By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
CORPUS CHRISTI – The Port Isabel Tarpons’ 2012 playoff run has come to an end. The Bellville Brahmas defeated the last Valley team left standing in the post-season 22-0 in the Region IV final Saturday night at Cabaniss Stadium in Corpus Christi.
Bellville scored the first two times it had the ball. The second touchdown came after the Brahmas started on the Tarpon eight-yard line after a high snap went over the P.I. punter’s head late in the first quarter. Another high snap gave Bellville a safety and with 2:57 to go in the second quarter the Tarpons trailed 16-0.
“We gave them the ball inside the (10-yard line) on a bad snap, then the safety,” head P.I. coach Monty Stumbaugh said after the game. “Then we did something else and they get the field goal. You can’t do those things against a good football team.”
After the safety Bellville got another short field when the kick-off was covered at the Tarpon 37-yard line, and a 32-yard field goal by Brahma quarterback Kyle Fuchs gave Bellville a 19-0 halftime lead.
Port Isabel had trouble getting the offense going against a very quick Bellville defense. The Tarpons gained less than 10 yards of offense and made only three first downs in the first half. For the game P.I. had 109 yards of total offense. All season long the Tarpons relied on a strong rushing game that averaged over 300 yards per contest. Against Bellville they managed only 65 yards on the ground.
On defense P.I. forced two turnovers and gave up only 135 yards rushing on the night and 220 yards of total offense. Kenny Herrera intercepted a pass in the first half and Jose Garza recovered a Bellville fumble late in the third quarter in Tarpon territory.
“Our defense played super,” Stumbaugh said. “They only gave up 13 points.”
Bellville scored only a field goal in the second half, a 25-yarder by Kyle Fuchs late in the fourth quarter, for a 22-0 lead and that was a final.
“It was a great season,” Stumbaugh said. “The kids gave it everything they had. “They never quit fighting and we’re very proud of them. Our seniors did a fantastic job leading the kids.”
The Port Isabel offense showed life in the second half. Luis Aguilera got a big gain on a reverse and a flag against Bellville gave the Tarpons a first down at the Brahma 11. The ball went over on a fumble on the next play.
The Tarpons end the season with a 10-4 record. Bellville improves to 11-3 and advances to play Region III champion Navasota next week.
“We gotta’ learn from it,” Stumbaugh said. “Now we know what we’ve got to do…next step. We’ll give them a week to rest up, then semester tests and Christmas break, then get ready to hit it.”