Lucky Number Seven for San Marcos

todayNovember 12, 2015 33

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by Kyle Spencer
Sports Reporter

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    Lucky Number Seven for San Marcos

coach soto
Coach Soto

A change of wind has come about the Rattlers’ football club. A change of wind that has been needed since the 2007-2008 season. Seven long playoff-free years have plagued the boys in purple until now. San Marcos will be competing for the state title this year in the Texas high school playoffs. The first matchup in the bracket is against San Antonio Harlandale.

This Rattler team’s journey to the postseason is unique. San Marcos lost their best player, David Hamilton, halfway through the season and the backup, Carl Ahrens, comes in and has a phenomenal second half of the year. Last year the Rattlers lost every game at home. This year, the Rattlers went undefeated in San Marcos Toyota Rattler Stadium. The last three years San Marcos has been in the hunt for that ever-elusive 4th seed in district. This year, they secured the 3rd spot with a 5-3 district record. Last year San Marcos had their playoff dreams crushed even though they managed to beat Lockhart who, with an earlier loss to San Marcos, slipped into the playoffs.

So, there does seem to be something special about this year’s football team, but, Harlandale is not worried about how much of an “it” factor the boys in purple may have. What this team is looking to do is avenge their early exit last year from the playoffs at the hands of Alamo Heights. The Indians enter the playoffs with a 6-2 district record, and are riding a 2 game win streak. They landed in the 3rd spot of their district as well, and Coach Soto had this to say about the first round matchup. “That’s a good ball club. Isaac Martinez, their head coach, has been at Harlandale since 1984. He can manipulate the offense and defense however he sees fit for each game. He is just a great football mind. They have some big lineman. They have some big receivers. They are just a sound football team.”

Big receivers have been an issue for this San Marcos secondary in the past. In the game against Boerne-Champion, San Marcos had a tough time dealing with their big and talented receivers. Zedrick Horton and Angel Espinoza will both have to be on their A-game to shut down Noah Avina and Rene Palomino. Noah and Rene are the top two receivers on the team. Both have over 20 catches this season and Noah leads the way with 4 receiving TD’s.

Besides the talented receiver core, this Harlandale team does not perform in one area particularly well. This speaks to Soto saying that Harlandale is able to adapt their game-plan to the opponent. Although the offense is not to exciting, their defense can definitely create some turnovers. With 12 total interceptions, this Indian team can keep opposing Quarterbacks on their toes. This does not bode well for Ahrens who can make poor decisions when faced with pressure. Ahrens has improved in this area, but is still turnover prone with the defense right in his face.

Another factor that could play a big part in the outcome of this game, is the nerves of San Marcos. None of the players for the Rattlers have been to the playoffs while wearing football pads. This is the first time for every player. Coach Soto rallied his players together, and gave them this message. “If you just do your best, if you just give your best, then there is nothing you can blink an eye at. That’s all you can do. If you are winning at the end of the game then great. If you’re not, you know what, you did your best and the other team was just a little bit better.”

San Marcos High School is riding on cloud nine right now, and will ride that cloud to Friday night in San Antonio. Harlandale is a savvy, well coached team that is used to being in the playoff picture. San Marcos is explosive on both sides of the ball, but lacks experience. This will be a tough matchup for San Marcos but definitely an achievable victory. The game will be broadcast right here on KTSW. Tune in at 7:20 p.m.for the pregame show; kickoff is at 7:30.

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