By Constancio Martinez, Jr.
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel Tarpons and Sinton Pirates will be facing each other in a Bi-District matchup this Friday, at CC Buccaneer Stadium, at 7:30 p.m.
Sinton will be making its 40th playoff appearance, while Port Isabel will be making its 47th playoff appearance. Though both teams have a long history of making the playoffs, from their respective districts, the teams have only faced each other four previous times in the playoffs. The teams are tied at two playoff wins a piece. The Tarpons beat the Pirates in the 2012 Area round 53-26, and in the 1996 Area round 40-20. Sinton got the better of the Tarpons during their 2014 Bi-District game, 52-22, and in the 1990 Quarterfinals game, 21-7.
For the upcoming matchup, the Pirates are led by sophomore dual-threat QB Rene Galvan, who has thrown for 1,055 yards on 58 completions out of 116 attempts. He has thrown 14 touchdowns, while only throwing three interceptions. He is also their second leading rusher with 431 yards on 86 carries and has rushed for seven touchdowns. Rene’s twin brother, Rylan Galvan, is the Pirates’ top running back, and leads the team with 1,042 rushing yards on 119 carries with 13 touchdowns. The Pirates receiving corps average a whopping 18.7 yards per catch. Their top two receivers are also their tallest, standing at 6’-3”: Daelyn Davis (13 rec., 312 yards, 7 touchdowns) and Jackson Allen (13 rec., 218 yards, 2 touchdowns). Allen, a two-way player, is also a standout safety, who is the Pirates’ second-leading tackler with 86 tackles with three interceptions.
The Tarpons will be led by QB Joey Krieghbaum who has thrown for 1,176 yards on 77 completions out of 151 attempts. He has thrown for 15 touchdowns while throwing five interceptions. Krieghbaum also has 216 rushing yards on 67 carries with four rushing touchdowns. Brayan Medina is the Tarpons’ leading rusher, with 1,095 rushing yards on 182 carries with 9 rushing touchdowns. He also leads the team in receptions at 19 with 289 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
The Tarpons’ receiving corps average a respectable 15.9 yards per catch with standout WR Will Camacho hauling in 11 receptions for 321 yards for an average of 29.2 yards per carry. A wildcard for the Tarpons will be utility player Mac Strunk. Strunk is used at multiple positions on the offense. He can run, catch and pass the ball to the tune of 66.7 yards per game. He is also the Tarpons’ premiere kickoff return man, returning 5 kickoffs for 235 for an average of 47 yards per return.
Defensively, the Pirates have a handful of playmakers like linebacker Xander Gamez, who seems to always be around the ball. Gamez leads the team with 87 tackles and five fumble recoveries. Defensive linemen Trystn Burnell has accumulated 61 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss (a team lead) and four sacks. The Pirates’ ball-hawking secondary have snagged 19 interceptions for the year. Secondary leaders include cornerback Melvin Howard with five interceptions, followed by Rogelio Rivas, with four interceptions. Howard is also the Pirates’ special teams ace, returning kickoffs (19.6 avg) and punts (13.2 avg).
The Tarpons have their own playmakers in a pair of defensive ends in Edgar Orduna (52 tackles, 9TFL) and Roger Scheartl (46 tackles, 8TFL). 6’-1” Scheartl, who averages 7.7 tackles per game, is the second leading tackler on the team while only playing six games. Other players to watch are linebackers Zaid Calderon (44 tackles, 3TFL) and Angel Fernandez (44 tackles, 7TFL, sack). Fernandez earned a spot at linebacker last year as a sophomore, what he lacks in size he makes up for in his tenacity on the field. The Tarpons have a young secondary featuring two sophomores in Will Camacho and Daniel Zamarron who are guided by senior safety Jake Pinkerton (43 tackles, 1 interception). They will have their hands full with Sinton’s receivers.
Both teams are known for their past winning tradition, but as of late the teams have been struggling. The (5-5) Pirates went 4-1 in district games with the bulk of their losses coming in their non-district games. They are averaging 31 points per game while giving up 27 points per game. The (3-6) Tarpons have had several key players out due to injuries throughout the season, but come game time the team should be ready to go. The Tarpons are averaging 27 points per game while giving up 28 points per game.
On his message to the team, Port Isabel head football coach, Jason Strunk, said, “We are banged up, but nobody cares. It’s playoff football. Time to get rolling!”