Sunday, December 16, 2018
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20181116 SHSRAttlersvSomersetBulldogsThe Sharyland Rattlers went back-to-back and picked up their second straight bi-district championship in dramatic fashion Saturday night with a 27-21 come-from-behind win over the Somerset Bulldogs.

From low-scoring defensive slugfests to high-scoring shootouts, the Sharyland Rattlers have faced it all in 2018. When it came down to a do-or-die situation in the 4th quarter of their bi-district playoff game Saturday against the Somerset Bulldogs, they knew exactly what they had to do: respond.

“We saw some resiliency, we saw our boys not giving up,” Sharyland Head Coach Ron Adame said after the win. “I think at some point during our previous 10 games, we’d been behind, we’d been through adversity, we talked about being cool, being calm and staying poised, and they did that in the second half. Hats off to Somerset, they tested us tonight and this game could have gone either way.”

With the scoreboard reading 21-19 in favor of Somerset and 1:58 left to play, the Sharyland defense stepped up to force a punt and give the ball back to the Rattler offense.

That’s when Sharyland senior slotback Adrian Solis made the game’s biggest play. Solis let the punt bounce deep into Rattler territory and decided to pick it up at his own 5-yard line in hopes of making something happen--and he did just that. Solis found the wall his teammates created and returned the punt 78 yards to the Somerset 17 to set the offense up in the red zone.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to do it,” Solis said of his momentum swinging punt return. “I didn’t want to not grab it and let them down it inside the 10. I said screw it and let’s see what I can get. Thank God, it happened.”

On the very next play, senior quarterback Edgar Longoria found senior receiver Gabriel Tamez open on a post across the middle to put Sharyland in front 27-21 after a successful two-point conversion.

“We knew we’ve been in tough situations at the end of games before,” Longoria said. “Adrian had some cajones and he picked it up and did his job and got us in good field position. I told the offense let’s take it one play at a time, and that one play ended up being a touchdown and we had to believe in the defense. There was no doubt the defense was going to do their job.”

Trying to mount a last-minute comeback, the run-heavy attack of Somerset was forced to throw the ball and the Sharyland defense took advantage. Senior middle linebacker Javo Lopez, the heart of the Sharyland defense, made back-to-back plays as he came up with a sack on third down and pressured the Somerset quarterback on fourth down to force an incompletion and seal the 27-21 win for the Sharyland Rattlers.

“I was telling myself, I was telling the team ‘we go back out there we have to ball out, if not, it’s over, we just have to go out there and make a play,’” Lopez said. “It was just a team effort, we knew we had to make a play and we knew if we didn’t ball out, it’s over.”

Somerset jumped out in front 7-0 on a touchdown run by Hunter Hernandez, to which Sharyland answered right back with a rushing touchdown by Edgar Longoria but bounced the XP off the left upright to make it 7-6 in the first quarter. A Longoria touchdown pass to Tamez gave the Rattlers a 13-7 lead heading into the locker room.

When the teams emerged from halftime, Somerset’s Hernandez continued to add to his big day as he finished with 237 yards and all three Bulldog touchdowns to give the visitors a 21-13 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Longoria then connected with Hector Zavala on a 16-yard touchdown pass to trim the lead to 21-19 with 7:34 left in the game, setting up Sharyland to eventually steal the victory late.

Longoria finished with 267 total yards, four touchdowns and one successful two-point conversion. Tamez was the team’s leading receiver as the senior hauled in seven receptions for 94 yards and two scores.

The Sharyland Rattlers will face the Brenham Cubs at 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 23 at Cabiness Stadium in Corpus Christi in the Area Round of the 5A-DII State Playoffs.

For more game photos, click here.