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

September 25th, 2009
Rattlers to open district season

STAFF REPORT

The stars are lining up a little better for the San Marcos Rattlers as they begin their District 27-4A high school football season Friday night with a home game at Cibolo Steele.

Or, maybe they aren’t. A lot will depend on the kind of football team Steele is when the Rattlers kick off against them at Bobcat Stadium (7:30 p.m.).

Steele remains the top ranked Sub-Class 5A team in the San Antonio area, according to the San Antonio Express News. But the Knights have shown chinks in their armor this season.

Known for shutting down opponents for the last couple years, the Knights have allowed 55 points against them in three games. Last Friday, they lost, 14-13, at home against San Antonio Southwest.

And the Steele offense appears pretty close to one-dimensional. Of their 1,165 total offensive yards this year, star running back Malcom Brown has rushed for 502 of them.

But San Marcos head coach Steve Van Nest isn’t sleeping on the Steele attack. The Knights still average 7.8 yards per rushing attempt. Wide receiver Sheldon McClain has caught only two passes for 26 yards this year, but he’s still committed to Oklahoma. The quarterback, Nick Sergent, is in his first year as the starter, but he still has some experience.

“They have too many guys who can run the ball, and other guys who can catch it,” Van Nest said.

As good as Steele has been, winning at least 10 games in each of the last two years, the Rattlers still went a long way towards beating themselves in a 49-17 loss to the Knights last season. The Rattlers fumbled the first two kickoffs and trailed, 14-0, before taking an offensive snap.

“If we don’t clean that up, we don’t have a chance,” Van Nest said. “We have to clean it up.”

The 1-1 Rattlers will be back in action for the first time since a 33-0 win against Lampasas at Bobcat Stadium two weeks ago. Van Nest said the team spent the first week since then working on its own game, and has spent the last week working on Steele.

The game not only opens the district season, but presents the Rattlers a chance to regain respect in high school football circles after they finished last year 2-8 and went winless in District 27-4A. One well regarded service that projects high school football games has picked Steele as a 42-point favorite.

“That’s motivation for us,” San Marcos quarterback Ryan Schweers said.

The Rattlers are coming off a 404-yard offensive performance in their last game with Lampasas, against whom they gained 338 yards on the ground.

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