In one of their all-time greatest offensive performances, the Rio Grande City Rattlers annihilated the Brownsville Lopez Lobos 69-19 in a District 16-5A Division I battle at Joe R. Sanchez Stadium Friday night. With the smashing victory, the Rattlers improved their district record to 2-0. They will face the Mission Veterans Patriots on the road this Friday night in a crucial district battle. The Patriots have been dominant in their district the past three seasons, achieving a 22-4 overall record the past two years and advancing to the fourth round of the playoffs in 2018 and the third round in 2016. This year, however, the Patriots are without quarterback Landry Gilpin, who enjoyed a prolific four-year career and was honored as “Mr. Texas Football” in 2018. The Rattlers got off to an explosive start with a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and built their halftime margin to 42-6. Rio continued to be dominant in the second half, leading 55-19 after three quarters and adding two more touchdowns in the final stanza. The Rattlers accumulated 453 total yards and 337 yards passing. Quarterback Mario Garza passed for 272 yards and six touchdowns, and three of Aaron Marroquin’s four catches were good for touchdowns. Allan Garcia and Artemio Alvarez each caught four passes for 79 and 76 yards, respectively. Angel Galvan added six catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Marc Perez contributed a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Rattler defense was suffocating for virtually the entire game, with two long passing plays accounting for most of Lobo’s offense. A 62-yard scoring pass in the second quarter drew the Lobos to within 21-6. The Rattlers executed a quick 75-yard scoring drive on the game’s opening possession. On the first play, Allan Garcia took a swing pass from Mario Garza down the right sideline for a 27-yard completion to the Lopez 48. In a third and 10 situation five plays later, Angel Galvan caught a swing pass to the right, cut back to his left, made another cutback to the left near the 15, and bolted into the end zone standing up for a 32-yard scoring pass with 10:05 left in the opening quarter. Robelin Montez’s extra point kick was on target to give the Rattlers a 7-0 lead. The Rattlers stopped Lopez without a first down on its opening possession, but were forced to start at their 28 after a block-in-the back penalty nullified a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown by Marc Perez. On first down, Galvan took a handoff around right end and raced down the sideline for a 19-yard romp to the Rio 47. Two plays later, Mario Garza connected with Garcia on the left side for a 35-yard completion to the Lobo 21. On second and four, Garza threw a short pass to the right behind the line of scrimmage that was caught by Aaron Marroquin, who cut back to the middle and raced into the end zone untouched for a 15-yard touchdown pass with exactly five minutes left in the first period. Montez booted the extra point to boost Rio to a 14-0 advantage. On their next possession, the Rattlers scorched the Lobo defense with a quick 76-yard scoring march. On first and 20 at the Rio 30, Garza arched a pass that Artemio Alvarez caught just past midfield, and the receiver broke into the open field before finally being brought down at the Lobo 13 for a 57-yard completion. A late hit penalty against the Lobos on the play advanced the ball to the 6. On third and goal, Garza fired a pass across the middle that J.C. Nunez caught in the back of the end zone for an eight-yard scoring pass as time expired in the first quarter. The extra point kick by Montez increased the Rattlers’ margin to 21-0. Early in the second period, the Lopez quarterback fired a pass across the middle that the receiver caught just past midfield, and he raced into the end zone untouched for a 62-yard touchdown pass with 10:10 left until halftime. Rio’s lead remained 21-6 when the extra point attempt was wide to the left. Marc Perez returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to the Lobo 42. On second and three, Christian Garcia scampered through right guard and broke down the sideline for a 17-yard gain to the 18. Garza then fired a pass into the back left corner of the end zone that Michael Chapa caught for an 18-yard scoring pass with 8:20 left until intermission. Montez booted the extra point to increase Rio’s margin to 28-6. The Rattlers gained excellent field position when the Lobos fumbled a pooch kickoff and Rio recovered at the Lopez 41. A short time later, quarterback Kevin Guerra arched a pass that Allan Garcia caught in the left corner of the end zone just across the goal line for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 5:20 left until halftime. Montez kicked the extra point to bolster the Rattlers’ advantage to 35-6. After the Lobos were held without a first down, the Lobo punter fumbled the snap and tried to run up the right sideline, but was stopped for no gain at the Lopez 25, enabling the Rattlers to take over on downs. Two penalties against the Lobos advanced the ball to the 6. On first and goal, Mario Garza was heavily rushed, but fired a pass that Aaron Marroquin caught in the end zone for a six-yard scoring reception with exactly four minutes remaining until halftime. The extra point kick boosted Rio to a humongous 42-6 lead. The Rattlers got the ball on the Lopez 39 after a fourth down gamble by the Lobos failed, but a 39-yard touchdown catch by J.C. Nunez was nullified due to a block-in-the back penalty. The two teams then went into intermission with the Rattlers owning a 42-6 advantage. After the Lobos failed to gain a first down on the second half’s opening series, Marc Perez fielded a punt on one bounce on the left side, broke loose past several Lobos up the sideline, and motored into the end zone untouched for a 70-yard touchdown return with 10:29 left in the third stanza. The score remained 48-6 when the extra point attempt was wide. On Rio’s next possession, Angel Galvan caught a swing pass and raced to the Lobo 23 for a 28-yard completion. On the next play, Garza arched a pass down the middle that Marroquin caught in the back of the end zone for a 23-yard scoring pass with 6:25 left in the third quarter. Montez boomed the extra point to bolster the Rattler margin to 55-6. The Lobos trimmed the deficit to 55-13 when the Lopez quarterback kept the ball for a nine-yard scoring run with 3:20 left in the third quarter. The touchdown was set up by a 45-yard completion to the Rio 15. Exactly one minute after the touchdown, a Rio pass in the right flat was intercepted and the Lobo defender raced into the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown return, cutting Rio’s lead to 55-19. The Rattlers expanded their margin to 62-19 when Christian Garcia took a handoff through right guard, cut back to his left, and scampered down the left sideline untouched for a 44-yard scoring romp with 5:40 left in the contest. Luis Hernandez intercepted a pass and returned the ball to the Lobo 34 to give Rio another scoring opportunity. A 14-yard run by Christian Garcia and a 13-yard catch by Jorge Pena advanced the ball to the 4. On first and goal, Kevin Guerra connected with Pena in the right corner of the end zone just across the goal line for a four-yard touchdown pass with 2:10 remaining. Montez’s extra point kick gave the Rattlers their final victory margin of 69-19. The Rattlers recovered a bouncing kickoff at the Lopez 8, but took a knee on four straight plays to consume all but eight seconds of the remaining time. The Rattlers then walked off the field after achieving an overwhelming 69-19 victory. The Rattlers harvested 453 total yards, 337 yards passing and 116 yards rushing. Mario Garza completed 16 of 19 passes for 272 yards and six touchdowns. Aaron Marroquin caught four passes for 44 yards and three touchdowns of 15, 6, and 23 yards, increasing his touchdown total for the season to seven in only three games. Allan Garcia caught four passes for 79 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown reception, and Artemio Alvarez contributed four catches for 76 yards. Angel Galvan achieved six catches for 58 yards, including a 32-yard reception for Rio’s first touchdown. Michael Chapa, J.C. Nunez and Jorge Pena caught scoring passes of 18, 8, and 4 yards, respectively. Kevin Guerra passed for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Christian Garcia rushed for 78 yards on only four carries and scampered 44 yards for a touchdown. Angel Galvan added 33 yards rushing. Marc Perez helped Rio’s cause with a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown, and returned a kickoff 50 yards to set up another score. Luis Hernandez paced the Rattler defense with six tackles, and Marc Perez and Andres Martinez each added five tackles while Eleazar Garcia and Leo Garcia provided four tackles apiece. Jose Vasquez contributed two tackles for loss, and Eleazar Garcia and Juan Vargas Portillo each chipped in with one TFL. The Rattlers, now 3-0 for the season and 2-0 in district play, will battle the Mission Veterans Patriots on the road this Friday at 7:30 p.m. in another District 16-5A Division I clash. The Patriots have won their first two district games by decisive margins after a lopsided shutout loss to the Mission Eagles in the season opener.
Photo by RGC Rattler Sports