RIO HONDO — The Port Isabel Tarpons went down early to the Rio Hondo Bobcats, but the defense tightened up, and once the slot-T offense started rolling it could not be stopped.
The Tarpons defeated the Bobcats 48-20 in a non-district game Thursday night at Bobcat Stadium in Rio Hondo.
Port Isabel’s Andrew LeBlanc scored from 25 yards, Edward Garza punched a touchdown in from 15 yards and quarterback Bryan Martinez found Anthony Garcia for a 28-yard touchdown pass to extend the Tarpons lead in the second half.
Port Isabel went into the half up 28-20 after being down 17-7 in the second quarter. The Tarpons scored 34 unanswered points after going down 20-14.
“It was refreshing,” Port Isabel head coach Tony Villarreal said about the team’s effort. “We had to redeem ourselves from last week. I thought we played a very good Rio Hondo team. They came out quick and we could not keep up with them, but I think as the game went on we were able to keep up with their quickness because of our conditioning.”
“I think we passed them late in the second quarter and early in the third quarter. Our physicality and our conditioning kind of took over,” Villarreal said. “Rocky (James) does a great job, but he has a lot kids going both ways.”
The Tarpons’ run game was lethal after a first-drive three-and-out. Jose Ochoa scored from 4 yards, Tristian Garcia broke a 38-yard touchdown run, Luis Ramos also had a long touchdown run of 41 yards and Martinez found Christopher Gonzalez all alone in the endzone for a 28-yard score.
“We did not want to get that feeling of losing again,” Garcia, a senior captain on the team, said. “We just want to keep getting better week by week.”
The Bobcats and quarterback Ruben Atkinson were rolling in the first half. Atkinson found receiver Nate Sosa open multiple times for chunk plays.
Sosa caught a 33-yard touchdown, Keyan Lopez also burned the coverage for a 39-yard score and Leo Quezada tacked on six points with field goals from 27 and 25 yards out.
Port Isabel (1-1) returns to action against Valley View at 7 p.m. Thursday in Port Isabel. Rio Hondo (1-1) faces Hidalgo at 7 p.m. in Hidalgo on Thursday as well.