By Constancio Martinez Jr
Special to the PRESS
The (3-0) Port Isabel Tarpons will be facing the (2-1) Robstown Cottonpickers this Friday night. The last time these two teams met was back in 2010 when Robstown beat Port Isabel 37-7 in the Bi-District round. Unfortunately for Robstown that was the last time they’ve had a winning season, but the team seems to have improved under new head coach Gage Perry. Perry was an offensive coordinator for Victoria West last year where they averaged 45 points per game.
Offensively Robstown is a balanced offense run out of the spread formation. Fullback Ray Vaiz Jr (5’-7”/195lb), a key part to their offense, is the top ground gainer averaging 140 yards/game. Vaiz has above average speed and vision, and it usually takes more than one tackler to take him down. Robstown who only scored 40 points in their six games last year have already surpassed that mark by scoring 55 points in just three games in 2021.
Meanwhile, the Tarpons’ “Seawall Defense” has been much improved this year and have only given up 20 total points in their three games this year. The Tarpons’ defensive front seven have been playing lights out. They have four quality defensive ends rotating in that put constant pressure on the opposing QBs leaving the linebackers to finish the plays. The team’s leading tacklers are LB Dante De La Garza (19), (LB) Miguel Martinez (16) and LB Tristian Garcia (13). DB Gilbert Medina leads the secondary with two interceptions.
Defensively Robstown is giving up 21 points per game, but they do have several good players. Like PI, their defensive ends are their most dominant group. DE Elijah Lamkin is second on the team in tackles at 22 and DE Jayden Gonzalez is third with 17 total tackles. Gonzalez also leads the team with 4 sacks. The battle in the trenches will be huge as Port Isabel assistant football coach John Calvillo expects a “physical and blitzing defense” from Robstown.
Robstown will have their hands full with the Tarpons’ rushing attack. The Tarpons rushed for 381 yards in their last game led by RB Gilbert Medina’s 145-yard performance. Medina is on pace to reach 1,500+ yards at the end of the regular season. The second leading rusher is RB, Cross Martinez with 623 yards (8.1avg) and RB Jayden Lopez has chipped in 60 yards with a 14.8yd/car average.
Other district games on tap for week four are (2-1) Raymondville vs (3-0) Rockport-Fulton, (2-1) Rio Hondo vs (3-0) Ingleside and (2-1) Sinton vs (0-3) West Oso.
Ticket sales start Tuesday, Sept. 21 to Thursday, Sept. 23, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the PI-ISD Central Office building at 101 Port Road, Port Isabel. No reserve seating, general admission: $5.00, Student: $3.00 (pre-sale).