By Constancio Martinez, Jr.
Special to the PRESS
This will be the 34th time the Port Isabel Tarpons and Progreso Red Ants have played each other since 1986. Unfortunate for the Red Ants the Tarpons are 33-0 in those matchups. The Progreso Red Ants stunned the MMA Leathernecks with their 75-0 win last week. So, the Tarpons stayed focused during their bye week as they weren’t going to overlook Progreso.
From the first snap of the ball the Tarpons’ defense put on relentless pressure on the Red Ants quarterback. After holding Progreso to negative seven yards on their initial drive, the Tarpons put on a solid drive spanning 59 yards, unfortunately, they needed 60 as they turned the ball over on downs at the Red Ants 1-yard line.
With backs against the wall Progreso went another 3-and-out. On the ensuing drive, Tarpons’ running back Brayan Medina took a shovel pass and hit the outside for a 33-yard touchdown. A successful extra point try by kicker Angel Fernandez put the Tarpons up 7-0 in the 1st quarter. The Tarpons caught the Red Ants by surprise as they recovered an onside kick by Fernandez. On the next play, Medina broke free for a 32-yard gain, but limped off the field with some sort of leg injury. Junior running back Adrian Nino subbed in for Medina and picked up where Medina left off. Nino got the Tarpons down to Progreso’s 1-yard line where quarterback Joey Krieghbaum scored on a quarterback sneak. A successful kick put the Tarpons up 14-0 with 6:00 left in the 1st quarter.
On the ensuing Progreso drive, QB Elian Rodriguez tested the Tarpons’ secondary on a long pass, but cornerback Will Camacho out jumped the Red Ant’s receiver for interception. Playing on both sides of the ball, Camacho had another big play, but this time as a receiver as he caught a 33-yard pass from Krieghbaum. Three plays later Krieghbaum scored on another quarterback sneak, putting the Tarpons up 21-0 still in the 1st quarter.
Facing a 3rd and 12, Progreso’s QB completed a 30-yard pass play marking the first time he got the better of PI’s secondary. On the next play, Tarpon’s defensive end, Edgar Orduna sniffed out a reverse and tackled the runner for a 10-yard loss. Unable to recover from the setback the Red Ants punted. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Tarpons though. Forced to punt, the ball seemed to hit the back of a Tarpon blocker and the Red Ants ended up with great field position. On the ensuing play, Progreso’s QB threw the ball to a streaking receiver, but underthrew it as Port Isabel’s cornerback, Gilbert Medina, came up with the interception ending Progreso’s scoring threat.
The Tarpons offense regrouped and went on 9-play, 76-yard scoring drive capped by a 25-yard pass play to receiver Will Camacho. A successful kick put the Tarpons up 28-0 in the 2nd quarter. Progresso’s run game had virtually no success as Progreso leaned more and more on its passing game. After a couple of passes including a 33-yard pass play, the Red Ants reached the Tarpon’s 44-yard line. On the next play, the Tarpon’s secondary came up big again as Safety Jake Pinkerton jumped in front of the receiver for the interception.
With the second quarter winding down, QB Krieghbaum found receiver, Angel Nino on a crossing route for a 41-yard pass play. A successful kick put the Tarpons up 35-0. The Red Ants got a 20-yard kickoff return, but salty Tarpon defense forced a fumble on the next play.
Starting at Progreso’s 35-yard line Krieghbaum connected with receiver Michael Perez who eluded six would-be tacklers for a 35-yard touchdown pass play. A successful kick made it 42-0 Tarpons. After gaining only two yards on its next drive, Progreso was forced to punt again. Port Isabel continued to work on its passing game as Krieghbaum found a streaking Camacho for a 62-yard touchdown. The Tarpons headed to the locker room with 49-0 lead.
As the second half opened, Progreso went for an onside kick, but the Tarpons recovered the ball. Two plays later, Adrian Nino left the defenders in the dust as he ran for 42 yards to paydirt. A successful kick put the Tarpons up 56-0, with 9:35 in the 3rd quarter. Progreso was able to move the ball a little more on the backups in the second half, but still failed to score on the Tarpons’ defense. Meanwhile, the Tarpons picked up one last score as sophomore Jayden Lopez broke loose for a 35-yard touchdown run for the final score of 63-0.
In their dominating performance, the Tarpons “Tidal Wave Offense” accumulated 522 total yards while the “Seawall Defense” forced five turnovers. The (3-4) Tarpons will have a much tougher matchup next week as they face the (6-1) Raymondville Bearkats at Tarpon Stadium. The Tarpons will need to bring the same tenacity next week to have a shot at the upset.