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

September 26th, 2009
Rattlers match effort, but not talent, in loss to Steele

San Marcos High School football coach Steve Van Nest tells the Rattlers to hang with ’em after Friday night’s 44-20 loss to Cibolo Steele at Bobcat Stadium. Photo bv Andy Sevilla.

By BILL PETERSON
Executive Editor

The San Marcos Rattlers matched the effort put forth by Cibolo Steele in their District 27-4A opener Friday night at Bobcat Stadium, but they couldn’t match the talent.

Steele’s big play performers made the difference as the Knights took down the Rattlers, 44-20. Unlike last year’s game, a 49-17 Steele win in Schertz, the Rattlers didn’t take themselves out of this one. Indeed, they put forth a representative effort from beginning to end.

But the Rattlers had no answers for the likes of Steele running back Malcom Brown and defensive tackle Corey Hill.

Brown scored touchdowns on four consecutive touches, which included runs of 49 and 77 yards, as the Knights turned a 7-0 deficit in the first quarter into a 37-7 lead early in the third. Before Hill left the game in the third quarter, he proved a very difficult blocking assignment, particularly in the clutch.

San Marcos head coach Steve Van Nest was especially happy that the Rattlers kept punching after falling 30 points behind in the second half.  They were never going to catch up against one of the two or three best Class 4A teams in Region IV, but they were able to move the ball.

“We stood toe to toe all night,” Van Nest said. “We didn’t back down. But they have some play makers who made plays.”

The Rattlers fell to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in District 27-4A with the loss, while Steele now is 3-1 and 1-0.

The game began with the two teams punching pretty evenly and ended the same way. But it turned on 14 lopsided minutes for Steele in the second and third quarters.

On their second possession in a scoreless game, Andre Ray ran 32 yards for the Rattlers to the Steele 10, setting up first and goal. On the next play, Scooter Walker ran 10 yards for a touchdown, making it 7-0 after the kick by Aaron Nunez with 4:28 left in the quarter.

Steele responded with its own quick touchdown drive. A 48-yard run by Alfonzo Trammell put the ball on the San Marcos 10, then a penalty against the Rattlers made it first and goal from the five. Two plays later, Brown ran three yards for a touchdown. The Rattlers blocked the extra point kick, preserving a 7-6 lead with 2:57 left in the quarter.

Ray returned the ensuing kick from a yard deep in the end zone to the San Marcos 42, and the Rattlers appeared to still be in business. On third and eight, quarterback Ryan Schweers connected with Walker in the right flat, but Walker took a leveling hit at the 50-yard line and the Rattlers were left with fourth and two.

The Rattlers elected to go for it, and Hill made them pay. The 301-pound defensive tackle darted through the left side of the San Marcos line and dropped Ray for a three-yard loss, setting up the Knights at the San Marcos 47.

After the San Marcos defense stopped the first two snaps and Steele took a five-yard penalty, the Knights faced third and 14 from their own 49 as the first quarter ended. But the second quarter began with Brown turning third and 14 into a 51-yard touchdown run, running straight through the middle untouched on a draw play. A two-point conversion pass from Nick Sergent to Darion Ray gave the Knights a 14-7 lead.

The Rattlers would hear from Darion Ray again. After they went three and out, Ray caught a 32-yard pass down the left sideline between his left hand and his number, putting the ball on the San Marcos seven. Brown ran seven yards for a touchdown on the next play, giving Steele a 21-7 lead.

San Marcos moved again on its next possession. Andre Ray ran 31 yards on the first play to put the ball on the Steele 38. Following another first down, Nunez missed a 40-yard field goal attempt, giving Steele the ball on the San Marcos 23.

On the very next play, Brown put on a spectacular run, bouncing through the line, veering left past the 50 and spinning through two shoestring tackles along the left sideline as he went 77 yards for a touchdown, giving Steele a 28-7 lead still with 3:28 left in the half.

In the space of four runs, Brown covered 138 yards and scored four touchdowns. For the night, Brown rushed 15 times for 160 yards, bringing him up to 662 rushing yards in four games this season.  Trammell provided a nice complement, rushing six times for 133 yards. But Brown was the one who finished his runs with touchdowns.

“We knew we had to get two or three guys around him,” Van Nest said of Brown. “Sometimes, we only got one or two, and he made plays.”

The Rattlers attempted an onside kick to start the second half, but Steele recovered and moved right back downfield. Trammell ran 22 yards to the San Marcos 19, then Sergent completed a pass to Trammell, who fumbled at the three. San Marcos recovered, only for Steele linebacker Ryan Simmons to register a safety against a San Marcos ball carrier on the next play.

Leading 30-7 and taking a free kick, Steele went back on the march. Brown ran 16 yards, then Trammell went 33 yards, then Brown went the final four yards, giving the Knights a 37-7 just 2:04 into the third quarter.

In a matter of about one quarter, really about 14 minutes starting from the very beginning of the second quarter, the Knights scored touchdowns on five of six offensive possessions, and added a safety on one defensive series, putting a close game well out of reach.

“There’s a reason a lot of those guys are being recruited to play Division I,” Van Nest said.

The Rattlers made the final score respectable in their next two possessions as they opened up their offense and Schweers completed five of seven passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. Up to that point, he completed only one of five passes for six yards, though drops by receivers accounted for a couple of the incompletions.

A 35-yard completion from Schweers to Payton Pringle started the next possession and moved the Rattlers from their own 18 to the Steele 47. Later, Schweers threw 26 yards to Hunter Burttschell, placing the ball on the Steele seven. Ray ran for a five-yard touchdown three plays later, making it 37-13 after the kick failed.

The Rattlers kept Steele to three and out, then launched an 81-yard touchdown drive. Schweers threw 26 yards to Tomas Velasquez and later connected with Velasquez for a 41-yard touchdown pass, bringing the Rattlers within 37-20.

At that point, Steele (3-1, 1-0) put Brown and Trammell back into the game, and they moved their club to an answering touchdown, which came on a five-yard run by Tyler Glasz with 9:47 left in the game. The Rattlers drove again on their next possession, which stalled at the Steele 20 on fourth down.

But the points were made. Steele was the better team, winning handily, but the Rattlers kept chugging through it, which bodes well as the district season continues next Friday night at New Braunfels Canyon. The Cougars (1-0, 2-2) tacked up a 24-14 win at Seguin (2-2, 0-1) Friday night.

In the other District 27-4A openers, Kerrville Tivy (1-2, 1-0) won, 28-13, at Boerne Champion (3-0, 0-1), and Alamo Heights (2-2, 1-0) won, 27-14, at Schertz Clemens (2-1, 0-1).

Thus, after one week, Steele, Tivy, Canyon and Heights all are in first place, while the Rattlers, Champion, Seguin and Clemens all are in last place. But they’re all just a game apart and, based on what they showed Friday, the Rattlers have a chance to stay in this mix.

“We fought hard for 48 minutes,” Van Nest said. “We could have folded the tent. We battled hard the whole time.”

That’s what it’s going to take in District 27-4A.

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