Tarpons stay unbeaten with district win over Bearkats

By Edward Severn, Special to RGVSports.com

PORT ISABEL — The Port Isabel Tarpons defeated the Raymondville Bearkats 40-22 in a District 16-4A Division II matchup Saturday.

The Tarpons (5-0, 2-0) scored their first touchdown on the second play of the game while on defense. A sneaky onside kick attempt set up Raymondville (2-3, 0-2) with good field position. On the second play, linebacker Tristian Garcia stripped it from the ball carrier and took it to the house.

A blocked punt on the next Bearkats possession set up Port Isabel with a goal-to-go situation, and they capitalized with a short touchdown run by Jayden Lopez. The Tarpons jumped out to a 12-0 lead with the less than three minutes off the clock.

Raymondville responded with a good drive that was capped with a 25-yard touchdown run by Diego Guiterrez, cutting the Tarpons’ lead to four points.

Port Isabel tallied its third touchdown of the first quarter when it punched in a close one with Derrin Valdez. A 23-yard Gilbert Medina touchdown then pushed the score to 26-8.

The Bearkats were the bigger squad, but the Tarpons were the most physical. Seniors Fernando Romero and Medina were key and played both ways throughout most of the game.

“It is real fun to play both ways. I like to compete and help out the team however I can,” Romero said.

Said Medina, “We have not beat these guys in three years. We have a tough team next week. We are going to practice hard and play tough.”

The Tarpons were not finished in the half. A 16-yard touchdown by Cross Martinez with 7:18 left during the second quarter gave the Tarpons a 33-8 lead.

The Bearkats gave themselves hope before halftime when Jayson Cantu found Ethan Tagle for a 5-yard touchdown. The Bearkats notched another 2-point conversion to cut the lead to 17 at halftime.

The game settled down defensively during the second half. Valdez punched it in from 1-yard out to begin the fourth and give Port Isabel a 40-16 lead. Two takeaways from Christian Aguilera sealed the win.

A late touchdown for the Bearkats made the final score 40-22.

“It is a process. We got a very, very good little team,” Tarpons coach Tony Villarreal said. “We ask them to get a little bit better all the time, and they are doing it.

“We have some kids going both ways. It is something expected in this division. We do a lot of things to make sure those guys are healthy.”

Next week, Port Isabel will head to Sinton for a 16-4A DII game. The Tarpons are excited to face one of the state’s top teams and hope to continue their unbeaten streak.

Raymondville is scheduled to play host to Robstown in another district matchup.