For the second week in a row the Sharyland Rattlers found themselves in the thick of a back-and-forth District 31-5A battle that came down to the final seconds of the game before the outcome was decided. Unlike last week’s loss to Edinburg Vela, the Rattlers emerged victorious from Friday night’s game as they held off the Veterans Memorial Patriots at Richard Thompson Stadium by a score of 29-27.
While the Rattlers moved the ball well in the first quarter the Patriots’ defense stiffened when it had to and limited Sharyland to a field goal and a 3-0 lead as the initial 12 minutes ticked off the clock.
Just 1:07 into the second period Veterans Memorial quarterback Diego Hernandez connected with wide receiver Jacob Guerrero for an 18-yard score to give the Patriots their first lead of the game, 7-3. The Rattlers regained their lead however when senior quarterback Seth Carter scored on a 3-yard run with 7:31 remaining in the second quarter.
The Rattlers increased their lead to 16-7 at the 4:35 mark of the second quarter on a 39-yard pass from Carter to Edgar Alanis on what seemed to be a flubbed punt attempt that turned into a pass play. The Patriots then closed out the scoring in the first half when Hernandez and Guerrero teamed up on a touchdown pass once again, but this time from 12-yards out and with only 16 seconds left on the clock. That made the score 16-13 Sharyland at halftime.
The Patriots found the end zone twice in the third quarter and Carter scored the Rattlers’ sole touchdown of that period on a long kickoff return to make the score 27-23 Patriots at the end of that period. Sharyland then pulled ahead to stay, with 2:17 remaining in the game when Manny Campos capped off an 88-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
After the game Sharyland head coach Ron Adame commented on the fact that despite the win, his team’s play was far from flawless.
“We didn’t play very clean football but that’s a credit to Mission Veterans,” Adame said. “They did a good job of game-planning and they did a good job of playing tonight. They made things difficult for us but our boys found a way to persevere and I’m proud as hell of them.”
While Veterans Memorial head coach David Gilpin was disappointed in the outcome of the game, he was in no way disappointed with his players.
“Our kids fought tonight,” Gilpin said. “There was no quit in our kids. Did they make mistakes? Yes. Did we have a lack of execution at times? Yes. But as far as the effort, I could not ask any more of them. The bottom line is that I’m disappointed for the kids.”
With the win the Rattlers improve to 1-1 in district play while the Patriots drop to 0-1.