Tarpons fall to Chargers, 44-14


Special to the PRESS

This past Friday, the 4A Port Isabel Tarpons and 5A Brownsville Veterans Memorial Chargers clashed in front of a jam-packed stadium.  Brownsville Veterans came into the game with the benefit of having 3-times the enrollment of Port Isabel, but the Tarpons were not backing down from a challenge. It didn’t take long for the Chargers to muscle their way on both sides of the ball as they jumped out to a 27-0 lead. Turnovers and mistakes on special teams were too costly to overcome by PI as the Chargers came out with the win.
Veterans took the opening drive and marched down the field for the score as the Chargers quickly went up 7-0 with 9:22 showing in the first quarter. On its first possession, the PI offense was unable to penetrate the Chargers salty defense and were forced to punt. Unfortunately, the punter saw the oncoming defenders, so he rolled out to try to punt the ball on the run, but he was tackled for a big loss.
With exceptional field position at the Tarpons’ 15-yard line, the Chargers scored once again behind RB, Bryan Chavez, on a three-yard TD run. A missed extra point kick put the Chargers up 13-0 with 6:02 left in the first quarter. On the Tarpons ensuing possession, the Tarpons picked up a 11-yard pass play from QB, Rudy Barrera to RB, Tristan Garcia. Unfortunately, the drive was short-lived as their ground game was being kept in check and they were forced to punt.
A 43-yard punt by Rudy Barrera pinned the Chargers at their own 8-yard line. Charger QB, Michael Montoya gave them some breathing room as he picked up eight yards on a keeper. The Chargers were called for back-to-back false start penalties. PI made three great defensive plays forcing the Chargers to punt for the first time.
As the second quarter got underway, PI’s running back had a nice nine-yard gain, but was stripped of the ball. The defender picked up the ball and ran it back to the Tarpons 24-yard line. After a pair of penalties pushed the Chargers back, their QB hit his receiver for a 21-yard completion. RB Chavez then took the handoff and ran up the middle for a 14-yard touchdown. A successful extra point kick put the Chargers up 20-0 with 9:12 left till halftime.
The Tarpon offense started to pick up more yards as they started to find more success running to the outside. Unfortunately, the Tarpons could not overcome a false start call and a sack by the Chargers, so they were forced to punt from midfield.  Starting at their own 24-yard line, the Chargers went on a 76-yard, 12-play touchdown drive as the Chargers extended their lead 27-0 with 57 seconds left before the half.
PI return man Jose “JoJo” Ochoa had a big 25-yard return to the 35-yard line. On the next play, freshman Luis Ramos bobbed and weaved through the Charger’s defense and broke free for a 65-yard touchdown run. A successful extra point kick made 27-7 at halftime.
As the second half got underway, PI’s returnman, Ochoa, had a nice 17-yard return. From their own 35-yard line, the Tarpons started to grind out the rushing yards. With their backs against the wall, they successfully picked up a first down on two fourth downs situations. They clawed their way to midfield against a stout Charger defense. After 13-yard gains by RB LeBlanc and RB Ochoa the Tarpons were knocking on the Chargers door. Two plays later, RB Garcia ran it in for the score. A successful kick made it 27-14 in favor of the Chargers with 3:52 left in the third quarter.
On their ensuing possession, the Chargers’ RB, Chavez, broke free for a big 54-yard run down to the Tarpons 20-yard line. The Tarpons defense held strong from there and forced Veterans to settle for a 30-yard field goal. The Chargers extended their lead to 30-14 with 1:54 left in the third. Trying to catch the Tarpons asleep, the Chargers attempted an onside kick and they almost had it. Facing a 3rd and 12, Tarpons’ QB, Barrera, found WR Anthony Garcia for a big 31-yard reception. Unfortunately, the running back was stripped of the ball on the next play ending the scoring threat by PI. The Chargers interior defense had been outstanding to this point limiting the Tarpons runners to around 1.5 yards per carry up the middle.
The Chargers went on to score two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter for a final of 44-14. Chargers’ RB, Chavez, had a big day rushing for 158 yards on 14 carries including five rushing touchdowns. As a team, the Chargers racked up 369 rushing yards compared to the Tarpons 253 rushing yards. The lead ground gainers for the Tarpons were Andrew LeBlanc with 41 yards, Evan Galvan (57) and Luis Ramos (72).

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