Bobcats edge Bearkats for first district win of season

iooRaymondville was first to get on the board with a safety. Rio Hondo could not get the snap down, and it sailed over the punter’s head for two points.

Rio Hondo forgot about the safety shortly after. Bobcats senior Ethan Jeradiah got his first pick of the night on an underthrown pass. A good drive for the Bobcats was capped off with 9-yard touchdown catch by Caleb Laster to end the first quarter, and the Bobcats shook off the safety to take a 7-2 lead.

Rio Hondo’s offense received some big plays from its playmakers during the second quarter, setting up a 15-yard rushing touchdown from freshman quarterback Ruben Atkinson and an 1-yard touchdown from Jeradiah to give Rio Hondo a 21-9 lead at halftime.

“I feel very good, it has been a long time,” Jeradiah said. “A lot of these guys have not played since the seventh grade. We have missed out on a lot, but it feels good to bounce back and get a win.”

Raymondville scored its touchdown on a 15-yard run from Johnathan Cerda. The Bearkats had a chance to get some points before the half, but Jeradiah was there to get his second interception.

The Bobcats continued their offensive success with their first possession of the second half. A big third-down conversion by Jeradiah set up a 33-yard touchdown pass from Atkinson, who found receiver Gavin Perez open in the slot. Perez still had some work to do, and he scampered in for the score to give the Bobcats a 27-9 lead.

The Bearkats cut into the lead on their next possession. A 32-yard pass from Jayson Cantu found Jayden Garza in the end zone. Garza outjumped the defender for the touchdown. Cantu converted the 2-point conversion and cut the lead to 10 with only a few seconds left in the third quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Raymondville recovered a slick onside kick. Because of a penalty, the Bearkats had the opportunity to try the play without giving up bad field position, and they took it. The Bearkats took a couple of shots downfield but did not capitalize.

The Bobcats’ defense made another big stop after the offense chewed some clock. The game looked over, but Cantu gave the Bearkats a chance as he found Bryan Robles, who beat his man for a long touchdown with three minutes left in the game, setting up a tense finish.

Rio Hondo ended the game with a couple of first downs. Rio Hondo next faces Sinton, and Raymondville plays host to Ingleside.

“We are playing for pride,” Rio Hondo coach Rocky James said. “Us and Raymondville have been rivals for a long time. Whenever you can get a victory against a rival, it feels good. I am happy the way the kids played. We held on there at the end. They came back on us. I am glad we got the first downs, and was able to kneel down and get out with the win.”