The San Marcos defense will face a tough task this week, matchin up with a Del Valle offense that's averaging 39 points per game in its home stadium. The two teams square off in Veterans Stadium on Thursday. Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
Rattlers searching for third-straight win at Del Valle
San Marcos has no time to celebrate.
After facing the likes of Austin Westlake and Lake Travis, San Marcos (3-4, 2-2 district) had to remain focused down at what they call the start of the “real season.” So far they’ve had a dominant 444-yard rushing performance, a 62-point outing — the team’s highest mark since 2017 — and consecutive wins for the first time since that same season. Running off the field after a 38-10 win over Austin High on Friday, you caught a glimpse of senior defensive lineman Alex Robinson draped with emotion in front of his coaches.
Robinson, as well as the coaches, have to put a halt on its excitement and joy, as the next three games will be the determining factor between a playoff berth or an invitation to watch from home.
The Rattlers have had their hands full with going against elite receiver talent this season and it doesn’t stop this Thursday when they line up against Del Valle junior wide receiver Braylon James, who holds 34 offers from the likes of Ohio State, Baylor, Texas and more. The star outside threat is one of four Cardinals to average over 30 receiving yards per game and has four touchdowns this season.
With the San Marcos defense only allowing 10 points last week, it may be a problem for Del Valle. The Cardinals (1-6, 1-3) have been limited to a touchdown or less in four of their seven contests this season. However, those four games came before an offensive explosion in a 76-21 win over Austin Akins on Oct. 8.
San Marcos’ defense should be able to contain or bother the Cardinals’ offense with everyone back and healthy on the outside. Senior corner Exavion Harris has been electric deflecting passes over the past couple of weeks. The Rattlers also returned senior defensive back Malik Gordon and junior corner Jon Vega, but it’s been junior middle linebacker Michael Garza putting his stamp on each of the last two contests. Last week was a diving interception out of the air. The week before it was a pick in the end zone to seal a win over Buda Hays.
Head coach John Walsh kept it simple when explaining how his defense would mirror their sound performance from the 38-10 win over Austin High.
“Our defense needs to play assignment-sound football and be the best tacklers one the field,” Walsh said.
Another exciting matchup to look out for is Walsh, a two-time UIL 6A state champion versus a prestigious first-year head coach at Del Valle and national title winner in Bobby Acosta, who led IMG Academy to a 8-0 record in 2020 while outscoring opponents 381-82. The Cardinals have been much better at home this year, putting up 39 points per game in their own stadium than on the road, where they put up 9.25 points per game — another issue for San Marcos this week. The battle should be exciting between Acosta and Walsh this week.
“I’ve been so locked into Rattler Nation, all I know about Coach (Bobby) Acosta is he is from IMG and everything on tape shows he knows what he is doing,” Walsh said.
The Rattlers travel to Del Valle for some Thursday night high school football inside Veterans Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The goal is simple: win out and get into the playoffs.
“Our only team goal right now is win and get in the tourney,” Walsh said.