Commentary: Rattlers win district title for community

Photo by Gerald Castillo

San Marcos Football

AUSTIN — San Marcos waited 14 long years to watch its Rattlers lift a district title trophy in the air.

Don’t think head coach Mark Soto, or his staff, takes for granted what Thursday’s 31-26 win over Austin Bowie means. The sixth-year head coach, who endured a 1-9 campaign and labored through two 4-6 seasons before sniffing the playoffs, understands the gravity of leading San Marcos to its first district championship since 2003. 

“This means so much to your community,” Soto told his team following Thursday’s victory. “I know it means a lot to you, I know it means a lot to you. But this community has been waiting for this for a long time, so have you seniors. It’s been a long time coming.”

Soto’s message resonated with his team. Junior safety TaShumbrae ‘Scooter’ Brown and junior running back Jamon Johnson grasped the importance of Thursday’s accomplishment. 

“(Bowie) was the giants,” Brown said. “We came out and did what we had to do. They thought they had it in the bag but we showed them different. This is for the community, man, they deserve this one.” 

Said Johnson, “I think as a team, we played really good. We knew it was going to be a fight. So, we already knew what type of game it was going to be, but we worked harder than they did. We definitely deserved this district championship.”

It would’ve been easy for the Rattlers to throw in the towel when Bowie took a 16-3 lead in the second quarter — They were already going to represent District 14-6A as the No. 1 seed in the UIL 6A Division II playoffs. 

But Soto and his coaching staff have instilled a resilient culture, so there was never a doubt San Marcos would rally. 

And rally, the Rattlers did.

Trailing the Bulldogs 16-10 at half, Johnson took the second half’s opening kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown to take a 17-16 lead. In a span of two minutes, San Marcos added 14 more points to take a 31-16 lead. Bowie fought its way back but the Rattler defense, which Soto calls “killer purple smurfs,” held on to win. 

“(This group) is just resilient,” Soto said. “We tell them to be pros, be persistent, be over achievers. They did all of that today. They’re pros.”

Soto paused when asked how much it meant to bring home the district title to San Marcos. He gathered his words after choking up then smiled. 

“It’s just so great for the community,” Soto said. “These kids, man, they’re awesome kids.”

Johnson said he was speechless after being asked what the Rattlers’ district championship meant to the community. 

But the Rattler fans who witnessed the win at Austin’s Burger Stadium were never speechless. Their roaring cheers proved otherwise. They knew a 14-year drought finally ended. 

Revel in this championship San Marcos, you deserve it. It has been far too long. 

San Marcos Daily Record

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