By Reily Chestnut
Looks like another tough one to take home here. The tough call of trying to run the offense mainly through running back Jamon Johnson or quarterback Alex Garcia failed to strike a balance as the Rattlers fell 31-21 in their 2018 district opener at East Central High School.
Now four weeks into the season, all I can wonder is when SMHS will find balance in their offense. Which side of the coin will get more game planning? Johnson and the ground attack or Garcia’s air strikes? So far it seems that the Rattlers’ coaching staff is still trying to find a balance or figure out which would be the end game in critical situations. All I can say is that the team’s choices may not be as simple as a choice out of experimentation, but rather out of necessity. The offensive line tonight versus the ECHS Hornets had some early outside pressure forcing drives to focus in on Johnson’s bare knuckle ground game. I can’t help but take it ironically that East Central prepping to handle Garcia’s arm could be thought of as something other than complimentary. After all the junior QB did throw four touchdown passes eight days prior.
However, even then we’d seen Johnson make defenses pay up no matter how much focus was on him solely. That being said, the Hornets did manage to make this game sting a little bit. After starting off with a 14-0 lead from some strong playmaking from QB Austin Trainer and tight lipped defense on San Marcos’ receiving core, the Rattlers finally found an answer. Give the ball to Johnson and block like hell. The running back would end up breaking over the goal line twice in the first half before finishing with 98 yards off of 17 carries. It was the most carries Johnson had in a game where he failed to get 100 rushing yards. Good news is this was his second two touchdown game this season already. Unfortunately, the trench coats sent around Garcia kept him contained after a breakout in Laredo during week three. The starting QB played every down but was held to 264 passing yards with one touchdown to WR Takai Magett and an interception.
In all, the Hornets game plan was simple. Silence the game breakers and keep pulverizing the O-Line’s protection so that Garcia and Johnson don’t collect over 600 yards for the Rattlers like they accomplished at United High School. I guess that’s a bit of a downside from rocking out one week; you can expect a whole lot more resistance your way after the other team studies your film since you gave them so much to respect about your talent. Believe me, Garcia and Johnson are two very talented football players, but even they can’t do it all.
San Marcos High School drops to 1-3 with an 0-1 start to District 26 play. The harsh reality is that their upcoming schedule only gets tougher when they face two powerhouse programs in Converse Judson at home before meeting a program with a penchant for deep playoff runs in the Cibolo Steele Knights down at Lehnhoff Stadium in Schertz, TX. Time to dig deep and see what the San Marcos Rattlers are made of as they go through the the wringer.
Featured image by Reily Chestnut.