WESLACO, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Eli Rodriguez’s second half explosion out of the backfield fueled a come from behind win for Weslaco, earning him Athlete of the Week honors.

The senior running back ran for 204 yards on 23 carries. Rodriguez found the endzone three times in the second half as the Panthers beat Harlingen, 35-32.

“If you bought a ticket to this game, I mean, you got your money’s worth,” Roy Stroman, Weslaco Head Football Coach, said.

Eli’s biggest play of the game came in the final seconds of regulation. After a 39-yard go-ahead score by Cardinal’s quarterback Randy Morales, it was two-minute drill time for the Panthers.

Before the drive, Rodriguez and the rest of the Weslaco offense knew they had a good shot of driving down the field and scoring.

“After they had scored that last touchdown, I looked at my offensive line, I looked at Andy [Andres Sepulveda],” Rodriguez said. “I said, ‘Let’s go get this.’ We’re not going to lose in our house. We had a whole stadium, a big crowd.”

Weslaco drove 79 yards down the field. The drive was capped off with Rodriguez’s receiving touchdown. 

For Rodriguez and the Panther offense, that drive was a culmination of the chemistry and trust this Weslaco offense has built.

“I’ve gotten a lot closer not only with the team, but the offensive line and Andy. We built up a good chemistry to where we can just execute on the field like nobody else can. My O-line, you know, I can easily read their blocks,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez now has 1,026 total yards and 15 total TDs in his 2023 campaign.

Weslaco (6-0) remains unbeaten heading into Valley Sports Central’s Game of the Week matchup against Los Fresnos (5-1).

Kickoff set at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13.