Daily Record Photo by Gerald Castillo
Rattlers rise up in district opener against Schertz Clemens
San Marcos got back on its feet Friday night.
The Rattlers pulled off a wild 28-24 comeback victory over Schertz Clemens (3-3) inside Toyota Rattler Stadium that saw turnovers, safeties and special teams mishaps on both sides of the ball throughout the night despite a seemingly normal final score. The purple and white fought through the adversity of losing teammate King Diaz and having to play a zero clock play after a penalty was called on the play prior with three seconds left on an incomplete shot to the end zone.
Despite all of the hoops San Marcos had to jump through, the Rattlers walked out of Toyota Rattler Stadium 1-0 in District 27-6A.
“I knew our district was gonna be this way, I knew we were gonna be in one possession games and this just feels good — they’re a good opponent — to be (in it) at the end and finish on both sides of the ball,” head coach John Walsh said. “Even though we lost (against Eagle Pass), we were up 31-13 and we ended up finding ways to lose it. But when I watched that football game it looked like good football on both sides of the ball. The score didn’t end up right for us, but I felt confident (coming into this game) that we’re getting better as we go.”
The Rattlers improved on a key metric for them in 2022 against the Buffaloes — decreasing their penalties. Throughout this season so far, the purple and white have had many drive-stalling flags thrown on the field which has kept them out of games or made them closer than they should be. While there were still a few in their matchup with Clemens, it was significantly reduced in comparison to the purple and white’s non-district slate.
“I think our penalty count may be an all-time record at San Marcos for us. So, I’m fired up about that. I don’t think we’ve won the penalty count all year this year and I’m pretty sure we won it tonight,” Walsh said. “I think we’re gonna find ways to move the football, we’re playing good defense. I mean, in this day and age if you hold someone to under 28 points you should win a football game — there’s so much good offense out there and our defense is doing a great job with that.”
Senior running back Jaidyn Brown finally had the breakout game he’s been looking for, scoring three touchdowns on the ground including the game-winning score. Brown’s explosiveness was crucial for San Marcos, especially in the absence of workhorse senior h-back Jake Rodriguez-Scholz.
“Well, we had to lean on him. It was tough — we lost Isaiah early (and thankfully) he came back — (but) not having (Rodriguez-Scholz) is huge. He’s a big part of our game,” Walsh said. “And (Brown) knew he was gonna have to (carry the load). I told him ‘you’re the horse (and) I’m gonna have to ride ya,’ and (I told) Isaiah (DeLeon) ‘I know you gotta bum knee but I’m gonna have to ride ya,’ (but) they want to win for everyone in the stands here. So, they weren’t gonna let a bump and bruise hold them back.”
San Marcos (3-3) was also able to get the passing game going tonight, with big chunk yardage receptions from junior receivers Tony Diaz and Kutter Gage Webb as well as Brown.
“We were just trying to find the holes in their defense,” senior quarterback Isaiah DeLeon said. “They’re big (on) run-stop, they bring all their linebackers and we were just trying to find the holes behind them and where the safeties were—”
“They go a bunch of two-way, so once we wore down the defensive front then we could just run it. But all their safeties and everything (were) with the receivers too, so the more havoc we could give them the more they gotta stress on defense and the more tired they were on offense so it (was) just mutual — offense helping defense and defense helping offense,” Webb added.
The purple and white will return to Toyota Rattler Stadium on Oct. 14 to match up with reigning district champion Cibolo Steele (6-0) for their second district game of 2022. Kickoff between the Rattlers and Knights is set for 7:30 p.m.
“(I) haven’t looked at (Steele) yet, but I’m sure they’re gonna present a lot of challenges for us,” Walsh said. “(But) we’ll do what we normally do on a Saturday morning — we’ll start game planning for them and we’ll show up and give them all they want. It’s good to be 1-0 in district and to make the playoffs we had to beat Schertz and we took care of step one.”