Hawks beat Eagles, clinch final 32-6A playoff spot - Brownsville Herald: H.S. Football

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Hawks beat Eagles, clinch final 32-6A playoff spot

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Posted: Monday, November 11, 2019 4:30 pm

HARLINGEN — Entering the week, Harlingen South senior running back Israel Vasquez knew he was going to get a majority of the carries with sophomore running back Marcos Gonzales sidelined with an injury.

Vasquez answered the bell with a pair of second-half touchdowns, and the Hawks’ defense caused fits for Brownsville Hanna all night in a 24-14 win to end the regular season.

After a stop on fourth down while leading by three, Vasquez broke loose for a 30-yard fourth quarter touchdown that helped seal a victory that sends the Hawks to the playoffs for the second straight season.

The Hawks will play Weslaco East in the Class 6A DII bi-district round sometime next week.

“There is a lot of guts with that young man,” Hawks coach Brian Ricci said about Vasquez. “He is a true football player. He isn’t the biggest guy in the world, but he sure does run hard and he is a team player, and I’m proud of that kid.”

South held a 7-0 lead late in the second quarter. David Torres hit Alex Esparza with what looked like a 41-yard touchdown pass that would have given South a 14-0 lead, but the score was called back due to a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Esparza. The Hawks settled for a field goal and a 10-0 lead at halftime.

South held that lead until Hanna’s offense woke up. Victor Campos hit Ryan Trinidad on a flea flicker that put Hanna on the board. On the next possession, Campos found Ernesto Mendoza in the back of the end zone to give Hanna its first lead, 14-10.

“Football is a game of inches and those little inches come to play quite frequently in high school football, and if you don’t take advantage of the opportunities when they come you don’t win ballgames,” Hanna coach Mark Guess said. “You end up not getting in the end zone and don’t get the stops you are supposed to, but that is high school football. There is nothing like it.”

The Hawks trailed for the first time but didn’t blink. South quickly regained a 10-point lead on a pair of Vasquez touchdowns from 14 and 30 yards out.

“I had been ready to get my shot and make the most of it,” Vasquez said. “My offensive line, they blocked well. If they are doing good, we are doing good. I was a little nervous coming into tonight, but we went out there and executed and got the job done.”

The Hawks’ defense pitched the first-half shutout and managed to keep Campos at bay for a majority of the night. The final knockout punch came on a Jerimiah Rivera interception with 5:30 left in the game.

“That defense played tremendous,” Ricci said. “That was one of the best halves I have seen our defense play all year. They gave up a couple of big pass plays during the second half, but overall it was a great performance.”

The Hawks now must iron out the details for next week’s bi-district matchup. Weslaco East is no stranger to Harlingen South, as the teams were district opponents two years ago. The last time the Hawks played East was in 2017 at Bobby Lackey Stadium, with the Wildcats winning 49-21.

“It has been a while since we played Weslaco East. It is going to be fun,” Ricci said. “Like I told the kids, everyone’s records go out the window. We are in the state playoffs, and I’m proud of our kids.”

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