The San Marcos Rattlers (1-3 in district) took on the East Central Hornets (1-3 in district) at Hornet Stadium looking to get the 4th place spot in the District 27-6A playoffs. The Rattlers’offense struggled early, and the defense held their own; but both sides came up big when San Marcos needed it most, coming home with the final spot in playoffs with a win over the Hornets 20-16.
The Rattlers started this game with a different look at quarterback as Kutter-Gage Webb got the start at quarterback. As the original starting quarterback, Isaiah Deleon sat for the majority of the game as he battled an illness throughout the week. That didn’t stop the Rattlers’ gameplan as they came out to a hot start with Webb throwing a touchdown to wide receiver Tony Diaz putting the Rattlers are the board first 7-0.
“Kutter came in and did a great job, he’s been a natural leader since I met him when he was a freshman,” Offensive Coordinator Marvin Nash said. “He is the epitome of what you want supporting your team if your quarterback goes down.”
The Hornets drove down the field and got points of their own with a successful 48-yard field goal by Daniel Gauna leaving the score 7-3 with 7:03 left in the first.
As the game continued it looked to become a defensive slugfest as both teams couldn’t seem to find anything going for their offenses, as the next few drives each team was forced to punt or had a turnover on downs. The Hornets were finally able to add to their total with another field goal by Gauna from 30-yards out, making the score 7-6 entering halftime.
As we entered the third quarter, both defenses still were not nudging holding up strong not giving up any points. The Rattlers did everything they could to stretch the lead, hoping something would go their way. That’s when San Marcos pulled out the bag of tricks and converted a fake punt giving them great field position, which then lead to a screen pass to Jake Rodriguez-Scholz who made a spectacular one-handed catch for the touchdown giving the Rattlers the lead 13-6 as the extra point was blocked.
“Each of our running backs always amazes me,” Nash said. “Jake has really come into his own, he is doing it both ways he’s catching the ball out the backfield, his running downhill and he’s running away from people.”
East Central took no time to make their way down the field as a couple of huge penalties went the Hornets’ way, leading to quarterback Austin Vivier running it in from five yards out tyingthe game with five seconds left in the third. The only thing that went the Hornets after the touchdown was another successful field goal by Gauna from 30-yards out giving East Central the lead 16-13 with 7:45 left in the fourth quarter.
After the touchdown, San Marcos was forced to punt giving the ball back to the Hornets with 4:31 in the fourth. The Rattlers’defense was able to come up with big stops using all threetimeouts and forcing the Hornets to punt. The Rattlers then reach into the bag of tricks with a reverse flea flicker to running back Jaidyn Brown which gave the Rattlers the lead of 20-16 with 1:10 left in the game.
“Every game these running backs seem to do something spectacular and that’s been like that for the past three years,” Nash said. “Jaidyn has come a long, long way, so when you have a one-two punch in the backfield like we do it makes it pretty easy for a play caller.”
The Hornets had one last time to make something happen, but the Rattlers’ defense came up big when linebacker Michael Garza came down with a huge interception sending San Marcos back to the playoffs.
“It all goes back to the mentality of our defensive coordinator Kurtis Kloiber,” Nash said. “I’ve seen it time and time again, he always keeps the defense prepared to make a play when that time comes. He always has a positive outlook for the kids, and they can see the good things happening before they happen.”
The Rattlers look to start fresh as the regular season comes to a close with San Marcos finishing fourth place in their district and will start the playoffs next week. These two teams will square off for the first round of playoffs at 7:00 p.m. next Friday evening Nov. 11 at a neutral site.
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