Rattlers on the Verge of One Final Chance at the Playoffs

todayNovember 5, 2015 15

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by Jonathan Rodriguez
Sports Reporter

Photo by Kiersten Ehr

“It’s real simple, you play your best game. End of story.” Those were the emphatic words of the San Marcos Rattlers Head Coach Mark Soto this past Wednesday on Bobcat Radio. Heading into Friday with a 6-3 record on the outside looking in, the season has come down to one game. The San Marcos Rattlers have one game left, and what a game it looks to be.

The San Marcos Rattlers, despite losing their dynamic player David Hamilton, dropping three district games on the road to district leaders, and last year’s 4-6 record, have defied all obstacles and are jostling for a playoff spot against the 7-2 Lockhart Lions. Lockhart currently holds onto second place in the Region 5A District 27 standings. With the dominoes falling where they have, San Marcos find themselves having to win by nine points to continue their storied season.

San Marcos is coming off a 73-52 loss in a shootout that saw Boerne-Champion come away in the second half. Lockhart’s last game played prior to their bye week was a 47-26 loss to non other than Boerne-Champion. As both teams look to rebound this Friday, it’s apparent that both will come out looking to make a statement that puts the stamp on their season and punches a playoff ticket.

Behind the duo that has come to flourish between QB Karl Ahrens & WR Kaleb Johnson, San Marcos will look to exploit the Lions with their aerial attack. San Marcos as an offense has averaged 46.5 points-per-game and the Lockhart defense has allowed 25 points-per-game. Ahrens & Johnson have come on strong as of late and can be considered the primary catalysts to the new found identity of the Rattlers when Hamilton went down. Johnson has a knack for making plays with his feet in the open field and will look to dance around early on against the secondary.

While those two have been the late season surge, running back Cavion Garner has undoubtedly been the offensive MVP all season long. Garner has amassed an impressive 1216 rushing yards on the ground with 13 touchdowns. Garner has been the gear grinder of the team and can be expected to be a crucial element in the Friday night “backyard brawl” as Coach Soto calls it. Garner’s running style calls for the defense to respect his ability up the gut and could possibly open up the playbook for this potent San Marcos offense.

On defense, now more than ever is the time for players such as Austin Castillo, Zedric Horton, Joseph Wilburn, and Colby Vidrine to metaphorically punch the other team in the mouth. San Marcos will have to play both sides of the ball for four full quarters. Play mentally and physically sharp and the containment of this Lockhart attack should be feasible.

Everyone will have to play their part come Friday night. As the seniors gear up in preparation for what could be their final week in pads, the demeanor of these young athletes has to be filled with mixed emotions. Their football careers could possibly come to an end, or live on for one more ride into the sunset. Players will have to hit their assignments, coaches will have to prepare properly, parents and fans will have to cheer on, all so the Rattlers live to fight another day.

The atmosphere of this game will be electrifying in only the way a Texas high school football game can bring. Playoffs are on the line for both teams and a shot at the December title does not come easy. Those lucky enough to have the opportunity benefit from all pieces involved coming together at the right moment. It’s a team effort and it comes from knowing that you can lean on the person next to you for support. In Coach Soto’s words, “It’s real simple, I’m leaning on all of them. I’m leaning on the sophomore scout team player that’s running plays for us. I’m leaning on the freshmen to bring us some spirit in practice. I’m leaning on the juniors to play their hearts out for the seniors. I’m leaning on the seniors to play the best ball of their career.” Come this Friday in San Marcos Toyota Rattler Stadium, the Rattlers will lean on one another for one final push.

As always the game will be broadcasted live on KTSW-FM 89.9 and online at

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