Defense! Rio Hondo Takes P.I., 20-7


Special to the PRESS

Rio Hondo head coach Rocky James said it before the game; “I see it being a defensive battle. Both of us have very good defenses. It’s going to come down to whoever can execute a little bit better than the other one.”

On the whole, both defenses played pretty well. Port Isabel’s ‘Seawall Defense’ gave up eight first downs and a season-low 150 yards. The Tarpons managed 188 yards, their lowest output of total offense of the season, and 12 first downs.

“We figured it was going to be a tough, hard-fought game, like it is almost every year,” P.I. head coach Monty Stumbaugh said Monday.

The Bobcats caught a huge break on defense in the second quarter and then put the game away by winning a fourth-quarter battle of field position.

With P.I. leading 7-0 early in the second quarter, Tarpon quarterback Omar Silva’s pass ricocheted high into the air off his intended receiver and came down in the arms of Rio Hondo’s Josh Gonzalez. Gonzalez ran 90 yards up the home sideline for the score and, at 11:34 of the second quarter, the score was tied, 7-7.

Three fourth-quarter punting plays made the difference.

With the Bobcats leading 14-7 early in the fourth quarter the Tarpons muffed a punt and Rio Hondo recovered at the P.I. 11. Port Isabel held on 4th-and-1 at the two and took over on downs, but was forced to punt out of their own endzone. This time Rio Hondo started on the Tarpon 25-yard line after a good return. Six plays later the ‘Cats scored on a one-yard Andy Vasquez run to extend their lead to 13 with 4:21 left to play, and that was a final, 20-7.

“We got a great defensive stand down there … kids did a great job,” Stumbaugh said. “We’re fired up, then we come out and run three plays. We ran two of them wrong, then drop a pass on the third one, so we have to punt out of our own end zone. You can’t give good teams a short field.”

The Tarpons got the ball first and drove 59 yards on 16 plays, including Omar Silva’s one-yard keeper for the score, and P.I. led 7-0 with 2:48 left in the opening quarter. Rio Hondo tied it up on the interception return and it remained 7-7 at the half.

Silva ran for a game-high 90 yards on 19 carries.

After their initial score the Tarpons turned the ball over on their next three possessions (first half), all three times in Bobcat territory. Rio Hondo did not commit a single turnover.

“A lot of things could have been done but we didn’t get it done,” Stumbaugh told the Press. “We should have been up 21-0 at the half.”

For the ‘Seawall Defense,’ Raul Villarreal led the team with 10 total tackles, including one for loss and a quarterback sack. Ivan Gonzalez also got a sack and had nine tackles, including two for loss. Linebacker John R. Martinez recorded seven tackles, including one for loss, and lineman Steven Martinez also had one tackle for loss.

“It was very frustrating for the kids and for the coaches,” Stumbaugh said. “I was very proud of them – I think that was the best we’ve played all year. The effort was unbelievable.

Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.

Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.