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20131123-Sharyland-v-Harlingen-Football dy-225He may be the Sharyland’s Renaissance Man - the player who can do everything. During the Rattler’s 23-20 second playoff round win over Harlingen last Saturday afternoon, Sean Landez proved he could do it all on both sides of the ball.

Though he achieved national attention a year ago with his 109.9 yard touchdown run, Landez’ game last Saturday against Harlingen proved to be the bigger of the two achievements. He scored twice – once on a 30 yard pass from Lance Madden in the first quarter, then again with the game winning 21 yard pass reception from Brandon Garza late in the fourth quarter.

When Harlingen was about to score in the fourth, the Cardinals fumbled, but when the stack was sorted out, it was Landez hoisting the ball high in the air. While playing at free safety, Landez administered some solid hits that shook the ball loose from Harlingen receivers and he saved a sure touchdown in the third quarter by getting a bit of finger on the ball to knock it away. Just to be sure, Landez added in long punt returns to set up the offense in good field position.

But good coaching also came into play. Normally, the Rattlers shuttle Diego Chrysler and Lance Madden in at quarterback, but with Chrysler injured during the previous week’s Laredo South game, Madden took on all the signal calling duties in the first half, scoring the first touchdown and picking up 93 yards passing. But knowing the Harlingen coaches would focus on Madden during half-time, head coach Ron Adame threw them a curve. He had Brandon Garza come in as quarterback, a position he has played before during mop-up duties. “We needed a little spark”, said Adame. “Brandon’s a senior and I didn’t want to take that away from him – the opportunity to quarterback. Brandon’s a player – he’s one of the best athletes in the Valley.”

The deciding moment came with only two minutes left on the clock. Faced with a fourth down situation in their own territory, the Rattlers looked like they were going to give possession back to the Cardinals, but an off sides call against the Harlingen defense gave Sharyland the ball and a first down, sealing the game. That mistake, added to the two fumbles Harlingen gave up to the Rattlers, proved that even though the Sharyland defense yielded 407 yards in total yardage, they made the key stops at the right times.

It was the big guys up front who paved the way for the backs to operate. Though the Harlingen line was big, it was the likes of Richard Cervantes, Keith Mora, Josue Hernandez and Nick Villarreal who allowed the ball to be moved down field.

After the game, it was an emotionally wrung-out Adame who was asked if this team was better than last year’s undefeated team that went three deep in the playoffs. “Oh, it has to be”, he answered quickly. “We were tested tonight and it came down to intestinal fortitude. These guys have been consistent all year long. I love these guys – I love each and every one of them.”

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