DQ Big Game of the Week preview: McAllen Memorial vs. McAllen

WEEK 7 OF THE DQ BIG GAME OF THE WEEK FINDS NEIL BEASLEY AND COMPANY WAY DOWN SOUTH IN THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY.

This week’s DQ Big Game of the week is yet another rivalry game. We hit the Valley for big brother (McHi) vs. little brother (Memorial). McAllen was all Bulldogs since 1909, and first started playing football in 1914. Generation after generation; if you lived in McAllen; YOU were a Bulldog. But the only thing constant in life is change, and that change came about in 1980, that’s when little Memorial high school was built and put in to operation. And in 1982, the pigskin started being tossed around and BAM! A rivalry was born.

Now some rivalries are littered with bad blood and bad actions to go along with it; but not this rivalry. Since these schools are just 2.5 miles apart on either side of 10th Street, most if not all of these kids know each other, have schooled together or churched together or Little Leagued together. No, this rivalry isn’t about ‘bad blood’, it’s more like blood brothers. You love your little brother but you certainly want to make him cry in frustration as he runs in to tell mom you whooped him by 50 intermittently swatting his lay-ups in to the neighbor’s yard again in your fun little game of driveway hoops. That’s the feeling here. They actually talk KIND to each other on most days of the year (all that churching together must have paid off). Each side seems to get it that there’s 364 days of living together and just one of football against each other, so they do this rivalry thing right. Now don’t get me wrong, that ONE day of football is intense. There will almost certainly be close to 10,000 people on hand to witness the 36th annual clash of McAllen brothers (still big even though McAllen Rowe has turned this in to a 3-way battle for city supremecy).

As you might expect, the old guard McHi ruled the rivalry early. The ‘Dogs started 19-9 through the 2000’s. But Coach Bill Littleton, who’s now entering his 15th season as head coach of the Mustangs, has turned the tide and bitten the dog right back. ‘Stangs have won the last 7-straight games and are closing in on evening up the series. Another Memorial win this year would not only make it 8-in-a-row making it back to back classes with 4-year series sweeps, it would get the all-time series record to 19-17; McAllen still leads, but the Mustangs in the rear view mirror are comin’ on fast!

There are so many great rivalries around this state, and this one has no problems taking a seat at that illustrious table. No, it doesn’t go back to the 1800’s, but that’s a big part of this rivalry’s tale; the upstart that’s suddenly not so young anymore.  Little brother done gone and grow’d up. The kid you and your buddies used to make get the ball out of the sewer in your street game is now 5 inches taller and 25 pounds heavier. But sometimes age and treachery can beat youth and energy. Will this be one of those weeks? The sibling rivalry resumes Friday night.

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Neil Beasley is the host of the DQ Big Game of the Week, which is a Texas football tradition that can be seen 11 p.m. on Friday’s “High School Scoreboard Live” on FOX Sports Southwest. Catch Neil on Twitter at @Neilbeaz.

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