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

October 23rd, 2009
Rattlers battle for inside playoff track


Three weeks ago, a lot of people following the San Marcos Rattlers said their game at struggling New Braunfels Canyon would be their best chance to win a game in District 27-4A.

That proved to be false, and not, oddly enough, because the Rattlers ended up losing that game, 35-14. It’s false because the Rattlers have demonstrated since then that they can line up against anyone in the district.

Now, the question for the Rattlers is whether they can make the playoffs. If all goes well for the Rattlers, their fans will be asking that question for the next three Friday nights before landing on an affirmative. If the answer is “no,” one loss would probably make it true.

Thus, all the remaining games are big, provided the Rattlers keep winning the next one. That next one now is Friday night at Bobcat Stadium for homecoming against Schertz Clemens.

The Rattlers enter the game 2-4 overall and 1-3 in District 27-4A. But the real Rattlers, it appears, are the Rattlers of the last two weeks, the Rattlers who beat Kerrville Tivy, 44-32, at Bobcat Stadium, then lost at Alamo Heights, 23-22, last week.

San Marcos head coach Steve Van Nest is still kicking himself for going for throwing instead of running last week at Alamo Heights, where the Rattlers would have won the game in the last minute with a two-point conversion. The pass fell incomplete, and the Rattlers returned home thinking they should have won.

But in the economy of District 27-4A, a loss at Alamo Heights isn’t a deal breaker. The big money game is Friday night against Clemens. If the Rattlers win and Alamo Heights beats Canyon, as expected, the Rattlers would be tied for fourth-place in the district with Clemens and Canyon. Clemens and Canyon play each other next week.

The Rattlers finish the season on the road against Boerne Champion, then at home against Seguin. Champion and Seguin both enter Friday night winless in the district.

Needless to say, the San Marcos football team facing very grim prospects three weeks ago is delighted by how the season has progressed in the standings, and, especially, on the field.

“We really are,” Van Nest said. “The plan all along is that you want to improve through the year. We’d rather not start the way we did, but you want to be playing your best ball going to the end of October, and we’re doing that. I think we’re getting better every week.”

The Rattlers continue to roll offensively. With their 493-yard performance last week at Alamo Heights, they’re up to 434 yards per game in the district season. They have hit at least 400 yards in every district game except for the loss at Canyon, which was preceded by a week of illness throughout the team. In the last two weeks, the Rattlers have 1,031 offensive yards.

Andre Ray continues to lead the team in rushing with 640 yards. In the last two weeks, San Marcos quarterback Ryan Schweers has completed 18 of 26 passes for 222 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

The San Marcos defense also has stepped up in the last three games, allowing an average of 282 yards.

Clemens (4-2, 2-2) tends to play in less wide-open games. The Buffaloes have allowed 297.5 yards per game within the district. Less impressive, at least on paper, is the Clemens offense, which averages 211.5 yards per game within the district.

The leading Clemens rusher is Abel Rodriguez with 270 yards, followed by Stanley Harris with 251 yards. Clemens quarterback Bryce McCoy has completed 36 of 76 passes for 476 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions.

At the very least, though, the Clemens offense is full of surprises.

“They used to be a power running team, and now they spread the field around,” Van Nest said. “They’ll hand off, zone read and do their version of the wildcat.”

Clemens has changed through the years. But the Rattlers have changed in a matter of weeks.

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