By Constancio Martinez Jr
This Friday night pits the (4-0) Port Isabel Tarpons vs (2-2) Raymondville Bearkats. The last time the Tarpons beat the Bearkats was back in 2016. Since then, Raymondville has won the last three meetings, but this could be the year PI ends their losing streak to its district rival. The Tarpons are coming off a 55-40 win over Robstown while Raymondville lost to Rockport-Fulton 48-6 in last week’s action.
The Tarpons “Tidal Wave Offense” will be front and center as they are averaging 388 rushing yards per game. Leading the team in rushing is RB Gilbert Medina who in four games has rushed for 712 yards on 45 carries for a 15.8avg with 10 TDs. The other running backs getting significant carries include Cross Martinez (218 yds), Jaden Lopez (126 yds) and Derrin Valdez (154 yds).
Raymondville gave up 333 total yards (262 rush) last week and will have its hands full once again against Port Isabel. The Bearkats defense is spearheaded by LB, Hunter Posas who has amassed a whopping 58 tackles so far. Other defensive players to watch are DE Diego Gutierrez (6’-1”/230lb) and DL Lando Cantu (6’-4”/305lb).
Raymondville’s offense is led by 3-year starter, QB Jayson Cantu (6’-4”/225lb). Cantu has completed 51 passes out of 82 attempts for 637 yards with 6 TDs and 3 INTs. As a dual-threat QB he has also picked up 325 yards on the ground on 46 carries. The second leading ball carrier is Diego Gutierrez with 255 yards on 29 carries. They do have a couple of capable receivers in Bryen Robles (13 rec/179 yds) and Ethan Tagle (14 rec/193 yds) so PI’s secondary will get tested.
The Tarpons “Seawall Defense” was missing their leading tackler OLB Dante De La Garza last week and had others with some lingering issues, so they didn’t get as much pressure on the QB as they wanted to, but were able to force a few turnovers.
“They run the ball really well,” Port Isabel Head Football Coach Tony Villarreal said of Raymondville’s offense. “They got some huge offensive linemen, kind of like Robstown…we’re trying to stop their best plays out of the spread.”
Villarreal also said he wanted the guys to enjoy themselves during the homecoming festivities, but come Friday it’s all about football.
Other district matchups include: (2-2)Rio Hondo vs (0-4)West Oso, (4-0)Rockport-Fulton vs (3-1)Sinton, and (4-0)Ingleside vs (2-2)Robstown.
Ticket sales: Friday, Oct.1, 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the PI-ISD Central Office building, 101 Port Road, Port Isabel. Reserve seating $6, General Admission: $5, Student: $3.