The Matchup: Port Isabel vs. Navarro

(Photo by Greg Syverson)

Special to the PRESS

A send-off/rally for the PI Tarpon Football Team will be held at the Port Isabel High School student parking lot on Saturday, December 1, at 11 a.m. Snacks and refreshments will be available for everyone. Fans who wish to have their vehicles decorated are asked to be on hand by 10:30 a.m.

The Port Isabel Tarpons are off to Corpus Christi this Saturday to take on Navarro in a regional semi-final playoff game. A 6 p.m. kickoff is scheduled for this Saturday (Dec. 1) and the game will take place at Corpus Christi Calallen.

The Panthers of Navarro High School come in with a 10-2 overall record after wins over Pleasonton, 76-49, and Wharton, 37-22, in the bi-district and area playoff rounds. They advanced to the playoffs with a second-place finish in District 27-3A (4-1) behind league champion Wimberly and have won five straight.

Port Isabel advances to this third round of the Region IV Class 3A playoffs with post-season wins over Lyford, 40-20, in bi-district, and Sinton, 53-26, in last week’s area game in Kingsville.

The Panthers average over 42 points a game and 402 yards rushing per contest. “They’re good and they score a lot of points,” head P.I. coach Monty Stumbaugh said this week. “They take time off the clock. They control the ball and keep you off the field. It’s very scary. We’ve got to slow them down.”

This is Port Isabel’s first trip to the Region IV semi-final stage of the playoffs since 2004.

Navarro is even more of a rushing team than the Tarpons are. Their 4,826 yards gained on the ground account for 87% of their total offensive yardage. The Panthers’ leading rusher is senior running back Zane Conlin who, in 12 games, has rushed for 1,576 yards (8.8-yd. ave.) and 25 touchdowns. Backfield mate, senior LJ Anderson, has rolled up 1,327 yards (8.1, 15) on the ground. And, as if that weren’t enough, there’s junior Evan Deleon, who has contributed more than 900 yards and 16 rushing TD’s.

The Tarpons are coming off what may have been their best overall post-season effort since their regional semi-final season of 2004.

Against Sinton in Kingsville last Friday it took Port Isabel only nine seconds to score when Kenny Herrera ran the opening kickoff back 72 yards for the score and the Tarpons never trailed.

The running game was hitting on all cylinders as the Tarpons ran for 371 yards and scored five times on the ground. Port Isabel was led by Javier Vela’s 112 rushing yards (TD) and Juan Aguilera and J.J. Gonzalez each ran for two scores.

And again Port Isabel got maximum benefit with very few passes; only three were tried and two went for touchdowns. The first one covered 66 yards when Javier Vela, who runs a lot more than he throws, hit Andrew Holland in stride in the second quarter, and the Tarpons led 18-7.

Then, with less than a minute to play till halftime, quarterback Isaiah Martinez passed to Michael Curry on a play covering 43 yards to the end zone, giving P.I. a 26-13 lead at the break.

The “Seawall Defense” wasn’t exactly standing around either. The Sinton offense came in averaging 41-plus points per game and 436 yards of total offense. The Tarpon defense allowed the Pirates 346 yards and 26 points.

Read this story in the Nov. 29 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.

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