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Photo by Gerald Castillo

Looking to Rebound: Effort key as Rattlers prepare for San Antonio Johnson

San Marcos Football
Friday, September 7, 2018

Effort wasn’t the issue.

That was offensive line coach Ronnie Robledo’s main concern heading into San Marcos’ week one matchup with Buda Hays. He knew mistakes would be made, but mistakes are fixable. Effort is not.

“Just play fast and play hard and everything else will take care of itself,” Robledo said.

The team made a few too many mistakes against the Rebels last week, which resulted in Hays taking the 28-17 victory. Head coach Mark Soto knew right away what his team needed to work on.

“Definitely (need to clean up) moving the ball, moving the chains, not getting behind the chains,” Soto said after the game. “And on defense, we’ve got to tackle a little better.”

Effort, however, wasn’t the issue.

“Our kids played hard,” defensive coordinator Gilbert Rodriguez said. “We can never take that away from them because we preach effort, we preach enthusiasm. I think their effort was there, they were really trying to play the game the way the game’s supposed to be played. And in that department, that’s all we can ask for. We always talk to them about spending every penny, putting it all on the table, everything you’ve got. And then once you do that, we can help you with the rest. I think they played really hard.”

The Rattlers are betting on the everything else taking care of itself  as they move on to San Antonio Johnson this week. The Jaguars, like San Marcos, are also coming off a season-opening loss in which they fell 35-17 on the road to Brandeis.

Rodriguez said the team has been working so that the mistakes made against the Rebels won’t be repeated. 

“We’ve definitely worked on our tackling, defensively. And that’s everybody, every position,” Rodriguez said. “We got into some tackling drills where, it didn’t matter if you were a lineman or a skill guy, you were going through these drills … You know, not stopping in the hole, running your feet on contact, that kind of stuff, the little things we didn’t do on Friday night that cost us when the game – when a situation was on the line.”

“We’ve been doing a lot of tackling drills,” senior safety Therrance Soto said. “We’ve been hitting the sleds, hitting each other, lining guys up, just going one-on-one trying to get ourselves better.”

Offensively, the Rattlers are hoping that the return of senior running back Jamon Johnson will help push them past the first down marker on a more consistent basis. 

San Antonio Johnson showed they were susceptible to the run against the Broncos last week as they gave up 362 yards on the ground, including 201 from sophomore running back Jordan Battles. That was nearly double San Marcos’ 134 rushing yards they gathered against Hays.

Rodriguez said the team expects its run-first offense to return to form.

“(We’ve been working on) just being us,” Rodriguez said. “You know, we’re used to moving the ball. We’re used to moving forward and not going backwards. And just showing them those mistakes and correcting them has been key for us this week. And then plus, when you get a guy like Jamon Johnson back from being out last week, it kind of helps. It helps the offense.”

The team knows it will take the same effort it displayed against the Rebels to come out with a win over Johnson on Friday at 7:30 p.m. inside San Marcos Toyota Rattler Stadium.

Therrance Soto thinks they can even take it to another level.

“(We need to) keep up the effort the whole game,” Soto said. “Last week, we had some effort, but it was kind of like up-and-down, off-and-on. This week, we definitely need to keep that effort level up the whole game.”