By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
It may not have been a very stylish win, but once again the team did enough to win. For the second week in a row the Port Isabel Tarpons won a low-scoring game by a slim margin — a touchdown, to be exact — as they beat the Valley View Tigers 14-7 at Tarpon Stadium last Friday night.
To look good in winning a game a team’s offense needs to score on long plays and get touchdowns on long, clock-eating drives. And they need to do it while committing a minimum of penalties and, above all, hanging onto the ball.
The facts of the case show what a frustrating night it was for the Tarpon offense. In 12 series, not including the game ender when they twice took a knee to run out the clock, Port Isabel punted seven times, turned the ball over twice, and squandered an opportunity to score at the end of the first half when it was goal-to-go from the Tiger two-yard line.
“We had a play called and the tight end ran the wrong route,” Port Isabel head coach Monty Stumbaugh said Monday. “If he runs the right route he’s wide open. And we said if he’s not open just throw it out of the end zone.” The quarterback kept the ball and was stopped short of the end zone as time ran out.
“He had a little brain-freeze, like we all do,” Stumbaugh said this week, referring to junior signal caller Omar Silva. “Then he came back and threw a nice pass, a slant route, to Javi (Hernandez) and we go up 14-0.”
The offense did score the points but it was the ‘Seawall Defense’ that repeatedly stymied the Valley View offense and held them to a single score, a 20-yard TD pass from Aguilar to Gonzalez, late in the fourth quarter to make the score 14-7, Tarpons. The Tigers’ other 12 offensive series ended with an equal number of punts and turnovers. They were held to 159 yards of total offense for the game.
“The defense won this game,” Stumbaugh said afterwards. “They kept us in the game.”
Port Isabel found a passing game this night as Silva completed three of seven throws for 30 yards and the touchdown. Carlos Orduna completed his only pass for nine yards.
And Silva can run, too. In the second quarter he dashed 44 yards to the Valley View 15, breaking tackles and escaping traps left and right. Two plays later he went in from 16 yards out and the Tarpons led 7-0 with 8:02 to go till halftime. Silva led all rushers with 88 yards gained on the ground.
“I broke some tackles,” Silva said after the game. “I just kept pumping my legs after they were hitting me. I made a good run.”
“He made a couple of tough runs,” Stumbaugh said. “How he got out of there I don’t know, but he did. Omar did a good job and he only played three quarters.”
Penalties were a problem. Port Isabel was flagged 10 times for 75 yards, including one that brought back a long touchdown pass in the second quarter.
“We had a chance to score and we hit a guy in the back, for no reason, 20 yards behind the play,” Stumbaugh said after the game. “We’re very fortunate to get out of here with a win.”
The issue was in doubt when Valley View scored with 2:58 left in the game. The Tigers recovered an onside kick and fumbled the ball away on the first play. Valley View forced a P.I. punt and, again on the first play, gave up the ball on Carlos Orduna’s second interception of the night. The game ended less than a minute later and that was a final, 14-7.
“We didn’t give up,” Orduna said when it was all over. “I read the play and ended up with the interception.” Orduna rushed for 60 yards.
Martin Alvarado and Dylan Athenas led the Tarpons in tackles with eight total stops each, including one for a loss by Alvarado. Silva intercepted a pass and Raul Villarreal, Juan Apango, Michael Green, and Ernie Turbiates each recovered a Tiger fumble.
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