Harlingen High School

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Coordinates: 26°12′27″N 97°41′01″W / 26.2074°N 97.6836°W / 26.2074; -97.6836

Harlingen High School
Cardinal Spirit Never Dies
Harlingen, Texas
United States
Type Public
Established 1913
School district Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District
Principal Imelda Munivez
Grades 9 - 12
Enrollment 2,600
Campus type Closed Campus
Color(s) Red & White & Black (unofficial)
Athletics conference District 32-6A
Mascot Cardinal
Mascot Nickname Big Red and Lady Red

Harlingen High School is a high school located on 1201 E. Marshall Avenue in Harlingen, Texas and is part of the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District. HHS is the first of 3 HCISD high schools. HHS was the sole high school from its establishment in 1913 to 1993 when the school split and Harlingen High School South was formed.


With 576 victories, the Harlingen Cardinals is the most successful high school football program in the Rio Grande Valley's 100 year high school football history with Harlingen participating in all but the first three of the 100 years. Harlingen also possesses a Valley record 32 Texas state football playoff appearances as well as the most district championships in the valley. In 1976 the Cardinals completed their first 10-0 season in school history. Arguably the Cardinal's best season to date has come in 1989 under the leadership of legendary coach Jesse Longhofer. After losing the season opener, the Cardinals rallied to an eight-game win streak to finish the season 8-1 (one game was canceled). In the playoffs, Harlingen became the first team in Valley football history to win 3 playoff games and reach the 4th round where they lost at home to Converse Judson. Currently Harlingen is coached by Manny Gomez, a defensive star from that 1989 playoff team, and is currently riding a nine-year active playoff appearance streak and are poised to extend that streak to ten consecutive years. The Cardinals have been named the number 1 football team all time in Valley Freedom Newspaper's Gridiron Gold series countdown of the top 14 schools in the Valley's 100 year football history.[1]

Battle of the Arroyo[edit]

One of the most anticipated high school football games is the Battle of the Arroyo between the Harlingen Cardinals and rivals, San Benito High School Greyhounds. San Benito is Harlingen's neighboring community. The game between each school has been played 81 times with bragging rights and many times (prior to the recent district realignment) playoff spots on the line. 2010 marked the 81st "Battle" with Harlingen winning 45-21. HHS leads the series 57-19-5 and 2-0 in playoffs.

Bird Bowl[edit]

In 1993 Harlingen High School split up into 2 schools, HHS and Harlingen High School South. Because HHSS selected the hawk as their mascot, the rivalry was dubbed the "Bird Bowl". Although the rivalry is only 20 years old, the game is every bit as intense as the Battle of the Arroyo, more so now that the city of Harlingen is no longer in the same athletic district as San Benito. Early on, the Cardinals dominated the Hawks year in and year out, but now in recent years, the Hawks have turned into a tough competitor and are capable of providing Harlingen fans with a great game. The Cardinals lead the series 14-4 and because both schools share J. Lewis Boggus Stadium, the "home" team designation is alternated every season. The Cardinals won Bird Bowl XVIII with a score of 75-21.

Professional players[edit]

In Harlingen's 97-year history, the Cardinals have had 6 players go on to play professional ball including CFL and NFL players and 1 Super Bowl champion.

Notable alumni[edit]


The Harlingen High School Band is under the direction of Ronnie Rios, and is a Texas recognized band program that features the marching band, five concert bands, three jazz ensembles, a mariachi band, colorguard and chamber ensembles. The "Big Red" Cardinal Marching Band has won numerous "grand champion" awards throughout the state of Texas. It is the only 5A marching band in South Texas to participate in the Texas UIL State Marching Contest seven consecutive times. All four concert bands have been awarded consistent "Sweepstakes" for their performances at the UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest. The Harlingen High School Honors Band has been recognized consistently as a participant in the Texas Honor Band finals competition, placing as high as ninth in Texas. In 2007, the Honors Band performed in Indianapolis, Indiana at the prestigious Bands of America National Concert Band Festival and was recognized by the National Wind Band Honors for outstanding performance of New Music. All three jazz ensembles have placed in various jazz festivals and contests throughout Texas. In 2003, the Honors Jazz Ensemble performed at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. In the 2011-2012 school year, The Harlingen High School Band had also been named the Texas Bandmasters Association Exemplary High School Band of the year in Texas.


  1. ^ Jaimez, Eladio (2009-08-22), Gridiron Gold No. 1: Cards' dominance makes them No. 1, Valley Freedom Newspapers, retrieved 2009-08-23 [dead link]

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