Rattlers Regroup and Stick It to the Longhorns

By Reily Chestnut
Sports Director
Twitter: @KTSWSports
Email: ktswsports@txstate.edu

LAREDO, TX – Holy hell. After another long start (let’s measure it as 10 kilometers) it looks like the San Marcos Rattlers about had it with early stalls and sloppy defensive play. Thursday night, the snake reined supreme after the Rattlers pulled off a 28-point comeback to walk out of South Texas with a 50-49 win over the Longhorns of United High School.

It was a matchup worth more than your average dimestore ice cream cone. The Rattlers’ first two games were uneventful showcases of a defense that looked like it had lost four starting linebackers from last year. The sour taste for Head Coach Mark Soto’s (@coachsotopop) defense wasn’t how he pictured starting the season in San Marcos. This game was a chance to reset and start the climb back up the mountain toward the peak of performance for San Marcos High School (@SMRattlers). That climb back up would suffer another delay in this battle down south near the border.

San Marcos would give up another huge block of 35 points before intermission took them back to the locker room. The first quarter once again pushed the Rattlers to the wall, giving up 28 to the Longhorns after last week’s 31 point drop from Johnson. Simply put, the Rattlers have given up 59 1st quarter pieces in their last two games and will certainly look to correct it going forward. But after the rough start, San Marcos found their defensive identity and gave the offense room to work in a 72 yard TD run on the first offensive play by Jamon Johnson. That’s not even the strangest part of the first half. So allow me to unleash my broadcaster instincts here (ahem):

The senior kicker for San Marcos High School charging forward to kick the football.
Menchaca tracked down a Longhorn to stop a crucial two-point return in the second half off his blocked point after attempt before finishing the night with six PATs. Photo by Justin Manor.

“Rattlers in United territory. Driving for a much needed score and an added dash of hope. Here’s the snap to Alex Garcia. He goes for it…andddddd…the pass is intercepted (ugh). Tough break for San Marcos High School down down 21 with less than 20 seconds until halftime. Wait a second…there’s a flag on the field and it’s against the Longhorns! San Marcos QB Alex Garcia throws a pick and ends up scoring a safety after the penalty against United in the end zone. Wow…”

That was absolutely wild and left the Rattlers down 35-16 with just a dash of momentum. A dash that would end up serving as a turning point for the squad after Soto issued a challenge to the team.

“Play as hard as you can. And then look up at the scoreboard,” Soto stated.

Well it looks like that’s all the team needed to just focus on attack the Longhorns and less on the deficit. There were Rattlers stepping up left and right in the first edition of #ComebackSZN. Jamon Johnson had another strong game with over 200 rushing yards with a pair of touchdowns on the ground and in the air. While this performance would be splendid to take home the unofficial #RattlerRideorDie Performance of the Game award, I’ve got to put my subjective opinion toward someone else tonight.

Alex Garcia stepped up majorly tonight. The junior solidified his standing as a top starter for Soto after tossing four touchdowns, two flagged down by WR Diego Cruz. It was Garcia’s game to lead and he made sure the offense never wavered. But the defense had to stop the stampede for any of this to even matter, right? Safe to say they put it back together in the second half. Most evidently in the key moments like the sack by Terry Stennett or the game sealing interception by senior Javier Gonzales.

The Rattlers, now 1-2 this season, pulled off a warrior-style win to set them up with eight days to build off before travelling to San Antonio to take on East Central High School next Friday at 7:30. Listen live on KTSW 89.9!

Featured photo by Justin Manor.

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