup pits two of the three District 16-5A DI teams who advanced to the area round of last season’s Class 6A state playoffs. The winner will likely face the third to do so, the Weslaco East Wildcats, in the district championship game with one more regular-season district game remaining for each squad.

Memorial and Rowe also boast two of the Valley’s deepest backfields and secondaries which should keep this contest close throughout. The Mustangs and Warriors will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium.


Twitter: @ByAndyMcCulloch