The San Marcos Rattlers will likely face the toughest test of their 2018 district schedule on Friday night at San Marcos Toyota Rattler Stadium as the Judson Rockets, a perennial playoff contender, make the trek up from Converse.
Had this matchup occurred last year, we’d be talking about the marquee quarterback matchup of Prudy Calderon and Julon Williams, however, both are not playing college ball in Houston, with Calderon at Rice and Williams at the University of Houston.
Instead, this should be a battle of the running backs. For San Marcos, the run game features senior Jamon Johnson. Johnson burst onto the scene as a sophomore when then starting running back Cavion Johnson was injured early in the season. Johnson came in, made an impact right away and never looked back.
Even after missing the first game of the season, Johnson has already racked up 353 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s also a threat as a passing option in the backfield and has totals of 147 yards and one touchdown. Johnson is a rare combo of a bruising back that is reliable in short yardage situations, but he’s also got the speed to break out in the open field.
Receiver Takai Magett has also taken some handoffs, and the Rattlers will also rotate in Christian Caballero and Darimikus Garcia.
Judson seems to have a plethora of rushing threats every year, and that is no different this year as they have returned UTSA commit Sincere McCormick. This season through three games, McCormick has picked up 300 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
McCormick is a key cog in Judson’s offense as he has been for the past few years, but quarterback Mike Chandler is also a rushing threat, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s also another the option of another big play back in Rashad Wisdom.
The Rattlers and Rockets both rely heavily on the ground game, and that’ll put pressure on both defenses.
While the passing game may not be the main strength or focus for either team, you can’t discount that part of the game.
For Judson, Chandler’s main target seems to be Amarea Bailey-Davis, but Wisdom and McCormick can easily come out of the backfield on passing downs the way Johnson does for San Marcos.
In San Marcos, the Rattlers seem to have settled on junior Alex Garcia as their main passer. He split time with Cameron Vidrine, but in last week’s game, Garcia took all the snaps.
Juniors Mhyson Williams and Magett are one of the more athletic receiving combos the Rattlers have featured in a few years. Williams has 196 yards receiving and one touchdown, followed by Johnson.
Magett has eight receptions for 60 yards, but he’s been a popular target for Garcia, Magett has just had some trouble corraling the ball a few times, but once he comes down with the ball, he is an open field threat.
Diego Cruz also features heavily in the Rattlers’ offense, and he had a big game last week against East Central.
Switching focus to the defense, the Rockets utilize McCormick and Wisdom as defensive backs, but one of the biggest weapons on the defensive is 6-6 four-star defensive end DeMarvin Leal, who is committed to Texas A&M.
Not only can Leal bottle up quarterbacks and running backs, but his height gives him the unique ability to bat down passes. He’ll no doubt be a challenge for an experienced San Marcos offensive line.
Senior defensive backs Javier Gonzales and Therrance Soto lead the Rattlers’ defense, but sophomore Kannon Webb seems to be making a name for himself as well, from blocking a field goal against Johnson to seemingly being all over the field making tackles.
Friday night will give the Rattlers the opportunity to erase their struggles against East Central, but Judson will look to keep their undefeated streak alive. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.