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

October 11th, 2013
Rattlers face tough test in district opener


The “real” season begins now for the San Marcos High School football team, and it starts in a very real way. And a real tough way.

The Rattlers begin their District 25-5A schedule Friday night at Smithson Valley. And because San Marcos hasn’t been a playoff contender in several years, it might be worthwhile to review the drill: The district includes six teams, the top four of which will advance to the playoffs. In the next five weeks, each team in the district will play each other to determine those final standings.

The Rattlers haven’t won a game in their district in nearly four years, since Nov. 6, 2009, a 51-31 win against Seguin. But they are 3-2 outside of their district in 2013 and they figure to at least be in a dog fight for the fourth position in District 25-5A, if not some place higher.

The Rattlers are coming off a game that might be described as “a teaching moment,” a 51-7 loss to Steele at Bobcat Stadium on Sept. 26. Steele, ranked No. 4 in Class 5A by Texas Football, took a 28-0 lead less than 90 seconds into the second period and totaled 555 yards for the night.

The good news for the Rattlers is that they had a bye last week, so they had had two weeks on their practice field to bounce back, get themselves coached up and learn ever more about themselves before they take on the playoff chase.

The bad news, perhaps, is that Smithson Valley, ranked 11th, also didn’t play last week. But the Rattlers have had quite a different experience than the Rattlers. The Rangers are 5-0, winning every game by at least three touchdowns.

Smithson Valley has a variety of weapons to its offense, but it all revolves around quarterback Garrett Smith, an accurate passer and dangerous runner. As a passer, Smith has completed 62 of 86 passes (72.1 percent) for 969 yards (a rich 11.27 yards per attempts) and 12 touchdowns against no interceptions.

If the Rattlers merely needed to guard against Smith’s passing, that would be challenge enough. But Smith also is second in District 25-5A rushing with 491 yards. And Smithson Valley running back Cameron Jones is third in the district with 435 rushing yards.

Balance on offense is Smithson Valley’s calling card. The Rangers have 1,190 rushing yards and 1,145 passing yards. There’s simply nowhere for the San Marcos defense to cheat against a Smithson Valley team averaging 467.0 yards per game in total offense.

Can the Rattlers keep the ball away from Smithson Valley, take a little air out of it, slow the game down? Smithson Valley has given up some points, 17.2 per game. However, those points tend to come in garbage time, and garbage time in its games tends to start early, usually before halftime.

Like Smithson Valley, the Rattlers offense revolves around their quarterback, and their quarterback is named Smith. Tucker Smith is third in the district with 920 passing yards, completing 75 of 115 attempts (65.22 percent). Smith also leads the Rattlers in rushing with 307 yards.

This little tale of the tape tells us that Friday is shaping up as a very challenging night for the Rattlers. Should it go badly, their season still is very much alive. Should it go well, their season is looking better than ever.

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