By ARMANDO GARZA
Special to the PRESS
In the final scrimmage at Tiger Stadium on Friday evening, everything that could’ve gone wrong for the Port Isabel Tarpons did as the Mercedes Tigers prevailed by a 3-1 margin. Then in a live half, the hits kept on coming—not in a good way—for the Tarpons as the Tigers won 14-0.
“We didn’t play with heart. We had fumbled snaps, fumbled pitches, get the wrong set, called the wrong play, I could go on and on,” a visibly upset Tarpon coach Monty Stumbaugh said. “It was not a good display of football—at all. That will be corrected on Monday.”
At the onset, the Tarpons played tough defense against the 5A Tigers, who couldn’t get on the board thanks to a forced fumble and a couple of sputtering drives. But Mercedes did the same on D as Damian Ledesma and Jordan Aguilar each snared interceptions to stop PI drives. In addition, mistakes, penalties and other signs of youth reared their head to result in a frustrating night for anyone wearing blue. With the opener a week away at Grulla, Stumbaugh hoped Friday was a reality check for the boys.
“If it ain’t (a reality check) then I don’t know what to tell ‘em,” Stumbaugh said. “Because it was not very good and I’m not happy. That kinda stuff won’t work with me. We can’t do those things. We gotta do right every time. Everything we do has gotta be as close as you can get to perfect, and until we do that, we’re not gonna be a very good football team.”
The Tigers opened the scoring on a one-yard score from quarterback Rene Presas before Port Isabel quickly answered with its lone TD of the night, a 40-yard scamper from QB Trey Mock on what appeared to be a broken play.
Mercedes then answered with a short scoring pass from backup D.J. Saenz to Joel Garcia and Presas added a two-yard plunge when he re-entered the game just before the end of the controlled portion.
“We were a little sloppy when we first started,” Mercedes head coach Roger Adame said. “There was improvement from last week but we have some stuff to clean up. Defensively, the boys played their hearts out. And when it came into the game-like situation, we were able to move the ball well.”
As the lights came on for two live quarters of action, the Tarpons continued to stumble with several fumbled center-quarterback exchanges and more penalties and miscues.
Defensively, Mercedes continued to thwart Tarpon drives and capitalize on their mistakes. In the live half, Mercedes got a six-yard score from Isaac Vela along with a nice 31-yard burst from Jesus Rios to close things out.