Pretty rare to see a kicker ramble downfield to make a hard-rock tackle on a kickoff. And also not an everyday occurrence to see that same kicker deftly intercept a tipped pass and return it for a 36-yard touchdown. Now, when that same dude (the kicker) consistently rushes the passer, makes six tackles, and at one point pounces like a tiger to drag down a ball-carrier for a 5-yard loss, the question is: what in the world is going on?

The answer is Emmanuel Duron, EHS’s new all-purpose highlight film star, and yes he can kick it, but also yes, he can flat play some defensive line. The punch line of course is that the muscled Duron, who recorded a Pick Six against Mercedes, nailed all six extra points, and added a 29-yard field goal to boot, is also a soccer star for the Bobcats. And as the club cinched a 45-18 drubbing of the visiting Tigers Friday – reaching 4-0 for the first time in more than decade – No. 88 was the Man of the Match, so to say.

An all-district pick on the pitch in 2017-18, the hard-charging sophomore is making his mark on the other green … bottom line: lo hace bien en ambos deportes.

Duron was everywhere and so was the sublime runner Hearlin Benavides, who crashed and dipped for 215 yards as EHS walloped Mercedes; the ‘Cats amassed 333 rushing yards in leading 24-6 at the half and cruising to the tape. The lone negative from a night of superlatives was a pair of injuries – to skill guys Eric Cano (ankle) and QB Matt Cruz (knee) – meaning that the bye week ahead of the squad could not have been a better set up.

Off this week in preparation for the District 31-6A opener against Weslaco East, the Bobcats will film up, rest, and hope that Cano (40 yards in three quick bursts Friday before going down) and Cruz (hurt on a super 22-yard run midway through the fourth) will be ready to go Oct. 4. Other than that, things are going swimmingly for the Originals.

The Honduran Benavides, who sat out last week’s rout at Rivera, returned to brilliant form against the Tigers, though the going was tough inside for him at times. He carried for 44 total yards on the second drive of the night, scooting in from the 13 at 6:27. When Mercedes came down to score and get to within 7-6, Cano did his fast-footed number to key a quick march for a 14-6 advantage, Cruz zooming in from the 10 at 8:03 of the second.

Then it was Duron Time, as the naturally strong end came up with consecutive stops on D and soon added a 29-yard field goal at 3:48. As the half waned, again 88 was great, snaring a Mercedes pass off a tip by Devin Cura and sprinting in for a defensive TD with just 1:08 to go before intermission.

Buoyed by that bang-bang sequence, the ‘Cats were on a roll. Even when Mercedes started the third period with a 56-yard scoring pass, EHS didn’t flinch. With Benavides tearing gaping holes in a tiring Tiger stop unit (eight carries, 55 yards), the home side made it 31-12 at 4:43 with a 14-yard H-Train arrival. It became a blowout when Benavides then broke free for an 80-yard scoring run, and David Tejada ended the point parade with a fourth-period six.

As the offense dominated the ball Friday, the EHS defense just had to play its role, and did so nicely. The Tigers gained 320 yards but one-third of that came in garbage time. The Bobcats took three turnovers, a fumble recovery by Shandon Woodard and a pick by David Rostro joining Duron’s INT, and the sturdy unit is surely ready for the challenge of league play.

As stated, the lone drawback from the evening was the injury situation. Cano, who provides a vital change-of-pace complement to Swirlin’ Hearlin in the backfield and Cruz – the senior leader with gobs of experience – are integral members of the team’s quest for three straight playoff appearances.

Again as stated, the bye week is a veritable gift for EHS, meaning that it should be back to full strength for the run of games that truly matter.

On the other hand, who is ready to say with certainty that in an emergency, Duron might not be able to step in and do some amazing things in the backfield? We surely exaggerate, but after Friday’s exploits, it seems that No. 88 can do anything, anywhere, any time! 


The other unbeaten team on town, Vela, advances to 31-6A Friday against a North club that was stomped in Elsa last week to drop to 0-4. The SaberCats outdistanced some early mistakes on the road at Los Fresnos to post a 34-13 triumph behind 21 unanswered points after the break. Though the Cougars have failed to scratch thus far, anyone imagining that they will not be set to throw rounds for all they’ve got against Vela had better reconsider. Rivalry Games have a funny way of being compelling theater – records aside – history attests.