Photo by Gerald Castillo
Rattlers go down swinging in season finale against Canyon
San Marcos came out swinging.
The Rattlers opened its Homecoming game against New Braunfels Canyon with a flawless drive. The Cougars pooch-punted the kickoff and San Marcos recovered on its own 48-yard line. Sophomore quarterback Noah Stubblefield found senior wide receiver Mhyson Williams on his first two throws, marching the team 40 yards down the field.
On his next pass, Stubblefield targeted junior receiver Diego Cruz, who crossed the goal line for a 12-yard touchdown. The Rattlers went on to hold Canyon to a three-and-out on the next drive and got the ball back just over a minute later.
The team couldn’t keep up the pace, though. The Cougars scored two touchdowns to end the first quarter and led the rest of the way, defeating San Marcos 49-21.
“I’ll tell you what, our kids are special kids, man,” head coach Mark Soto said. “They play their hearts out all the time. When you’re going against the district that we’re in and for them to play as hard as they played in this district, it says a lot about their character.”
The Rattlers kept swinging until the end.
Down 28-7 at the start of the third quarter, the defense held the Cougars to another three-and-out and forced them to punt on fourth down. Sophomore safety Kannon Webb flew through the backfield and came up with a block, which San Marcos recovered on the Canyon 23.
Senior running back Jamon Johnson rushed for four yards on first down. Stubblefield missed Williams on second down, but dialed up the receiver again, this time all the way to the endzone for a 19-yard score.
Johnson went on to score one last time late in the fourth quarter.
“(I’ll remember) just the fighting,” Soto said. “They never backed down from anybody the whole year. No matter how big, fast and strong (the other team was), they lined up toe-to-toe every game.”
This game marked the end for players like Johnson and Williams. The Rattlers will graduate 28 seniors in the spring and bring back 27 underclassmen on next year’s roster.
“It’s bittersweet, you know?” Soto said. “You want to keep on playing with those great ones. And they’re all great. But, those special ones that have done a lot of good things over the year … it’s just bittersweet.
“You know, you want to see them do great. You want to see them move on. But you also want to be there for them and want them a part of the program as long as you can keep them.”
San Marcos finished the season 1-9 overall and 0-7 in district. Though the team won’t be heading to the playoffs, Soto is looking forward to building off the effort the players showed all season long.
What’s next for the Rattlers?
“A hard offseason,” Soto said. “One where we test accountability and strength.”