Rattlers Use Clutch Plays to Edge Palmview Lobos 43-36 In District Opener
The Rio Grande City Rattlers used a potent offensive attack and two clutch defensive stops in the final minutes to defeat the La Joya Palmview Lobos 43-36 in the District 16-5A Division I opener for both teams Friday night at La Joya. The Rattlers led 7-6 after the first quarter and built their halftime margin to 28-14, only to see the Lobos catch fire in the third period and tie the game at 28-28. The Rattlers responded and scored late in the third stanza to regain the lead at 36-28. The Lobos tied the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion less than two minutes into the final quarter. With less than five minutes remaining, the Lobos gambled on fourth and one at their 38, but quarterback David Gonzalez was trapped in the backfield for a one-yard loss. Five plays later, Angel Galvan scampered 17 yards for a touchdown. With 11 seconds remaining, the Lobos faced a fourth and eight situation at the Rio 28, and Allan Garcia intercepted a pass at the 15 to seal the victory for the Rattlers. With less than four minutes left until halftime, the game was delayed for approximately 40 minutes due to lightning from an isolated thunderstorm in the area. Prior to the lightning delay, the storm had dropped heavy rain for roughly 10 minutes. The Rattlers overcame an incredible performance by junior Lobo running back Carlos Pena, who scampered for touchdowns of 62, 92, and 80 yards and added a three-yard scoring jaunt and two two-point conversion runs. Pena wound up with 332 yards rushing on 18 carries. Angel Galvan had a tremendous evening for the Rattlers with 159 total yards on 18 carries and three touchdown scampers of six, one and 17 yards. Quarterback Mario Garza passed for 242 yards, and Marc Perez had a touchdown and scored 2 two point conversions. Isaac Reyes and Aaron Marroquin had a touchdown apiece. On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Angel Galvan took a handoff through right tackle and broke loose down the right sideline for a 39-yard romp to the Lobo 24. Three plays later, quarterback Mario Garza connected with Aaron Marroquin for a 10-yard completion to the 6. On first and goal, Galvan darted through the middle, cut back slightly to his left and powered across the goal line for a six-yard scoring run with 10:35 left in the opening quarter. Robelin Montez booted the extra point to give the Rattlers a 7-0 lead. On the fifth play of the ensuing Lobo drive, Carlos Pena took a quick pitch to the left, darted through an opening at left tackle, cut back to the middle and scampered down the right side of the field for a 62-yard touchdown run with 8:08 left in the first period. The Rattlers held on to a 7-6 lead when the extra point attempt was blocked. The Rattlers drove to the Palmview 13 after Garza connected with Allan Garcia and Artemio Alvarez for completions of 29 and 11 yards. On fourth and four, a Garza pass was knocked away by a Lobo defender just short of the goal line and Palmview took over on downs at the 13. Moments later, the Lobos gained a golden opportunity by recovering a fumble at the Rio 22. On the next play, however, the Rattler defense forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the 29. Early in the second quarter, Carlos Pena took a handoff through right guard, powered through several defenders, broke into the secondary and motored down the middle of the field for a 92-yard scoring scamper with 10:09 left until halftime. A two-point conversion run by Pena boosted the Lobos to a 14-7 lead. A short time later, the Lobos fumbled a punt and the Rattlers recovered at the Palmview 19. A nine-yard run by Galvan and a nine-yard pass completion from Garza to Allan Garcia moved the ball to the 6. On first and goal at the 3, Galvan scampered through the middle and the ball popped loose before he crossed the goal line, but lineman Isaac Reyes fell on the ball in the end zone and was credited with a touchdown with 7:41 left until intermission. The Lobos maintained a 14-13 lead when the extra point attempt was wide. Moments later, Marc Perez returned a punt 22 yards to enable Rio to set up shop at the Lobo 30. Garza connected with Allan Garcia for a 15-yard completion to the 15. Three plays later, Marc Perez took the snap on a wildcat play and powered through several Lobo defenders across the goal line for an eight-yard touchdown run with 3:42 left until halftime. Marc Perez then took a quick pitch to the left for a two-point conversion run to give Rio a 21-14 advantage. With 3:35 left until intermission, the game was delayed for almost 40 minutes because of lightning in the area. After play resumed, halftime was shortened because of the storm delay. In the first half’s final minutes, the Rattlers took over at the Palmview 37 after a 15-yard fair catch interference penalty. Garza connected with Allan Garcia for a 14-yard completion, and Galvan and Garza each ripped off 10-yard runs to advance the ball to the 3. On first and goal, Garza fired a pass across the middle that Aaron Marroquin caught in the end zone for a three-yard scoring catch with seven seconds left until halftime. Montez booted the extra point to give the Rattlers a 28-14 lead going into intermission. On the third quarter’s opening series, Lobo quarterback David Gonzalez threw a deep pass down the right side that Jerry Galvan caught inside the Rio 40, and the receiver raced to the 13 for a 49-yard completion. Two plays later, Adrian Vasquez hammered through the middle and lunged across the goal line for a four-yard scoring run with 9:35 left in the third stanza. The successful extra point kick brought the Lobos to within 28-21. The Rattlers reached the Lobo 30 on their next series, but the drive fizzled due to three penalties. On the second play of the next Lobo possession, Carlos Pena took a handoff through right guard, eluded several defenders, exploded into the secondary and motored into the end zone untouched for an 80-yard scoring romp with 4:54 left in the third stanza. The extra point kick was on target to tie the game at 28-28. On the ensuing kickoff, Marc Perez took a lateral and raced to the Palmview 47. A late hit penalty on the return advanced the ball 15 yards to the 32. Three plays later, Galvan motored through left guard and evaded several defenders for a 15-yard pickup to the 8. A block in the back penalty set Rio back to the 14, but a pass interference penalty gave the Rattlers an automatic first down at the 4. On second and inches, Angel Galvan took the snap in wildcat formation for a one-yard touchdown run with exactly two minutes left in the third period. A two-point conversion run by Marc Perez boosted the Rattlers to a 36-28 advantage. The Lobos returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but a block in the back penalty nullified the score and forced Palmview to start at the Rio 36. On the drive’s ninth play, Pena slashed through left tackle and lunged across the goal line for a three-yard scoring run with 10:36 left in the game. Pena then ran for a two-point conversion to tie the contest at 36-36. The Rattlers responded by driving to the Lobo 32, but the drive stalled due to two penalties, with the latter flag nullifying a 30-yard run by Allan Garcia. On third and 18, Garza threw a deep pass down the left sideline, and the officials ruled that a Lobo defender made an interception in bounds at the 17. With less than five minutes remaining, the Lobos faced a fourth and one at their 38 and tried to convert a first down. The gamble backfired when quarterback David Gonzalez was tackled for a one-yard loss at the 37, giving Rio the ball on downs. On third and seven, Garza scrambled toward the left sideline for a 9-yard gain to the 25 and a first down. Two plays later, Galvan took a handoff thru the middle, cut back to his left, eluded a Lobo defender just short of the 10, and scampered down the sideline into the end zone for a 17-yard scoring romp with 3:28 left in the contest. Montez booted the extra point to give the Rattlers a 43-36 advantage. The Lobos were forced to start at their 11 when the kickoff returner stepped out of bounds. Moments later, Carlos Pena took a handoff through right guard and broke to the outside for a 17-yard gain to the Palmview 41. Three plays later, Gonzalez rolled to his left and connected with a receiver near the sideline for a 13-yard completion to the Rio 42. The Lobos achieved one more first down, but found themselves facing a fourth and eight at the Rattler 28 with 11 seconds left. Gonzalez threw a pass across the middle that glanced off the receiver’s hands and Allan Garcia made the game-clinching interception at the 15 with seven seconds remaining. After one offensive kneel-down, the Rattlers walked off the field as 43-36 victors. The Rattlers collected 390 yards of total offense. Angel Galvan rushed for 159 yards on 18 carries and scored three touchdowns, including the game-winning 17-yard romp in the final quarter. Mario Garza passed for 242 yards. Marc Perez had one touchdown and two 2-point conversion runs. Aaron Marroquin caught one touchdown pass, his fourth scoring reception of the season, and Allan Garcia contributed seven catches for 99 yards. Robelin Montez hit 3 extra point attempts. The Lobos harvested 493 yards of total offense, with Carlos Pena blazing through the Rattler defense for 332 yards on 18 carries and four touchdowns, including scoring romps of 92, 80, and 62 yards. On defense, J.J. Bocanegra had 6 total tackles; Rudy Bzan, Eleazar Garcia, and Anthony Ortiz each had 5 tackles. Marc Perez, Derek Serna and Daniel Falcon had 4 tackles apiece. Daniel Falcon also had a QB sack and 1 tackle for a loss. Emmanuel Garza had 2 tackles for a loss, a hurry and a pass defended. The Rattlers boosted their overall record to 2-0 and own a 1-0 district mark. They will host the Brownsville Lopez Lobos this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Joe R. Sanchez Stadium in another district clash. The Rattlers defeated the Lobos last year in Brownsville.