All or Nothing: Rattlers begin playoff run against Round Rock Westwood

Photo by Gerald Castillo

San Marcos Football

For the third consecutive season, San Marcos earned itself a spot in the UIL 6A Division II playoffs. 

The difference this season is a 9-1 record and a district title backed behind a community that has supported the Rattlers through their battles during this 2017 campaign. This time around, the Rattlers have drawn a 5-5 Round Rock Westwood in a bi-district matchup.

The Warriors' 5-5 record is deceiving. San Marcos will have to show up as it has all season. The Warriors are led by senior quarterback Will Jennings who has thrown for 2,640 yards and 30 touchdowns. Not only does Jennings lead Westwood in the air, but has a team-high 12 touchdowns on the ground.

“(This week) has just been business as usual,” head coach Mark Soto said. “(Westwood) has some very efficient players on offense that can change games. Defense does a great job of running to the ball. They’re very well coached. That coach has a lot of experience and he can pick you apart.”

To combat a high-flying offense, San Marcos's defense is equipped with a suffocating pass rush. The Rattlers are currently on a six-game streak of forcing a turnover. Aside from turnovers, the Rattler defense has created an identity amongst itself and is playing with confidence.

San Marcos consistently flies to the ball and has a knack for making a play in the open field. Behind senior leadership, the San Marcos defense has become the backbone of the team in tough situations. The Rattlers have had success when their defense stood tall in binds.

“The defense is feeling good,” defensive lineman Gabriel Urrutia said. “We’re playing together more than we ever have before. On both sides of the ball, special teams too. We’re just getting better each day as a team.”

The Achilles heel of this Westwood team won’t be the offense. But it could end up being its defense that is giving up 38 points per game. This is where defenses opposing the Rattlers have found themselves in trouble.

An offense led by senior quarterback Prudy Calderon and junior running back Jamon Johnson have proven time and again to utilize the quick-strike ability. Also, the special teams unit has started to consistently make plays that has put this San Marcos group in good positions. Johnson opened the second half of the district title game with a 101-yard touchdown return to completely shift the momentum of that game.

Soto spoke on the confidence of the group this time around. He believes this team trust one another and have enough team spirit to go around. As a senior, offensive lineman Gary Alvarez mentioned how proud he feels to be in this position with a playoff run in front of this team and the San Marcos community.

“Personally, this is awesome for me.” Alvarez said. “You know, I’ve worked really hard for this. I’ve had days where I’ve worked out four times a day to get here. So, it feels great and I’m excited for this post-season run.”

San Marcos is set to start its postseason tonight inside San Marcos Toyota Rattler Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

San Marcos Daily Record

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