MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – McAllen Memorial is not accustomed to missing the playoffs.

2022 was the first time since 2009 the Mustangs were not in the playoff mix. Memorial finished last season 3-7, 2-5 in district play.

“It’s not typical of us not to be out of the loop,” Moses Patterson, McAllen Memorial Head Coach, said. “Again, part of it was some growing pains. We’re looking forward to moving forward and setting our sights high for this upcoming season.”

Recovering from a senior-heavy squad in 2020-21, Memorial lacked experience. However, this year’s installment of the Mustang football program is more mature.

Patterson sees his defense as one big strength for his squad. Linebacker Daniel De La Cruz, senior, will be a huge anchor for the Memorial defense. De La Cruz accounted for 83 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and 1 sack in 2022.

The other strength for the Mustangs will be the offensive line. Carlos Rodriguez and Josh Lang will be asked to open up the holes for running back J.P. Garza. 

Aside from the defense and offensive line, the biggest key that will make or break the Mustang’s season is finishing ball games.

“Finishing is the name of the game this season,” Patterson said. “This season, I think, comes down to just finishing, going out there and competing and again, making it to the playoffs.”

De La Cruz added to Patterson’s thoughts. He said, “Give it everything we’ve got. For me, I’m going to be a senior. This is going to be my last high school season, so I’m going to put everything I’ve got on that field and not regret anything.”

McAllen Memorial opens up its season at home against Hanna on Thursday, August 24.