Home News Gameday Showdown in San Marcos: Rattlers, Lions battle for playoff berth tonight

Showdown in San Marcos: Rattlers, Lions battle for playoff berth tonight

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When the schedule-makers made tonight’s matchup between the Lockhart Lions and the San Marcos Rattlers, they may not have known how big a game this would come to be.

To start, Lockhart and San Marcos started off their seasons red hot. Lockhart had six straight wins and San Marcos had four and you could see then that this would provide quite a week 11 battle to end the regular season, and the high school football careers of several seniors tonight.

Both the Rattlers and the Lions suffered losses to top teams like Kerrville Tivy and Boerne Champion. The biggest difference in the records of both teams has been that Lockhart was victorious at home against Alamo Heights, and San Marcos was unable to come away with the win on the road against the Mules.


Tonight, one of these teams will get a blemish on an unbeaten record, with San Marcos undefeated at San Marcos Toyota Rattler Stadium and Lockhart undefeated on the road.

Aside from that, this is a good ole backyard brawl, and Lockhart will be looking to settle the score. In week 11 last year, San Marcos had already been eliminated from the playoffs, while Lockhart was moving on, but that didn’t stop the Rattlers from getting the win in Lockhart 35-21.

If you’re a fan of offense, you can expect a ton of it tonight, as Lockhart’s heavy ground attack will be looking to offset San Marcos’ aerial attack, as coach Mark Soto talked about on the Coach Soto show earlier this week.

“That (Lockhart) offense is a meat grinder. It’s going to be a meat grinder vs. an air show. Our defense has to be ready to play physical ball.”

Lockhart’s “meat grinder” offense features two running backs, Stephon Houston and DJ Ellison. The pair, known as “slash and smash,” have been responsible for a majority of Lockhart’s offense this year, and they’ve done plenty of scoring with the team averaging nearly 40 points per game.

Houston and Ellison have already picked up over 1000 rushing yards apiece this season, with Houston at 1154 and 12 touchdowns, and Ellison picking up 1574 and 18 touchdowns.

Houston is also featured in the offense as a receiver from time to time, and he has piled up 152 receiving yards on just six receptions, but aside from that, the Lions don’t pass the ball very much,and only have a total of 343 passing yards all season as opposed to the 3,691 rushing.

Lockhart’s offensive line has been key, and they’ve been pushing around defensive lines since last season when they used an abundance of jumbo sets to get their dominant rushing game going.

While the offense can be predictable, it isn’t as easy as just focusing on stopping the run. Several have tried and several have failed.

While the San Marcos defensive line has struggled at times to stop the run, look for Colby Vidrine and Marcellous Webber to play key roles in this game.

For San Marcos, many district observers may have thought the loss of standout quarterback David Hamilton would have been an unrecoverable blow, but San Marcos had several options, and the one that has come through and seems to have found a groove is senior Carl Ahrens. He’s even earned the nickname, “Carl Football” in San Marcos.

While Ahrens is not the running threat that Hamilton was, he’s more of a precision pocket passer. Last week in a loss against Boerne Champion, Ahrens threw five touchdown passes for 386 yards.

Ahrens has also found a comfort level with his main target, senior receiver Kaleb Johnson. Johnson, who started to make an impact in week four, was responsible for four San Marcos touchdowns and 256 yards last week.

If Johnson becomes a focus of Lockhart’s defense, Ahrens also has Cross Cuevas and Victor Martinez to throw to.

Whereas Lockhart’s offense may be dominated by the run, San Marcos has only recently transitioned to a stronger passing game. If Lockhart forgets about Cavion Garner, that could mean trouble. The junior running back has amassed 1008 rushing yards this season, and the Rattlers offensive line, dubbed “the pancake house” has been creating running lanes for him all season.

What it all boils down to is two very evenly matched teams. In order for Lockhart to move on, they’ll have to win the game or a loss of eight or less points along with a Tivy win over Alamo Heights tonight. San Marcos is out with a loss. If they win and Alamo Heights wins, the Rattlers are in. Other scenarios are, if Tivy wins and San Marcos wins by nine or more, it will go to a coin flip, and a Tivy win and a San Marcos win by 10 or more points means the Rattlers will see that playoffs for the first time since the 2007 season.

This one is definitely too close to call, but in a poll on Twitter, San Marcos is the favorite by a vote of 86 percent to 14 percent.

If you’re in the area tonight, make sure to head to Rattler Stadium tonight. You’ll be in for some playoff-atmosphere football, and expect fans of both teams to be in heavy attendance with the short distance between the two towns.

Be sure to check back for more coverage of this game tonight.

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Michael is the founder and editor of ProjectSpurs.com. He has a long history in journalism, sports and online media. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others.

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