San Marcos’ season ended after falling to San Antonio Brandeis, 27-14, on Friday. Above, senior running back Jake Rodriguez Scholz runs through the Broncos defense during Friday’s bi-district playoff game inside Dub Farris Athletic Complex in San Antonio. Below, defensive lineman Jake Darling comes up with a fumble recovery. Photos courtesy of Devin Vargas
PLAYOFF BATTLE: San Marcos’ comeback falls short against Brandeis
San Marcos’ season came to an end as San Antonio Brandeis stifled a Rattler comeback in a 27-14 win for the Broncos in the Bi-District playoff round.
The Rattlers qualified for Friday’s playoff game after a tumultuous season that saw the team engulfed in alleged recruiting violations that none of the players nor the current staff were involved with. Interim head coach Kurtis Kloiber was happy about how his players handled the off-field drama to not only qualify for the playoffs for the second straight year but also compete against a highly talented Brandeis team.
“I was really proud of the kids,” Kloiber said. “They didn’t give up and they stayed focused on what we were trying to do.”
With the current coaching staff coming to the program in 2020, the Rattlers have made significant improvements toward moving forward to their goal of becoming a perennial powerhouse in the area.
“This program has come a long way since we came here,” Kloiber said. “Coach [John] Walsh has done an unbelievable job with this program and establishing what the norm is. We want to compete for gold footballs and not just make it to the playoffs. Brandeis had to earn that victory tonight but we were right there.”
The Broncos jumped out to a 14-0 after the first quarter following a series of missed tackles that allowed Brandeis to gain extra yards after the first contact.
It was a major factor that the Rattler coaching staff made the adjustments for during the second half which only saw Brandeis score just six points in the half.
“In the first half, I thought we didn’t tackle well,” Kloiber said. “We were at the point of contact but we were just missing tackles. We came into halftime and made some little adjustments. They improved in the second half and the staff was really proud of them.
Trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, the Rattlers put up their first points of the game when senior quarterback Isaiah DeLeon hit junior receiver Kutter Gage Webb for the 3-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead down to 14-7.
Brandeis responded with a touchdown of its own as Joseph Coleman scored his second touchdown of the night to push the lead out to 21-7.
Despite fumbling on the kickoff return, the Rattler defense bowed up and forced a turnover on downs and a fumble to keep the Bronco offense out of the endzone, keeping the score 21-7 heading into halftime.
After Brandeis missed the field goal on its opening possession of the third quarter, the Rattlers responded with a long drive before scoring on a DeLeon 10-yard touchdown pass to senior running back Jaidyn Brown to cut the lead down to 21-14.
It was also in the second half that saw the San Marcos offense use its punishing run game along with its play-action pass to successfully move the ball up and down on the Broncos defense.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of mixing up our run and read game,” Kloiber said. “We were really moving the ball on them.”
Above, San Marcos senior quarterback Isaiah DeLeon prepares to take on a Brandeis defender during Friday’s playoff game in San Antonio. Photos courtesy of Devin Vargas
The Rattler defense forced its second turnover of the game as a Bronco fumble gave San Marcos the ball back at their own 15-yard line at the end of the third quarter to give the Rattlers a chance to tie the game up.
However, a controversial play saw the Rattlers fumble the ball and give possession back to Brandeis with 6:55 left in the game, though it appeared the runner was down.
Brandeis went on another lengthy drive as the Broncos looked to put the game away.
Facing fourth down with less than two minutes left in the game, quarterback JC Evans hit his receiver for the score to put a dagger in San Marcos’ comeback at 27-14.
The Rattlers finished the season with a 4-7 record.