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20131123-Sharyland-v-Harlingen-Football dy-035The Sharyland Rattlers’ football season is looking remarkably similar to last year’s.

In both 2012 and 2013, Sharyland won the District 30-5A football championship by going undefeated and outscoring their opponents by more than four to one.

In 2012 and 2013, Sharyland opened the playoffs with a relatively easy bi-district win against Laredo United in Laredo.

In 2012, Sharyland played the Harlingen Cardinals in the area round of the playoffs during a rainstorm and won, 42-2. In 2013, the Rattlers defeated the Harlingen Cardinals in the area round, 23-20.

Now, Sharyland faces the same San Antonio Madison team at the same stadium – Corpus Christi’s Buccaneer Stadium – in the regional round of the state playoffs. But this time Sharyland head coach Ron Adame is hoping for a different outcome in today’s 2 p.m. matchup against the Madison Mavericks. Last year, the Mavericks handed Adame the only loss of his head coaching career and ended the Rattlers’ otherwise perfect season by a final score of 40-13.

“I think that going up against Harlingen last week gave us the closest look of what a San Antonio area team brings to the table on game night,” explained Adame. “The fact that we just faced a team of that caliber gives us a better idea of what to expect against Madison. A lot of our kids that will be playing Friday played against them last year so I don’t think that they’ll be in awe of them or of the stage they’ll be playing on. Hopefully, last year’s game is something that is going to benefit us this year.”

During Adame’s two-year head coaching tenure at Sharyland, his Rattlers have made a habit of finding their way into the opponents’ end zones almost at-will. Against the Mavericks last year, however, Sharyland’s offense was turned away from several red zone opportunities by the Mavericks’ staunch defense.

“We’ll be looking at taking advantage of every red zone opportunity this time around,” said Adame. “We’re going to look at last year’s film because that’s probably going to be the best indicator of how they’re going to line up to our formations and how they’re going to play us. Our kicker had a good game last year but this year we’re going to look at red zone opportunities as opportunities to score touchdowns instead of field goals.”

Up until last week’s game, Adame had been going with Lance Madden and Diego Chrysler at quarterback. When both were healthy he’d play them both. When one was out with an injury he’d go with the other. However with Chrysler not available last week due to a sprained ankle and with his offense needing a spark in the second half, Adame turned to senior Brandon Garza as his signal caller after the intermission.

“Diego practiced today and he looked really good,” said Adame. “Ideally we’d like to go with Lance and Diego at quarterback and Brandon back at his position of outside receiver, but it’s always good knowing that you have a third, and possibly even a fourth and a fifth, individual that can quarterback your team and is familiar with your offense. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out on Friday, but the best-case scenario would be for Diego to be back fully healed with Lance ready to go.”

With all the points the Rattlers’ offense puts up on the scoreboard week-in and week-out, it would be easy to overlook the impressive season of the Sharyland defense. In their 12 games thus far, Coach Craig Krell’s unit has been as stingy as they come, giving up only 125 points with the opposition being shutout or held to three points in five of those games.

As impressive as those numbers are, Madison’s high powered aerial attack is unlike anything the Rattlers have faced this season with the possible exception of the Harlingen Cardinals’ offensive unit.

“The difference between Harlingen and Madison is that Harlingen has a little more speed on the inside receivers and the Mavericks have more speed at the outside receivers,” explained Krell. “They have a tall, physical quarterback, kind of like Harlingen’s, and their running back is a junior that started last year on the defensive side of the ball. He’s very quick.”

During the season, Krell sets many different goals for his defense to strive for from week to week. However, at this point in the season Krell changes his priorities.

“When you get to the third round of the playoffs, you’re going up against some very talented teams so our goal by the end of the game is going to be to give up one point less than what we score,” said Krell with a smile and a hearty laugh.

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