By Mason Moore
The San Marcos Rattlers opened the season with a rivalry game, just a few miles north of where they call home, against the Hays Rebels. With the sun just beginning to set behind the visiting bleachers, tension was high. After the Rattlers won the toss, they elected to receive, hoping to get early momentum swinging their way, however, that was not the case.
After the Rattlers fumbled the initial kickoff in to their own endzone, the Rebels recovered it to take a quick 7-0 lead just 10 seconds in. After a few series for both teams that turned up empty, the Rebels drove the ball the length of the field and were back on the board with a one-yard rush. The Rattlers then threw an interception, which the Rebels capitalized on with a touchdown pass to make the game 20 to nothing at the beginning on the second quarter.
The Rattlers, however, were not ready to give up. Once they received the ball, they drove it down with the help of senior Diego Cruz taking multiple carries and senior Takai Magett making a spectacular catch landing on the one-yard line. This set up junior quarterback Alex Garcia to call his own number, putting the Rattlers on the board, twenty to seven.
Immediately afterwards, the Rattlers were able to intercept a Rebel pass attempt, however they failed to continue the momentum and convert. But the Rattlers were not done yet, getting the ball back with less than two minutes left in the half. They proceeded to run a successful two-minute drill, scoring with 19 seconds left; bringing the score to 20-13.
This, unfortunately, would be the last time the Rattlers scored. After getting a three-and-out to begin the second half, the Rattlers drove the ball down to the redzone, only to have it intercepted in the endzone. Emotions flared on both sides from then on out. After many unsportsmanlike penalties for both teams, and many helmets flying everywhere, San Marcos head coach Mark Soto knew something needed to be done. After calling an impromptu mid-game coaches conference, the penalties did stop but the tension only grew.
The Rebels spent most of the third quarter with the ball, ending with a score to make it 27-13. Another long Rebel drive, and a late fumble led to two more scores in the fourth quarter, bringing the final to 41-13 in favor of the Rebels.
In a post-game interview, Soto took the loss in stride.
“Just got to learn, learn from mistakes. You never lose, you just learn,” Soto said.
The Rattlers hope to recoup quickly as they’re on the road again Sept. 7 against Johnson.
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Featured image by Brady Powers.