By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel Tarpons football team came up against a rather speedy and determined Brownsville St. Joseph’s Bloodhounds squad last Friday night, and came up on the losing end of a 42-27 score. The game was played at Canales Field, located on the campus of St. Joseph’s Academy.
The Bloodhounds scored on the first two offensive series of the game and, in fact, led by two touchdowns before Port Isabel ever got its hands on the ball.
Sophomore St. Jo’s quarterback Kai Money ran it in from four yards out for the ‘Hounds’ first score. St. Joseph’s then successfully executed an onside kick-off and started with excellent field position at the P.I. 48. With Money again taking it in, this time from the three-yard line, St. Joseph’s led 14-0 less than five minutes into the game.
Money rushed for a game-high 144 yards and passed for 111.
Tarpon Head Coach Monty Stumbaugh explained how things went wrong for his team in the first moments of the contest. “We had them stopped (first TD drive), three-and-out, and we were offsides and gave them a first down. Then they onside kicked and we just ran off like we’d never seen it before. It didn’t surprise me that they did it – what surprised me is that we didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”
On the Tarpons’ second possession they went for it on 4th and 1 at their own 41. “We were going for it and we missed a block. We get the block, we get the first down, and maybe we go down and score and make it 14-7. But we don’t.”
St. Joseph’s scored again on a short pass and led 21-0 with 7:48 to go till halftime.
The Tarpons then took the ball 77 yards in 11 plays and scored on an eight-yard pass from Omar Silva to Jonathan Garza, and it was 21-7, ‘Hounds, at the break.
It was a determined Tarpons team that came out for the second half, and they scored on the opening series to close within eight at 21-13. They got into the end zone for two more touchdowns, and again got within a touchdown each time. But each time the Tarpons scored the Bloodhounds answered with a score of their own to maintain the advantage.
“Every time we seemed to come back we gave up something big,” Stumbaugh said. “They made fewer mistakes than we did.”
Penalties again loomed large for P.I., a total of 16 for 105 yards. The Tarpons were flagged for illegal motion five times on their first series of the night, and three times consecutively before getting the touchdown just before the half.
“You can’t have 16 penalties and you can’t start off 1st and 15,” Stumbaugh said Monday. “Sixteen penalties, I think we had. That’s totally ridiculous.”
St. Joseph’s was flagged only six times for 60 yards and did not turn the ball over once. The Tarpons turned the ball over once on a fumble and once on downs.
On the plus side the P.I. passing attack really came alive in this one. Omar Silva completed eight of 17 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns, including a 52-yarder to Anthony de la Garza to start the third quarter.
Two great plays on special teams might have made the ultimate difference for Port Isabel. Just before halftime the Tarpons blocked a St. Jo’s field goal attempt and, in the fourth quarter Omar Silva scored on the first play after a blocked punt gave P.I. a first-and-goal at the four.
Silva led the Tarpons with 89 yards rushing and scored twice. Ivan Gonzalez, Jonathan Garza, and Anthony de la Garza (51 yards) each caught two passes to lead the team.
“I told the kids from now on their focus better be on their grades and their next opponent,” Stumbaugh told the Press this week. “The next five weeks are huge. District – that’s what gets you where you want to go.”
Port Isabel is off this week and opens district play at home next Friday with a home game against Progreso.
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