Sunday, April 21, 2019
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20180824 SharylandFBall2018The season may just be getting started for the Sharyland Rattlers but their goal is clear: Finish.

The Rattlers are loaded with experience as they return 12 starters and 38 seniors, all of whom are looking to finish the job last year’s 9-3 playoff team nearly accomplished in their heartbreaking 42-39 triple overtime playoff loss to Alice in the second round.

“They saw how close we were to advancing, and for those seniors on that team they did a remarkable job of leading us, but there were a lot of kids on our team that are returners that experienced the feeling of two playoff games and being successful in the playoffs,” said Head Coach Ron Adame. “When we talk about our goals this year, it’s finishing games, knowing in spite of what the game starts like, you got to play four quarters and sometimes you may have to go to overtime to get the job done.”

This year’s Sharyland Rattlers are equipped to do just that.

The offense is primed to put up points on any opponent with the return of dual-threat quarterback Edgar Longoria (2,291 total yards, 32 touchdowns) and three of his most dangerous receiving options from a season ago in Ruben Davila (49 catches, 6 touchdowns), Gabriel Tamez (35 catches, 8 touchdowns) and Adrian Solis (3 touchdowns).

“I think Edgar, you can compare him to Michael Vick because he can run the ball and he can throw the ball,” said Davila, last year’s District 31-5A Co-Offensive Newcomer of the Year. “He can do whatever he needs to do, and us as receivers we can run and it’s only a matter of catching the ball because he always puts the ball where it needs to be. I feel we have a really good offense passing and running-wise.”

And running-wise, the Rattlers will be no push over. In fact, they’ll be doing the pushing over, led up front by third-year lettermen Josh Williams and Gabriel Martinez who will be clearing lanes for running back Danny Escalera.

On the other side of the ball, Sharyland is focused on tightening things up after surrendering 382 points a year ago. The Rattlers defense will be tested right out of the gate as they are scheduled to face four playoff teams from 2017 in non-district play.

“Tightening up our run defense, which is going to be tested early in the season when we play Pace, Memorial, La Joya and Hanna,” Adame said. “That’s a gauntlet to go through so we’re just looking for ways to improve every week.”

The Rattlers return All-District defensive honorees in linebackers Javo Lopez and Emiliano Becerril and defensive end Brandon Mireles, three seniors who Sharyland will be banking on to spearhead the defense.

“I think we’re going to do a much better job than last year,” said Lopez, who led Sharyland in tackles in 2017 with 109 stops. “We’re going to have a solid defense; we can stop the run, stop the pass and we’re focused on not giving up as many points. I know we’ve got great leaders all around and we’re going to have a good run this year.”

As for the season-long goals for the Rattlers, Adame sets out every year to be better than the last. After winning a share of the District 31-5A title a year ago, the Rattlers find themselves in a new home in District 16-5A Division II, which Adame says will be a dog-fight.

“In our opinion, our district is going to be just as tough,” he said. “When you add Edcouch and Mercedes into the mix along with Pioneer and Valley View, it’s going to be tough. Mercedes and Edcouch alone are bringing two schools that have a lot of pride. Those towns are football towns. We’re playing them at home this year and we’re hoping that will work in our favor, but we have to prove we can win on the road too.”

The Rattlers are set to open preseason action tonight against the Harlingen Cardinals at Boggus Stadium. The scrimmage is scheduled to start at about 6:30 p.m. and will feature four quarters of live-game situations with special teams not live.

Sharyland will kick off non-district play at home in Week One against Brownsville Pace in a rematch of last year’s bi-district playoff matchup, which the Rattlers won 59-43.