SAN MARCOS, TX – When the Stony Point Tigers scored their sixth touchdown and took a commanding 40-28 lead over San Marcos with 7:40 remaining in the game on Friday night, your casual high school football spectator would call it a game.
But the Rattlers weren’t done playing. Two weeks removed from a come-from-behind win over Austin Anderson after being down by 21 points, the Rattlers had every intention of making anyone that left early regret their decision.
San Marcos stopped a streak of three consecutive Tigers scores. First, Tyler Moreno found Robert Marchan for the Rattlers touchdown. After limiting the Tigers on defense and forcing a fumble, San Marcos’ offense kicked right back into gear as Moreno connected with Cross Cuevas for a 69-yard touchdown pass with just over a minute to spare in the game.
“I didn’t expect anything less, that’s what they’ve been doing all season long,” head coach Mark Soto said. “They had four games just like this so I told them you know how to do this, just keep going, keep fighting and thinking positively, and then take action.”
The comeback was officially on. Then San Marcos likely had their highest of highs immediately turn to their lowest of lows this season. After San Marcos kicked an onside kick, it appeared safety Austin Castillo recovered it about one or two yards over the 50 yard line. The officials closest to the play ruled it a recovery, however they were overruled by another official on the other side of the field.
And just as quickly as they had turned the game around, the Rattlers season was coming to an end.
That change in fortune was reversed to start the game, with Moreno being sacked deep in Rattlers territory on the first play of the game. But that was quickly erased with a 83-yard touchdown run by Jamon Johnson.
The rest of the first half was a battle, with Stony Point’s own sophomore sensation Tyler Cleveland leaving a mark with a six-yard touchdown scamper, followed by a Dashun Horne 30-yard touchdown run.
The scouting report reads simple on the Tigers, but it proved to be much more perplexing. Stopping the run isn’t always as easy as it sounds when being forced to defend several rushers. Containing Cleveland was challenge enough, but quarterback Jack Driskell is also mobile, and do-everything quarterback/running back/receiver Horne, along with a delayed handoff gave the Rattlers fits.
But San Marcos battled the Tigers’ versatility with their own, with Moreno eating up yardage on keepers, and getting defensive back Prudy Calderon and receiver Cuevas involved in the run game when Stony Point began to limit Johnson.
In the end though, the Rattlers’ bag of tricks wasn’t enough to stop time as Stony Point ran the clock out.
Moreno finished the game with 135 passing yards and two passing touchdowns. He also added another touchdown and 34 rushing yards. Johnson finished with 105 rushing yards, a majority of which he picked up in the first half, and two touchdowns. Cuevas had one of his better games of the season, racking up 109 receiving yards and one touchdown.
Cleveland had 164 rushing yards and two touchdowns for Stony Point. Horne finished the game with 95 receiving yards and 73 rushing yards for two touchdowns.
With the loss, San Marcos finished the season 6-5. The Rattlers seniors, totaling over 50, ended their prep campaigns with two straight playoff appearances.
“The seniors make our program. They were the glue that held us together all year long and in every one of those tight ball games,” Soto said. “They’re the reason it’s 35-40 over there and we’re battling to get the ball back and score a touchdown to win this game.”
Stony Point moves on to face Spring Westfield on Thursday night at NRG Stadium in Houston.