San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

October 31st, 2008
Learning from losing, Rattlers hope to start winning

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

The San Marcos Rattlers enter the final two weeks of the high school football season from a standpoint that haven’t known in ten years. They know they’re not going to write up a winning season, and they know they’re not going to the playoffs for the first time in ten years.

Furthermore, they don’t know when, or if, many of their top skill players are returning to action. In short, the Rattlers are hurt, physically and emotionally, 2-6 overall and 0-5 in District 27-4A as they prepare to play tonight at Boerne Champion.

“It’s been a tough year,” San Marcos head coach Steve Van Nest said.

In the larger scheme, of course, it’s not the end of the world. The beauty of high school football is that even in bad times it’s still kids playing football, and anything can happen. And the kids are learning something. It might not be exactly what Van Nest wants them to learn, but it counts, and that’s what the Rattlers hang their hats on as they wrap up the season within the next eight days.

“We’re aware of our role in the educational system,” Van Nest. “We’re teaching them how to handle adversity. Your preference is to teach them how to handle success. But it’s a season where we’ve had a lot of injuries, we’ve had a lot of things go wrong and we’re in a tough district. We’re trying to teach them to keep that fire and passion. There’s no reason why we can’t practice and work like champions through all this. If we do that, then we’ve done what winners do.”

As the season winds towards its end, for all the Rattlers have suffered, Van Nest still doesn’t want it to end.

“I’d like it to last long enough for us to win a few games,” he said.

By form, tonight’s game in Boerne, as well as next Friday night’s season finale against Seguin at Bobcat Stadium, should lie within the Rattlers’ reach. Boerne is 1-4 in District 27-4A, while Seguin, like the Rattlers, is 0-5 in the league.

But the Rattlers are fighting through numerous injuries to skill players. Running back Andre Ray might return to action for a few snaps this evening after missing the last five weeks with a shoulder injury, but he’ll be alone.

Top rusher Scooter Walker will miss tonight’s game with a leg injury, starting fullback Joekkava Yzaguirre is out with an elbow injury, running back Isaiah Banks still as a shoulder problem, running back Michael Wilburn isn’t 100 percent and backup fullback Kristian Cogdill is out with an ankle problem.

As the season began, it seemed the Rattlers had a lot of running backs to share the carries. Now, it seems, they’re just sharing the injuries.

If there is a silver lining, the Rattlers are at least gaining experience for younger players. The Rattlers are expected to start only three starters on defense at Boerne, while the offense might start one or two more than that.

So, perhaps, the Rattlers are gaining a leg up on next year. But next year still doesn’t really matter.

“The seniors on this team have worked hard,” Van Nest said. “We just want to send the seniors out on a good note.”

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