Photo by Gerald Castillo
Rattlers ride into final matchup against Canyon Cougars
Head coach Mark Soto had all the senior Rattlers line up shoulder-to-shoulder against the back wall of San Marcos’ indoor practice facility on Wednesday. All the underclassmen lined up five yards across from them, facing the upperclassmen.
One by one, each senior picked one of their teammates from the opposite line for their “free ride” to the locker room.
“It’s just an old tradition we have,” Soto said. “We’ve done it for seven years. I figured the kids who’ve worked their tails off for four years deserve a nice relaxing ride in from the practice field. So, we just give them a little piggy back ride home. It’s all for fun.”
It was an apt way to end the last week of practice, as the Rattlers will ride the seniors into the last game of the season.
While the team is preparing as usual for its game on Friday, Soto said the coaches put an extra emphasis on acknowledging what the players have done this year.
“It’s a time to kind of hug ‘em up and love ‘em up and make sure that they understand that, whatever the record is, there’s still a lot of lessons to learn,” Soto said. “And let them know how much you appreciate them for all their hard work.”
San Marcos has done a lot this season. Coming into the week, they’re averaging 172.4 passing yards, 154.2 receiving yards and 68.9 tackles per game and have racked up 26 touchdowns and 8 sacks over nine games.
For the seniors, this game symbolizes the culmination of all four years they’ve spent with the team.
“The younger guys, they’ve got some years to go and some big games to play in,” Soto said. “But for the majority of the seniors, this is the last organized football game that they’ll play. So, it becomes very solemn at that point, you know. Because you know you’ve come to the end of your career. So, you just love ‘em up, laugh a lot and enjoy your time with them.”
Some of the seniors’ piggy-back rides were quick and easy. Some of the rides took their time. A couple stumbled and fell halfway there. But everyone reached their destination.
San Marcos (1-8, 0-6) will host New Braunfels Canyon on Friday inside San Marcos Toyota Rattler Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
“The excitement of it is to watch these kids play one more time and give it all they’ve got against a good team,” Soto said. “They’ll put the lessons they’ve learned to work.”