By CONSTANCIO MARTINEZ, JR.
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel freshman football team capped their season with a 38-6 win over the Rio Hondo Bobcats. The Tarpons entered the game riding an 80 undefeated record, with key wins over Hidalgo, La Feria, Raymondville and a pair of 6A squads in Harlingen Cano and Brownsville Rivera.
The visiting Bobcats knew what was at stake and came in to be spoilers. Rio Hondo got off to a good start, with a 20-yard kickoff return. On the first play from scrimmage, the Tarpons defense tackled the runner for a loss. A little rattled, the Bobcats snapped the ball past the quarterback on the next play, and the Tarpons pounced on it. Three plays later, Tarpons’ quarterback Rudy Barrera scored on a 5-yard quarterback keeper. Barrera added two more points on another keeper putting Port Isabel up 8-0 in the first quarter.
The Tarpons’ dominance continued on the Bobcats next drive as linebacker, Nathan Martinez, sacked the Bobcats’ QB for a 4-yard loss. Limited to 2 yards, then 1 yard on back-to-back plays, the Cats punted the ball away. It only took the Tarpons four plays to score on their next drive. Running back Josiah Crockett received a direct snap and followed his blockers to the outside for the 33-yard touchdown run. Jayden Gonzalez took the handoff and scored on the 2-point play, increasing the Tarpons’ lead to 16-0.
The Bobcats got off to another good start after a 22-yard kickoff return to their own 42-yard line. A couple of run plays by the Cats moved the chains down to the Tarpons’ 36yard. As the Bobcats ran another run play, Tarpon’s Crockett stripped the ball carrier and Luke Valdez recovered the fumble for PI. The Tarpons were threatening to score again as they reached the Bobcats 19-yard line, but their drive stalled.
Starting at their own 19-yard line, the Bobcats quarterback fumbled the ball as he was being tackled by Tarpons’ Martinez. The 17-yard loss put the ball on the Bobcats 2-yard line. The Tarpons went after the QB again, with Valdez grabbing his arm, forcing a fumble as Tarpons’ Isaias Guillen recovered the loose ball at the 1-yard line. From there QB Barrera ran it in for the score as Port Isabel went up 24-0 with 8:11 left in the second quarter.
Led by QB Barrera, the Tarpons continued to dominate the Bobcats as they cruised to a 38-6 win. On their way to an undefeated season, the freshmen defense only gave up 36 points all season long, including five shutouts. Meanwhile, the offense scored 250 points, which averages to 27.7 points per Freshman team wraps up an 9-0 undefeated season (Photo courtesy of Port Isabel High School) game. Look for standout players Barrera, Cross Martinez and Jayden Gonzalez to join the Friday night lights soon. The team was coached by coach Jack Garcia, Joshua Kirton and Jonathan Bodden.
“Future is really bright!” Tarpons head coach Jason Strunk said. “Those 8th graders (were) my first crew. Really grew from 8th grade to freshmen, 9-0 is pretty darn good. They are bought in!”