By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel Tarpons football team closed out the scrimmage season last Friday night at home against Mercedes, and will play their 2015 season opener at home against the Gators of La Grulla this Friday, August 28.
Mistake after mistake killed the Tarpons against familiar scrimmage opponent Mercedes. The visiting Tigers, the defending District 32-5A champions, won the controlled first half six scores to one and the second live game action half, 28-7.
Turnovers and defensive lapses made all the difference for the Tarpons. “It wasn’t a very good scrimmage for us,” Port Isabel head coach and athletic director Monty Stumbaugh said Monday. “We gave up too many big plays and turned the ball over.”
“That’s what got me the most, giving up the easy scores,” Stumbaugh told the Press. “That frustrates you. You can’t turn the ball over, you can’t blow assignments, and you can’t blow coverages.”
With Mercedes up five scores to none in the controlled first half, Port Isabel got a 12-yard TD pass. In the second live game portion of the contest the Tarpons tied the score at seven with a 20-yard scoring run, then forced a Mercedes punt. On second down at its own 24 Port Isabel turned the ball over on a fumble and Mercedes scored again to go up 14-7. The Tarpons could not score again.
“In the live part (second half) they scored and we scored … we’re going to be O.K.,” Stumbaugh said. “We held them … then we fumbled – give them a short field and they scored. After that we kind of ran out of gas.”
“The kids played hard. I watched the video and it wasn’t as bad as I thought, as I was a little calmer on Saturday than I was on Friday.”
The head man talked about priorities and the intangibles that can make the difference between a good team and a great one. “We have the talent and they have to decide if this is an important thing to them. (They) need to decide what their priorities are. I think they learned a lesson Friday. They had their own little team meeting.”
Coach Stumbaugh also took responsibility for himself and his coaching staff. “As coaches there are things we should have done better, to enable our kids to understand better what we were trying to get across. If they don’t understand the concept then that goes to us. And we made sure we, as coaches, got that corrected. Now we’ll go out and correct the kids.
Many of the 22 starting positions remain open in mid-week and Stumbaugh briefly discussed the process of putting the right players in the right spots. “We had some positions that we needed some competition at. When you get satisfied and you think you’re the man and you’re going to play, no matter what, then it’s time to get a little competition going. And competition is a wonderful thing. It’ll bring out the best in you if you’re a competitor. We’re sure with our lineup. We’re still looking a couple positions.”
Other intangibles the head coach talked about were heart and desire. “It’s a game of passion – you’ve got to play it with heart. I told the kids if you don’t love playing it, then you’re in the wrong place. If you’re going to do it you need to love it. That’s just my opinion as a coach.”
Port Isabel also opened the 2014 season against Grulla, on the road. Alex de los Santos ran for 86 yards on only four carries and scored once as the Tarpons won 29-9. Trey Mock averaged 41 yards on two punts and completed three of five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown (Jaime Gonzalez).
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